by Dan McCurry
What character from the history of film and literature most reminds you of an ordinary member of the Labour party?
For me, it’s Michael Palin’s character in the Life of Brian, whose job is to direct prisoners to their crucifixion. “Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.”
This is a man who has a horrible job to do, but he’s still diligent and treats each prisoner with respect. He’s a nice guy. He cares. He’s the kind of bloke you or I might hang out with. You can easily imagine him as secretary of your local branch. If we brought a motion calling for crucifixion to be banned, the idea would be so radical that he’d initially be shocked, but once he realised that such a thing is possible he would become a passionate advocate.
The problem is that if you had 50,000 Christians to crucify, would you have this bloke do the job, knowing how sensitive he is, or would you get one of them blokes who look like they’d enjoy hammering in the nails through people’s ankles and wrists?
“We’ve got lumps of him down the back.”
The reality is that the Tories are doing us a favour by making such savage cuts in the size of the state, because it means that we don’t have to. It doesn’t matter that you disagree with how they are doing them, what matters is that you’re not hating Labour for doing them, because we’re not in power. If we were in power it would be very painful period for us. Whereas the Tories are in their element.
What irritates me is when people argue that Labour should create a list of things that they will cut come the next election, in order to establish credibility with the electorate. As if anyone would get elected by arguing that George Osborne didn’t go far enough. The fact is that once the 50,000 Christians have been put to death, we don’t need to find a new community to slaughter. The next government will not be about cuts. That job will hopefully be done. The next government will be about building the new Jerusalem.
This doesn’t mean that a future Labour government should reverse the Tory cuts, nor relish them. What I am saying is that, if we form the next government, then we should appreciate the fact that the other lot have done the dirty work, and we can get on with doing what we’re good at, namely, building a better country. So let the bastards be bastards and the builders be builders.
“Too far too fast” was a great slogan of a time gone past, but we need to be looking to the future now. The state needed to be rationalised and this has been done. The tough choices have been made. Austerity failed and the Tories will be punished for it. Those arguments are behind us. We need to start speaking about what we are going to do, to turn the country around, once we’ve gained power in 2015, and in the same way that the Tories have acted to type by being bastards, we should act to type by being builders.
Dan McCurry is a Labour activist who blogs here