Rebecca Rennison is Labour PPC for South West Wiltshire and Secretary of the Young Fabians.
Why Labour can win and why the country needs a centre-left government
I recently heard a Conservative describe the Labour Party as “ideologically bankrupt”. The reality is far from this. Our challenge lies not in the generation of ideas but in the expression of them. Of all the leaders speeches this Conference season David Cameron’s stood out the most. Not for the content, nor for the oratory, but for the clear message that went with it. Cameron’s speech made it clear that his was the party of small government, keen to “roll back the state” and place the emphasis on the individual rather than the collective. It was a clear rallying cry for the party faithful whilst tempered with messaging that would have wide appeal.
Labour is still the party of ideas but we need to do more to explain why our policies are Labour, to draw a clear dividing line between us and the Conservatives. We’ll win by talking about who we are why for us it’s not good enough to leave the education you get or the healthcare you receive up to chance, that the state has a role to play in ensuring that wherever you are in the country, whatever your income, you have real opportunities to fulfil your potential. Let’s not get caught up in talk of “cuts now” v “cuts later”, let’s be brave enough to talk about why we think that Government has an important role to play, why taxes matter and what public spending has achieved so far and would continue to achieve under Labour.
In short, to win the next election Labour needs to step out of the shadows and explain that whilst the Conservatives may claim to share the same goals as us, their way leaves much to chance and has few guaranteed outcomes, it is our way that will make a real difference.