As the Blair era stumbles to its miserable close, Labour MPs are jockeying for position. These comments (via the BBC) make interesting reading:
Deputy leadership challenger Jon Cruddas says he cannot look his constituents in the face and tell them things have got better under Labour. The Dagenham MP said wages were falling – driven by migrant labour – and there were shortages of low-cost housing. This picture jarred with the successes trumpeted by Tony Blair who he said was “living in a parallel world”. Mr Cruddas called for a debate on issues such as immigration and housing to stop people turning to the BNP [a party of the far right]. Mr Cruddas, a former Downing Street aide, told a fringe meeting at the party’s annual conference in Manchester that Labour faced “tough” decisions about its future policies. “I go round and talk to my constituents and I cannot look them in the face and say another year of outstanding, relentless achievements. “They look at you and they think you are trying to mug them off. They think ‘hold on, our real wages are in decline’…He said it was no longer enough to brand the BNP racist and ignore the real concerns of people about migration and the “race to the bottom” in wages caused by globalisation. His constituents had seen their wages undercut by migrant workers, he told the meeting, and he cited the case of a “gang of Lithuanian blokes” he discovered who were earning £15 a day working on a public contract. “Migrant workers have been tacitly used to deregulate Labour markets. “This celebration of this flexible modern labour market that we have is not a panacea for a lot of the people I represent. “It means that there is a race to the bottom of the labour market occurring,” he told the meeting.
Mr. Cruddas may be on the left, but it looks to me as if he’s getting a few things right.