Over the last year or two, our prescient oracle Irishbill has been writing posts on need for the Labour party to make themselves relevant. This post from October last year “The Year Ahead” where he said…
Rather, I think that the electorate has simply run out of patience with Labour. As has been pointed out time and time again, politics is about narratives – about finding a positive story about your own brand and a negative one about you opponent and punctuating these stories with example again and again and again. And yet Labour’s “top teams”, both under Goff and under Shearer, have repeated failed to grasp that very simple fact.
So in four years we’ve not seen any consistency either in how they have opposed the government or how they have promoted themselves. Instead we’ve seen four years of disparate silver bullet PR fiascos…
It’s going to be hard but Labour needs to get its house in order. There’s too much to lose if it doesn’t.
His general advice was basic – membership. For instance “Just how wrong can you get it?” at the end of 2012 where he was discussing the attempts to stifle criticism of the party on the net.
… I’ll just stick to pointing out the fact that the Labour Party membership is the lowest it has been in the history of the party and that to try to introduce such a proscriptive and draconian policy would only encourage that number to sink even lower.
It’s also antithetical to every theory of organising in the modern age that I can think of. Almost without exception member and volunteer based organisations are opening up their discourse and flattening their hierarchy as they realise that in the age of social media people need to feel connected and that they have a voice if you want them to join your organisation and help build your cause. In this light, telling people that joining the party means shutting the f*ck up on the internet isn’t really a winner.
After the disastrous attempts at last years conference to do the same kind of smothering on a caucus faction using the media as a tool, he started to get everyone ready for the inevitable in “A good time to join Labour”
Well there’s not been so much focus on the Labour Party for a long time so I figure now’s the time to point out that, thanks to rule changes (and not just the contentious ones) holding a Labour Party membership has never meant so much in terms of having a say in where the party (and hopefully, after 2014, the country) goes.
With that in mind I’d like to take this opportunity to invite Standard readers who aren’t already party members but who care about the direction of this fine (and occasionally not so fine) institution to put their money where their strongly held opinions are and sign up.
I won’t say that this post and the subsequent ones by Irish and others caused all of the doubling of the Labour membership over that last year. It is obvious that the new leadership rules and the development of a mostly coherent policy platform helped a lot in extracting the Labour ulterior into rejoining or joining the party.
But it’d surely have helped push the opportunities to help change Labour. Last month we had more than 40 thousand unique visitors on the site according to google’s cookies. From what they have told me over the years, the vast majority of those people aren’t members of any political party. It isn’t hard to find evidence of this amongst that small fraction of them who actually comment.
I’d like to compliment Irish for his effect on what I see as the change between last year’s conference and this.