Posts Tagged ‘Derek Draper’

The greatest lesson from New Labour is that winners have no time for nostalgia

16/03/2011, 07:00:02 AM

by Tom Watson

It is not true, as some uncharitable colleagues have said, that the people who run Progress are a defeated faction in need of a cause. I think, though, it’s fair to say they belong to a very different organisation to the one that Derek Draper, through sheer willpower, fused into a powerful force at the heart of the Labour party, whose influence endured for more than a decade.

I am one of the few people who has seen the confidential strategy document presented in 1995 to Tony Blair, John Prescott and funder David Sainsbury that led to the creation of the organisation.

I remember the day when Derek took the bus from South London up to Islington so that he could pitch the idea to Tony Blair. While the kids were knocking a football around, Derek sat in the future prime minister’s back garden outlining his plans for the organisation. Tony gave his approval on the express condition that Progress centred itself around the party leader and was not in any way to be seen as, or develop into, a faction. He laid down one more condition – it had to have the approval of John Prescott. (more…)

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