Saturday, 18 February 2012

Cheer up, guys?

Am I the only one confused by the pessimism of some in the Labour party regarding our electoral prospects, and the general condition of our party? I’m not advocating complacency, or less awareness of how Labour could improve.

But I just think some people should be…happier?

I grew up in a world where the Tories were…irrelevant. I remember my confusion, at a young age, learning about Thatcher, that such a powerful figure could emerge from a party that, in my memory, had always been entirely useless.

By contrast, Labour isn’t irrelevant now. People are aware of us. People are dissatisfied with the government and see Labour as the potential alternative. We have, on average (Cameron’s “veto” moment as an exception) been ahead in opinion polls.

And yes, things could be better. People still trust the Tories more on the economy. But that’s not a reason for panic; Labour were less trusted than the Tories on the economy before the 1997 election! And yes, Ed could, personally, be polling better, although he’s been great on issues such as phone hacking and the NHS.

And, most importantly, if there was an election today, Labour would have a damn good shot. And that’s if there was an election now. We still have years to campaign, to knock on doors, to keep renovating and pushing our message. Years for the government to keep screwing up the economy and pushing through more unpopular policies.

Not to mention the fact that there’s a strong change that Ken will win the London mayoral election…and even if he loses, how close a race it is, as far as I’m concerned, is amazing; since the candidates are exactly the same as the previous election that Labour lost.

And just the things that I’ve heard on the doorsteps and on the phones in support of the Party…there’s a good amount of it out there.

Labour are still, relatively, a very new party. The Tories history has entrenched them in the British establishment…Labour are, realistically, still babies by comparison. But in that time, they have established themselves as one of the two main British Political parties, they have done so much to change society for the better, have just had their most successful electoral streak and after that ended, even with a bad defeat, are still fighting, still relevant, while the Tories failed to even form a majority, despite all circumstances being in their favour, and are making themselves, day by day, increasingly unpopular.

I do think Labour should be constantly critical of itself, constantly working to be better than its being. But I don’t understand hopelessness. For a party that, in historical terms is still, really, finding its feet, things could be a lot worse.

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