You can get some interesting results if you google “Labour effective opposition”. This is just a prologue to a longer post at some point (wouldn’t have googled it otherwise). I’m not happy with Labour’s performance in opposition, although I’d definitely rather have them in power than the Coalition. For now, I found one source that I couldn’t resist posting some quotes from now, in a pub quiz kind of way. Any ideas who said:
“Though observation of the enemy in full flight is extremely gratifying, there is a danger that Labour becomes mesmerised by Tory self-destruction”
“the search for the safe centre led to a passive, defensive posture that failed to articulate any coherent vision of the future or even sense of direction.”
“At times it seemed that all that Labour could demand from the less-than-dynamic duo was that they apologise for their mistakes”
“only by creating the basis for a real public debate on Europe through taking an independent and critical stance of the Government, can Labour legitimately avoid the currently justifiable demands for a referendum.”
“renewal requires that Labour presents a positive agenda for change. But the emphasis should be less on the detail of what Labour would do in office, than on what kind of Britain Labour wants to help build. The difference is crucial, for the former leads to more policy reviews and working parties, while the latter prioritises the development of strategic vision and a sharper ideological cutting edge. In other words, ideology should be the driving force of strategy, which in turn should determine policy and tactics.”
“At the heart of a social agenda lies the question of public services. Whereas Tory policy on the economy is characterised by too little intervention; in education, welfare, local government and other spheres it frequently intervenes where and when it shouldn’t. For all the talk of citizen’s charters, Government policy is still driven by a dual and destructive combination of attempts to govern services by market forces and, particularly in education, to effect a return to ‘traditional values’. Both feed off and reinforce a hostility to the very idea of public service,”
“the current economic circumstance cannot but produce a round of deep and damaging public spending cuts. Once again Labour cannot advance on the policy terrain without a stronger and far more explicit ideological offensive in defence of a public interest.”
You’ve probably guessed that these aren’t recent comments. It’s a trick question because when they were made caught my eye more than who made them. All these quotes come from the first article in the first issue of a journal called Renewal in 1992, after the Tories won the 1992 election. I don’t agree with everything in that article by any means but alarm bells start ringing when I see so many parallels between then and now. Labour’s a very different party to the one it was in 1992 in many ways, although my feeling is that it is in the midst of another identity crisis. I suspect the similarities between the issues raised by Renewal then and the situation now say as much about the Tories as they do about Labour though.
Note 15/7 today the press are covering the 40 Group,
and the upcoming publication of their pamphlet, also called Renewal. Two entirely different things, of course. The new Renewal comes from a group of Tories clinging on to their marginal seats by their fingertips who are apparently keen to take advantage of the public’s misperceptions on issues like immigration and teen pregnancy.