Coffee House

Osborne’s serenade

3 October 2011

As James "http://%20">said, Osborne’s speech was a potent blend of economics and politics. One passage in particular stood out
politically: when Osborne referred to those who booed when Ed Miliband mentioned Tony Blair during his speech. He said:

‘You know, there was a time when Labour seemed briefly to realise that to win elections it had to accommodate itself to the real world, stop being anti-business, make peace with middle

Not now. It’s over. Once they cheered Tony Blair, now they boo him. I fought three elections against Tony Blair, and I know the damage he did to our country. But it wasn’t just him they
were booing last week. They were booing the millions of voters who once turned to Labour because they thought Labour had changed. They were booing the business people who thought Labour wanted to
work with them. They were booing all those people who thought Labour had finally woken up to the modern world. But to all those people who heard those boos and realised they were aimed at them,
for all those people who aspire, who want a strong society and a strong economy, to those people abandoned by Labour today. I say the Conservative Party will be your voice.’

Some political observers say privately that those boos will be the defining moment of this conference season. Osborne certainly thought they were worth a mention – and a pitch.

  • Stuart Seacole Smith

    All booing and poo-pooing aside, the point is that Blair did succeed in bringing many more voters into the Labour fold through very adroit positioning and (in the early days at least) strong personal appeal. He may ultimately have been hated by many in Labour, but the fact is that he was the sugar coating for a very bitter pill, the smokescreen (witting or unwitting) for the true character of Labour that was never far below the surface, doing its thing. That’s why he was so dangerous. The idea that Labour is fundamentally changing and/or falling apart under Miliband is wrong in my view; it’s just the Nu Lab facade slipping further away (works initiated by one Gordon Brown) to reveal the writhing mass of sniping malcontents and big-government anti-industry oddballs who never went away, but now “improved” with the new ingredient of New Labour spin and deceit added into the mix itself rather than just providing the all-important surface rendering.

    That’s wot I reckon anyway!

  • arnoldo87

    Osborne’s analysis of why the union members booed Blair is quite right.

    They thought he had strayed too far from Old Labour policies, and he did – to great effect!

    However, Osborne’s comment about the “damage” Blair did to Britain should be taken with a pinch of conference salt.

    The chancellor is a known admirer of Blair, and was one of the first on his feet when the Tories gave the great man a standing ovation when he retired from his premiership in 2007.

    Just think how long the applause would have lasted if Blair hadn’t done all that “damage”!

  • Pace General Melchett

    You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from being in the Army, it’s never ignore a boo. I knew a Major, who got booed, made the mistake of ignoring the boo. He booed it! Fatal error! ‘Cos it turned out all along that the soldier who booed him had been booing a lot of other officers who booed their boos. In the end, we had to disband the regiment. Morale totally destroyed… by booing.

    Sorry, had to do it.

  • Doubting Rich

    Go to bed at noon

    There is an unspoken, but not unreasonable, assumption about why they are booing Blair. At risk of over-simplification, in broad sense it is fairly obvious they booed Blair for not being enough of a socialist; clearly Osborne believed that. I, and I suspect Osborne, would criticise Blair for being too socialist.

  • Boyders

    They booed Blair because he has made a fortune out of politics, and they thought he was sincere and supported him. They think Blair has betrayed them. He has, and they hate him for being rich, I hate him for not making anything better.

    They are also booing anyone with money and aspiration exactly as Osborne says.

    When Milliband said that he wasn’t ‘Gordon Brown’ they all went very quiet, they became terribly confused, they have no idea how Gordon Brown happened!

    Its been a nightmare!

  • Ed P

    Fine aspirations, but it’s hard to see them achieving any of it when yoked to the LDs, along with the wettest (& easily deflected) PM we’ve endured for decades.

  • TrevorsDen

    Indeed – I thought myself that the booing was very totemic of Labours move away from the centre, whether its intentional or not.

    They booed Blair I believe in fact because the labour party are pacifist. More pacifist than ever. And he lied about his reasons for going to war.

  • and I’ll go to bed at noon

    Is “Blair did a huge amount of damage, but they’re still wrong to boo him” really such a good pitch?

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