“Prime Minister, check or get out of the way and let us clear up this mess.” Bold words from a Labor leader determined to put his party firmly on the path to power. But is the party ready for the trip?
There were many things that were familiar about Labor’s stay in Brighton. A clumsy catchphrase (A Stronger Future Together) that made no grammatical sense and might have been stolen from the Remain campaign cutting room in 2016. The ubiquitous pretenders to the throne, posing for selfies, hogging the fringe show and offering what no one taken as “constructive advice”.
But there were enough lectures that differed from the Jeremy Corbyn era to provide some cause for encouragement. The internal reforms of the leader were approved and have a genuine meaning to change the balance of power within the party. They give the Parliamentary Labor Party two key opportunities: to relieve not insignificant pressure from its electoral parties, with a higher voting threshold; and increasing their voice on the party leader election, which they recklessly ruled out in 2015, with double the number of MP nominations required for the candidacy.
However, as always in these conferences, the action, and a true sense of the situation, was outside the conference room. By Tim Bale “Suits for sandals” The proportion has changed markedly, if not completely, in favor of the former. Yet roaming the periphery, it was hard to avoid the impression that many in the party still view Labor as a campaign group rather than a party engaged in a resolute quest for power.
Not least, there was a continuing tendency to obsess over topics the general public doesn’t give a damn about. There were serious discussions about how best to communicate to the British public that growth is a thing of the past. Event after event focused on creating an ethical business policy based on sustainability and human rights.
None of this, of course, is inherently objectionable. But it is politically problematic, given how adept the Conservative Party has been in weaponizing “values” issues. It is also a missed opportunity. At a time of fuel and food shortages, labor shortages, rising prices and falling Universal Credit, the Labor Party should really appear as a party focused on issues that really concern the general public.
It is curious to say the least that some variant of the phrase ‘conservative chaos’ did not appear in all the statements made by the frontbenchers throughout the week. A clear, understandable and coordinated message is still necessary. One that links outcomes (rising inflation, potentially rising unemployment, asset and labor shortages) to specific government actions and policies (lack of planning, end of Universal Credit increase, restrictive immigration policies, and yes , a minimalist business deal). with the European Union).
Labor must shift the political debate to a terrain where they stand the best chance of victory. Not only is the government more vulnerable on matters related to economic competition, but its electoral coalition, built around Brexit, is fragile when it comes to economic policy.
Making this link clearly and doing so early is necessary to counter the Prime Minister’s claim that what is happening in this country is the result of global phenomena, including the restart of economies after the pandemic, rather than government policies. . As recent polls suggest, it is not inevitable that voters will make the link between perceptions of chaos and government failure.
There is a recent parallel to be drawn here. When the financial crisis hit, David Cameron and George Osborne were quick to convey the message that it was New Labor policies that were responsible for the ensuing economic slowdown. They did the discussion early, and then they did it often, which set the stage for their eventual victory in 2010.
If the Labor Party is serious about wanting the keys to Downing Street, it must do the same. Keir Starmer has an electoral mountain to climb simply to deprive the Conservatives of a majority. To do so, it must attack them where they and their coalition are weakest, and gain traction on the grounds that conservative policies are undermining the British economy. Ethical trading is a worthy goal. But it’s something to pursue while in power, not one to hit with when that power is still elusive.
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