Monday 23 March 2009

Campbell: Fault on both sides in Blair's failure with unions

Will Straw accepts the point from Dan Whittle in the audience that the trade unions were very important in the Obama campaign:

"I think Tony Blair tried to define New Labour against the trade unions. I think the left-right debate within the Labour Party is becoming narrower and changing, partly because of the economic crisis". A movement politics means engaging with unions, say both Straw and Brandzel.

Campbell: "I think Tony was trying to say that an old game which the unions used to play wasn't going to work". Gives example of minimum wage: Blair said to barons, it isn't going to be a case of you making a ludicrous demand and we then meet you halfway and we all go away happy. His message was to think seriously and to come back with what they really thought government should do.

"That was trying to develop a better dialogue with the unions. To be frank, it never happened. I think there was fault on both sides about that", says Campbell.

"We have to shake off our defensiveness about so much. We have to shake off our defensiveness about the unions. We have to shake off our defensiveness about the record. We have to shake off our defensiveness about what politics is for".

Campbell says he is sorry to keep banging on about government ministers, but too much of the instinct is to meet the negativity half-way. And there is no politics of hope and mobilisation in that at all.

And Campbell says to Brandzel: "I agree that there is nothing un-British about house parties or sitting and discussing. But there is something in your culture that makes it possible to ask without pissing people off the whole time. I fundraise for leukemia research, and people say 'all you ever do is ask for money' and I say well I am fundraising for charity. But again we have to shake off our defensiveness about that".

1 comment:

Robert said...

So New Labour is now a charity what a lot of hot air, Blair felt he could get enough money by selling seats in the house of lords, sadly the sleaze got to much. Now it's election time and the Union are needed. But did one Union fight the welfare reforms, they waited until the last minutes to say no it was to late.

I think Unions worked a blinder with New Labour.