Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Why Blair is wrong to suggest voting for pro-EU Tories

Yes I’m a Green Party member so probably shouldn’t stick my nose in Labour Party business but when I saw the suggestion from Tony Blair that people should consider backing some pro-EU Conservative MPs I have to admit, I did a double take. An ex-Labour Prime Minister suggesting that people vote for a right wing party based on one issue? Brexit is an important issue but is Blair so out of touch that he hasn't seen the damage the Tories have done over the last 7 years? The slashing of our public services and welfare state, which Blair's government actually boosted funding in. How can he possibly suggest supporting that? Whatever his views on Corbyn, surely he shouldn't ask people to consider supporting the party that he fiercely fought three elections against and won?

I agree with him that leaving the EU is most likely going to damage our country in a lot of ways but to suggest voting for any MP that wants to fight against a hard Brexit no matter their party is incredibly one-dimensional and narrow minded. Even some of his protégées such as Chuka Umunna have completely dismissed the idea. Bizarrely he also said he would definitely be voting Labour himself. I’m sorry but if he is voting for Labour then surely he should be saying others should as well? As an ex-Labour Prime Minister, I also think he has a responsibility and a duty to encourage others to vote for Labour and not give any hint or suggestion that people should consider voting Tory. If he could stand as a candidate under Michael Foot’s manifesto, then surely he can stomach campaigning for Labour under Corbyn?

It’s interesting though how we haven’t heard anything from Blair over what has happened domestically in Britain over the duration of this current Tory government. However when it comes to foreign affairs such as the EU and the middle-east he is very opinionated. A few months after the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition formed, they had a clear programme of government which included dismantling our welfare state. When asked about them, Blair said at the time it was too early to tell about whether they were a good government or not. One thinks that he may have secretly supported what they were doing but didn’t want to openly say it. Considering it was the New Labour government that introduced the Work Capability Assessments and the Bedroom Tax in council housing, it wouldn’t surprise me.

I would personally say do not just vote for a party based on what their views on the EU are. Look at what they’ll for the country overall. Of course what their plan in the EU negotiations are, is important but it really isn’t the only issue. Look at our NHS, education system, our public services and tell me could you really stomach voting for a party that will continue to dismantle those things whilst giving tax cuts to the richest just because a particular MP of theirs shares your views on the EU? For me personally, I’ll ignore Tony Blair’s advice. I'd rather not be a Turkey voting for Christmas.