Labour have their work cut out, for now, to appear credible again in the eyes of the electorate. It is said that elections are fought and won in the centre ground of politics, but Corbyn’s ascension has put pay to any hint of their return to the centre. So I have compiled – yet another – list for Britain’s favourite Socialist – on the back of a recent study that most people in Britain prefer Socialism to Capitalism – of some of the things Labour could do in preparation for 2020.
Sort out Trident policy
Tom Watson recently suggested that a Commons vote was needed while support for its renewal was still strong. In a vote, Corbyn must acquiesce: to go into a General Election with no clear policy on it would be foolhardy.
However, Corbyn does have the option of merely “keeping” Trident. That is to say, while he is in favour of unilateral disarmament, the majority of his party is in favour of its renewal. To take the middle road on this issue may save some political face and put to bed an issue that has haunted Labour since Corbyn was elected leader.
Hire a non-political Spin Doctor
The appointment of Seamus Milne has been controversial. The problem was that a Media Advisor/Spin Doctor/Press Officer cannot be the story or the subject of debate. In this, a meritocratic appointment is needed: someone who is good enough at the job, is sympathetic to Labour as a whole, and not so extreme (in the eyes of our press), in order to get the job done effectively and without personal attack.
Allow a ‘vote of conscience’ on the EU
Bob Crow, the late leader of the RMT Union, Tony Benn, the majority of the Labour Party of the 70’s and early 80’s – they all were in favour of withdrawal from the EU. It was one of the main causes for the SDP Split in ’81. To give a vote of conscience shows unity with the British people in that there are cases to be made for leaving and staying. Corbyn himself has always been (until recently) a Eurosceptic – the Labour Party machine forced his to change his mind during the leadership contest.
Address the West Lothian Question once more
Labour need to make a dent in the SNP’s majority within the Scottish Parliament in May. With Proportional Representation used in Scottish and Welsh elections, Labour have a chance to do this. Corbyn’s Socialist policies can convert some of the more Left-of-Centre nationalist voters, as does his stance on Northern Ireland’s independence.
The SNP Question itself, however, is a bigger issue. Doubtless that in 2020 the Conservatives will rehash the old argument that Labour will be propped up by the SNP in Westminster, and Project Fear will rear its ugly, yet not-ineffective, head once more.
Campaign for Proportional Representation
This has already been sounded out as a possible Labour policy in that talks of a cross-party campaign (which, interestingly, includes some Conservative MPs) could be formed within Parliament. Labour – and the other constituent parties in the campaign – need not only put aside political differences, but also promote the fact (with the Electoral Reform Society) that the AV referendum held in 2011 was never a vote on PR, but a system barely more democratic that the current First-Past-The-Post model.
Not only will PR allow Labour to come in on the backs of the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, but there would be the possibility that, down the line, this would split the Conservatives over Europe if Britain votes to remain within the EU. Even if the Tories don’t split, they could be out of office for a generation through a progressive alliance of the Left Wing parties of Britain.
There you go Jez, those are on me.