David Cunliffe is supposedly their leading intellectual light. He mourns the death of Tony Judt in a post today.
Few writers have impacted me as much as Tony Judt in his
recent book “Ill Fares the Land“.
He notes the rise of the Third Way under Blair (and by another name under Clinton, and could we add locally Clark/Cullen?) as a triangulated response against the rise of right wing political hegemony.
He argues that with the end of those administrations the ideas of the Right once again hold sway. He asks what is worth saving of the social democratic project, and what is now to be done.
He concludes that nothing short of a strong and clear reclaiming of the values of quality, community and social democracy will equip the Left for the fight it must now win.
Not having heard of Judt I followed the wiki link to read about his ideas. The crux of which seem to be:
These problems, Judt writes, could find their resolution only in increased
national intervention. States would be called upon to redistribute
wealth and preserve the decaying social fabric of the societies they
governed. This conception of the role of the state is carried over – albeit
in slightly different form - into Judt's 2005 book, Postwar: A History of Europe
UPDATE: In the comments anon noted:
Labour may have always had a real "intellectual" vacuum but really they've
always had a very strong, vicious, ideology
Tory Diary notes 10 dictums by the Revd William Boechter and popularised by Ronald Reagan that are relevant and bear repeating here:
“You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”
If redistribution is the best that the intellectual leading light of Labour can come up with then they are truly, and rightly, screwed.