It is nearly a year since I got this job. If I had known then what I know now I would never have sought election to this position.; being Leader of the Opposition is hardly a job worth taking. I would like to be decisive (and I know I am often often criticised for waffle) but until the winning post is in sight I realise I shouldn’t be. Say something really prescient and compelling and Dave would pick it up and run with it. Basicly I have to let this lot get on with the job of governing the country and hope they shoot themselves in the foot. I realise this is not a glorious policy but unfortunately it is the best. It has always worked out best for me in the end – or to be precise in the beginning as well.
Let me give you a flavour of the letters I receive. I have invented names and descriptions to respect the confidentiality of the writers. First Jimmy, who is in the media (or meeja as the BBC pronounce it. He writes: ‘Basically Eddie boy you are too boring and mechanistic in your delivery. You speak in sub-text and emphasise in the minor key; your movements are like a ventriloquist’s dummy and jerky with it. Take tuition in how to deliver a speech and try to say something people will remember’ . Hard words Jimmie. I shall think about it. Gloria from Wolverhampton said. ‘Ed, I’m on your side. But can I make a suggestion (Of course, you can Gloria). Tell more human stories of distress and difficulty. Make us cry and give money to a noble cause. There a lot of these stories around especially in places like Wolverhampton. Well done Gloria, you are right AND I must make an effort to visit Wolverhampton. Is there a train service? I expect there is. Garry is a trade unionist. He said, ‘Harness the power of the trade union movement Ed and get yourself at the head of the mass movemnt and give leadership to our efforts to oppose the cuts.’ The difficulty about that Garry is that I don’t oppose them all. We have to be responsible and weed out the one’s we all really object too. I don’t wish to alienate the middle classes. And then there is Lucy who reads women’s magazines. Lucy dear, it is sweet of you, but I do not intend to marry anyone on demand especially if they write to me from Brighton. Lastly, but not least, from Alistair. I agree Alistair, it is good to speak to one’s colleagues and agree the main lines of Opposition. Of all people Alistair you know the difficulty of achieving harmony. But half of those buggers don’t want me as leader and most of the remainder are considering things, turning it over in their own minds. I shall do my best. I have always done my best. But being lovable and collegiate is a difficult task in the Labour Party.
I have decided to give it eighteen months. I’m not afraid of the future whatever it holds. If it is best for Labour that I step down and enough people continue to shout at me, I shall do just that.