Labour Biding Time – Wisdom or Caution?

 Labour Biding Time – Wisdom or Caution?

If we are to believe the polls, Labour has a good chance of achieving a majority at the next election.  Labour leader, Ed Miliband assures us that New Labour is history, and his Party are painfully aware that the electorate feel betrayed by The New Labour experiment.

The electorate are angry to be saddled with an extreme right-wing government, led by a Tory Party which did not get an overall majority.

The fixed term parliament is a double edged sword. It does mean that the Tories can’t decide to send a surprise Task Force off to the Falklands to boost its popularity as it did in 1982, and then call a snap election ( is it really a coincidence that it’s in the News again?) However it also means that we have to endure five full years of an extreme government which does not expect to be re-elected and so is determined to inflict as much damage on the electorate, making it doubly difficult for an incoming government.

Timing is all, many, ill-thought-out Coalition policies have had to be shelved, and it is important that Labour have the right policies and Labour don’t want to appear rushed or hasty. But lingering also gives the impression of a hesitant and fearful Party. I am sensing Labour is beginning to look stronger and more forceful in taking on the Coalition, but clear, straight talking is needed. It’s not enough to depend on the Coaltion failing, and how to counteract the government blaming the austerity and cuts on a previous government rather than the Banks? Labour must present convincing policies about how to overcome the stranglehold of the Big Six energy companies, and tax injustice.

The promise of a job guarantee for the long term unemployed on a living wage will be welcome, will lift spirits, lead to growth and recovery.

The following Big Five Policies are just a beginning, (Fabian Society), but are a good foundation on which to build.

  • A guaranteed job for everyone facing long-term unemployment, paid from falling social security rolls and some equivalent of the 1997 windfall tax on excess profits
  • A massive house building programme including a million affordable homes, funded by future rents and sales
  • Merging social care into the NHS, with health bodies commissioning community support and care, but with richer older people paying more towards the costs
  • Increased hours of free childcare to boost  employment for mothers (and some fathers), a move that might possibly pay for itself
  • High-status vocational and workplace training from 14 to pension age, with state funding for courses that boost long-term prospects in the middle of the labour market

Labour also knows it needs to reach out to the public beyond its members, and show it is listening. The “People’s Policy Forum” is symbolic of a change in the culture of the Labour Party, and it is pleasing to hear.

LabPost Labourposters

It’s not enough to depend on the Coaltion failing, but how will Labour counteract the government blaming the austerity and cuts on the previous government rather than the Banks?

IPPR points out the need for Labour to re-establish its economic argument :

Labour has begun to paint a picture of what ‘One Nation Labour’, unveiled by Ed Miliband last autumn, might mean in terms of a strategic approach to running the economy that is different from both that of the current government and that of the Blair and Brown era. Economic growth, we are told, is to be achieved from the ‘middle out’ – that is, by putting more spending power in the hands of those in employment through such measures as the promotion of the living wage, enhancing the skills and thus the earning power of non-graduates, and tax cuts that benefit the less well paid.

Labour also knows it needs to reach out to the public beyond its members, and show it is listening. The “People’s Policy Forum” is symbolic of a change in the culture of the Labour Party, and it is pleasing to hear.

We will not treat the British people like fools – we want to hear what everyone has to say, says Angela Eagle.

New Statesman

This Saturday, Ed Miliband and Labour’s shadow cabinet will join nearly two thousand members of the public in Birmingham. The “People’s Policy Forum” is one of many opportunities for members of the public to shape Labour’s offer to the British people in 2015. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats on the other hand have spent recent weekends addressing party faithful at spring conferences. While they are concerned with resolving internal disputes, Labour is united and looking outwards, talking to the public rather than talking to itself.

With just over two years to go until the election, people want to know what One Nation Labour offers as an alternative to this unfair and incompetent government.

This is encouraging to hear. Let us all hope that Labour biding time in formulating policies and convincing the lost voters of change is wise, and entrenched with confidence, commitment and self-belief, and not hesitation and fear about the Press – we’ve been there before.

23rd March Speech:   Ed Miliband:  One Nation Britain can prevent a lost decade

See Also:

  1. The New Statesman People’s Policy  Forum is Symbolic of a Change in the Labour Party
  2. Austerity and the Labour Party 
  3. The Fabian Society: Labour’s next State: The Big Five.
  4. IPPR Time for Labour to establish credibility 
  5. Straight Talking Labour
  6. Labour Puzzles Potential Voters about their Intent
  7. Falklands War turned Tory Fortunes

6 thoughts on “Labour Biding Time – Wisdom or Caution?

  1. Pingback: Labour Biding Time - Wisdom or Caution? | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's | Scoop.it

  2. After last Tuesdays farcical voting decision what is needed is something to reassure the electorate that Ed is determined to rid the party of its blue rinse. At the moment there appears(in the electorates eyes) not to be a fag paper’s difference between the coalition and Labour.
    No amount of political double speak from the top echelon can persuade voters otherwise, only strong and direct action will do.

    Liam byrne should be thrown off the front bench along with any other blue rinse members if you include Ed balls in that then so be it.

    Regarding Europe a great step forward needs to be taken with the absolute guarantee of an IN/OUT referendum within 6 months of the next election. This is a promise which can not be broken and should be made before the may elections but definitely before the European elections in 2014 The reason? So a proper debate may be held over membership if the leadership truly believe that Europe is where we as a nation should be then they must be prepared to argue for it alternatively they should also be committed to withdrawing from Europe should the electorate vote for that option. DOING NOTHING ABOUT A REFERENDUM IS NOT AN OPTION it only serves to make more truthful the statement that all political parties are the same.

    When you talk of “Affordable housing” being built ensure that Social housing for rent is the main thrust of this housing drive as there is a perception that this current coalition are only focused on handing over money to the bankers with their mortgage promise and the public do not wish Labour to go down the Sub-Prime route also.

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  3. I think Labour needs clear ‘red’ water between them and the Coalition on many issues: austerity, health service, welfare and education key among them.

    There does seem to be a fear of doing this however. Listening to Ed Balls on the economy, he seems to agree partially with spending cuts, but not quite how the Coalition are doing them. Liam Byrne on welfare is a disaster, shadowing the Governments moves on the welfare state, but not quite agreeing with how policies are being implemented. Should Labour win in 2015, Labour have been timid in saying what they would about free schools and academies. Andy Burnham has already said they would keep the structure of the NHS reforms (CCGs).

    I wish they would ‘screw their courage to the sticking place’ and stand firm in rejecting the Coalition agenda, while offering the radical alternative the left wing voters of the UK are crying out for. They must not be afraid of upsetting the Daily Mail (in fact if the Daily Mail is upset at Labour policies, it’s a good sign the policy is correct.)

    If Labour isn’t acting out of fear, the alternative hypothesis is worse – they don’t have an alternative policy set.

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  4. If Labour want to win the next election it must promise the people to scrap this evil bedroom tax, scrap taking everything from the sick disabled and vulnerable. This present Government is for the greedy rich bankers. They want to take us back to the 1900 when people lived in absolute poverty. Only the rich had a decent roof over their heads and enough food on the table. Let’s get the true Labour party back the party with a voice for the people.

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