If I were Labour I’d…… a few thoughts.
I’m not a Labour Party supporter or member of any other party. I’m a bit of a wanderer round the left field of politics. So I am rightly open to criticism and “what business is it of yours” comments on what I am about to write. I would say that I have voted in every election since 1974 though on many occasions I have spoiled my ballot paper.
In 2010 I voted Libdem with the idea that they would go into coalition with Labour and moderate their attacks on ciil liberties and counter Labour’s centralising tendency. How wrong can you be. Suffice it to say, I will never vote Libdem ever again- siding with the tories, accepting tuition fees and abandoning AV by carrying out a half hearted campaign in the referendum will never be forgotten.
In 2015 I reluctantly voted Green; I thought their manifesto was closest to what I wanted. My reluctance came from their total lack of campaigning in my constituency. I got into a bit of a wrangle over this- I accept that the Greens don’t have the same resources and I respect the vote for what you believe in not tactically policy they had. But given those lack of resources, and given the electoral system we have, why did the Greens spread themselves so widely? Here in Derby they would have been better off targeting Derby South- with a safe Labour majority- than Derby North where their vote contributed at least to the loss of a decent, left, animal protection league Labout MP. In the safe Labour seat of Derby South they could have campaigned rigourously to get the turn out increased and built a platform for 2020 when the incumbent Labour will (hopefully) retire. We heard no word from the Green Party here
So back to the Labour party. Frankly I was surprised to hear that their downfall was put down to a “lurch to the left.” I didn’t see a lurch to be honest. As far as I can see they stuck to the media/Tory narrative of needing to bring down the deficit. Their rent control and minimum wage policies were half-hearted, there was no push to the popular idea of renationalising the railways and worst of all they accepted the benefit cap. Their opposition to the bedroom tax was welcome though a bit slow off the groun.In my view they are Tory-lite. The wrangle within the Labour Party appears now to be between those who want to go leftwards and those who want to appeal to the aspirational folk out there ( they seem to mean a lurch to the right,) And then there is Scotland… That’s the background..
If I were Labour I would
- ditch the whole left/right thing. Even when you are Tory-lite you are accused by the media right and the Blairites in your own party of lacking “aspiration.”
- re-position the party on centralist v local power. However much the Tories bleat on about choice they are only keen on devolving power to their mates in the private sector. The Tory proposal to piecemeal offer more powers to mayors of 1 or 2 cities needs to be exposed as the sham it is.
- promote the English regions to have equal power to Scotland. In Scotland you could present a federalist alternative to independence. Scottish belief in devo max would be far more likely if they saw the same in English regions.
- By supporting regionalism you could attract the support of small businesses. Small and medium businesses would have more direct access to money to develop their regional strengths and build local employement.
- Promote the EU. We are an equal partner and have our say. We are not underdogs having policy dictated to us. Promote greater powers for the parliament rather than the power of unelected representatives of national governments. Promote links between regions and talk up money being given to deprived regions of UK. Yes we have them, and why?
What I wouldn’t do is wait until at least September until a new leader is chosen before getting stuck into this government….