Posts Tagged ‘John Woodcock MP’

We must be in the game, not shouting outside the stadium argues John Woodcock

30/08/2010, 12:58:32 PM

I spent some of my holiday reading accounts of the Thatcher government’s first term post 1979 (I know, my wife Mandy thought so too).

The longest suicide note in history is all well trodden territory. But it is still striking to think how different history could have been; how much more we could have done to protect people who desperately needed us back in those days if we had been prepared to play on the same pitch as the Tories from the outset instead of declaring that they were playing a deeply sinful game and choosing to demonstrate outside the stadium instead.

The Conservative government was able to inflict great damage on many parts of the UK; not least my constituency of Barrow and Furness and home city of Sheffield, because we attacked them for everything instead of acknowledging where they had a point in their basic analysis. We could have offered a tough but progressive alternative, but because we couldn’t even recognise where the Tories were half right, we could not convince the public about where they were going disastrously wrong. And we could not even begin to offer a credible ‘better option’.

What if, back then, we had agreed with the government that many nationalised industries of the time were indeed appallingly run and uneconomic, and needed radical change rather than the attempts at reform (the likes of which  had failed through previous decades). Instead of screaming that they were evil privatisers, what if we had been hard-headed about the need to restructure industries but also insisted on a programme of real investment; giving real hope to the people the Conservatives abandoned?


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