Tony Blair warns Labour will never win power if it ‘looks askance’ at JK Rowling

(34 Posts)
stumbledin Fri 14-May-21 14:56:56

This in fact is a Pink News headline and I'm not going to give the link.

But I just thought on one level it was quite funny, but also never thought Blair would comment on the trans women issue.

Though in terms of the future of the Labour Party (with some suggesting Blair should come back as party leader!!!!!) I cant think that given his reputation re the Iraq War and now siding with "transphobes" as JKR is portrayed by Momentumites and others that this will help win him support!

I think PN claimed that this was his position based on an article in the New Statesman - but I cant really recognise it!

Extract:

A large part of moderate progressive opinion simply wants to steer clear of these cultural and identity issues entirely. The moderates – often of an older generation – don’t quite understand the strength of feeling over issues such as trans rights. They distrust their own sensors and fear tripping up or saying the wrong thing, and so have come to a position which basically says: there is no culture war, in any event we’re not playing it, or if there is and we are forced to play, we will play at the back as quietly as possible.

I believe this is a mistake and merely reinforces the sense of being weak people who don’t really stand for anything. And, as I know from a lifetime in politics, however successful a leader you are, you don’t always decide the agenda. You can decide the answer, but you can’t always decide the question. Your political opponents have a say, and most importantly, so does the public.

The right knows they’re on to something on these cultural issues. They are revelling in it and setting traps for the left all over the field, which the left is falling into one by one. (Or not. A key moment for Biden was when he comprehensively disowned “defund the police”, while backing police reform.)

Keeping your head down isn’t a strategy. There is a big culture battle going on. Progressive folk tend to wince at terms such as “woke” and “political correctness”, but the normal public knows exactly what they mean. And the battle is being fought on ground defined by the right because sensible progressives don’t want to be on the field at all. The consequence of this is that the “radical” progressives, who are quite happy to fight on that ground, carry the progressive standard. The fact that it ensures continued right-wing victory doesn’t deter them at all. On the contrary, it gives them a heightened sense of righteousness, like political kamikaze.

www.newstatesman.com/politics/2021/05/tony-blair-without-total-change-labour-will-die

OP’s posts: |
Minezatea Fri 14-May-21 15:03:35

I'm not sure i recognise that paraphrasing of his quote either. Sounds like he's saying that politicians need to properly engage with the issues? Not sure what he means about strength of feeling as it seems to me that there is strength of feeling on both "sides' as both sides feel the other is causing harm.

Kit19 Fri 14-May-21 15:03:45

The consequence of this is that the “radical” progressives, who are quite happy to fight on that ground, carry the progressive standard. The fact that it ensures continued right-wing victory doesn’t deter them at all. On the contrary, it gives them a heightened sense of righteousness, like political kamikaze

I know because it's Blair many people will completely disregard it but he's right

FindTheTruth Fri 14-May-21 15:08:02

I'm not sure i recognise that paraphrasing of his quote either.

I'm not sure I've recognised any of Pink News's paraphrasing since it became a mens rights activist newspaper

AaronStampler Fri 14-May-21 15:15:45

Here's where the quote comes from (full paragraph):

On cultural issues, one after another, the Labour Party is being backed into electorally off-putting positions. A progressive party seeking power which looks askance at the likes of Trevor Phillips, Sara Khan or JK Rowling is not going to win. Progressive politics needs to debate these cultural questions urgently and openly. It needs to push back strongly against those who will try to shout down the debate. And to search for a new governing coalition. All the evidence is that it can only do this by building out from the centre ground.

Artichokeleaves Fri 14-May-21 16:07:24

On cultural issues, one after another, the Labour Party is being backed into electorally off-putting positions. A progressive party seeking power which looks askance at the likes of Trevor Phillips, Sara Khan or JK Rowling is not going to win.

You should market yourselves as identifying with being moderate and warm to all this nasty publicly popular stuff to get into power. After which you can do what you want, because it isn't about actual democracy or listening, but about getting people to buy your product and it then being five years before they can do anything about realising you conned them. Blair to a T.

nauticant Fri 14-May-21 16:32:23

Is this going to be one of those threads where some posters don't allow themselves to actually read and comprehend what Blair is saying because he's forever more in the bad person box?

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JoanOgden Fri 14-May-21 16:38:08

Totally agree with Blair on this. Wish Biden would take his advice on the trans rights point!

Mollyollydolly Fri 14-May-21 16:39:49

Whatever your views on Blair that essay in The New Statesman is bang on. He won three elections for a reason.

lazylinguist Fri 14-May-21 16:50:11

He may be in the 'bad person box', but I'm pretty sure I agreed with every word of that article tbh.

WarOnWomen Fri 14-May-21 16:54:34

I hope not, Nauticant.

I can’t stand Blair but he’s making a valid point here. Labour is eating itself right now.

As for Pink News, a day without JKR in the headlines is a dull day for them. I can see them salivating every time someone in the media spotlight mentions JKR so they can write about her or link something to her. Obsessed is the word.

AlfonsoTheTerrible Fri 14-May-21 16:59:44

What a shame that someone who supports women's right (J K Rowling) is seen as such a danger.

stumbledin Fri 14-May-21 17:08:11

What a shame that someone who supports women's right (J K Rowling) is seen as such a danger.

Yes - but what is really a shame is that so many people who know that she is anything but that, stay silent or worse clap along with those vilifying her.

So pleased she recently won a prize, and was surprised that there seemed to be so few hostile article about it.

OP’s posts: |
Manderleyagain Fri 14-May-21 17:10:53

I thought blair's article was very good. He's absolutely right about how the culture wars stuff plays with the electorate, but that pretending it's not happening isn't going to work. The issues have to be confronted, carefully, but discussed. I didn't know who Sara Ahmed (in the JKR quote) was and looked her up. Is the reason the left don't like her just because she's accepted government advisory role? Or because of things she's said?

But it was interesting that Blair tried not to give away which side he's on in the trans / women's rights issue (or the other issues tnh). The fact he wants it discussed in itself suggests the answer, but I think by 'strength if feeling' he meant the feelings of trans ppl, or allies. It was a bit like he was keeping out if it but criticising the Labour Party for keeping out of it.

nauticant Fri 14-May-21 17:21:34

It's a useful contribution to the debate for prominent people who are apparently non-aligned to call for discussion. It puts the trans activists on the spot about how to respond. They can attack which will prove Blair's point or put their heads in the sand hoping it all goes away and perhaps clearing the space for other people to engage and discuss.

PaleGreenGhost Fri 14-May-21 17:23:01

Ha. Raising my hand as yet another (ex) Labour supporter who is keeping Blair in the bad box over Iraq but quite agrees with him here.

When that Lily something person (cannot recall the surname - junior Labour, possibly Goldsmiths student and accused of being a sex pest by another student) was being given lots of attention by Labour I would have put money on them being an agent of the Conservative party.

It is so convenient for the Conservatives that this all plays out in Labour.

stumbledin Fri 14-May-21 17:36:20

Another angle is that given the number of quite high profile (ex?) Labour people there have been saying we should listed to Blair, he know how to win, he's in touch with people, they seem quite quiet on this article.

Or maybe it says more about them eg Mandelson that they only quote Blair when it suits their own private agenda.

OP’s posts: |
QuentinBunbury Fri 14-May-21 17:40:39

Brilliant article and I hate Blair. He's on point about Starmer I think

I liked this
People like common sense, proportion and reason. They dislike prejudice; but they dislike extremism in combating prejudice. They support the police and the armed forces. Again, it doesn’t mean that they think those institutions are beyond reproach. Not at all. But they’re on their guard for those who they think use any wrongdoing to smear the institutions themselves. And they expect their leaders to voice their own opinion, not sub-contract opinion to pressure groups, no matter how worthy.

And this
^ correct course for progressives on culture questions is to make a virtue of reason and moderation. To be intolerant of intolerance – saying you can disagree without denouncing. To seek unity. To eschew gesture politics and slogans. And when they’re accused of being insufficiently supportive of the causes – which is inevitable – to stand up for themselves and make it clear they’re not going to be bullied or pushed around. This will lose some votes among a minority with loud voices; but it will bind the solid but often silent centre to them.^

QuentinBunbury Fri 14-May-21 17:45:33

Plus this is a very interesting point
And the cultural message, because he [starmer] is not clarifying it, is being defined by the “woke” left, whose every statement gets cut-through courtesy of the right.

thinkingaboutLangCleg Fri 14-May-21 17:47:42

Raising my hand as yet another (ex) Labour supporter who is keeping Blair in the bad box over Iraq but quite agrees with him here.

My hand's up too.

TomatoesAreFruit Fri 14-May-21 17:59:27

Yep. I agree with Blair.

nauticant Fri 14-May-21 18:03:29

For "intolerant of intolerance" it's worth having a look at the origin of that phrase:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Less well known [than other paradoxes Popper discusses] is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.— In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 14-May-21 18:08:37

PaleGreenGhost

Ha. Raising my hand as yet another (ex) Labour supporter who is keeping Blair in the bad box over Iraq but quite agrees with him here.

When that Lily something person (cannot recall the surname - junior Labour, possibly Goldsmiths student and accused of being a sex pest by another student) was being given lots of attention by Labour I would have put money on them being an agent of the Conservative party.

It is so convenient for the Conservatives that this all plays out in Labour.

All gone very quiet on that front. Name goes in front of ___ Square Gardens, venue in New York. Often wondered if LM managed to graduate from Goldsmiths (Politics) which may have been due to happen last year, maybe this year, can't remember. Who'd want the onerous task of having to fail a serial litigant?

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 14-May-21 18:09:29

Aargh. Not that surname, another one, more Irish sounding. Don't want to type it out in case that person has some sort of Google alert on the name.

maggiemuff Fri 14-May-21 18:40:05

Know nothing about the situation with Blair but just came on the say that JKR is not transphobic. She spoke out about the term 'people who menstruate', she is right only biological women menstruate. Just like it's breast feeding not chest feeding. A man can not feed a baby milk produced by his body. And birth givers! Again only biological women. I'm not transphobic at all I don't care what other people do or want to be but these are biological facts that can't be changed. There is no debate on that.

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