Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read posts from today, on Blair, Pakistan and illegal drugs.

1. Has the Telegraph been got at during the morning?

Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting has screen grabs showing an interesting change of wording in the Telegraph's Blair coverage.

2. Don't talk to Frank

At Left Outside, otimtom blogs on the collision of politics with recreational drug use.

3. Blair, Wakefield, climate change -- beware of scapegoats

There's masses of zeal in the air this week. Michael White says he doesn't like witch-hunts, not even of people he mistrusts, because our minds are best kept open against the pressures of conformity.

4. Pakistan massacres sabotage Baloch peace deal

Peter Tatchell writes a guest blog on Pickled Politics about the scant chances for peace between Islamabad and Balochistan, following massacres of peaceful protesters by security forces.

5. Vintage Blair

Another excellent Chilcot inquiry blog from Paul Waugh, this time analysing Tony Blair's performance today.

 

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Sadiq Khan gives Jeremy Corbyn's supporters a lesson on power

The London mayor doused the Labour conference with cold electoral truths. 

There was just one message that Sadiq Khan wanted Labour to take from his conference speech: we need to be “in power”. The party’s most senior elected politician hammered this theme as relentlessly as his “son of a bus driver” line. His obsessive emphasis on “power” (used 38 times) showed how far he fears his party is from office and how misguided he believes Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are.

Khan arrived on stage to a presidential-style video lauding his mayoral victory (a privilege normally reserved for the leader). But rather than delivering a self-congratulatory speech, he doused the conference with cold electoral truths. With the biggest personal mandate of any British politician in history, he was uniquely placed to do so.

“Labour is not in power in the place that we can have the biggest impact on our country: in parliament,” he lamented. It was a stern rebuke to those who regard the street, rather than the ballot box, as the principal vehicle of change.

Corbyn was mentioned just once, as Khan, who endorsed Owen Smith, acknowledged that “the leadership of our party has now been decided” (“I congratulate Jeremy on his clear victory”). But he was a ghostly presence for the rest of the speech, with Khan declaring “Labour out of power will never ever be good enough”. Though Corbyn joined the standing ovation at the end, he sat motionless during several of the applause lines.

If Khan’s “power” message was the stick, his policy programme was the carrot. Only in office, he said, could Labour tackle the housing crisis, air pollution, gender inequality and hate crime. He spoke hopefully of "winning the mayoral elections next year in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham", providing further models of campaigning success. 

Khan peroration was his most daring passage: “It’s time to put Labour back in power. It's time for a Labour government. A Labour Prime Minister in Downing Street. A Labour Cabinet. Labour values put into action.” The mayor has already stated that he does not believe Corbyn can fulfil this duty. The question left hanging was whether it would fall to Khan himself to answer the call. If, as he fears, Labour drifts ever further from power, his lustre will only grow.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.