Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Labour should have the confidence to be itself!

Yesterday, at the behest of their acting leader, Harriet Harman, the majority of Labour MPs chose not to oppose the government's Welfare Reform Bill aimed at reducing welfare spending through such measures as lowering the cap on Housing Benefit and completely doing away with Child Tax Credits for any but the first two children of a household. Harman's objective in not opposing this bill was to reassure the public that Labour is the party of the workers and not the party of welfare claimants.
In my opinion, the Labour Party is so busy trying to please all those people who didn't vote for it in the general election that it is forgetting it's real job - that of Her Majesty's loyal opposition.
Swing voters are, by definition, capable of having their minds changed by the policies, arguments and record of the parties between whom they have been asked to choose. In my view, rather than trying to belatedly conform to the wishes expressed by such voters at the last election, Labour needs to come up with positions and policies that reflect its traditional values of egalitarianism and social solidarity and offer a clear and credible alternative to the anti-public sector/benefit claimant/immigrant stance of the current government and then set about the business of persuading the potential swing-voters of 2020 that such policies are worth endorsing at the ballot box.
As for the committed Labour voters, such an approach would surely be welcomed by many of them, too - especially considering the amount of grass roots support their seems to be for the most left wing of the current leadership candidates.

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