Saturday, 21 November 2015

Leaning to the Left

I have been heartened by the change back to our traditional roots as a much loved and missed left wing socialist political party. I was completely and utterly disenchanted by the Blair years. I had hoped that we would find another leader, with a meaningful manifesto that I could support. However, Brown and Milliband were two of the least inspiring people I could ever have imagined. I hoped that Labour would win the last election, but at no time was I ever convinced of that outcome. The subsequent meltdown of 'New Labour' at the polling booth did not give me any pleasure. I thought that I would never see a Labour government again in what remains of my lifetime. (I'm 68) Of the people in the higher echelons of the party there were a few who I thought might make a watchman leader. Just until such time as someone more charismatic and politically personable came along. 

Jeremy Corbyn was someone I was only slightly aware of. But for me, he was not on my radar as a potential future leader. But, when he was short-listed as a leadership candidate, I took much more interest in him and I liked the cut of his jib. I admit I was surprised when I became completely won over by his rhetoric and his beliefs. Which were broadly in alignment with my own. I began to feel the deep stirrings of a return to my socialist roots. I began to feel alive again, I saw a much brighter future for my family. His climb to the top was truly inspirational, not only for me, but thousands more just like me. That is why the labour party is where it is today. Presenting the face of a credible opposition. Delivered with a statesman like, no nonsense demeanour from a real leader. With a whole set of 'old' labour principals which have been given a new lease of life. Labour has a fresh look and is attractive, inspiring and inviting. The old Labour Party is back and the old 'New Labour' has been relegated to a foot note on a page in history. The tide of popularity is changing and I can see no reason why the next government will not be a Labour government. 

What we have is a once in a lifetime and precious opportunity, one that must not be squandered. We need to become once more the party of the people. We have to look to the future in the short, medium and long term. In the short term its going to be the local elections where we need to make a start. The 'in or out' referendum will be another big choice. It will motivate people at the grass roots level as much as it did in Scotland. Grass roots motivation with the exception of Scotland has always been good for labour. Taxation avoidance by business will win the next election. The mantra should be – We will all be in this together. We will also have to put our house in order. We have a rule book, the rule book applies to everyone. The rules should be applied to everyone without fear or favour. If anyone brings the party into disrepute they will have to be ejected. I foresee that a number of current Labour politicians will have to be deselected. 

The medium term for us, is the next election and I am of the feeling, that this parliament will not run its full course. The EU in out referendum could be the catalyst. So it might well come sooner than you or I might think. The referendum will take the Tory's into meltdown. The internal machinations are already taking place within their ranks. We need to encourage that deep division. The Tories are already circling the leader with their knives at the ready.  the back bench nay sayers will want a 'out of Europe' leader in place.

The long term plan should be the return to public ownership of the key services. The family silver as Harold MacMillan described it. Both Jeremy and myself will not be around forever. We should also be planning for political succession. We can't expend blood, sweat and tears to rebuild the party, only for it to be hijacked by Blairites of the future. Safeguards need to be put in place. The best safeguards are to nurture young people of the right calibre. Now those disenfranchised under the Tories, the 16 year old's will be given the opportunity to vote.

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