A lot of Labour MPs were critical of Margaret Hodge for warning of the potential of the BNP last week. She was accused of 'talking them up' on one hand, or of trying to frighten people into voting Labour on the other. Well, over the weekend John Reid has been playing the same game. Anyone talking, or even thinking to themselves, about Tony Blair bearing responsibility for last week's election defeats, are just "wanting to shift back to old Labour", says Reid. The message he is trying to convey is clear: if you want the government to stop attacking public sector pensions, stop the privatisation agenda, stop the endless inspection regimes in the NHS and local government, stop wasting billions on ID cards, halt the lapdog approach to the US Government, and end the sleazy honours system... you are just pining for 'Old Labour'. You really want to return to the days when rubbished piled up in our streets, a handful of trade union barons stopped the dead being buried and we scrapped nuclear weapons and allowed Russian brutes to rape our women and pillage the countryside.
Of course, this is total nonsense. What you might want is what people thought they voted for in 1997. More investment in our public services, an end to sleazy politicians, a better deal for pensioners, an ethical foreign policy, an end to mass unemployment, and social and economic policies based on equity and fairness.
What Doctor Reid needs to realise is that William Hague, IDS and Michael Howard all played the bogey man card... and it didn't work for them and it won't work for him.