Hat tip to Mark Reckons and the need for Labour to do some `listening and learning`.
Is this really enough?
I think the main problem in politics in the past 13 years has been too much listening and learning and not enough honesty with the British electorate.
One can `listen and learn` as long as you like – there will always be conflicting views. If you’re a Councillor it can be `I want xxx to happen at yyy planning application` while someone down the street says they want something completely different.
Politics is at times the fraught work of decision-making and squaring up to those who want something else saying `this is what I think and here are the reasons why`.
I’m constantly astonished at the inability of Labour to come to terms with the current economic climate – the climate Labour created. It’s rather like a delinquent youngster who had trashed the house and now standing back in immaturity thinking `yeh but no but if I`d got more cash I could have got in a cleaner innit`.
And that is where the Lib Dems find ourselves – facing a delinquent with no grounds in economic understanding except to swaddle people in neo-keynsian comfort blanket without the policies on tax etc to back it up. They seem to keep on saying `yes you can have it all`.
In the meantime both the Lib Dems and Labour have come to a crossroads.
The huge elephant in the room is the deficit. This is not just a challenge for us but for the British people. With the truth revealed it is clear that a party that cannot persuade people that they can tackle the deficit (even if they think they can in their own little bubble) cannot command lasting support with the British electorate.
The immediate crossroads for Labour is: do they try to `out-Liberal the Liberals` or do they go to the left. The former makes them seem `liberal lite` while the latter could see them in an intellectual cul-de-sac UNLESS they espouse higher taxes for low and middle earners, tough personal lending regulations and an all-embracing state. There is no middle way for Labour’s immediate future.
Our challenge is to tell people as it is with three TINAs (there is no alternative maxims):
1. You can’t invest in the future (let alone protect those that can’t) without tackling the deficit
2. You can’t reform our economy without reforming our political system
3. Labour have TWICE bankrupted the country and TWICE others have had to clear up their mess
Nothing else is more important at the moment than the deficit – without ridding ourselves of it there are no choices open to anyone as without sound finances you have no choices. Once we’ve reached the light at the end of the tunnel then we can choose.
Yes, we can listen and we can always learn – taking the public along with us is extremely important. In the end though we have to do things that are very unpopular and EXPLAIN, DECIDE and ACT.