Most of the press attention on Tony Blair’s speech
last night has concentrated on what he said about faith, and understandably so. But to my mind, the most interesting section was when Blair talked about what he sees as the new dividing line in politics today:
“The world is interdependent today, economically, politically, even to a degree ideologically.
The divide, then, is between those who see this as positive - the opening up offering opportunity; and those who see it as threatening and wish to close it back down.
As you can see from the Presidential race in the U.S., there are new questions that cross traditional Party lines: free trade vs. protection; engagement in foreign policy or isolationism; supporting immigration or opposing it. In these, the issue is less left vs. right but open vs. closed." This is one of Blair’s favourite themes and if he is right about this, which I think he is, it could transform politics. As David Brooks has argued in the American context, this divide makes a mockery of the current party system
. Interestingly, the Miliband manifesto
in The Times
this morning shies away from addressing this question.