The more he talks, the less he says

01Jan10

First published on LabourList, 4 December 2009

It’s been a good week for Gordon. The best for a while. He’s managed to hit the media with a smile, and a convincing one at that.

Does this mean the Labour Party can still show itself to be the party of the people, for the people; is there life on the dark side of The Sun?

Yes, there is.

Keith Rupert Murdoch’s Sun will always be there doing its best, its worst and the rest to slow the left from helping this country to be all it can be. But Gordon just has to get his vision and stick it where The Sun don’t shine. And not just Gordon, all of us.

We can all sit around crying bloody Murdoch…or we can think about what we’re fighting for, organise and get our message out.

Thinking about what we’re fighting for can’t just be about keeping the Conservatives out, or stopping the hollow man Cameron floating into office in a puff of thin PR smoke. It has to be about more than that.

I was at a Young Fabian event recently where Stella Creasey, Stephen Twigg, Rachel Reeves and Chris Ostrowski spoke for an hour of the importance of remembering what we’re fighting for, of setting out a vision of the future and not just relying on our record.

The Chair Steve Richards then flipped a coin by asking “What is it the Labour party is fighting for in the next election?” Heads; each candidate says something which inspires hope. Heads; everybody wins. Tails; bad answers, or worse, no answers. Tails; everybody loses.

What followed was a painful silence. Tails. A silence so long even the Chair got uncomfortable and had to second guess himself. “Perhaps that’s an unfair question”, one PPC interrupted him, thankfully, and came out with “A fairer economy for Britain”. Not bad. Another jumped in with “Which is certainly not something the Conservatives would create…” and within five seconds the panel were Tory bashing… again.

This isn’t good enough. Each of us must know – in a sentence – what we’re fighting for in the next general election. So we can tell our friends, our neighbours, our communities. So it can drive us we’ve nothing left to give. So it can inspire the leadership when they’re out of ideas. Because whilst the Conservatives, their hollow man and their “pinprick” policies bask in The Sun, it’s our job to ignore the pricks, get out in the rain and get on with it.

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