Labour must look forward

The Labour Party is a broad church – but I believe that we lost the election because we narrowed our focus, concentrated on the have-nots to the exclusion of others, and forgot about those voters who were capable of putting us back in power.
A friend, who voted UKIP or Tory (I wasn’t that interested) said afterwards that he is, almost by definition, a Labour voter. He was a teacher who resigned because the job was no longer about teaching; he worked as a self-employed carpenter; then took a job as a builder with a big home construction company; and now, just a few months later, he is a Site Agent bossing a team of builders and apprentices.
His attitude? Labour didn’t once make a statement that appealed to him. He wants a future for his family; to better myself; to help him aim higher and know that his work will be respected.
My response? Dumbfounded. Every policy the Labour Party has would have given this man a secure and progressive future, but we clearly didn’t get the message out.
What went wrong is that we plumped for the negatives instead of looking forward and being positive. Nobody but an idiot would believe that the Tories will blatantly attack the poor, the disadvantaged and the disabled, not directly. By having these protective, negative policies at the top of the Labour agenda we just raised eyebrows. We didn’t instil hope, and we certainly didn’t instil fear of Armageddon if the Tories won. The voters of the UK saw us as an irrelevance in the march towards a stronger economy, a lowering unemployment rate, and a better future for all.
It’s time to swallow our anger about Non-Doms, off-shore bank accounts, tax avoidance, slashing cuts to benefits, privatisation of the social services at all levels. We’ve got five years to offer an alternative that raises people’s hopes and gives them a future they can attain.
We’ve got five years of opposition to build a Labour Party that puts the brake on the Tories’ vindictiveness and cruelty, but we cannot be seen to be simply having ineffective tantrums and screaming from the sidelines. We need to get under the skin of these right wing bigots; make them angry; make them throw their toys out of the pram; and make them look foolish and ridiculous in the eyes of the British people.
My question to all the Labour leadership candidates is: “How are you going to persuade all those who voted Tory, UKIP and, yes, SNP, to vote Labour in 2020?”

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