2012: the year we all need to become better leaders

by John Woodcock

Every single Labour supporter woke up in 2012 wishing we were doing better.

But let’s be clear, that sense of painful dissatisfaction at being stuck in opposition while David Cameron runs the country is a good and necessary thing: we had better make sure we feel it in the pit of our stomach every single day until we win again.

So if we want 2012 to be the year that Labour gets back in the game and convinces the British people we deserve their trust to change the country, it is down to all of us to make that happen.

The harsh truth is this: there is no secret Labour party hidden behind a wall who will do all the work while we all sit around wishing things were going our way. It is down to us to get out there and make the case that there is a better way than the damage that the Conservatives are wreaking on the opportunities that future generations need to succeed.

As Michael Dugher wrote last week, we should take confidence in the fact that Labour under Ed Miliband has been in the right place on big issues. From Ed Balls’ warning that choking off the recovery would be disastrous for the economy, to our leader’s championing of the squeezed middle, epitomised this week by Maria Eagle’s announcement that a future Labour government will do more to protect commuters hit by soaring rail fares.

That confidence should fuel our determination to use 2012 to map a new course that will ensure Labour is a credible force at the next election.

Yes, this will be a year about leadership – it will be about the leadership each of us show at every level. From party activists willing to give up their Saturday mornings, to those, like me, privileged to represent people in the House of Commons.

We all need to show that we have the stomach and the stamina to take this fight to the Tories.

John Woodcock is Labour and Cooperative MP for Barrow and Furness and a shadow transport minister.


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6 Responses to “2012: the year we all need to become better leaders”

  1. I notice that you say Labour “has been in the right place on big issues”, rather than on “the big issues” or “all the big issues”. I’m sure other bloggers on this very site could point to at least one big issue (probably the biggest of all) where Labour has been not so much “in the right place” as “all over the place”.

  2. “if we want 2012 to be the year that Labour gets back in the game and convinces the British people we deserve their trust to change the country”

    By inference, then, Labour did not achieve this in 2011? Why?

  3. Madasafish says:

    “From Ed Balls’ warning that choking off the recovery would be disastrous for the economy, to our leader’s championing of the squeezed middle, epitomised this week by Maria Eagle’s announcement that a future Labour government will do more to protect commuters hit by soaring rail fares.

    Trouble is: you had 13 years in power.. and made a shambles of the economy..

    Why should anyone trust you? (Apart from those who are Labour stalwarts and the Unions )

    “Better leaders” implies you have some leaders.. I look at Ed and I see many things but leadership is not one of them.. (Both Miliband and Balls)

  4. Having ‘the stamina to take this fight to the Tories’ is not going to be enough. The fact is that the Labour party has always been associated with the public services and fairness. These two foundation stones are what has won Labour election victories in the past. Both however have been seriously devalued in the eyes of many voters.

    Increased taxation, resulting in a 90% increase in the income tax take over thirteen years and almost 100% in NI while average disposable income was rising by 29% has led many people to ask ‘where all the money has gone’? Factor in increased north sea oil taxes, increased fuel duty, airport tax, stamp duty, flogging off our gold reserves, and the billions for G3 licenses and this question becomes even more insistent. We are all still waiting for an answer.

    Lastly there is the notorious budget of 2007. Millions of working poor and pensioners were effectively kicked in the teeth when Brown announced the abolition of the 10% tax band while, in almost the next breath 2P came off the basic rate for the better off. The victims of this were overwhelmingly the sort of people who traditionally look to a Labour government for a helping hand. Worse still, despite a bit of brouhaha from some MPs, they nevertheless fell into line and voted it through. So much for ‘fairness’ from a Labour government.

    Why was this done? Again we are all still waiting for an answer.

  5. Rob the cripple says:

    Ah yes lets see we get rid of social housing, we without doubt get rid of welfare, we then kiss the butts of the middle class to ensure they vote for us, no dirty working class people in labour.

    No thanks my stomach will have no feeling what so ever for another New labour party which is what this lot are, only they have a second rate leader.

  6. Madasafish says:

    No thanks my stomach will have no feeling what so ever for another New labour party which is what this lot are, only they have a second rate leader

    Sorry Ruth, but it’s unfair to blame Ed and call him “second rate”..

    After all the Unions voted him in.. . and they are by no means New Labour..

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