This may turn out to be one of my last blog posts as a Birmingham University Labour Student, before I, like so many others, get tossed on to the proverbial dung heap of youth unemployed in this country, thanks directly to the Coalition government’s economic policies, festering away in the hot summer sun, ignored by the generations who came before us who had it so good.
I think our very own Max has already eloquently and fairly captured Labour’s performance in this week’s mosaic of elections, rightly arguing that although it was a fantastic night for Labour and a bad night for pretty much everyone else, including the media who wound themselves up for a Labour defeat in Glasgow and drubbing in London, we still have a long way to go, and are only at ‘Kinnock levels’ of support at present.
Therefore I will just sum up where I think the main parties should go from here, and although I am in no position whatsoever to know what goes on in the heads of the British voters (all five of them who bothered), I will try tentatively to capture what they may have been thinking.
First of all, the Tories. These guys need to get real – after weeks of headlines about being out of touch, with pasties, grannies and income tax, they see the local election results as a resounding call from the electorate to try and get more out of touch, if that is at all possible. In backbenchers’ post-match analysis (reliably backed by the Daily Mail) this has varied from House of Lords reform, to equal marriage concerns to a need for fewer wind turbines. They’re even proposing an ‘alternative Queen’s Speech’. As if those who voted against the Tories who were unemployed and couldn’t afford to pay the gas bill, or even had to resort to food banks, weren’t bothered by this, but were damned if they were going to see Lord Sugar get made redundant, or let Adam and Steve down the road get hitched. No, guys, they don’t want YOU redistributing wealth from the most vulnerable to the richest in society, making them pay for the failure of neo-liberal economics.
Next, Labour: We need to be confident in our leader, who may have some work still to do but is a leader who is connecting with people, does have a vision for the future forming in his head, and is capable of heading a talented team of potential ministers. We also must reach out to those who didn’t go out and vote on Thursday, giving them a positive reason to run to the polling booths at 7am to vote Labour – even in the bloody rain. We need a plan for fair, green investment in industry to bring growth and jobs back to the economy. We need to bite our tongues and reach out to the Liberal Democrats, and not be tempted to laugh and cackle at their coming behind penguins and fascists in some wards – this isn’t funny, this is worrying. Everybody knows most of them would rather be in coalition with Labour than the Tories.
What about the Greens? They need to let us steal some of their policies.
And finally, the Lib Dems: Exit the Coalition, stage Left.