Monday, March 04, 2013

Wake the country up







There seems to be curiously little analysis of the Labour performance at Eastleigh.

In part this is because no-one expected much of them in the first place (which in itself should concern them).

To win the 2015 general election Labour needs to develop a programme that is not over-intellectual (it needs to be intelligible by ordinary people); aimed primarily at working people (not people on benefits, however worthy they may be); and (this is what they find impossible to do) has a basis in the sort of left-orientated patriotism that George Orwell expounded.

They also need to develop a narrative around the necessity for tough government action on finances - an inspiring narrative that while acknowledging the sacrifice and suffering also points to a desirable final outcome (and describes that outcome in tangible detail).

As a Conservative I can safely talk about Labour's problems confident in the belief that they will not do anything  I suggest.

What is a little more concerning is that the Conservatives also seem unable to act decisively.

One of the most interesting aspects of public opinion at the moment is that it is split - effectively the majority of people have the capacity to be persuaded in one of two directions.  Either the necessity for tight state control to steer the country to a place of safety; or the necessity for maximum freedom and personal responsibility (including freedom from state financial burdens on the individual) to allow the people to save themselves.  Very seldom has public opinion been so undecided on which path to take, and none of the parties is really pointing out a distinctive route.

Also, none of the parties has really demonstrated a belief in the destiny of the United Kingdom.  Most politicians have no idea what our destiny should be.  If you don't know where you are going you are never going to get anywhere (as the Americans say).

Who, among the current parties on offer, is going to wake the country up?

Obviously I favour the Conservatives.

But it is far from certain they will accept the challenge.

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