On the point of politics

The Labour party will be electing new leadership over the coming few months.

So far, a number of prominent Labour Westminster MPs have thrown their name in the ring, and there’s a lot of guff in the media & blogosphere about why Labour didn’t win, and who they need in charge to win next time.

Pragmatic analysis of messages, personalities, butty-eating skills, perceptions, demographics, tactics, leaflets. How did you do on the doorstep? How to defeat yr opponents. How to win voter x,y,z. How to inspire the squeezed middle, white van man, the women of Swindon, the aspirational, the wealth creators – nonsense terms that hide the reality of real people with real problems.

For the majority of politicians of our major parties, Con, LIb, Lab, the problem is how to win power.

And if you take that approach, Labour as a party will lose, because they cannot influence those people nearly as effectively as a moderately competent Conservative party – loyalty sticks and influence (press, employer, social) is hard to get past.

Call me an unreconstructed idealist, but this is a depressing argument, and reinforces some key issues I have with the Labour Party.

In life, I try and understand problems, assess solutions, and implement the best solution the best I can. I don’t think that’s unusual.

Politics ought to be the same thing, except looking at bigger problems, for larger groups of people – how can I/we fix that problem? What’s the symptom, what are the causes – the real causes? follow the trail. It’s a purpose, a calling – an over-riding need to secure better outcomes.

Is it too much to ask that our prospective governors first identify the problems, offer solutions that will fix those problems, and then ask for the vote?

The problem for Labour isn’t about getting the vote of the folk of Swindon, Scotland or Morley; it’s about having a vision of how to transform a dysfunctional nation state into one that inspires others, one that surpasses expectations by offering real solutions to real issues. You can’t fake that, you don’t get that without questioning EVERYTHING.

You need a MISSION, a PURPOSE, a point, you need to articulate that, and most importantly – IF IT’S NOT DIFFERENT TO THE COMPETITION, you’re doomed to failure.

It’s not about winning first, austerity-lite, safety first. it’s not about votes. It’s about vision.

(And I’m not sure many MPs have much of a vision these days