I have read and re-read many articles on the predicament of our Party over the past few days. This is one of my favourites. We all know D’ancona’s politics – however, his wry impartiality shines through.
We’re lucky that Labour are in such a mess otherwise there’d be a lot more focus on Nick’s leadership.
However, we are where we are. As Matthew D’ancona rightly points out – we have had to change from being a protest movement with a Parliamentary annex (and I would argue an excellent local council annex) to a Party of National Government.
It’s as if the Party is going through those growing pains from being a stroppy teenager to doing their first job. That first job is always exciting and daunting. Imagine if it is in a newly formed company that is a `temporary joining up`with another. There are new people to meet and argue with as you all do your best learning the ropes. You may be brimming with ideas yet idealism has to be matched with pragmatism.
At a board meeting you say `Wouldn’t it be great you say if all the employees are given money to do any training they want – English Language, Sciences, basket weaving`. `Hang on a minute` the others say `we don’t quite have the money for all that – we are LOSING 4 pounds for every 3 we spend`. `However, come back with a plan so that everyone of us can do those courses and pay back when they rise through the company and you might be on to a winner`. `Who knows – we might be able to throw in the courses that will really help our company – Maths, Physics that sort of thing`. `Speak to your mate Danny, he’s our chief finance officer`.
The tuition fees issue is the parable, the third rail if you like, where we can demonstrate we’re not just a party of `nice people with uncosted ideals`. In our efforts to shore up our vote in target constituencies we naively, foolishly even got ensnared by union interests – the National Union of Students.
We’re so nice and so dizzied by our new responsibilities we’ve allowed the media to distort the whole tuition fees issue and knock `three bits of shite out of us`. IT’S GOT TO STOP.
It’s time to take the gloves off – and thankfully Nick has made up his mind to do just that.
We’ve now got to show proper leadership. Yes I know a pledge is a pledge – and at the time to some of us (not me) it all seemed so good. Discriminated against so crudely by the electoral system we created core votes as part of our targeting strategy. We talked more to Sally the student and her parents Tamsin and Tarquin than to Frank the fork lift truck driver and Susan the secretary.
IT’S GOT TO STOP.
With a by-election pending and a really tough year ahead of us there is only one way to act. Keep your head down, explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and defiantly ask both what other peoples solutions are (I’m talking to you Ed Miliband) and how they’d be funded.
On `This Week` on Thursday, a young woman was going on about `how left wing she was and the student protests were against the cuts that are a direct attack on women and children not just students`. When asked by Andrew Neil `how are you going to pay for it?` she replied `higher taxes`. I hope she puts herself up for election on that one. When Michael Portillo said `there are those who are hard-working who don’t want to subsidise students` she said `well even white man van’s kids will go to Uni`. Jeez, she’ll have to do better than that.
She always voted Labour and Jackie Smith was just nodding like a donkey as if to say `that’s another one conned`. No wonder they don’t want AV – these people would go to Respect or the Greens.
We need to get away from those that would never vote for us who think that money grows on trees (or think they have a special tree designated for them) and to stop being ABUSED by Labour front people like Aaron Porter who is simply playing games for his own ends. I wonder when he’ll become a Labour candidate or MP? I’ll give it five years!
We need to get away from just listening to the middle classes and start talking to EVERYBODY – including Frank the fork lift truck driver and Susan the secretary. There are a load of working class voters out there who hate Labour more than a lot of the `professional classes` – they quietly go to work and pay their way living in northern terraces, council estates in the SE and semis in Scunthorpe.
We need to rebalance our efforts towards these people – not to create a core vote but as people to whom we can say `we look after your money the same way you do for yourselves.` `We will stand up for you by raising tax thresholds, give more money to your schools and will protect your health service`. These people don’t like cutbacks but they understand why they are taking place – and the vested interests that are being tackled as part of these unavoidable efforts.
So Nick, don’t look back, we know we’re going through rough times. There’s only one thing for it – do what’s right – and do it with COURAGE and PRIDE.