Politics

Tony Blair urges Keir Starmer to ‘reject wokeism’ and imagine how tired we are

Josh Milton November 26, 2021
bookmarking iconSAVE FOR LATER
Former British prime minister Tony Blair arrives in Downing Street

Former British prime minister Tony Blair. (Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Like your uncle in the family group chat, Tony Blair has once again given his unsolicited opinion on politics.

The former prime minister has urged Britain’s main opposition leader Keir Starmer to “reject the wokeism of the minority” if he wants to win the next general election.

In a blistering appraisal of the Labour Party leader, Blair blasted the party’s decline as going far beyond the loss of the Red Wall – it’s right across Britain.

The hard left, Blair wrote in the foreword of a new report into Labour voters published Friday (26 November) by the firm Deltapoll for the Tony Blair for Global Change Institute, must be considered the “enemy”.

Blair urged Labour to adopt a “commonsensical position on the ‘culture’ issues”, without elaborating on exactly what these “issues” are.

He likened Labour’s situation to 1983 when the party was pelted over its support for LGBT+ rights.

Blair argued that “large numbers of Labour voters in 1983 felt our economic policy was not credible and our attitudes across a range of cultural questions profoundly alienating”.

Labour must break away from Jeremy Corbyn and ‘wokeism’, says Tony Blair

The way forward, Tony Blair suggested, to turn the tide for Labour in 2024 is to “openly embrace liberal, tolerant but commonsensical positions” and “emphatically reject the ‘wokeism’ of a small though vocal minority”.

Starmer must whittle away socialism and signal a clear break from the legacy of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, a torchbearer for the progressive left and unwavering and outspoken LGBT+ ally.

Starmer, on the other hand, has often remained silent on thorny issues such as transphobia within his party, with some experts seeing the Labour leadership’s muted response as a political tactic to not be entangled with so-called “woke” concerns.

Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the audience at the Patti Pavilion on December 7, 2019 in Swansea, Wales. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

He must “push the far left back to the margins” and assure voters there is “no question of negotiating the terms of power with them”.

Starmer, a former chief prosecutor, has sought to adopt a more centrist approach to win back voters and challenge the ruling Conservative Party, who hold an 80-seat majority in parliament.

Blair has long felt that trans rights – the rights of one of the most marginalised and vulnerable demographics in the country – are something of a culture war that Labour must distance itself from. At one point warning Labour to not “look askance” at JK Rowling over her views.

Veteran moderates such as Blair himself, he said earlier this year, “don’t quite understand the strength in feeling over issues such as trans rights”. To speak out for trans rights, he said, is among “electoral off-putting positions”.

But within the fabled Red Wall, often stereotyped by the press and politicians alike as socially conservative and hostile to progressive policies, the patch’s views on trans rights are exactly in line with the rest of the country.

According to a YouGov poll this year, 35 per cent of Red Wall voters feel trans women should be able to use female changing rooms – 28 pert cent do not, just one percentage point more than the rest of all Britons.

 

More: Jeremy Corbyn, Keir Starmer, Labour party, socialism, Tony Blair

Swipe sideways to view more posts!

Dismiss

Loading ...