20 years after Labour landslide, is Blair back to spoil May’s day?

Tony Blair

Former PM ready to ‘get his hands dirty’ … Scottish Labour looks for a way in … Tim Farron boards his battle bus…

Twenty years ago today, the Labour movement had rather a jolly May Day. This morning, it’s a tad more fractious. As the leadership continues determinedly to try to steer the campaign towards policies – today it’s tackling bad landlords, before that ousting zero-hours contracts – others argue the focus should be elsewhere. Saboteurs or democracy in action? So hard to tell these days.

First up, here’s Tony Blair, announcing, as if we’d perhaps failed to notice, that he is back. A rash of anniversary interviews (here’s the Observer one) spreads to the Mirror today, where the former PM says he’s not angling to return to Westminster. But there’s a but:

This Brexit thing has given me a direct motivation to get more involved in the politics. You need to get your hands dirty and I will…

I am going to be taking an active part in trying to shape the policy debate and that means getting out into the country and reconnecting.

Also seeking reconnection today is Scottish Labour, which in 1997 scooped 56 Westminster seats to the SNP’s six and the Conservative’s round zero. But that was then. Today Alistair Darling will man-mark the party’s sole Scottish MP, Ian Murray, as they try to elbow their way back into the game with a reminder of Labour’s record on tackling poverty.

What to expect from Theresa May on May Day – or indeed month? After “strong and stable leadership” got another un-cheered-for encore on the Sunday politics shows, there’s no sign of a vocab reboot, but an inkling of a manifesto change. VAT increases are out, but rises in national insurance and income tax could be in. As could an elderly care version of childcare vouchers, allowing so-called “sandwich generation” workers tax breaks to fund social care for their parents.


Source/More: The Guardian

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