May 8, 2002


The unions hold their heads up again : Is new Labour finished and the Third Way obsolete? Many on the left think so. Robert Taylor reveals plans to wrest back the ideological high ground (Robert Taylor, 6th May 2002, New Statesman)
The salubrious surroundings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London are to host an event later this month that promises to be a new landmark in the often tortuous relations between the unions and the Labour Party. Assorted luminaries from parliament, academe and the media, plus a formidable array of union leaders, will assemble under the avuncular eye of Lord (Roy) Hattersley to launch a serious ideological challenge to what remains of Tony Blair's Third Way. [...]

Trailed as a discussion followed by a drinks reception to bless a merger between two think-tanks, there is much more to this event than meets the eye. The launch of Catalyst Forum, as it will be called, had been planned (before 11 September intervened) for the Labour conference last autumn; at that time, many people, particularly union leaders, saw it as a rather desperate old Labour attempt at a rearguard action. Now the likes of Edmonds are convinced that new Labour is "finished" and that "a vacuum" of ideas needs to be filled on the centre left. Edmonds's optimism may stem from a recent eye operation that has enabled him to dispense with his thick spectacles, but it is also based on a conviction that Third Way politics are obsolete and everybody knows this.

Is there any place in an "old" Labour party for the likes of Tony Blair? Posted by Orrin Judd at May 8, 2002 12:59 PM
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