Blears seeks reality check at Labour conference

Hazel Blears called for a “bit of a reality” at the Labour party conference today as she sought to explain the compatibility of “economic efficiency” and “social justice”.

The communities secretary was speaking at a Fabian Society fringe event in Manchester as the Labour party conference got underway.

She sought to explain how immigration issues are tied up with Britain’s economic development and the necessary link between a strong economy and the “progressive things we want to do”.

Ms Blears made a string of concessions about the government’s performance during the meeting. She admitted the 14-19 agenda “should have been opened up sooner”, added “we’ve probably not done enough on citizenship education” and made concessions on the government’s connection with voters at local government level.

“What they feel now is: ‘These are my priorities, the system doesn’t respond to me at all so I might as well not bother.’ Unless we can combat that we’re not going to have the kind of democracy I want to live in and. they’re not going to vote for us either.”

She added: “”The people in this country are bright, they’re rational, they understand. Let’s never forget the old ways didn’t work for the working class people of this country.”

Ms Blears quickly brushed over a negative comment about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, continuing the government’s poor record of keeping its political sympathies with the Democrats under wraps.

It follows a remark by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman on Thursday that the Labour party is the “sister party” of the Democrats and that their “progressive views are the ones we are most aligned with.”

Today Ms Blears said of Ms Palin: “Her politics is horrendous.”