The real outsiders and insiders, and the leadership debate:
Alison McGovern
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The challenge that faces labour (and other parties) is to energise the electorate, so that they will engage with polcies and get out and vote. For the tories, this was done at the GE by scaremongering about the SNP (I saw an anti-SNP poster in Ed Balls’ constituency, 200 miles from the nearest potential SNP MP!) this worked; they dragged ex LD voters into the Tory camp and the LDs are history and the Tories in power. For the majority, this is a catastrophe, however, this is not the start of that catastrophe for many. Many people have seen the country that they recognise change in the last twenty years and have felt gradually more and more disenfranchised. This has allowed the far right to gain traction with their message of division and hatred. They offer simple (bigotted) solutions to complex problems. Labour needs to reach out to people and, sadly, it is not being done by the party at present. For all JCs faults, he represents a symbol of hope to many and I think that he points the way. The party can never become a party of protest, but it can become a real and active party of opposition. We need to embrace the big vision and strive for a big change without getting trapped in minutiae. This worked for the SNP — their vision has brought them massive representation at westminster and all the labour “ifs” and “buts” have been lost. Equally, the LDs lack of a big vision has let the be swept away. I am unconvinced that the current crop of candidates are up to the job, but at least JC points the way to an Obama-like moment of radical change. Whoever wins (and I’m by no means a JC cheer leader) we need to take note of the way that the debate has been framed and embrace a big vision that all of Britain can sign up to. No more fighting the Tories on their ground of narrow economics, but on the high ground of social justice, morality and the right of all people to live a decent life in a decent sociaety without the fear that the state will — as Osbourne has done with tax credits cuts — pull the rug from under them.

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