Monday, June 19, 2006

Labour and general elections..

(BBC Online)
Enough frivolity (for now ;), suffice to say I was going to do a similar posting to Jo's yesterday. But she put the argument so well I will simply give you a link to it here, and I totally agree with her).
Brought The Guardian late this morning and saw the headline "Brown aide: we will lose next election"
Aside from the fact that this is taken out of context, the fact remains that Labour are in a difficult position (that's obvious!). But that is amazing when you consider our current economic climate, our commitment to the enviroment and International Development, and our majority in Parliament from last years' general election.
But that election last year was a warning shot across the bows. Yes we have a majority of over sixty. Yes the Conservatives have less Parliamentary seats than Labour did in the aftermath of the 1983 general election, and yes the Liberal Democrats (whilst they gained a good no of seats) failed to make much headway in terms of reaching their targets.
Then there is the popularity (admittedly lacking in policy substance, but there nonetheless) of David Cameron, and the deep sense of anger with Labour over Blair's leadership. Iraq, perceived sleaze, lack of moral judgement from the odd individual or two within the Party! There is also the plain and simple fact that Labour is now in it's ninth consecutive year of govt after winning three general elections (something that has never happened to the Party before).
On Saturday, at Jon's Party, some of us were not just being frivolous and singing songs by Queen and The Rolling Stones, one or two of us were earnestly discussing in the corner of Jon's kitchen, what happens next! Not just in terms of winning elections, but the current political culture and climate and how much needs to be changed!
My own view, is that, being in unchartered waters (not just for Labour, but also for everyone else), it is easy to get fed up, irritated, rebellious, and to lose one's nerve.
We must not and cannot do that. Cameron is not indestructible, he just happens to be slick at PR and is aware of a simple facet of truth, that political parties need to reform every so often in order to survive.
Labour need to reform too! We are no longer in the 1990's, times have moved on, and we hold the agenda, shown by the simple fact that David Cameron seems to be aping some of our ideas and style.
We must be bold, be confident, not cling to the masthead of the past, but at the same time, not panic and return to the tendency to lurch towards the hard left. Within four years, there will be a new Prime Minister, and that will likely be Gordon Brown. He has an exemplary record as Chancellor, and if recent comments he has made are anything to go by, realises that the Labour Party needs to have a Vatican II moment, in that, we do not deviate from the core truths that have propelled us, but that we need to be more accesible and open to ideas as a Party.
We are, of course, already rich in ideas and substance, and consistently consult with others outside the Party: The public services, the general public, registered charities, businesses and the like. But recently we have become sidetracked by squabbles, petty backstabbing, lack of foresight and common sense from a few individuals, shortsightedness and downright selfishness, panic, and headlines, not always from pundits who have our Party's welfare at heart. Plus in the background, there are a few ragged survivors of Labour's wilderness years; the pirates of the hard left, anxious for their day to return with a vengance.
For those who are Labour, for those who want to vote Labour again, hang on! The Party WILL reform (it is in our nature), we will embolden and move forward, not jettosing our fantastic achivements that have made Britain great over the past few years, and yet at the same time, reconnecting with the British people in the way we did at the start of our premiership, otherwise we will have the nightmare of Cameron in Downing Street, smashing our tax credit system and slashing public services.
Labour's internal reforms need paitence, perseverance, imagination, and due care. We are ready and waiting and take heart, it is coming soon! Provided that people do not lose their nerve.

12 comments:

Shaun (ed.) said...

Hold your breath...I want Labour to be givin' a good kicking by the electorate, but to still form a minority government. Why? So that the nuLab project can be tested to destruction. It was clear for many that Blair and his lightweight ministers would prove to be incompetent from the word go, but the public is only starting to wake up to it now... they need another term of Labour mismanagement, institutional abuse, constitutional unfairness, export of our sovereignty, overtaxation and corruption to realise that they have been conned by the 'niceness on the outside' image. The only so-called success Labourites can point to is Brown's macro-economic management, but even Labour MPs like Gisela Stuart says that the current economic stability was based on the hard but necessary Thatcherite reforms and that Brown is squandering the Tory economic inheritance.

A Con-Lib alliance or Tory minority government is of no use after the next elction. We need a resounding mandate after another Labour term to fix Labour's wrecking and return many Tory governments as the population did in the 1980's when they realised that only the Tories can implement the necessary reforms after the mess the Socialist consensus caused. As much as I like to see Labour out of office now, the British population needs more Labour bungling, so that they can say: "never again will we be conned by the hypocrites who appeared to against sleaze, but proved to be more sleazy"

Paul Burgin said...

I am sure, given that we live in a democracy, that one day we will be given a kicking by the electorate and that indeed will be a bleak day for Britain.
But in the meantime, what can and will happen, is that Labour will reform within government and that will make things more hard for the Conservatives at the next general election. Put simply, people say that Gordon Brown has only inherited the Conservatives financial success. Well if so, he has done a better job in preserving it over the past decade than any Conservative Chancellor managed! He also recognises that reform will be needed and will help Labour adapt to the times. And if, if things improve, and improve well, it won't be a hung Parliament at the next general election, but a comfortable majority for Labour

Man in a shed said...

"not jettisoning our fantastic achievements that have made Britain great over the past few years" -
how do you connect to the Earth's Internet from whichever planet you are on ?

You richly deserve to lose the next election as the current government has failed the British people by concentrating on spin, the trappings of government and rewards for its hangers on, image and deceit. Instead of doing the hard graft of government.

No amount of make overs or relaunches (aka reform in current speak) will improve a bankrupt and discredited government.

The so called achievements of this government are mostly due to the initial continuation of Tory policies, and a good global climate.

Look at the disgraceful destruction of private pensions. The immoral waste of poring money into unreformed public services. The final realisation that Tory health service reforms were correct and after 9 years finally trying to implement them. ( The same goes for education. ) The destabilisation of the United Kingdom by half baked devolution. (Same for the Lords. ) The ending of affective Cabinet government. Sending men and women to war with inadequate equipment and for a lie - whilst reducing the defence budget by 25%. Giving away extra billions of pounds to the EU every year - so that Tony Blair could play at being a good European. Loans for peerages anyone ? What really happened to David Kelly ?

How can any Labour party member sleep at night knowing they have supported such an absolute shower of a government ? ( The answer is many can't which is why your membership is dropping so fast. )

Paul Burgin said...

Well it's amazing man in a shed, that if we have followed on from Tory achievments, that we kept things like the economy running smoothly for nine years, compared to the boom and bust cycle of eighteen years of Conservative rule.
I am more than happy to support a govt that has brought low unemployment, a national minimum wage (which the Conservatives opposed), low inflation, 19,300 more doctors in the NHS,brought in the pension credit scheme, and more community support officers. I have seen my own day-to-day life improve under Labour and I have seen it in others to.

Man in a shed said...

I've yet to meet a socialist who changed his opinion based on inconvenient facts. But I have hope.

Of course, perhaps if you did you would no longer be a socialist...as "the facts of life do invariably turn out to be Tory".

Keep believing in Hazel Blears 40 wonderous achievements if you want to.

Shaun (ed.) said...

any Labour party member sleep at night knowing they have supported such an absolute shower of a government

Paul must sleep quite comfortably knowing that he supports the 'nice and let's tell people what they want to hear' party instead of the 'we tell it as we see it and we do what is neccesary for Britain's future' party. In my early teenage years I used to be like Paul in that I let my religion and emotional need to show compassion influence my politics.

Well it's amazing man in a shed, that if we have followed on from Tory achievments, that we kept things like the economy running smoothly for nine years, compared to the boom and bust cycle of eighteen years of Conservative rule.

There you go again - ignoring the total mess Britain was in, in the 1970s. Only the Tories could have and chose to do what is necessary to salvage our economy - risking our electoral popularity and polarisation for the sake of the country. 'Boom and bust' would have been worse had Labour governed in the 1980s and the Winter of Discontent would have become a discontentful decade. NuLabourites such as Blair recognise Thatcherite achievements, yet Labour continues to try and discredit the Thatchire era in order to whip up the Labour activist base. Besides, Labour supported our inclusion in the ERM - the cause for the 1992 crisis - yet the Tories learnt their mistake and withdrew from the ERM ASAP.

Paul Burgin said...

Man in a shed, I could say the same about Thatcherites when they struggle through a recession, but then of course "If it's not hurting it's not working!", besides manic, what is wrong in letting one's emotion and compassion influence one's politics. To do otherwise would constitute some kind of civic schzophrenia.
In any case, I am not denying that the Conservatives were wholly bad during their eighteen years in office, any more than you would dare say about Labour's record ;), suffice to say that when economic recovery happened, the Tories went for quick fixes that caused major damge that lasted for a no of years afterwards.

Shaun (ed.) said...

besides manic, what is wrong in letting one's emotion and compassion influence one's politics

Because emotional/compassionate political views lead to one having "we should do something about it and do it now" short-termism and short-sightedness. Politics should be about rational, practical and realist public policy that benefits in the long term.
Let me use an anology. As I'm currently studying in 'third world' South Africa there are on average more than five beggars who knock at my door everyday. I refuse to do the compassionate thing and give them any money, for this would only sustain their begging lifestyle and increase the culture of depenency (besides they mostly use the money for drink anyway and when I offer food most of them aren't interested). But when someone who I see is poor comes and sells stuff that I don't need I make an effort to buy, because I believe in rewarding enterprise.

I used to be a paternalistic/compassionate/one-nation
Christian Conservative, but I have since come to my senses in realising the limitations of the state to actually enfranchise people and that it is freedom that promotes economic enterprise and the trickle-down of economic growth that actually reduces poverty. It is the rationality of public policy what makes me see behind Labour's electoral attempts to persuade you emotionally.

C4' said...

I couldn't have put it better manic minarchist. Brown needs to and WILL make the same mistake of winning the next general election as Major did in 1992.

Paul Burgin said...

Keep meaning to post on this and not getting round to it!
Manic I agree that politics should be practical and pragmatic which is why I am not a member of the hard left, nor a monetarist. I tend to think human beings are so falible that there needs to be constant checks and balances to deal with potential problems.
I suspect we are looking at the same problem with similar ideas, but from different ends of a telescope, as I agreed with some of the ideas behind what you were saying. Your solutions of course, I do not.
I also disagree with short termism, but I see many Conservatives embrace it. In any case I am also aware that relying too much on charities or state handouts can be damaging for all concerned so I favour a combination of the two, checks and balances again. Plus I feel that unfettered capitalism in this sceneario can lead to economic exploitation. The poor don't always fail to get up the ladder because they are lazy (although some are) they some times fail because of other people's greed. I also agree with your analogy on the surface, but feel that the state has a responsibility to help people on their feet.
C4. Be very careful what you wish for it may come true. Taking the possibly far fetched argument that Labour win a fifth term in office (which would indeed be a miracle..), where does that leave the Conservatives...

Shaun (ed.) said...

Be very careful what you wish for it may come true. Taking the possibly far fetched argument that Labour win a fifth term in office (which would indeed be a miracle..), where does that leave the Conservatives...

You mean a fourth term, don't you. What you seem to be saying that if the Tories can't win the next election, they will really be seen as useless/unwanted.
But, if Labour manages to form a minority government after the next election(which is what I cynically hope for) it would in all likelihood be that the electoral sytem rewards Labour with the most seats, whilst the Tories would win the bigger share of the national vote. The population would recognise that Labour doesn't really have a mandate and resent them even more, so much so that at the following general election they will be so sick and tired of Labour, that the Tory party recieves a landsliding mandate that enables them to make thorough changes in undoing Labour's damage. The fact is that if Cameron forms a government after the coming general election, whether through a tiny majority, minority governance or Lib-Con coalition, he won't be able to carry through the radical reforms needed.

Paul Burgin said...

Manic I deliberatley said if Labour win a fifth (working on the assumption, for the sake of argument, that they win a fourth)just to make a point after c4 said the following:

"I couldn't have put it better manic minarchist. Brown needs to and WILL make the same mistake of winning the next general election as Major did in 1992."

In any case we don't know what the next election will bring!