What would Labour have to do to win a fourth term?
Labour is bereft of ideas and the Conservatives full of hot air. That’s the overwhelming view presented by the political press in this country. For a long time I’ve been worried by how consensual this view has been and wondered if it is really so impossible for Labour to win a fourth successive term. So this weekend I did what I haven’t done for a long time. I got up early and attended a political meeting. This Saturday I walked over to the Brighthelm Centre over in the North Laines and listened to a panel of speakers discuss what ideas could help Labour win again. I was pleasantly surprised how many good ideas abounded.
Neil Lawson, of the pressure group Compass, suggested a long list of things that could help Labour reconnect with its electorate (he barely pauses for breath this man): the introduction of a living wage; a tax on land; ban advertising to children; control media ownership; a switch ot proportional representation; universal free school meals; scrapping ID cards and regulating the buses outside London.
Margaret Hodge, meanwhile, advocated a mass build of council houses, which could be donated to the tenants after years of good stewardship. The MP for Barking (who voted strongly in favour of US-style Foundation Hospitals) also spoke of smaller secondary schools and more localised police forces.
But perhaps Chris Leslie, the former MP for Shipley and now a leading light in the Progress movement, came up with the best idea: limit the amount of money MPs can earn outside parliament to 15% of their earnings. It would certainly help clean the image of politicians with the electorate and limit the reach of big business into parliamentary affairs. He said that this would be bot popular with voters and likely to cause the Tories problems as most of their front bench are currently “coining it in”.
In other words there is still hope for those who wish to see Britain develop a fairer society.