Off Message by Bob Marshall-Andrews

This text is an indictment of the militarist and authoritarian dimensions of the New Labour project. The rebel MP was hostile to the Third Way project because he was wary of the harsh social attitudes that were partly concealed by its bland ideological surface. His appreciation of freedom meant that he was never won over by the policies of triangulation. A moderate in his economic views, he did not become a true convert to the liberalism of the market.

For the reader, the humorous tone is arguably a relief. This prevents the details of the assault on liberty from becoming tedious. The use of droll anecdotes illuminates the dogmatic mindsets of the establishment.

Critics may contend that the author has not sketched out an alternative to the guiding philosophy of New Labour. However, the writer indicated the kind of principles which may have prevented the slow drift towards disastrous neoliberalism. Wearing his learning lightly, the backbencher quoted Oscar Wilde:

“But the best of the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious.”


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