Unity, hard work and Labour values
Responding to disastrous election results, one former cabinet minister wrote the following:
"The message from voters on the doorstep during the local elections was very clear. I lost count of the number of previously loyal Labour supporters who said, "Not this time". Again and again I was told: "Tell them they've got to get back on track, in touch with us before we start voting Labour again."
This renewal [of the Labour Party] must be guided by clear principles and an understanding of the position we are in. These principles can be described as unity, hard work and Labour values.
Unity: Spending time fighting between left and right, or Blairites and Brownites, would lead us to certain defeat. Unity is something which everyone needs to buy into, and cannot be demanded by people who are not prepared to show it themselves. In the short term, it requires an end to the destructive instability and speculation over the leadership.
Hard work: Keeping in touch with local people and making sure that we are prioritising the issues that they find important requires a lot of hard work. It means demanding and delivering high standards of service at a local level, and responding effectively and promptly to people's complaints. This is crucial in defeating the BNP and others who feed off disaffection in deprived areas.
Labour values: All of our greatest successes have been possible because of our underlying beliefs in a fairer and more equal society. To rebuild trust, we need to explain better how what we do in government is based on these principles. We also need to attract people who care about improving their area to get involved and join the party."
And in 2009, when Labour nationally was getting its worst result since women were first given the vote, Labour in Oxford, under Andrew's inspirational leadership, were making gains, defeating the best efforts of the Lib Dems, Tories and Greens to elect nine county councillors (nearly twice as many as four years ago).
I spent last week in Oxford helping with the campaign. I met dozens of amazing, talented and committed people who gave up their time to volunteer and help Labour win. As well as the nine councillors elected, there were another five who had worked so, so hard, who would have been great councillors but who narrowly missed out.
Unity, hard work and Labour values. Now, more than ever, that's what the Labour Party needs. It's not a coincidence that where these three principles have guided Labour, they've gained support and elected hard-working community representatives, and where they've ignored these principles, they've got hammered.