There have been many moments since the General Election that have been heralded as ‘Pinnacle moments of the leadership’, or ‘Step Changes’ in the Party thinking, and there have been papers, think tanks, and a larger movement of Refounding Labour” which has supposed to remodelled the party from the grass-roots up. However, as the result in Bradford West has highlighted, has anything actually changed? Is this that metaphorical moment where the leadership (and that’s the wider leadership, not just Ed M) will rally and motivate the party!
Don’t get me wrong, this was not a great night for anyone (except George, obviously), with the Tories also losing over 20% of the vote to George too, but you have to raise your eyebrows at some Labour Supporters who are trying to make out that it wasn’t that bad for Labour as George is a “celebrity” or its a one-off, or some funny statistical modelling show another party was worse off. Face facts folks, we can come out will all the excuses in the world, but to coin a T-Shirt I had as a kid, Second place is the first loser.
This acutely highlights the complacency that exists when having an election somewhere where we are already sat. It happens at all levels, from parliamentary all the way down to local elections. It doesn;t mean that the sitting representatives don’t do their work well, but the attitude of “its been ours for the last 5, 10 or 20 years therefore people will definitely vote for me doesn’t hold.
We also have to look at our priorities, I do have concerns over just how much effort is going into the London Mayor elections, while important for London, means little to those outside of that village, and yet many Labour resources are being thrown at it including money and people, and this can only adversely affect the local elections as that is where the resources get pulled from. I think the priority should be those local elections, winning back council seats up and down the country and supporting local people everywhere, not just putting all the effort into one place.
It will be interesting to see just how the party as a whole reacts and moves forward from this loss, in theory it should have been a ‘slam dunk’ but we got caught napping.