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26th Nov 2021

Tony Blair tells Keir Starmer to ‘reject wokeism’ and wage war on socialism

Danny Jones

Tony Blair says Keir Starmer needs to reject 'wokeism'

The former prime minister compared Labour’s current position to when the party faced criticism back in the 80s

Tony Blair has urged Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour party to “reject wokeism” while still “openly embrac[ing] liberal, tolerant but commonsensical positions on the ‘culture’ issues”.

As reported by the Independent, the former prime minister said in an interview published on Friday November 26 that the party will only achieve victory in the next general election if they “reject the ‘wokeism’ of a small though vocal minority” and “push the far left back to the margins”

Blair served as PM from 1997 to 2007, having been a party member since 1975, and referenced a period in 1983 when Labour’s polling suffered from a number of factors – including economic policy and their attitudes on cultural issues such as LGBT rights.

The 68-year-old said that the sections of the electorate found their stance “alienating” back then and appears to have drawn similar parallels here, going to add that “there is no question of negotiating the terms of power with them”.

Starmer has often been criticised for his centrist policies, the most recent being his deliberation on the MPs and their second jobs scandal, with the 59-year-old Labour leader then going on to admit that outlawing would mean preventing ministers from carrying out the kind of work he made money through himself.

Back in 2015, Blair himself said he wouldn’t want Labour to win power on “an old-fashioned leftist platform”, claiming that the party often misunderstands “the difference between radical leftism, which is often in fact quite reactionary – and radical social democracy, which is all about ensuring that values are put to work in the most effective way.”

Somewhat in contrast, it was only in 2018 when The Guardian‘s Glen O’Hara wrote that New Labour was far more left-wing that many given it credit for, citing increased employment rates through government spending, national minimum wage, the tax credits system and a drop in homelessness.

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