purnell’s new ‘old labour’ is just new ‘new labour’

by David Broder

American conservatives’ televised attacks on the National Health Service erupted onto the British political scene in August, with the great and good of the Labour Party leaping to the defence of the system which this government is itself undermining with its privatisation campaign. Gordon (and Sarah) Brown joined the “#welovethenhs” Twitter campaign, as did Health Secretary Andy Burnham, who also took time away from tweeting to criticise Tory MEP Daniel Hannan as “unpatriotic”  for taking part in the American right-wing crusade. Here the Labour Party was very much fighting on its traditional home turf: but is it turning to the left?

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With such a revival of enthusiasm for national healthcare, countering David Cameron’s incredible claim that the Tories are now “the party of the NHS”, and with Royal Mail privatisation plans stalled for now, some in the labour movement believe that the government is shifting leftwards. Given Brown’s attempts to expose the fact that the Tories are going to make harsh cuts, such people have wasted much ink on grand predictions that recent Keynesian measures to shore up the economy show that the Labour Party is opening up clear red water between itself and the Conservatives, and indeed that when it loses the next General Election, the party will become a fulcrum of resistance to Cameron. Continue reading “purnell’s new ‘old labour’ is just new ‘new labour’”