Friday, 3 September 2021

Labour's "Fit for the Future" report is fit only for the bin


A group called Labour in Communications have launched a 26 page document entitled
"Fit for the Future" which attempts to map out a strategy for reversing the party's catastrophic fortunes.

The problem of course is that the people who wrote it are a combination of useless political dinosaurs like Neil Kinnock, who should stay in the party's past rather than pontificating about the party's future, and some reality-averse political daydreamers.

The report comes out with 20+ recommendations, and I'll just go through a few of the report's lowlights here to illustrate how clueless and out of touch it all is.

Labour should have fewer policies

This "fewer policies" recommendation was what triggered all the gales of social media derision, and drew my attention to the existence of this flawed report in the first place.

Despite the fact that practically nobody in the country can name a single Labour Party policy since Starmer took over, and one of the most common complaints about Starmer is that nobody knows what he even stands for, this report suggests Labour needs even fewer policies!

The report claims that there's been over 200 policy announcements since Starmer took over, but the reason these policies haven't become well known isn't that there are too many of them, it's that so many of them have been derisory, hopelessly unappealing shit.

Take Thangam Debbonaire's announcement that she was going to side with landlords to help them bleed Covid-affected tenants dry, or Analiesse Dodds bizarre insistence that Labour would vehemently oppose any efforts to tax the windfall profits of profiteering corporations that made billions during the pandemic, due to the fact the rest of the economy had been forcibly shut down.

The problem here isn't that there are too many policies, it's that policies that side with exploitative landlords and profiteering corporations go entirely against what the Labour Party is supposed to stand for.

"Creating a political cabinet with a mandate to deliver Labour’s message to the public"

If delivering Labour's message to the public hasn't been one of the main priorities of Starmer's cabinet already, no wonder nobody seems to knows what Labour's policies are, or what the party stands for.

Creating a new "political cabinet" tasked with what the actual shadow cabinet should be doing is absurd and confusing.

But they can't recommend that the actual shadow cabinet simply do its job properly, because there's no surer way to lose influence over powerful people than tell them the truth about what they're actually doing wrong.

"Reintroducing a pledge card of announcements to tie together different policies"

Keir Starmer already made 10 pledges to Labour Party members during the post-Corbyn leadership election, all of which have been broken to one extent or another.

Who on earth would be gullible enough to believe a "pledge card" from someone who has already proven beyond doubt that his "pledges" aren't worth the paper they're written on?

It's actually an insult to all Labour Party members to even dare utter the word "pledge", without the slightest reference to Starmer's abandonment of all of his leadership election pledges.

"Integrating and investing in digital, placing it at the core of the communications strategy"

How far behind the curve are these people if they think embracing online activity is some kind of bold and inventive new strategy?

The really sad thing is that under Corbyn's leadership Labour took massive strides forward in online campaigning, but all of those advances have been burned to the ground by Starmer's factionalist right-wing advisers, who see everything through their bitter factional agenda.

They don't see the mass membership, and online campaign groups, and left-wing independent media outlets as powerful assets to the party in a landscape where the Tories hold almost all of the other cards, they see them as enemies who need to be attacked and destroyed.

They blame online activists for Corbyn becoming Labour leader in 2015, they blame them for Corbyn defeating their cowardly Anyone But Corbyn coup in 2016, and they blame them for Corbyn almost winning the 2017 general election.

How on earth are these people glibly blethering on about digital communication strategies, when the entire approach to Labour's existing online supporter base since Starmer took over has been antagonism and abuse!

The report makes no mention of the giant leap backwards the party has made since 2019. It's as if they're proposing the construction of a wonderful new house, without any mention of the pre-existing house that's been deliberately and spitefully burned to the ground!

"Holding shadow cabinet meetings outside of London on a rotational basis to detoxify the party’s London-centric image"

Holding a few shadow cabinet meetings outside of London isn't going to do anything to shift any perceptions that Labour is London-centric. Virtually nobody pays attention to actual government cabinet meetings, let alone shadow cabinet meetings.

If Labour wants to reach out to other parts of the UK, they don't need vapid gimmicky nonsense like this, they need bold, clear policy proposals aimed at improving the material conditions of people's lives, and rebuilding their shattered austerity-ravaged communities too.

"Refocusing Labour’s message to the public to be centred on our vision for the country, and not our own internal issues"

This is ambition is going to be incredibly difficult to pull off because of two main factors.

  • The party's shocking inability to outline even the most basic pencil sketch of what their vision for what a post-austerity, post-Brexit, post-Covid Britain would look like so far.
  • The ongoing factional war against the left (membership purges, shadow cabinet purges, endless Stalinist diktats, internal election-rigging, factionally motivated suspensions, persecution of left-wing Jews, the utterly divisive side-lining of Corbyn ...).
It's such an unrealistic daydream to imagine that the party can suddenly force the public to concentrate on their political messaging, when a significant portion of their members, activists, organisations, and previously supportive independent media sites that they'd need to spread the party message are actually busy fighting back against the bitter factionally motivated internal war the party bureaucrats are busy waging!

Party Conference

The report pins an awful lot of hope on the upcoming party conference, saying that it's an opportunity for Labour to "dominate the news agenda", and imploring the leadership to finally "give more thought to the overall narrative they want to convey", but under current circumstances this is wildly optimistic.

Just last week unionised Labour Party workers voted on taking industrial action against 90 proposed involuntary redundancies (which are being proposed as a solution to the vast hole in the party finances caused by Starmer 's minions deliberately driving 100,000+ paying members out of the party). 

It doesn't matter how many "primary colours" Starmer uses to paint his vision of Britain in his conference speech, it's going to be spectacularly undermined if he ends up having to cross a picket line of the Labour Party's own workforce to make it.

Then there's the fact that Starmer's bloodthirsty NEC henchman David Evans still hasn't had his position ratified at conference. Given the massively divisive internal civil war he's been waging since the moment he took over, it wouldn't come as much of a surprise if there was some kind of conference rebellion, and insistence that he's replaced by some kind of unity figure.

Then there's Starmer's absurdly divisive decision to keep Jeremy Corbyn suspended from the parliamentary party, which is yet another cause of entirely unnecessary division.

If Starmer had been honest about his pledge to promote party unity and kept Corbyn onboard, then a hugely energised audience for an on-message Corbyn conference speech would go down as a success, even if Starmer's speech underwhelms.

But if Corbyn turns up and gets big audiences under the current circumstances, Starmer is going to look a complete tit, no matter how well his own speech does or doesn't go.

Conclusion

There are elements of truth to this report.

It's beyond obvious that the party should be concentrating on stuff like online presence and effective communication.

The problem with it is that the recommendations seem to have been delivered from a position of absolute denial about the terrible state the party is in.

Wishing for a better online strategy is meaningless if you've pissed off and alienated most of your existing online activists.

Wishing for fewer and clearer policies is meaningless, if the policies you want to focus public attention on represent absolute betrayals of historic Labour Party values.

Wishing for more popularity outside of London is meaningless, if all you've got to offer is vapid gimmicks that have no material effects of people's lives or communities.

Wishing for internal party issues to go away is meaningless, if the party leadership is busy waging bitter factional warfare against your own members, supporters, activists, and voters.

Wishing for party conference to be some kind of magical turning point is meaningless, when it's looking more and more like the moment when all the problems you've been creating for yourself collide in an excruciatingly public humiliation.

Wishing for a bright future for your party is meaningless, if you're wishing from a position of denial about the terrible state it's in at the present.

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2 comments:

Sven Wraight said...

Facebook’s saying “Content not found” when I try to access your page there. I’m guessing they’re messing you about again. I’m glad you’re here.

Antitoria said...

Starmers doing a great job for the establishment. He's making Labour unelectable and is an insurance policy for the Conservative Party in case the electorate turns on them due to the disasters of Covid-19, Brexit and all the other inaction in the face of looming catastrophy. Starmer is really not particularly adept at politics and has nothing like the style and capability of someone like Tony Blair in this field. He doesn't have the skill set to be a really compelling politician. Humiliating Johnson at PMQs doesn't count for much. He is another right winger in a supposedly left wing party. Looking at the Conservatives could you say that one in their number is a left winger ? Starmer is an intelligent person and he knows alienating a significant portion of his party and the electorate will not win him the next general election. Perhaps there will be some financial reward for his sacrifice after he secures the Conservatives another 5 years in power.