LESSONS LEARNED

By Liam R Carr @LiamRCarr
Labour lost the Bradford West by-election no-one except maybe George Galloway and his supporters saw it coming. As a Labour supporter I am disappointed, although, like Galloway I don’t agree with everything the party has ever done, I do believe that they have socialist values that I share and I could never support any other party. Labour can put a positive spin on events in Bradford, the Tory vote collapsed and the Lib Dems did even worse. Parties on the Left of politics got around 82% of the vote. To dwell on these positives is to miss the point.People talk of a natural swing to Labour, which should occur when the Tories and Lib Dems are doing such a woeful job: The millionaires budget was old nasty party stuff that is ideologically rather than economically driven. The NHS reforms have been pushed through and will benefit shareholders in private healthcare providers but are derided by medical professionals1 and feared by the public.I could go on at great length about how bad the government are and I do, here are some recent tweets of mine that proved popular enough to be ‘re-tweeted’ by like minded people.

“A pasty is not a luxury item. Tories making normal people pay for tax cuts for those on 150K+” “This government can’t even give clear advice on petrol, Dave; “don’t panic” Maude; “stockpile” Clegg “we are influencing government”2

“Price of cheap lager will increase, price of Moet and Chandon Champagne will be unaffected. All in it together?”

“Bosses at Circle healthcare (and the Tory MPs on their payroll) will be quaffing champagne now that NHS Bill has gone through. A Disgrace”

“Rubbish that rich people will choose to pay more tax if we scrapped the 50p rate. Tax is not a choice for the rest of us”

“11 000 more young people unemployed in North East, the government correctly deny complacency. They aren’t complacent, they just don’t care”

“Heseltine says that growth funding may not go to deprived areas and that might be the kick they need: Nasty Party”

I really hate Tory policies that are in the interests of the few rather than the many and I am of the opinion that this coalition government are shambolic. There are lot of people, and not just political geeks on twitter, who also agree with me; down the pub, on the doorstep, people hate what the government are doing, but hating the government is not the same as going to a polling station and putting an X in  box for Labour or sending off a postal vote. Galloway has succeeded in getting his supporters mobilised and getting them to get others to vote. The ineptitude of the Coalition means that apathy with politics in general increases, making it more difficult to motivate people to vote.  This makes Galloway’s dramatic victory even more surprising.

There are specific local circumstances that have led to Galloway’s success in Bradford but if we dismiss this shock by-election loss as a blip then the loss will be for nothing. Lessons must be learned. It is not enough to point out the failings of the path the Tories are taking, you have to offer a new way forward. I will still comment the failings of this ‘Tory lead Lib Dem follow’ government on twitter, on the doorstep and down the pub but more than that, the Labour party must be better at being the valid alternative.

1. http://liamrcarr.blogspot.com/2011/02/medicine-with-economics.html
2. http://liamrcarr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/trap-not-springboard.html

4 thoughts on “LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Labour are just Tory-Lite. No point in voting for them, they’re the same people (and when I say same, I mean wealthy) with the same philosophy (bring on the neofeudalism).

  2. My observation about the Labour Party is that it is always appears very good in opposition (radical, committed, left-wing) and is worse than useless in government. Pretty well everything the Tories are now doing, the Labour Party would have done. Oh yes, it wouldn’t have been quite so obviously vindictive towards the poor. It wouldn’t have cut quite so quickly or so radically. It would have put on a nicer face and apologised for what it was doing, but it would have done it all anyway. The Labour Party lost its soul many years ago. The fact that the rank and file Labour Party member ever allowed Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to do the things they did – everything from those illegal wars in the guise of humanitarian intervention, light-touch regulation of the banks, the refusal to renationalise British Rail, PFI and PPP, the removal of Clause 4, and the frankly obscene cult of wealth-adoration – all of it was “allowed” on some level by the Labour Party membership. It’s not that the Labour Party are “Tory-Lite”. It’s much worse than that. It’s like one of those Changeling Babies in the old folk tales: all the more sinister because we mistake it for our own.

  3. All political parties are constantly changing, including the Labour Party. The Party will be too progressive for some and too socialist for others. I find blaming rank and file Labour members for war in Iraq a bit of a cheap shot, it’s not like, ordinary members can turn up to a war cabinet meeting. Parties should be member led organisations but the party is not consulted on every issue.

    It is also difficult to predict what Labour would have done if elected. Andy Burnham has already said the Health Bill will be repealed. The Respect victory in Bradford should not be ignored, nor should it be over played. The Labour Party are the only realistic alternative to this coalition government, but there is work to do. Many politicians take the politics degree, intern, researcher route into politics. There are not many working class heroes like Hardie and Bevan on the Labour benches; positive action could and should be taken to ensure that there are progression routes for candidates from more diverse backgrounds. Campaigns must be broader, instead of trying to get those who already vote to choose Labour, we must try to get those who feel ignored by the political classes to choose to vote.

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