Friday, 24 July 2015

Dear Labour Party (an open letter)...

I've never voted for you, and probably never will; our values, beliefs and views of the human condition are just too far apart. In fact, whilst I respect the traditions from which you emerged, I heartily dislike much of the modern party, and particularly your virtue-signalling, offence-taking members who seem to think anyone who doesn't vote for them must have some kind of moral disease.

My first reaction, therefore, when I see the horrible mess you've got yourself into with this leadership election is to laugh like a drain. It really is tremendously entertaining. However, history teaches us many things, and one of them is that good government needs a good opposition. Weak opposition means governments get lazy, complacent, and do stupid things. And the way you're going at the moment, you couldn't oppose your own thumbs, let alone a cocky Conservative government.

Now, I've spent many hours in the car in the last week, and have had the misfortune to listen to interviews on the radio with the four people who are competing to be your leader. Here's my assessment:

Andy Burnham - chippy northern bloke with a dire track record in government, pretending to be a plucky outsider to the political village, when in reality he's steeped in it. Impossible to work out what he believes in; speaks in indecipherable political cliches

Yvette Cooper - chippy northern woman with a dire track record in government, pretending that the last Labour government did nothing wrong. Impossible to works out what she believes in; speaks in indecipherable political cliches

Liz Kendall - interesting only in the respect that she reminds me of that generic squeaky-voiced well-meaning teacher that you'd meet at a parents evening, and whilst despising her general drippiness you'd think the black nail polish made her seem slightly exotic and attractive. Slightly easier to work out what she believes in, but still speaks in indecipherable political cliches

Jeremy Corbyn - hahahahahahahahahah! You allowed him to go on the ballot paper "to widen the debate", you allowed people to join the party for £3 and have full voting rights, and now he's winning by some assessments. Are you completely insane?! We all know absolutely what he believes in, and believe me, if he's elected, it'll be touch-and-go next time (if he makes it through to 2020 without meeting Peter Mandelson in a dark alley one night) whether you or the SNP have more seats.

So, they're a shower, that much is clear. Chuka Umunna would have added some polish, if not depth, and you really messed up by not putting the brother David in charge five years ago. Either of them would have worried the other side. The current lot? Not so much.

I've read much in the last week about what you should do from a policy point-of-view; should you turn Left, or Right, stay in the middle, come down from the moral high ground etc etc. You don't even know whether to go with the courage of your convictions, or be voter- and pressure-group led.

But here's the thing - none of what I've read or heard actually talks about leadership. The candidates are discussed only as totems for policy, not as actual leaders of a surprisingly still-large group of people, and potentially, a country. If you want to stand a chance of sorting yourself out, forget talking about policy for the foreseeable; most of us aren't interested, and even if we were you're not going to get chance to implement any of if for five years, probably much longer given the strength of the SNP and the forthcoming constituency boundary changes.

Nope, get yourself a proper leader - someone who can lead with conviction rather than via focus groups, but who, unlike JC, has at least the semblance of a grip on reality. They'll sort all that policy guff out; they'll make people believe in him/her; they'll give Cameron a run for his money in Parliament; they'll be someone who the rest of us can picture in a room with Putin without actually dirtying their underwear.

So there you go. Over to you. And one last thing - change your increasingly stupid name. I "labour" just as much and probably more than most of your members, and I ain't coming your way any time soon.

Yours aye,

Amused & Concerned In Equal Measure, Macclesfield

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