The Blair Manifesto
Geras and Cohen presumably thought their now extensive history of fawning to the right would secure an easy ride. Sadly, Horowitz and co. felt unable to accept even the slightest measure of decency in these decentists, as long as they continued to identify themselves with the Left.
This makes Harry's Place happy because, as with the BNP, it gives them something, anything, to point to in their struggle to convince anybody that they're left-wing:
“For all that those associated with projects like HP, or supportive of the ideals of the Euston Manifesto, and so on, get accused, by some of being 'right wing' or 'having betrayed the left', etc, etc, ad infinitum, it's interesting to note the complete lack of comprehension that there can be any such thing as a 'decent left' on the part of the FrontPagers.”
Unfortunately FrontPage's fixation on Pol Pot gave Geras and Cohen an opportunity to largely evade the one question they have never properly answered about the Euston Manifesto. As Horowitz said:
“If you had Blair social democrats in mind in writing the Manifesto, you would hardly need a manifesto. You would just be Blair Laborites. And if this is the case, Blair has already provided all the manifesto you need.”
The Manifesto writers always claim to be sticking up for an underrepresented view on the nominal left, ignoring the fact that their views are held by the bulk of the parliamentary Labour party and the Prime Minister (not to mention practically everybody else in parliament, and the bulk of the media).
All we get in response is this, from Geras (Cohen says nothing):
“I'm not a Blair Labourite, to answer your direct question with a direct answer, because I'm a socialist and Tony Blair isn't.”
That is, he draws the distinction personally, wisely ignoring the Manifesto entirely – wisely, because the Manifesto isn't socialist. If Geras believes in the redistribution of wealth, or the nationalisation of industry, or anything else identifiably socialist, he certainly doesn't appear moved to mention them in his blog. But even if he did hold these beliefs, it would have no relevance to his absurd Manifesto, which says nothing meaningful on economic policy. All it contains are platitudes that could have been copied from the first draft of a Blair conference speech:
“The benefits of large-scale development through the expansion of global trade ought to be distributed as widely as possible in order to serve the social and economic interests of workers, farmers and consumers in all countries. Globalization must mean global social integration and a commitment to social justice.
Oh, and they're fans of “Make Poverty History” just like Tony and Bob Geldof.
If the distinction that Geras draws between himself and Blair is limited to the Socialist tag – and he raises nothing else – then it seems clear there is no difference at all between Blairism and the Euston Manifesto. That's probably why, despite widespread media coverage, it has been such an abject failure.