Wednesday, 28 September 2016

My Guardian letter on leaving Labour, need for a new party and the trashing of Labour's record

Your coverage of Tom Watson’s excellent speech (, 27 September) noted that he called on Labour to stop “trashing the record” of the Blair and Brown governments but failed to mention his leading role in the “coup” against Mr Blair in 2006, which hastened his resignation a year later, prompting him to describe Watson’s actions as “disloyal, discourteous and wrong” and a “totally unnecessary attempt to unseat the party leader, less than 15 months after our historic third term victory”.

The Labour party’s “brand” (as Mr Watson puts it) has been in decline ever since Blair stood down as prime minister in 2007. From that moment onwards, the Labour party has chosen to move towards the left despite evidence that this takes them away from the interests of a majority of voters. It is ironic that the hopes of Labour moderates are embodied by someone who helped end the premiership of the most successful Labour leader in the party’s history.

I wish Mr Watson well in speaking up for moderate policies in the Labour party. However, increasing numbers of moderates such as me have concluded that if the PLP will not take action to defend moderation within then it is best to work towards a new centre-left party outside parliament.

John Slinger (Labour party member from 1991 to September 2016)
Chair of Pragmatic Radicalism

Online at The Guardian here

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