Friday, March 30, 2012

Bradford: Where does Labour go from here?

Labour took a real kicking in Bradford West not because the electorate there connected with George Galloway or with the Respect Party. It is because many traditional Labour voters are angry with us, disillusioned with our rhetoric and keen to send us a message. The summer offers a period of reflection and for me the areas that we need to urgently address are as follows:

Style and substance - we need to be careful that we don't dismiss one at the expense of the other. Good policies badly presented and badly articulated are as useless and as ineffective as poor policies that have been spun positively.

Trust and confidence - who on Labour's front bench can inspire trust and and come across as fully paid members of the human race? Answer: People like Hilary Benn, Andy Burnham and Rachel Reeves - we need to see and hear more from the likes of these.

If you are not on offence you are on defence - we must get back on the attack and create clear dividing lines between ourselves and our opponents. The Tory front bench is out of touch, aloof and obsessed with an ideology that wants to take us back to the 50s (not sure if it is the 1850s or the 1950s).

I am not ashamed to be in the Labour party and I am proud of what we have achieved when in office but I am also acutely aware that we need to reflect the wider aspirations of the people we seek to serve.

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