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Archives for August 2010

The Blair effect

Nick Robinson | 18:50 UK time, Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Over breakfast tomorrow morning a few people will open envelopes containing a ballot paper allowing them a say in who becomes Labour's next leader and potentially our next prime minister.

Many will, instead, open their newspaper and listen to the radio to learn the views of the last person to win an election for the party.

All the candidates insist that they want to move on from the past but the publication of Tony Blair's memoirs and his verdict on Labour's 13 years in power and the election his successor lost will make that impossible.

Besides, it is now many weeks since this contest began and it has been dominated not by a policy debate but by a mixture of personality and subtle positioning in relationship to the past.

There is one issue - a crucial one - which does divide the candidates - it is how fast to curb public spending in order to bring down the deficit.

All agree the coalition is moving too far too fast but Ed Balls says that even the last government's plans were too drastic.

With this contest reaching the point of decision and with the past being re-lived there will, of course, be more tension ahead.

However, students of history will note that this is a long, long way away from the bitter and divisive contest which elected Michael Foot and split Labour 30 years ago.

Whoever wins wants to have a chance to write their own prime ministerial memoirs.

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