Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Labour Year Zero

One of the most characteristic things about New Labour from its inception was the denial of history. As far as it was concerned, nothing of importance happened before Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party.

Perhaps the odd favourable mention of Neil Kinnock as a sort of John the Baptist figure might be allowed, but John Smith was written out of the picture altogether.

So it is not a surprise to find Peter Hain claiming that "Tony Blair started off the Northern Ireland peace process with Mo Mowlam".

Thanks to Iain Dale for this. Iain is right when he says it is a disgrace that John Major has not been invited to take part in the events surrounding the resumption of power sharing.

Incidentally, would people have felt quite so euphoric about the process if they had known from the start that its success would involve the near destruction of the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Major's government nearly screwed the whole thing up - hence Canary Wharf. I don't think Blair or Mowlem had any very special role either. The vital difference was that Labour had a huge majority whereas Major was, in the last days, having to worry about the unionists at westminister.

No-one who was paying attention to the process would be surprised that the UUP and SDLP suffered as a result - the process was clearly designed to bring the extremists in from the cold - the only way that they could get electoral sucess was at the expense of the other parties. Hume recognised this (as did many in his party who opposed the Hume-Adams talks) and none the less sacrificed party advantage for a chance at peace.