In case the reader needs reassurance that Osborne is a failed Chancellor, you only have to look at what the financial services people are saying. A couple of weeks ago, Citywire ran with this headline, “Hooray for the (debt-fuelled) UK recovery!”
How about this funny analysis from the stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdowne: “Former US president Abraham Lincoln has been credited with saying the problem with politics is you can never please all of the people all of the time. In a more contemporary setting and with the UK yet to regain ground lost during the 2008-09 recession chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne has struggled to please anyone at any time since stepping into 11 Downing Street three years ago.”
However, the one thing that the Tories do massively better than Labour is this: When they are down, they come out fighting. Even when the world took note that Keynes had won and austerity lost, they carried on fighting. The question is, what does Labour do? Has Ed Miliband and Ed balls given up? Do we only have an opposition on a Wednesday lunchtime?
While the Conservative party refuses to publish their membership numbers, due to their decline, our party is fizzing with excitement. This whole party wants to take the fight to the Tories. The only thing that’s stopping us is that we need the leadership to show the way.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
Forget about trade union reform. That stuff is history. The unions have shown contrition over that Scottish selection thing, and it’s over. What looked like a Clause 4 moment, has become navel gazing. Concentrate on what’s happening with the Tories. It’s interesting and dangerous, for them and us. Look.
The Tories want to turn defenders into attackers. Unlike us, they don’t have a vision beyond making lots of cuts, and the cuts agenda will soon be over. That’s why they keep making tiny announcements about parking on the drive or stop and search. They are trying to create the illusion of being busy, and we should be ridiculing them.
Meanwhile we have this immigration dog whistling not unsimilar to what worked in Australia (a very different country to ours). A couple of weeks ago, Theresa May spoke of ending stop and search, which I thought was ridiculous taking into account all the guns and knives that are taken off the street with this policy. Today, they’re searching black people for jobs.
We have to take this fight on, but without losing control. For example, the story of immigration officers tweeting pictures of their arrests following a raid on a takeaway. The pictures did not show the faces of those arrested. It was legitimate for them to tweet this in order to show that they are doing their jobs.
The Tories are trying to create a “wedge” issue in the hope we lose our head and lose the argument. If we don’t lose our head, we win, because they are making themselves look nasty. We just have to be clear in our policy. We are hostile to further immigration, yet that is not an excuse for 1970s style racism.
We can make this work for us, but only if the leader is in charge and doesn’t let go of the tiller when the storm hits. We have to learn from the welfare bruising, not give up as a result of it.
Unlike the Tories, our party has a sense of direction and a purpose. We plan to have the biggest house building program since the World War II. We plan on putting a million young people back to work. We will stick to the Tory cuts, but we also want to invest in the country’s future. The Tories might argue that there is no money, but remember, they only won the cuts argument, while they lost the austerity argument. There is a big distinction, and we have to mercilessly push that point.
The important thing is to be confident in our argument and for the leadership to get back to leading. Labour is a party of greyhounds at the slip, straining upon the start.
Don’t let us down, Ed.