Friday, 1 May 2009

Blunkett right on where next

For the second time in a week, the former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, has captured the politics of the moment to perfection. I am certain that I am not the only person who was amazed to see him praised- up to a point- for his re-think on ID cards by none other than Shami Chakrabarti. Now his analysis of where the Labour party needs to go next is spot on. Putting aside the headline grabbing comment about the need for the Prime Minister to display some 'old-fashioned political nous', Blunkett has understood exactly where the party and government needs to go next.

In the aftermath of the G20 Summit I wrote the following:
"So this is now the moment to drive a new political momentum. His achievements at the G20 Summit were only the start for the Prime Minister. He now has to make that deal relevant and show why the Tories' answers are a complete irrelevance and even a danger."
I'm afraid instead of getting out there and making the case, the government has gone into its shell again. So I wholeheartedly agree with David Blunkett when he says:
"What is absolutely critical to them is what will the next government be doing to protect the to protect their interests to engage them as active citizens in a better tomorrow."
Getting out there and explaining what he has been doing at the G20 Summit and why the Budget was important is critical to the future success of the government. The Prime Minister and Chancellor have set an economic course and the government will be judged on its success.

If it works- and I believe that the approach of this government is least worst and consequently the best in the circumstances- then Labour absolutely has a chance at the next election. But people have to feel part of that. That means listening as well as lecturing. There is twelve months or so left. Labour has to justify what it has done on the economy, present a vision of active citizenship- a different and more community-oriented Britain- as David Blunkett says, and get out there and make the case. The longest general election campaign ever begins now.

Post script: While I agree with David Blunkett, I completely disagree with Ken Livingstone that Labour is 'doomed.'

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