Yes, Labour IS now the nasty party: It grieves him to admit it, but the former Home Secretary DAVID BLUNKETT has to agree with the PM's damning indictment of his movement
DAVID BLUNKETT: Yes, Labour is now the 'nasty party'
Theresa May's depiction of Labour as the new 'nasty party' was a skilful piece of political rebranding – and regrettably accurate.
When Jeremy was first elected last year, I warned in this paper that it would lead to an outbreak of sectarian bitterness.
It has been even worse than I feared. The leadership has looked the other way as hatred, and even anti-semitism, have poisoned the party's public discourse.
It is critical that the Labour leadership takes the kind of measures which will demonstrate to a sceptical electorate that they really mean to stamp out this bullying and intimidation. Unless Jeremy Corbyn takes unequivocal steps to reign in the activist group Momentum and, above all, to protect sitting MPs from threats to their position, then 'nasty' will be a term which will stick as firmly to Jeremy's regime as it previously did to the Conservatives.
At the end of last week, Jeremy mounted another one of his reshuffles. But I fear that it will not bring about the change which I crave.
Rosie Winterton, who had tried to broker an uneasy peace in the party, is gone as Chief Whip, to be replaced by tough Nick Brown.
Vocal: Jeremy Corbyn supporters at a Westminster rally yelling in support of their leader
His return after six years to the post – critical for enforcing the will of the leader over his opponents – is a sign that Jeremy wants to crack down on internal dissent, not Left-wing mud-slinging.
Ironically, Nick was unable to discipline the very people now running the party when their opposition was presented as 'principled', but who today proclaim any disagreement as betrayal.
And so many questions about the judgment of the Corbyn leadership are raised by his appointment of Diane Abbot as Shadow Home Secretary and Shami Chakrabarti as Shadow Attorney General.
As a former Home Secretary, I know that protecting the public at home and promoting our security abroad has to be the primary concern of any aspirant alternative government. But Diane and Shami have both been deeply critical of our intelligence and security services over the years.
While the Labour Party makes this further move to the Left, Mrs May is parking her tanks on the wide expanse of the middle ground.
DAVID BLUNKETT: As a former Home Secretary, I know that protecting the public at home and promoting our security abroad has to be the primary concern
By reminding conference delegates that she once used 'nasty' to describe her own party, she managed to defuse that toxic legacy, while simultaneously landing a blow on Jeremy.
And in the process, she laid claim to the coveted centre ground of British politics which formed the bedrock of Tony Blair's three General Election wins.
Policies such as putting workers on company boards, relaxing the grip of the energy companies and introducing a new industrial strategy all point to an attempt to put the party on course to win over what are called the working and lower middle classes who should feel most at home in Labour.
My fear is that this approach could bring her the same level of electoral success as that enjoyed by Tony – unless Labour acts now to check her advance.
They could start by vigorously attacking those policies of Mrs May's which are equally 'nasty', such as the suggestion by her Home Secretary Amber Rudd last week that we should demonise foreign workers in the UK by publishing lists of those who are not British citizens.
This is a desperately divisive and dangerous step, reminiscent of the nastiest politics of the 20th Century.
We need a strong Opposition to speak out against such policies. At the moment we just have a nasty one.
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