Dan Jarvis is right. We must show the Tories are the gamblers

by David Ward

Maybe I left my Yorkshire tea bag in too long, but on Thursday morning I had a vision. There I was at the kitchen table with the radio on, listening to Labour MPs cheering the defeat of the government on Sunday trading. Fair enough you might think, we’re winning less than Manchester United at the moment.

But then I was transported to 2020. I could hear the next Tory Prime Minister. “At this election we’ve got a choice. Do you want a stable economy, a strong future? Or do you want the danger of the unholy alliance of Jeremy Corbyn and Alex Salmond voting down the will of the country as they’ve done 20 times this parliament. It’s a risk I don’t think we can take.”

Of course it’s right that Labour opposes legislation like this that harms working people. Angela Eagle has done a fantastic job to win the vote. But you don’t have to be a genius to work out the Conservatives will fight the election on security.

If Labour are going to win we need to do two things. First, deal with our weaknesses. That means stop banging on about Trident, or admitting people with dubious backgrounds. These only give credence to Tory charges against us. As we found in 2015, if people see us or our leader as weak then tactics like the ‘tartan scare’ will work.

Second, we need to reframe the debate so the Conservatives don’t equal stability. That was the case that Dan Jarvis made on Thursday. “When you hear George Osborne say ‘long term economic plan’, what he really means is ‘short term political gain’.”

In his speech to Demos he made a strong case in the tradition of Crosland, with a nod to Keir Hardie. That Labour should be focussed on reducing inequality, actively supporting people and businesses in navigating an uncertain global economy. Where is the Government’s planning to ensure people are not left behind as more jobs are automated? Why are the Government spending less than our competitors on the R&D our industries need for the future? “Mr Osborne is fond of talking about fixing the roof while the sun is shining. Well, it’s not the roof I’m worried about, it’s the foundations.”

Of course rumours will abound about the subtext of this speech. One wag noted on twitter, that with Jarvis as leader “PMQs would consist of a 1000 yard stare and only the question “have you ever killed a man David?”.

But this misses the point. Jarvis has begun to identify the case we have to make. As he put it “Family. Work. Community.” This is what security and stability mean to people outside the political bubble.

My father once told a story of a workplace meeting about leadership. One colleague who’d recently joined from the RAF muttered as an aside, “Most people here I’d only follow out of a blind sense of curiosity.” Our task is to show people we’re worth following. That we get what matters to them. Then we have to show that the Conservatives are the real risk to those things, or I’ll be drinking my cup of tea on May 6th 2020 with a sense of déjà vu.

David Ward is a Labour campaigner in south London

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10 Responses to “Dan Jarvis is right. We must show the Tories are the gamblers”

  1. nhsgp says:

    The problem is that Labour gambled on borrow and spend.

    In a little over 5 years Brown quadrupled the pension debt. Your pension. With no assets to pay.

    The Tories inheriting that 6 trillion of total state debt, have doubled it. Not that they had much choice. It’s completely out of control.

    So you bet everyone’s retirement income. The bet has failed.

  2. PeterA5145 says:

    “Family. Work. Community.”

    Now, what does that remind me of?

    Oh yes, the slogan of Vichy France.:

    “Travail. Famille. Patrie.”

  3. As the right of the party starts to pay lip service to things like anti-austerity, borrowing for investment in infrastructure while interest rates are low, fighting inequality and the rest of John McDonnell’s stolen clothes, should we believe them?

    Also is being an ex-military officer all that is needed to be Labour’s leader? Jarvis certainly thinks so and led his speech with another line about being in the trenches in Helmond.

    I must admit I have doubts about both answers.

  4. Rallan says:

    LOL! I was listening to two Labour pundits talking yesterday. Apparently Dan Jarvis has a great backstory and will be able to set the narrative, and he’s triangulating between soft Labour and Old Labour. They didn’t mention “nuance” but I’m sure they were thinking it.

  5. Ex Labour says:

    Due to his military background many say Jarvis may well be a leader in waiting, but equating leadership with military experience is not necessarily correct as there are military leaders who are complete donkeys. Anyway to the point…Jarvis’ speech was, I’m afraid, full of sound-bites and platitudes and little substance. People can infer this, that or the other from his words, but there was little of substance.

    The soft left socialism of Miliband was roundly rejected at the polls last year and the acceptance and inclusion of various loony leftards with dubious beliefs and opinions will give the Tories much more ammunition. The party has been infiltrated by the Islington Marxist affluent middle classes under Corbyn, as opposed to the Islington affluent middle classes under Blair. One provided 3 GE wins and one will send the party into oblivion when the Tory attack machine starts in 2020.

    The current party does not and will not provide voters with the hopey changey stuff you want. The likes of Jarvis and co, need first to consider how to regain control of a party heading back to the days of Hatton and Militant.

    When they have done that, then they can speak to the people about their vision going forward. Platitudes now do not make a policy for 2020.

  6. Madasafish says:

    David Ward is a Labour campaigner in south London”

    So is a supporter of a party whose Shadow Chancellor has done a 180 degree U turn on future economic policy of a Labour Government -within six months of being appointed to the post.

    And then criticises George Osborne for “short term political gain” !!!!

    Some people don’t do irony..

    Try looking in the mirror first before writing.

  7. Tony says:

    “That means stop banging on about Trident”

    John Woodcock and Kevin Jones never talk about anything else!

  8. TCO says:

    Sooner or later the penny will drop with Dan Jarvis, Liz Kendall, Tristram Hunt et al. that the socialists don’t want them and they need to reassess their options.

  9. John P Reid says:

    TCO don’t wait to soon, the far left of the party have never accepted the lctorate don’t wan them

  10. DJ says:

    “That means stop banging on about Trident”

    Trident offers only mutually ensured destruction, cannot impact on the challenges we face today and the leader who activates it will have failed the country more than any other. Meanwhile billions are needed to fund the NHS, schools, asylum support, legal aid, the police service, litter collection service etc.

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