Francis Beckett

The myth that Tony Blair "made Labour electable again" is getting another outing in the wake of the great man's memoirs.  Yesterday I participated in a small and secret gathering of five people (I'm not allowed to tell you who they are, but they are all well known names and have good political contacts) to choose the Daily Telegraph's 100 most influential people on the left.


There, someone who is in a position to know better said of Neil Kinnock: "Who'd listen to a man who lost two elections?" I wish I could name names, but there's a vow of silence.

The right wing Jewish commentator and broadcaster Charlie Wolf (who has rather more excuse for not understanding) said on a television programme where we appeared together, Sunday Morning Live, that Blair had single-handedly made Labour electable. I see he's said it again in his Jewish News column.

Anyone who was there knows that the task of making Labour electable was done by Neil Kinnock and John Smith.  Blair was just the beneficiary. Kinnock and Smith did all the heavy lifting. Had Smith not died suddenly in 1994, he and not Blair would have become Prime Minister in 1997

And it is a sympton of the Blairties' mean-mindedness that they will not acknoweledge this.  They had all the benefits of the work done by Kinnock and Smith; surely the least they could do is admit the debt they owe.