The play has been extensively rehearsed. Not everything has been well executed. Observors have remarked that there has been too much playing to the gallery. Not all has been word perfect. But at 4pm on Saturday next all this comes to an end and all (if not all, many) eyes will turn to centre stage. Enter stage left our leader and prophet. And what will he say? We should know but we don’t.
The actor has the briefest of moments to catch our attention. We know the play but as lovers of this form of entertainment we remain open to its eternal attraction. We long for a new interpretation, a new vision. Even at this moment we are distracted by other visions. I knew this player’s father. I get an image of a semi circular group of us lapping up something called historic inevitability. Karl Marx had a neat turn of phrase. I remember, ‘Man is responsible for his own destiny but not the circumstances in which he must find it.’ Or something like that. Our principal actor is now responsible for his fate and the blessed Gordon of beloved memory is no more.
And he says…Well, of course, I do not know what he will say. What he must demonstrate in a very few words is that he is a pathfinder. He must have a vision of an alternative Britain to the one the Coalition offers the voters. A vision true to the past, which takes account of the reasons which enabled the Coalition parties to grab power and to the necessary changes that are occuring in British society and he must give us – the voters- hope for a better future.
I can offer no advice. It is too late for that. What I do know is that while this leading player must oppose, for it is the first duty of a Parliamentary Opposition to do so, he must also propose. What is the Big Idea? In an edeavour to distinguish themselves with the Labour Party electorate, the leading actors gave us parodies of their Big Concepts. One of these Milliband’s gave us the concept of Back to the Future, we had the Party of the Working Class and the Man of the North while Diane Abbott was content with The Past We Never Had. None of these will do for the real electorate.
Here is a warning. Fail this test and the game is up. Prepare well for it because if feet begin to shuffle this play is over and something more traditional takes its place. Of course, a good beginning is not everything. But the experienced actor senses the moment, an almost audible sigh of contentment grips the viewers, it is content, expectant and a magic has been woven linking audience with actor. Now is the hour of… Well go on finish it!
Filed under BBC, Big society, Cameron, Coalition Government, Conservative Home, Daiane Abbott, David Milliband, Ed Balls, Ed Milliband, Gordon Brown, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Labour leadership, Labour Party, Lib Dem blogs, Liberal Voice, New Stateman, Politics, Tony Blair
This is an urgent post and one which requires your immediate attention. I have had complaints about the Labour leadership campaign. Some people have described the last tedious weeks as akin to a shy ostrich marooned in an unfriendly space with its head in the sand. I do not think this is entirely apposite. These 5 candidates are not shy and withdrawing: they are loud and demonstrative. But I get the point. They cannot work out what has become of them and prefer to seek solace in the past. However, it will be obvious that if you stick your head in the ground you see nothing at all. Competition brings specialisation: you have the expert nerd with a LOT of experience, the assertive younger son with a specialisation in opposites, the man of the North and hence of the PEOPLE, the bluff man of commonsense with a gift for figures, and a portly, posh black women, who in all her lengthy parliamentary experience has never made it even to the humble position of PPS but now fancies herself as PM. These 5 have in much in common: they are all Oxbridge graduates, they dress and speak well (in this they clearly have much in common with Nick and Dave), you could bring any of them home to tea and mum would approve. As far as I can gather none of them have had a ‘real’ job. They are not educated in the university of ‘hard knocks’ and what adversity they have suffered since UNI has been of their own making.
So what, you might say. All this cleverness and lack of sweat is what we expect of our political leaders now. Well, yes. But I draw your attention to what has happened since the General Election. In effect Labour has been leaderless although Hariet Harman did us all a favour by revealing our Dave’s lack of attention to detail and the nature of his bullying. She is on holiday now, Parliament is in recess, the sun shines, production rises, we no longer witness shouting and ranting, no more unnecessary laws are hitting the statute books. People could be happy. Over this period of repose and relaxation Labour’s standing with the electorate has risen in the opinion polls and in the natural course of events (and without a leader) will overtake the Tories. Some readers have an instinctive understanding of the true political position of the Labour Party.Let the Coalition commit hara-kiri with its programme of cuts, and say tut tut without a single cross word or the proposal of any troublesome alternatives. Coalition MPs will fall about arguing with each other. Why then disturb people with the election of a troublesome busy-busy Leader of the Opposition?
We could ask Harriet to shoulder on. It is her duty. I do not know who was writing her scripts but whoever it was Harriet should stay friendly with him/her. Roll on laughter, goodness and friendly behaviour and DOWN with scandal, slogans, and ill intent. And can it be kept going, month after month, year after year? Can we usher in a decade of happiness? Our only hope, say correspondents, if we cannot stop this unnecessary and unhelpful election, is to leave the voting paper on the mantelpiece. Let us proclaim our belief, not in more or less government, but good government, good-sense, and toleration. It is our only hope.
Filed under BBC, Big society, Cabinet, Coalition Government, Commons, Conservative Home, Daiane Abbott, David Milliband, Ed Balls, Ed Milliband, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Labour Goverment, Labour Home, Labour leadership, Labour Ministers, Liberal Voice, Parliament, Politics