I won’t resume the debate about how Labour would have fared if John Smith, who died 20 years ago today, had lived. John McTernan pays tribute here, and Ian Bell also had a fine eulogy last week.
But McTernan’s article did pose one question that stands for the whole. The question is whether Smith would have [...]
I praised Ed Miliband in The Independent on Sunday yesterday for finally doing what Neil Kinnock, John Smith (pictured), Tony Blair and Gordon Brown lacked the courage to do:
I mean breaking the link between the trade unions and the Labour Party. We Blairites are not calling it that, of course, because we are trying to [...]
Good by Stephen Bush, who wasn’t even born then, on the 1983 election:
Amid all the chaos on the night of 9 June 1983, an MP was elected for an obscure constituency in County Durham who would eventually hit the Tories so hard, Benjamin Disraeli felt it.
The lesson of 1983 isn’t just to make sure [...]
No, this is not my long-promised lecture of the above title. I am under-qualified to deliver it, in any case. Suffice it to say that those who idolise Clement Attlee as a way of criticising New Labour have got the wrong man.
Someone who could deliver it is David Hayes, one of the finest essayists, whose [...]
Digital data can be amazing. I wrote an article for the New Statesman in the 1980s called “Fear of fridges”, in which I quoted a speech of Hugh Gaitskell’s in which he seemed to blame Labour’s lack of electoral success in the 1950s on the spread of fridge ownership.
That was all I could remember, but [...]
A friend who is 10 years older than me, who was active in the Labour Party in the 1970s (I joined in 1981), urges me to remember 1974
I admire Hugh Gaitskell as much as the next Eurosceptic social democrat, but must protest at Donald Macintyre’s use of him to traduce Tony Blair in today’s Independent.
Don seems to think that Blair went out of his way* to omit reference to Gaitskell in his memoir, and that this omission is “telling”. What it tells [...]
It is the time of year for lists. After my 10 most interesting politicians in the UK the other day, Kevin Maguire of the Mirror decided yesterday to list his best Labour prime ministers on Twitter for no apparent reason. There have been only six of them, and his order was:
1 Attlee 2 Wilson 3 [...]
Before Labour’s annual conference recedes into the mist of history, to be recalled possibly only for David Miliband’s deadly accurate question, “Why are you clapping?”, let us note two small but significant constitutional rule changes that were agreed in Manchester.
One was to clarify the leadership election rules. The old clause B2Bii
Where there is no vacancy, [...]
A friend draws my attention to an evening on 8 November to celebrate Michael Foot’s “rich, long and varied life with stories, music and readings”.
Special guests include
Jo Brand, Prunella Scales, Francis Wheen, Helena Kennedy, Geoffrey Goodman, Rodney Bickerstaffe, David Steel, Roy Hattersley, Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown and Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband.
Michael Foot [...]
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