Home > General Politics > Hopi Sen is wrong – Labour is sorry

Hopi Sen is wrong – Labour is sorry

When I first stepped into Labour conference I sat down and read the Independent – travelling alone I hadn’t met with many beforehand, so – on that desperation – I read John Rentoul’s column, in which he said:

Sen [Hopi] is one of the best Labour minds and he has written the outstanding essay on the party’s fluctuating state of this conference season, for the online journal Renewal. He says: “We talk about anything but the failure of the last Labour prime minister.”


I’ve heard nothing but. Ed Miliband labours over past failures (do not excuse the pun), Ed Balls, also.

Today, too, Harriet Harman apologised. She said:

The two Eds both acknowledged – what we all know – that not everything we did in government turned out right. And people need to know that over the past year we’ve taken a hard look at what we did and we’ve learnt lessons.

If party conference this year has been about anything, it has been about apologies. Beyond that, there has been a healthy factionalism – I say healthy because the argument that though Blair was a warrior on the wrong side of history, he still won elections – is still leveled towards the Left as though it has any traction at all.

Blue, Red, Purple Labour – they are all represented, and all willing to account for the failures of the past.

All good stuff. And I’m happy to say that, this time, Hopi Sen is on the wrong of history – and the party is the better for it.

(For more on Harman’s speech, read Shamik Das here)

Categories: General Politics
  1. Chris
    September 30, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Brown was actually a better Prime Minister than Blair. When faced with a major crisis, he pretty much made the right decisions, whereas Blair made disastrous ones five years earlier. And of course, giving Blair all (or even most) of the credit for those election victories is stupid. Labour was on course to win in 1997 before Blair became leader and really it’s probably fair to say that the Tories lost that election more than Labour won it. As for holding on to power in 2001, parties never regain power at the first attempt (unless you’re led by Harold Wilson).

    • September 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      This campaign for the party to apologise for Brown is predicated either on the myth that this will get them better elected next time (it is seldom followed by the need to criticise the current government’s spending cuts) or on a straight forward allegiance to Blair and Blairism. Not only is it a wrong assertion (i.e. everyone is apologising for the last government and, consequently, Brown, who was key to it), but it is mostly vainglorious and unnecessary.

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