Friday, May 14, 2010

An Open Letter to Labour Members

Dear Labour Members,

I just wanted to write a little note to you about the awful pickle you now find yourself in. Not only have you found yourself in Opposition (a position that for some will be a totally new experience), but you're now also embarking on a journey to redefine and renew yourself with an as yet to be determined leader.

Now, you may be thinking that I have a cheek to give you advice on which direction you should go in, but in the heat of your own internal debate about "progressive majorities" in Britain and the like, I fear that you may miss the point that is staring you in the face as a result of what I guess should now be known as The Coalition.

You see, you have a choice facing you, and it is only by understanding the past that you will have any hope of securing the future. So, when you have the arguments about the direction you should take remember this.

Tony Blair dominated for you because he was just to the Right enough whilst still being a Leftie to carry that slender apolitical centre that decides what happens. By being just to the Right enough, he triangulated the Tories into positions where they could either agree, or go further Right and be labelled as extreme.

Now look at today. We have The Coalition that is, for all intent and purpose, just to the Left enough whilst still largely being on the Right, that it, like Blair, can carry that very same slender apolitical centre that can make all the electoral difference.

What does this mean for Labour? Well it's simple, on your core value issues The Coalition is going to triangulate you. It's going to portray itself through the use of your language as the moderate and force you to either agree or to go even further Left and make you look nutty, extreme and unelectable.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that there is a "progressive majority" in Britain, there isn't. What there is, is a "classically liberal centre" in Britain and then those that are not headbangers who are willing to compromise rather than seek out ideological purity - on either Left or Right.

What it produces is a majority that does have a heart, but also has a head and seeks to balance the two when the need arises.

Until you acknowledge this, then the pickle you are in will only get worse. Do not be fooled into thinking that all you need to do is become more pure than the disgusting New Labour project that tainted you. New Labour understood the reality of the "classically liberal centre" but it failed because one half wasn't willing to take on the headbanger half that left Downing Street a few days ago.

Somewhat ironically you need to remember the words of Karl Marx who noted,
"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."
You have a choice, repeat the farce and mistake of the Tories in 2001/2005 and follow the headbangers to unachievable ideological nirvana; or, realise that the country is actually fluid ideologically, and is only more tolerant of your ideas in the good times, but become more realistic and intolerant of them in the bad.

Learn that lesson and you'll be back sooner rather than later.

Kind regards


No comments: