Posts Tagged ‘Thomas the tank engine’

Three reasons for Labour victory in 2015

31/12/2014, 08:28:22 AM

by Jonathan Todd

Tony Blair might be despondent about Labour’s prospects but all is not lost, there are three reasons for Labour victory in 2015: leadership, economy and brand.

Uncut has consistently warned about the dangers attaching to Labour’s poor polling on leadership and economy. The own goals and gaffes of Conservatives, however, open the door to these improving. Labour enjoys an advantage on brand, which is similarly assisted by Tory missteps.

If David Cameron’s party were a character on Thomas the Tank engine, the Fat Controller would be bellowing at them that they have caused confusion and delay. He’d be saying the same to Labour. Labour is not as popular or convincing as we would like. But Tory error is giving Labour the opportunity, should we seize it, to be marginally and decisively less unpopular and unconvincing.

Labour would be the least unpopular in the unpopularity contest that is this general election. Arriving in government in such circumstances would bring its own challenges. Not least as precipitous demands will be placed on whoever forms the next government by the UK’s fiscal position, underperforming economy and ageing society, as well as looming questions involved with everything from Vladimir Putin’s intentions to Nigel Farage’s staying power about our place in the world.

Someone will have a Labour plan for all of this. Charlie Falconer, perhaps. I think he leads Labour’s preparation for government work. If so, noting his chapter on delivery in the Uncut book, he should call Paul Crowe. The Hollande scenario that troubles Crowe must be averted. One way in which it might become existential for Labour is if UKIP establishes itself as the second party in much of northern England at the general election and then use the frustrations of an administration as disappointing as Hollande’s to further advance.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

A party preparing for government forgets gesture politics and focuses on what really matters

01/01/2014, 02:13:01 PM

by Kevin Meagher

The relative lack of female train drivers may well be an issue that could do with rectifying, but is it really a “national scandal?”

Mary Creagh thinks it is. The Shadow Transport Secretary gave a quixotic interview with the Daily Telegraph over the Christmas break where she blamed children’s television programme Thomas the Tank Engine for “negative stereotypes,” arising from the lack of women choo-choos.

“The only female characters are an annoyance, a nuisance and in some cases a danger to the functioning of the railway” she said, as the internet rocked with mirth.

When passengers are ruing New Year fare increases while enduring the misery of another year of overcrowded trains it seems indulgent – and unfocused – to alight on gender stereotyping – if indeed it is such a thing –  in a single kids television show (a period one at that) as the top issue for Labour’s frontbench transport team to bother about.

And, it would seem, pointless too. Has the decision of haulage giant Eddie Stobart to name its entire fleet of wagons after women had any appreciable effect on female recruitment into long-distance lorry driving? (Answer: only 0.5% of the UK’s 300,000 truck drivers are women, so, no).

In fairness, Creagh was simply backing a campaign led by train drivers’ union, Aslef. It’s not that the general point about the lack of women in the rail industry is not a worthy one, but it is an undeniably marginal one when Labour is so flaky on the big transport issues like HS2.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon