one would assume that british PM tony blair’s policies and his values are reflected by his own labour party. that’s usually how it works here, where a political party usually mirrors the ideology of its leader. not this time. labour has traditionally been a party with a deep socialistic, even marxist belief system. they were at one time the only party representing the working classes and the trade unions. labour was seen as the party caring about the little guy.
labour’s popular support evaporated when their main supporters joined the ownership class. once this happened, suddenly sharing possessions for the common good became less desirable. this socialist idea was ingrained in old labour ideology, such as clause 4. it was not a popular ideology, however, and labour was forced to disguise the roots of this ideology to win elections. it obviously worked.
how did the labour party respond to the shift in public perception of them? they tried appealing to the kook fringe element of their membership. this fell flat. (are you listening, democrats?) as they say, you could look it up.
while you could probably argue that labour still has some elements of the old guard involved in government, they didn’t win until they moved to the center (or centre, if you prefer). it has been suggested that former president clinton’s successful campaign moving him to the center was the inspiration for blair’s centrist campaign for the 1997 election –that, and the american-style spin doctors employed by labour.
there’s evidence to support this claim. labour decided that to gain their support back, they had to change their stripes and appeal to the majority of british voters by shaking up the perception of labour’s ideological base. that’s what the democrats have to do– find a way to appeal to the mainstream by advancing policies that people agree with. this could be hard to do, as the natural bent of the party is to promote unpopular policies and beliefs. so the next logical step is to hire their best spin doctors, because it will take one heck of a sales job to convince the american people that they can identify with democrats on issues important to the voters.
the fight democrats will have to have is with the two warring factions in their party. one side is represented by cindy sheehan, michael moore, moveon, and kos. the other side is represented by those who prefer to be seen as more moderate in their views, hillary for example. pandering to the first group will not win them any elections, and continuing to do it will doom them in ’06.
i’ll be honest. i really don’t want the democrats to figure this out, because it’s much more fun to watch the division and sniping happening with them right now. i am concerned that the republicans don’t seem to have any sense of urgency in getting their conservative base back on their side. they must not become complacent and forget why we sent them to d.c., because that base is the only thing keeping them in office in ’06.
friday’s fun links– coming sometime late afternoon. look for ’em.
Technorati : democrats, labour party, tony blair