Blair’s missing millions


Lion & Unicorn

Tony Blair, of course, led the Labour Party to three general victories. As it happens, those are the only three general elections that Labour’s won in the last forty years. Which is all a bit embarrassing and annoying for those in the party who don’t like Blair. In response to these inconvenient truths the answer, for some of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters over the last few months, has been the claim that along the way Blair lost five million Labour votes.

The figure comes from the difference between the number voting Labour between Blair’s first triumph in 1997 and those in his final victory in 2005. And the total did indeed fall by approximately five million. But it’s still a really daft claim.

It’s daft first because it implies that 1997 is the benchmark by which later results can be measured. As though that result represented the basic level of Labour support, inherited by Blair and not in…

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