2010 has been one hell of a hectic year for Labour, nationally and locally. So here’s my review of the year.
So in early 2010 we began with a very slowly (and I mean slowly) improving position (the polls were very slowly narrowing and Brown was beginning to perform a bit better at PMQs). People were beginning to actually question and analyse Tory policy (much to the latter’s own shock).
But of course, we remember the attempted Coup on Brown (
), the less said about that final attempted revolt the better. But apart from that the majority of the first few months of 2010 were focused upon the Tories incomplete and ill thought out policies which were actually being looked at now (again, much to the Tory’s shock). Unfortunately though, Labour failed to properly capitalise upon DC’s inconsistency over marriage-tax breaks, the level of the cuts and even the Lord Ashcroft scandal, etc.
Now I’m not going to lie, despite not exactly being an expert at election campaigns, Labour’s performance in the 2010 campaign was not exactly brilliant. Admittedly, we didn’t have an Ashcroft of our own, but a daily press conference chaired by Peter Mandelson is not a way to woo the public. Moving onto the leadership debates, apart from the first one, Brown’s performances could have been much worse. He undoubtedly was the most policy detailed, but unfortunately, you need more than sound policy to win Televised debates.
The result that followed was no where near as anyone might have expected a year or two ago. Don’t be deluded though, in terms of share of the vote, Labour’s result was far from satisfactory, with our second worse result since the 1920s. In terms of seats we didn’t do too badly though. But, given that a year or two ago we were literally facing oblivion on a Tory 1997 scale (regularly behind in the polls by 20%+ in 2008 and 10%+ leads in 2009) was nothing less than a complete and utter failure on the part of the Conservatives. Labour locally also managed to retain Selly Oak and most surprising of all, Edgbaston, much to everyone shock (including my own if I’m being honest). Labour also made significant gains in the local elections nationally and slashing the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition in Birmingham Council to a wafer thin majority.
But ultimately, we couldn’t hold onto power, the numbers didn’t add up and the Lib Dems had already decided that they were moving to the Tories. And so ended 13 years of ‘New’ Labour. But, life had to move on and so began the process to replace Gordon Brown. I’m not going to lie, to the wider public, the election wasn’t the most inspiring and enthralling one ever seen and I personally had no love for any of the candidates at the start.
Of course, we all know what happened next. Probably one of the biggest political upsets of the past few years. After being tipped as Brown’s obvious future successor, David Miliband or Miliband the Elder, was pipped by his brother at what seemed to be the final post (quite literally, Miliband the younger became favourite on the very last day). This seems what happens when you underestimate Miliband the younger, you in the end regret you ever did. One of the definite features of Miliband the elder not winning was that the era ‘New’ Labour was finally brought to a close with most notably the Iraq war being deemed wrong. Of course, there has been apparent glee from the Tory ranks that ‘Red-Ed’ is a godsend. But, as mentioned before, be careful not to underestimate your opponents.
But of course, what now you may ask? Without a shred of doubt, Labour does need to formalise a coherent and well though out plan for it’s vision. But, we should be careful not to make the mistakes DC made when he became Tory leader. While DC did a lot to detoxify the image of the Conservative party (hug a hoody, huskies in Norway, etc), he very much failed to change the nature of the Conservative party, which ultimately cost him a landslide victory. Consequently, it’s the long and apparently slow road of renewal for Labour. But come 2015, get ready for the real change and the true optimists of British politics!