'Labour's Third Way Is a Ridiculous, Fatuous Claim That a Mild Form of Christian Democracy Represents a New Politics'; -- So Says the Manchosen by Blair Towrite Labour's Next General Election Manifesto

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 7, 2003 | Go to article overview

'Labour's Third Way Is a Ridiculous, Fatuous Claim That a Mild Form of Christian Democracy Represents a New Politics'; -- So Says the Manchosen by Blair Towrite Labour's Next General Election Manifesto


Byline: JASON LEWIS

THE man chosen by Tony Blair to write Labour's next Election manifesto has attacked the Prime Minister's 'fatuous' attempt to link Christianity with politics.

Matthew Taylor, 43, who was given a top job in Blair's Downing Street reshuffle, poured scorn on Mr Blair's muchvaunted 'Third Way' approach to politics.

Taylor's task, as architect of Blair's manifesto, is to interpret the Prime Minister's thinking and produce vote-winning policies. But suspicions that he and Blair may not see eye-to-eye on basic principles are reinforced by Taylor's withering denunciation of Blair's attempt to combine moderate policies from Left and Right.

Taylor is reported as describing the Third Way as a 'ridiculous, fatuous claim that a mild form of Christian democracy represents a new politics'.

Realising his remarks may not go down too well with the New Labour hierarchy, he added in an interview with the Guardian newspaper: 'I've f***** my peerage.' Taylor's putdown of Blair's Third Way came in a moment of pique after his contribution to a magazine article about New Labour - to appear under Blair's name - was rejected by Downing Street as too radical.

But the remarks provide an insight into the style of a flamboyant figure who - in the Prime Minister's efforts to reinvent the discredited Downing Street machine - has been promoted to the forefront of Government policy making.

Taylor has emerged after a lifetime at the very heart of Labour politics, during which he witnessed his father's unhappiness after the break-up of an affair with Mo Mowlam.

Laurie Taylor, 68, the three-timesmarried sociology professor and radio broadcaster, fell in love with Mowlam, then an up-and-coming Labour backbencher who would go on to join the Blair Cabinet.

Matthew was in his 20s when the relationship began and witnessed the devastating effects on his father when it ended.

The nature of relationships within Labour at the time came home to the younger man when he found himself working alongside senior Labour official John Upton at the party's Millbank headquarters. It was to Upton that Mowlam gave her affections immediately after leaving Laurie Taylor.

Matthew's appointment to the most senior ranks of Blair advisers may signal that the Prime Minister is ready to take more notice of those on the soft Left of his party.

But it also casts doubt on claims that Labour has given up its notorious addiction to news management.

Taylor ran the 'rapid rebuttal unit' which was at the centre of Labour's spin machine in the run-up to the 1997 General Election.

Not that he has attempted to disguise his own colourful personal background, which reads like a case history of dysfunctional family life in New Labour's Britain. …

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