We need to oppose, as well as to review

by Tom Keeley

This weekend Ed Miliband launched a major policy review. Starting with a blank piece of paper, the big thinkers in the party will now take two years coordinating the biggest review of policy since 1994. The party needs it.

The 2010 general election showed a party which had stopped thinking, stopped improving and had little to say. If it had not been for the economic crisis, the dividing lines between us and the Tories would have been slight. When a Labour party can’t state a long list of differences with the Tories, you know there is trouble.

This review needs to put Labour back as the progressive party in this country. A party to ensure that liberty is not at the cost of security. To ensure the poor provision of housing never again fuels racial tensions. A party to champion schools that serve the poorest, health care that heals the sickest and social security that treats the most unfortunate in our society with respect and deference. This will serve the electorate well in two years time. They will have the choice to elect a truly progressive party.

However, the Labour party has a more immediate responsibility. Opposition. While Miliband described opposition as “crap” (and he might be right), it is the most important job in the country at the moment. This government is rolling out the most regressive series of policies and doing it early in the anticipation that the electorate will forget by 2015. Frontline police are being cut. The NHS is being turned upside down. And, soon, teachers will be let go, when the economic independence that came with the academies bill, turns out to be a noose around the necks of the schools.

The press will report numbers: the manpower lost, the waiting lists and the crime stats. But the Labour party should remember that this is about people’s lives. This is about another generation of children growing up in homes where no parent works and young people going to school in classrooms that are falling apart. It is about families breaking under the stress of mortgage repayments and lost incomes; about people dying on the waiting list for cancer treatments. The Labour party has a responsibility to stand up for these lives now, not in two years time. The most important job in the country is the opposition of this government’s policies.

While the policy review is vital for our party, a responsible, rigorous and careful opposition is vital for the country. If we fail to provide this now, the electorate will look back on these years and see an indulgent, introspective party. A party that failed them. Until the policy review is complete, our priority must be coherent and effective opposition.

Tom Keeley is a member of Birmingham Edgbaston CLP.

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “We need to oppose, as well as to review”

  1. doreen ogden says:

    Everything that I have been feeling is in this post. Too much naval gazing will be bad politics. Need to make the message loud and clear that the way these cuts are being implemented is so wrong for our country. Yes we need reforming but not to the detriment of neglecting our duty in making good opposition.

  2. Julian Fuller says:

    I can only agree. I have just read several thousand words of discussion on the future direction of the Labour Party and I cannot even find my own local party to join. I don’t want to do this on line I want to see who and what I am buying. I am sick of the lies and distortion that is run out by the Tories as fact. The Labour Party sits by debating what went wrong instead of questioning the half arsed ideas of the neo-thatcherite government.

    Example. Is the government for decentralisation of control of public funds yes or no? Well Philip Green thinks no is best and yet the left lets the government ignore this and say they will decentralise education and NHS spending just one week after Green stated that this was a bad thing for government spending and we should end departments spending their own budgets on paper etc. by centralising spending as its more efficient (something introduced by Major when he removed HSO from control of this) So why wasn’t the government held to task do they believe in Philip Green or Micheal Gove. Surely a flaw in their thinking. Whilst on the subject of Green someone should have pointed out that Mrs Green should have been the governments advisor as she can show a £1.2bn profit on a start up of £0 much better than her tax avoiding husband.

    What about Goves lies about the school sports partnerships “no evidence of success” yet 4,000,000 more children in extra activities according to the Quango tasked with controlling it. That’s some evidence or his suggestion that billions have been wasted with out asking for his evidence please.

    The opportunities go on and on to contest their policies yet I see little if any evidence of the labour party putting up people to comment. Perhaps they are so brow beaten by the press for “getting us into this mess”, which is challengeable, that they cannot face it, well its not good enough our leaders are letting us down and when asked what did you do to oppose these ideology driven changes to the core of our society they will have to answer we were discussing the function of new socialism in a post modern globalised society… fiddles and fires I think.

Leave a Reply