Party’s outstanding policy platform will be ignored by ‘mainstream’ media – it’s up to activists to make noise
The announcement that Labour will soon give the green light for members who wish to to commence parliamentary selection procedures, to start preparing for a general election, means a switch of mindset is urgently required on the part of Labour members and supporters.
The extent of attacks upon the party and its leadership can make it easy to get set into a defensive mode – but voters need to hear about the positive difference Labour government is going to make in their lives and communities. Outside a formal general election period, the Establishment media is never going to give Labour’s outstanding policy platform the coverage and analysis it deserves.
So it’s up to Labour’s members to make so much noise about it that the public can’t miss what’s on offer – and there are a lot of reasons to be positive.
Membership and movement
Labour will soon announce the appointment of a new membership director whose key focus will be to build and retain membership through organising and political education – with the aim of realising Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of building a social movement.
This will require every Labour member to focus again on building the movement and resisting the temptation to be inward-looking or to ‘circle the wagons’. The prize if we succeed is huge.
The alternative of continuing to let anger build is understandable – but exposes the party to attacks on the project for no gain. This does not equate to appeasing the right, but focusing on what needs to be built – and the building blocks Labour’s leadership has. This is not a time for indulging individual ambitions, but for putting into practice the principles of collective action and responsibility that the Labour movement is founded on.
An obvious example of this need is Brexit. The focus of Establishment media and politicians on Brexit/Remain is intentional – and it distracts from the real, everyday issues we all face. Labour’s policies to rebuild Britain’s social and material infrastructure are lost in the noise.
So those who believe in it need to make more noise.
Using public procurement to build more of what we need in Britain and to create quality, well-paid, unionised jobs and apprenticeships – and generate revenue – will have a transformative effect on the UK far beyond merely leaving, or remaining in, the EU.
Building, not pulling down
Building our manufacturing capacity, using – for example – British steel and not cheaply-dumped imports; public ownership of our national assets; simple things like producing public sector vehicles in facilities based in this country, whether through UK firms or others basing manufacturing here just be based here – these are just a few of the steps the Tories will never take, but that Labour can.
And they’ll transform, protect and unite our communities – with equal openness and opportunity in all of the UK’s nations.
Most importantly, Labour will not only implement policies conceived at the top, but will harness the ideas of its hundreds of thousands of members, as an email sent this week by John McDonnell about public ownership makes clear:
Below is just a small selection of Labour’s policies already confirmed – more than enough to be excited about with the prospect of change approaching, but just a small sample of Labour’s vision and its plans – as always fully costed.
- Labour will create high–skilled, high–wage jobs – and make the UK a world leader in the environmentally-friendly technologies we need to protect our planet. Climate change is a class issue
- the party will invest £250 billion to upgrade the UK’s energy, transport and digital infrastructure
- government contracts will be awarded to support UK industry and good employment practices
- Labour will create a new national bank to invest in local businesses and revive local communities
- the party will undertake the biggest house-building programme in three decades
- Labour will deploy 10,000 extra police officers, bringing security to our neighbourhoods
Rebuilding our public services
- Labour will bring energy, water and rail back into public ownership – running them for the people, not profit
- Labour will build the NHS back up and fund it properly, reversing the decline imposed by the Tories
- Labour will create a National Education Service, ensuring the best education for all
- Labour will introduce universal free school meals for primary school children and bring class sizes under thirty for all 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds
- Labour will rebuild the UK’s social security system, lifting the huge burdens piled on our most vulnerable by callous Conservatives
- Labour will reduce the minimum voting age to sixteen, enfranchising and empowering young people to contribute to our country and its direction
On top of all this, Labour’s policies for security, defence and development, human rights, internationalism and more mean that Labour’s supporters and activists have a huge amount to be positive about.
But the public will get next to none of this from the Establishment media or commentators. Announcement after announcement by Labour’s stellar Shadow Cabinet team have received barely a mention from the so-called ‘mainstream’ broadcasters and press.
Labour’s message will only cut through with a huge effort from the party’s members and supporters. It can’t be done from a defensive stance – which is why Labour’s opponents are working so hard to keep us in one.
It’s time to stop letting them.
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