Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Moving beyond oppositionalism

The following, from a supporter of John McDonnell, is what I think but put better than I would be able to, so as per standard policy I have stolen it to post here:

"What the Labour Left needs to do is establish a proper dialogue with others in the party about its future direction post-Blair, including many of those who have hitherto supported New Labour.

Recriminations and denunciations, or the rehashing of arguments of 20 years ago or even the last ten do not help this process. We won most of those arguments anyway. There are probably few people now in the party who would confidently defend the invasion of Iraq, our conduct in Afghanistan, the cuts in lone parent benefit, the introduction of upfront tuition fees or the sticking to Tory spending plans for two years.

We need to admit that there has been progress made in the past ten years but say it is time to be bolder and take things further and to stop following the failed Tory policies of the past in relation to public service reform.

We need to move beyond oppositionalism and have a constructive discussion that focuses on two questions:

1. What should the priority objectives of a Labour government be over the next 5-10 years? It ought to be possible to achieve substantial consensus within the party on aims relating to creating a more equal society, no doubt excluding such ultra-Blairites as Byers and Milburn.

2. What policies will we need to achieve these objectives? The Left should at least try and win the argument in principle on what policies are required, even if others wish to move towards them less rapidly."


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