Jowells’ remarks show tensions at heart of Labour….
Tessa Jowell has used an interview with the Daily Telegraph to call for an end to the so-called ‘class war’ strategy;
Ms Jowell, the Olympics Minister, urged the Prime Minister to stop attacking the Conservative leader for having a privileged background as such personal insults only alienated voters and risked bringing politics into disrepute.
This is the latest in a line of fits of pique by ‘Blairites’ and a clear indication at where the lines of demarcation will be when the election is over and the post-mortem begins. The ‘Blairites’ will blame the ‘class war’ strategy and a harking back to Old Labour while the left will do the reverse. Following the failed Cabinet coup (something which was lame to say the least) the Blairites have recognised that Brown will survive and contented themselves with sniping and positioning for the post-election dust-down. However, in doing this they risk post-election credibility and run the very real risk they will themselves be blamed for the electoral maelstrom.
It is fundamentally strange for a representative of a party whose existence is predicated on the notion that class exists to argue they should not talk about it. Meanwhile, the Labour Left needs to learn to talk to people about class in terms they would understand through their own lives and experiences; not in terms of a textbook stereotype, then people may well respond especially if they were under the yoke of a Conservative government.
After the next election Labour will face a fundamental choice about its direction. However, harking back a little to my previous post, to make a choice you must understand it and this is not a choice between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Labour but a more fundamental one about what its role and place is as a party in the political system.
This is what really lies behind Jowell’s remarks; the opening of that debate….