Saw this clip of Labour MP, Thangam Debbonaire, and Martin Manear, a member of the Momentum National Committee, being interviewed on ITV in the South West, and was fascinated by the MP’s logic.
In the interview Martin refers a number of times to the failures of ‘triangulation’. Triangulation is an approach to the positioning of political parties developed by Bill Clinton’s team in the USA, and attempts to blend ‘the best’ of policies from both the left and the right and by doing so transcend these old political factions to constitute a third force in the debate, i.e. Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’.
To those of us in the UK this sounds remarkably like the Liberal Democrats, who have not been in government in the UK since 1922! Nonetheless this ‘centrist’ idea was presented by Blair as being something new and something guaranteed to win elections because it would appeal to uncommitted floating voters, because the Third Way was presented as a pragmatic, post-ideological politics that was almost apolitical, thus appealing to apolitical, floating voters. It was also presented as if devising pragmatic policies to achieve practical, real-world outcomes, could be free of ‘divisive’ value judgements or ideological assumptions. Indeed, the Blairites cried, the pragmatic, rational, Third Way would surely appeal to all voters except of course the ‘crazy’ ideologues on the extremes of the old left and right wings?
In this interview several times Thangham Debbonaire (you really couldn’t make that name up could you) said, “We have to win over Tory voters to win an election.” She went onto explain that its no good appealing to left wing voters because they all live in labour safe seats and won’t win us an election. To me this seems a quite startling statement for a Labour politician to make; surely it is the Tory parties job to provide policies attractive to Tory voters, not the Labour Party? Continue reading