Axelrod won’t make a difference as long as Zombie Labour marches on

by David Talbot

The charge was made infamous by Unite’s Len McCluskey who, in typically robust style, refuted comments made by the Labour MP and former Shadow Chancellor, Alan Johnson.

That the former general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union had the audacity to attack the trade union movement in the organ that they most despise, Progress, ensured that this former comrade had joined the dead roll-call of “Blairite zombies”. Indeed, the moniker is seemingly used to tar anyone who is either proud of the work of three successive Labour governments, or who is not an instant adherent of whatever ‘One Nation’ Labour purports to be.

The imagery is powerful, as those who deploy it clearly acknowledge, and the connotations serious. It is used a weapon of instant dismissal, not on the merits of the argument being put forward but on the political relevance, or not, of the person articulating them.

For we know that happens when movements, parties or politicians continue to stagger forward, limp-like, dead behind the eyes. They become “zombies”. Unable to articulate any coherent political thought they mindlessly harp back to better days, presumably when they were at least alive, and stick cult-like to their dogma.

For the left of the party, who have monopolised this attack on the perceived wickedness of the Labour right, this interpretation allows them to, at a stroke, blame them for all the party’s woes. It is the swivel-eyed, walking-dead platoon of Blairite ultras holding Labour back, so the argument goes.

The living dead in the Labour party are, though, not the target often cited. With their clammy dead hands it is not the Blairites who have a zombie grip on the direction on the Labour party. The political lobotomies belong solely to the left of the party who, with the recklessness of those about to die, have realised they could do everything they ever dared for.

When deciding whether to sign on the dotted line, its unlikely that Labour’s newest guru, David Axelrod, had full sight of these legions on the undead left. But as he gets to work, he will soon understand their power.

In their pre-apocalyptic landscape ‘One Nation’ Labour is a well-defined, formidable political concept that has policy depth and breadth of voter appeal to sweep back all the losses suffered under the New Labour banner. The party’s policy guru, Jon Cruddas, the “sage of Dagenham”, may one day surprise us all and actually produce a policy, and the polling that systematically display underwhelming Labour leads may one day change, but those so often accused are categorically not the ones being the unthinking dead.

Offer them socialism and they will come, is the ultimate decree. McCluskey, in his tour de force hatchet job on Johnson, accused the Blairite zombies’ political clock of stopping some time in 2008. Well, if that were true, then theirs stopped quite some time before. They write thinly-argued articles embracing our march to victory, or espouse their traditional call of ignoring “New Labour sirens”.

Labour risks, zombie-like, of marching aimlessly towards the next general election. Miliband will have to take on these zombies for they represent a far greater threat to the prospect of a majority Labour government then any former devotee of a Labour leader who will have left office 8 years ago by the time of the next general election.

The tale of Blairite zombies is but a myth, buried deep into the sub-conscious of the paranoid and romanticised left who are suspicious of any and everyone who does not sing for a new, socialist-controlled, Jerusalem.

The question will be whether Miliband identifies the right foe and, displaying the will to live, renders the right political corpse motionless.

David Talbot is a political consultant

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11 Responses to “Axelrod won’t make a difference as long as Zombie Labour marches on”

  1. Trevor Wood says:

    Miliband can hire as many PR men as he likes but I still won’t be voting for him. I cannot support a Labour Party that believes in a “tough” Welfare system, and one that thinks compassion is a bad thing. Wake up Ed, you’re supposed to oppose the Tories, not emulate them! Old Socialists like me are leaving in droves and will be voting Green.

  2. Robert says:

    Sadly of course the public will decide who will run the country at the next election the Gormless looking Cameron or the gormless looking Miliband.

    We do hear of course people say politics and voters have a short memory but not that short, we all know the banking and financial crises occurred on a labour watch and the Progress group are the ones who run the country well no not the country but the labour party .

    Hell we all know at this moment in time the labour party needs money to run the next election and people who pay the piper tend to want something for their millions who can blame them.

  3. swatantra says:

    Alexrod won’t make much difference, What will is a £1m more leaflets.

  4. Tafia says:

    What will is a £1m more leaflets.

    Does anyone other than political anoraks actually read leaflets?

  5. swatantra says:

    Nothing beats in your face leaflets. They elicit a poitive response like ‘interesting’, or a negative response like ‘rubbish’! But you get do get a response. But they have a limited life of less than 3 mins; after that they’re useful table mats or wiping mess off the floor. Not all doorsteps can be visited. And it does show that some poor activist has been out in all weathers delivering the stuff.

  6. Frederick James says:

    Good grief. What is the author trying to convey in this wildly-overwritten, typo-strewn, content-light piece? Asking the reader to plough through this drivel does the site no favours. Get a decent subeditor fgs!

  7. steve says:

    “Alexrod won’t make much difference”

    We’ll have to wait and see if he is able to improve Labour’s prospects.

    But he’s sure to make a difference to Labour’s own legion of undistinguished consultants. From henceforth they’ll be able to boast how they’ve worked alongside David Axelrod on a major political campaign. That’ll look good on their CVs.

  8. John reid says:

    Trevor sorry to hear you’re leaving,but when Welfare was set up, in the early part of the last century, no one ever felt that welfare should be an alternative to those who could work, because they were well, and there were jobs for them,unemployment of the 50’s was low and those who didn’t want to work, but could were frowned on, with unemployment benefits and claims for those without jobs having their rent or hp mortgages paid, were so high, signing on for sim at that time became a life style choice, I appreciate there’s been more unemployed and ,getting people on disability benefits was used to get the unemployment figures down later, also medical break through , means there’s more people living and there are a lot of those on welfare now, but just opposing the cuts doesn’t make one a Tory,

  9. Danny says:

    “The question will be whether Miliband identifies the right foe”

    Your unintended double entendre was the most intelligence part of a particularly poor article, even by Uncut’s desperately low standards.

  10. Trtevor Wood says:

    @ John Reid

    You don’t seem to realise what is really going on. The Tories are determined to dismantle our State. They have abandoned people to starve. They are waging a brutal Class War against the poor. The State has an obligation to ensure people have meaningful and gainful employment, in the absence of which the State MUST provide adequate Benefits. We are all the subjects of mass social engineering dating back over several centuries, and the State owes us a living. A couple of days ago Osborne reintroduced Slavery, but not a dickie-bird from Labour. Billions of ££s of public money is being diverted into the coffers of large multi-nationals like the appalling G4S, how does that help the poor? Reason Labour are so quiet about Welfare Reforms is they’ll be bringing in something very similar themselves, except you might get a free sandwich. It was Labour who introduced the terrible practice of ‘sanctioning’ peoples’ Benefits in the first place, which is unforgivable. People at my level of society have no faith in Labour.

  11. Trevor Wood says:

    Why hasn’t Miliband said anything about the valid points raised in the blog below:

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