As you were once so fond of saying, I get it. Jeremy Corbyn isn't the man for you. You believe his route isn't the path to power, and that a government with the kinds of policies he favours would be a "dangerous experiment". There are two points worth making here. First, a bit of humility would be in order. Your tenure saw you undertake a reckless experiment with the Middle East. Despite repeated warnings at the time, you ploughed ahead with your friend George W Bush - who at least has the good grace to keep his mouth shut - and helped set in train a series of events that led to the formation of Islamic State. Even without that unhappy consequence, an Iraq riven with sectarian tensions and regular suicide bombings is your legacy, and you deserve to be dogged by it until the end of your days. Whatever may happen should Jeremy Corbyn make it to Number 10, he is most unlikely to leave it with the deaths of at least 250,000 people searing his conscience.
The second point is a matter of the burden of proof. How would a Jez-led Labour government be "dangerous"? It's not enough to boldly advance a position, you need to back it with solid argument. Where is the danger when all wings of the party are pretty united on matters of economic policy. The leadership believe the state should take an activist role vis a vis the economy, a position shared by even Peter Mandelson. On public services and social security, the leadership is committed to no more cuts - a policy that has (in words at least) been adopted by the Tories. It wants to see more houses built, a life-long education service introduced, the removal of the market from the NHS and its integration with adult social care, a devolution of powers to local authorities, an increased minimum wage. I've looked among these pretty mainstream Labourist aspirations, and can't see where danger threatens. Are we instead talking about foreign policy and military spending? On the European Union Jeremy has swallowed his well-known scepticism and has made a strong case for staying in. Is that going to change in a government led by him? Absolutely not. How about withdrawing from NATO? Again, most unlikely. And Trident? As a member of NATO Britain would remain under the US nuclear umbrella, a point Nicola Sturgeon hammered home for Scotland time and again whenever it raised its head in the independence referendum. And is scrapping Trident necessarily that insane considering the military brass themselves are divided on the merits of its renewal?
Come on Tony, you might as well say it. By setting your face against this policy agenda, you're setting your face against a mild social democratic programme. That doesn't affect you, of course. There's nothing you can say and do to win those over appalled at your behaviour during the Iraq crisis, and your downright disgusting activities spinning for Nursultan Nazarbayev, the dictator of Kazakhstan, since leaving office. Yet you are oblivious to the whirlwind your remaining friends in the party reap every time you open your trap. Your chums in Progress are too polite (and star struck) to tell you to can it, but every time you say something you make their project that little bit more difficult.
Perhaps your arguments would be better received if they articulated something, but they do not. For instance, you say that the centre ground needs to get its mojo back. What does this vapid nonsense even mean? The "centre ground" isn't some independent political force. You always previously understood it as a zone where the policy and value preferences of the majority of nice middle Englanders in nice middle class swing seats were located, and your strength lay in your appeal to those yearnings and prejudices. Secondly, the centre ground just doesn't exist. Even if we define it in terms of where the majority of views are clustered on a given set of issues, what is left is an almighty mess. For instance, according to Jon Cruddas's latest iteration of his working class conservatism hobby horse, most people believe the economy is skewed towards the interests of a powerful elite. Yet the same research (which isn't without its problems) also says austerity was "popular" and the reason we didn't win the election. Where's the centre ground here? The blessed Ed tried, oh he tried. On every issue, our policies had a go occupying the centre ground by pitching in terrain equidistant from an old school Labour position and that of the Tories. This was a recipe for incoherence when clarity was needed. And for following your playbook, you weirdly castigated Labour for being "too left-wing". There is also the small matter of politics shifting and new realities coming into play. When the situation is one where the main parties of the centre left and centre right are eroding as their natural constituencies are dispersing, the view that the beloved triangulation of old, which depended on taking core votes for granted is a go-er is a recipe, frankly, of accelerating that process.
It's no secret that I've never rated you as a strategic thinker, a figure of substance, or even a politician who can do the professional politician things. Winning three elections against hapless opponents isn't genius; it's good fortune. You had an opportunity after the premature passing of John Smith, and you took it. Yet you remain a creature of that moment. Now, politics is a lot less certain than it was when you ruled the roost, every time you pronounce on this or criticise that you show yourself up as a man out of your time. I know you can't help yourself, but those old times are never coming back. Even if the Labour centre or the Labour right win back the leadership, the times they have a-changed and it's up to the party to deal with things as they are now, not how you perceived them to be 19 years ago.