'Each of Labour’s winners prevailed because they had established sufficient credibility with the country to make Tory attacks seem wild and silly. They put their credibility into the service of a narrative of national renewal that resonated with a critical mass of the electorate.The obvious omission from Andrew Rawnsley's feeble attempt to position Tony Blair's regime in the 'mainstream' of previous Labour victories is the colossal impact of the Iraq War and the politics of spin and deception from 1997 onwards that made this catastrophic war far more rather than less likely.
This omission is only odd until it is remembered that many lauding Blair in near mystical overtones as a Messiah figure back in 1997 supported the Iraq War. They did not perform competently as journalists in challenging the official pretexts given by Blair and New Labour functionaries for the war back then.
Blair won in 1997 simply because Britain's tired and dysfunctional two and a bit party Westminster model delivers 'electoral dictatorships'. Blair and Mandelson took this and seized power simply because it was their to take and the Tories seemed boring, 'out of touch' and Blair was offering a brand new product.
The 'social justice' reforms were slight and paid for simply because free market globalisation was in its heyday and before the consequences of colossal private debt fuelled consumerism had yet to help cause the consequent financial crash and economic slump that fully hit Britain by 2008, a year after Blair left power.
Labour was deeply incompetent and plunged Britain further into massive debts. The Iraq War deepened the national debt and the balance of payments simply disappeared from consciousness through the self deluding drug of spinning away the underlying dangerous economic failures as no longer relevant.
Rawnsley is right that New Labour was genuinely radical. Blair's determination to spread democracy through military force was a project of global revolution transposed into a new form of 'liberal imperialism'. The War in Iraq is well known. But the war in Afghanistan went on far longer and for reasons never made clear even today.
The huge economic losses incurred by these unrealistic adventures might yet be recouped by oil interests in Iraq and by a future Tory dominated state muscling in to help clinch contracts. But any attempt to explain the rise of Corbyn that screens out Blair and the economic and political consequences of the Iraq War is footling waffle.
The Tory government of May is firmly in a Blairite mould in positioning itself in representing the national interest, the national security that that Blair and ex-Stalinists such as John Reid helped build up and a model of politics based on inane slogans and robotic soundbites as well as the idea of protecting 'the people' from enemies within.
As Brexit proceeds and Blair's legacy mostly is further shredded, the form of state Blair created is being used to destroy him and his reputation further. His mental derangement and repositioning as leader of an Anti-Brexit faction is simply making Labour seem a danger to the national interest, as if he might come back.
The fact that many Labour Party grandees still regard Blairism without Him as a 'winner' or a way to do politics shows only that they have used him as a scapegoat for the total failure and destructive impact of the New Labour regime that they see as a 'success'. 'If only Iraq had not happened' is deluded wish thinking.
Corbyn is 'there' as the 'Not Blair' leader figure. Even without Corbyn, Labour would be in disarray over Brexit. It never wanted a referendum and the verdict was partly a rejection of Blair's immediate 2004 open door to Eastern European migrants. That and the migrant crisis of 2015 was pinned on Blair for destabilising the Middle East.
Brexit itself, in many ways, represents a total rejection of Blair and reflects the fact he is probably the most hated person in Britain. It's partly because Labour has not quite rejected Blairism that Corbyn is both being demonised and set up for failure to that it can be repositioned later this year as a neo-Blairite force.
The choreography requires that foreign policy before Iraq is presented as being a success. Hence the rebranding of Labour's 'ethical foreign policy' under Robin Cook, as if Gordon Brown's post 2007 foreign policy was any more successful. It was not. Afghanistan was simply another futile British supported war.