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In a message dated 12/9/02 12:13:02 AM !!!First Boot!!!, [log in to unmask] writes:

I thought it very odd to see Labour called centrist and Lib-Dem not.
Labour was traditionally the left, and Blair has very much moved it to the
center, but not everyone in Labour agrees with him.  But it does matter
what issue is being discussed.  The Euro is important, but it is not a
single defining issue.  So I am still puzzled at the way you define the
parties.


Yes, Labour was very much to the left before Tony Blair, and was losing ground and election after election.  If you remember when Tony Blair first became Prime Minister, that election was filled with the term "New Labour."  Blair didn't break from their traditional positions, but he definititely stepped back from them.  He made it clear that Labour was no longer a spokesperson for the unions; rather, Labour was now the spokesperson for all of the middle class and the best interests of Britain. He made it clear that improving their Health Service and Educational system, and the interests of the nation as a whole, was more important than union interests. These centrist and nationalistic positions gave him the title of Prime Minister and his party control of the government. As for defining issues in Britain, I never said that the Euro was the only defining issue, but it is a huge one, and no wonder.  It concerns their whole monetary system, and to many, their very identity.  Poll after poll has showed that if a referendum was held in the present day, the Euro would be voted down overwhelmingly.  The Lib-Dems are now clearly to the left of many of Blair and Labour's positions, the issue of Europe and how intimate Britain should be in their alliance being prominent among the issues.  Blair and and many in Labour are more concerned about maintaining a continuing, intimate relationship with us than with Europe.  As for everyone in Labour not agreeing with Blair, I am quite certain that is true, particularly as of late, given his standing by us in the war of words against Iraq, defying the UN to stand up and be counted, but from what I hear, he is still extremely well thought of as a leader in Britain, and unbeatable.  The Democrats, by the way, could learn something from Blair and New Labour.