Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Beckett has a dig at New Labour...

Last night Lobbydog had a long chat with the old war horse Margaret Beckett about what went wrong with Labour and where she thinks it needs to go next.

She still remembers how it felt when the party lost power in 1979 to Thatcher – she also lost her Lincoln parliamentary seat that time round.

Her contribution to the post mortem on the party's demise up to 2010 is that for too long the Labour machine mistakenly discouraged people from talking about things it was doing for the vulnerable in society.

“It was part of the philosophy of how New Labour presented itself that even though it was doing things for the more needy, like tax credits and so on, we didn’t talk about it a lot,” said Beckett.

“That side of policy and of Labour was deliberately played down for a long time.

“There seemed to be a fear that if you constantly reminded people what you were doing to help the most vulnerable then you might appear not to be on the side of mainstream families.”

Meanwhile Beckett's dislike of that side of New Labour seemed to slip out again when talking about who was going to be the next leader. She did have something to say about the front runner.

“There are people round David’s campaign who seem to be suggesting that everyone knows who the next leader is going to be already and that isn’t right,” she said.

She did happen to mention that Ed Balls was rather capable - but wouldn’t commit to anyone just yet.

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