LondonNet News Headlines
18/07/00
Memo Misery for Blair
- Leak exposes New Labour's split personality

THE CONFUSION at the heart of the New Labour government was thrown into fresh relief today following the leak of Premier Tony Blair's private memo.

In the secret memo to key colleagues, which dates back to April, Blair says he is concerned at the perception that his government is seen as weak, specifically on asylum seekers and defence. Keen to play the bulldog spirit patriot card, Blair says his staff should "highlight the removals" of asylum seekers and that "Kosovo should have laid to rest any doubts about our strength in defence."

Apart from giving huge credence to the views of those who saw Britain's involvement in the Balkan tragedy as a cynical attempt to play to xenophobes among the home audience, the memo flies in the face of yesterday's speech by Home Secretary Jack Straw. "We have had all the global baggage of empire and a lot of jingoism here," said Straw, a process he believes has led to "racist and xenophobic white males" turning to football hooliganism.

That racist white males might also take their cue from his leader's glorification of last year's Balkan bombings as well as his own brutal anti-immigrant measures appears to have escaped Straw. In reality, New Labour cannot have it both ways. Blair needs to decide if his much vaunted "project" is merely to ape every right wing sentiment pushed by the increasingly extreme Tory opposition, or to battle for the kind of liberal/social democratic values contained in Straw's 'empire' speech.



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