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June 27, 2008


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My (now edited) five pence:



Ah, wonderful Andrew Gilligan; a columnist and "journalist" who reminds us that you don't need standards, ethics, codes of conduct or principles to succeed.

The low-point is attributing the failure of Ken to win in the mayoral election down to Labour's use of race:

"The problem, however, with the McGrath and Rise stories is that they are lulling Boris's opponents into a familiar comfort zone - into repeating exactly the same failed "narrative" that lost them the election in the first place. "

Sorry, are we not attributing those 139,772 votes to the deluge of Standard attacks on Ken, the small businesses and traders (Butchers 4 Boris) who were alienated by Ken's Congestion Charge and Low Emissions Zone policies and the shipwreck that is national Labour?

If, my dearest darling Gilligan, the Labour Party and London Left wants to succeed in opposition and be able to launch an effective campaign in 2012, the solution isn't to ditch the race card. Instead, it is to burn Blair's legacy and distance themselves from the stagnation Brown is creating my doggedly following the path laid out by Blair. Blair and Brown's government is failing and being beaten in the polls because they've become isolated and separate from the electorate and its that same thing that toppled Ken. He failed to relate the change to people. Labour's refusal to intervene over post offices (see Clapton Pond), the polyclinic programme which is breaking GP's links with the community rather than bringing high-quality hospital care to the community. The list goes on.

If Labour wants to be effective and win come 2012, it should do two things: the first is to offer real and genuine change, something Blair failed to do in his 10 years and something Brown is continuing not to do. The second is to borrow something from Barack Obama: "Change that works for you." Progressive politics which works on every level, especially in the community, not at some distant high-minded level which is only tangible and accessible through the reams of statistics at the NAO. Hopefully the next Labour leader will understand that, although neither Milliband or Balls looks likely to do so.

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