I’m glad Labour appears to be putting the leadership election behind it and moving on. Whatever people feel about why there was a leadership election or what the result was, in the end it was done in a democratic way with a democratic decision at the end of it. Nothing runs smoothly in any political party which is full of different opinions and ideas of what to do or which direction to follow. What a successful party can do though is have our discussions in private, agree a position and then all pull together in the same direction. We have done it before and we can do it again.
We must unite to take on the Tories as once again they seek to both shape the country in their image whilst looking to divide society one against another. Take grammar schools as an example.
Any objective look at the proposal for their reintroduction across the country must conclude they are divisive and not just because of the entrance exam. They are divisive because we all know millions of parents think their child will be the one to get into the school so they will be alright. What happens when they don’t of course ends up being a complete lottery that they will almost certainly lose.
This is why as a party we need to challenge this policy not just by saying that it is all about segregation instead of education, but by putting forward a realistic alternative that offers hope to all parents whilst demonstrating best practice in schools of all types in our communities that offer great education and life chances for our children. That is what parents will respond to positively.
We should also unite to take on the Tories on the economy. They have torn up George Osborne’s fiscal rules and given up on the idea that they want to balance the budget in this parliament.
Because they know it can’t be achieved in exactly the way Labour has been saying for years. We need to go on the attack and stop the Tories painting us the wreckers of the economy which we all know was damaged by a world-wide recession caused by the banks and not by Labour spending.
We need to defend our record which we haven’t done very well since 2010 and point out that the Tories want to break their borrowing rules yet at the same time plan to continue austerity policies which adversely affect the poor far greater than anyone else. I suspect they are lining up sweeteners to lull the public into a false sense of economic security and Labour must be aware of that.
Whatever their motives are such as an early election or softening the country up prior to a hard Brexit, we must redouble our efforts to be seen not just as an affective opposition but a government in waiting. Hearing of MPs returning to the front bench is another good sign which will help to hold the government to account.
To quote directly from Clause 1.2 of the Labour Party rules book: Its purpose is to organise and maintain in Parliament and in the country a political Labour Party.
That is our purpose for being. We can only help those who need our help if we attain government so we can legislate to make our country fairer and our poor richer. But to gain the country’s trust, we must be coherent and united. Otherwise we will fail our great historical purpose.