This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Brown needs to surprise us at conference
As we all head to Brighton for Labour Conference this week, there are a number of things that I would like to see happen.
Firstly, Gordon Brown has to announce some big policy changes in his speech. It is the only way the polls may move towards him.
Last year, in the wake of Lehman Brothers collapse, the Prime Minister’s response to the crisis played to his strengths. He showed he was a capable, effective and experienced politician. Public opinion shifted and for a time the polls improved.
Andrew Rawnsley points out in today’s Observer that Brown could still do this by surprising us. On this, he already has form – remember his announcement regarding the independence of the Bank of England or even Mandelson’s return to Cabinet. But any surprise announcement has to be a game-changer. And it has to be sufficiently startling to resonate with the British public.
Secondly, we need to ram home our message that only Labour will make cuts in a careful, sustainable way that doesn’t ruin our public services or destroy our social fabric. In the 1980s Mrs Thatcher made brutal cuts which created enormous poverty and deprivation. Generations of families are still reaping the consequences of this.
Cameron and Osborne are no better. If they had their way, they would make severe cuts now based on a perverse out-dated ideology with no thought or conscience about how it might affect ordinary people. Labour can be trusted to be kinder and more careful. This has to be our line of attack. I believe our core working vote could respond well to it.
Paul Richards wrote on Labour List this week that conference needs to be a ‘Cameron Killing Machine’. He is right.
So thirdly, we have to stop talking about the leadership question. I have been very clear all along that I do not believe Gordon Brown was right for the job but I accept that the party has now come to a settled view on this.
As much as I agree with what Charles Clarke says, it is now time to put these questions behind us. It destabilises us when we need to come together. It makes us look divided when we need to show unity.
This is the last conference before an election so we need to take the fight to the Tories. There is much to be said for adopting a strategy of throwing everything including the kitchen sink at them.
If that means negative campaigning then so be it. How do the British public know we will fight for them if we don’t take the fight to the Tories? We need some fire in our bellies. And a bit of Tory bashing in Brighton this week is exactly the right medicine.