This week, having the luxury of time to read now that my exams are over, I finished One of Us by Melissa Benn. Focussing on two interlinked families and two rising stars of New Labour, it charts their fortunes from 1971 to just after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A fantastic book and well worth a read.
Iraq was a hugely divisive issue and it’s interesting to see it being used as a significant part of so many new novels set at the time.
One of our esteemed colleagues in BULS recently said to me that there was little point in going campaigning for an election we’ve already lost.
Tomorrow BULS will be heading to Erdington, where we face significant challenges over the next two years, it is a seat the Tories will find ever more attractive now that they hold 4 of the 12 council seats, one being Lib Dem. A little over 3 years ago the Labour Party could boast holding all council represenatives and ofcourse its Member of Parliament. The Tories have also, effectively made Kingstanding and Tyburn three-horse races, these were previously thought of as safe-labour wards. Erdington constituency has clearly moved into the marginal, and that is a prospect that has put fear into the minds of CLP members. That fear though, thankfully, has been transformed into determination and it is promising to see that the general election campaign and the local election campaign has already begun in earnest.
BULS will be getting to know Erdington very well, as we will in other key seats. So the attitude expressed by one of our colleagues was bitterly dissapointing, but it’s by no means their fault. There is a distinct lack of morale in the party, it’s quite blatant. Yet, it is that attitude that hands the Tories a victory, I don’t know any conservatives who believe it is in their hands just not. So surely it is ours to lose.
The party has large national problems, but that’s not for us to theorise and gossip about. Locally we members need to be on the ground, in communities talking to people about their concerns because it’s what we do best, not navel-gazing. Let’s get off our backsides and get out and spread our positive message about social justice and economic prosperity. The best way we serve our party is by delivering on the ground, not by wallowing in self-pity and anguishing over defeat.
BULS will be meeting outside the Guild tomorrow at 10.30am for anyone I’ve managed to guilt into attendance.