So the people have spoken and we have a Conservative majority, albeit a small one that perhaps affords the Prime Minister some time to lead. It may not, in my opinion give him the free reign he requires to navigate through and implement some fairly problematic manifesto pledges but it does give him the opportunity to get ahead of the game. The opposition will need to be sharp, strong, clear and united if they wish to succeed in defeating any proposals brought forward. Crucially they must offer an attractive alternative. It will be interesting to see what the reaction will be to Labour walking through the opposition lobby with the SNP on crucial votes.
As Chair of the Ilford North Constituency Labour Party, I could not have been happier given that we managed to elect Wes Streeting as our MP. Through the brilliant efforts of our local organiser Matt Goddin the team was galvanised and succeeded where Labour failed nationally.
This brings me on to where I think Labour failed. You will of course have your own view but here is mine:
1) It is far too simplistic to say that it was just the fault of Ed Milliband but we did elect the wrong Milliband and in doing so we appealed to a minority of people who would find solace in trying to recreate a Labour party that existed in the 80’s when we were clearly unelectable.
2) We rejected the New Labour approach which was about putting together polices that appealed to a cross section of voters tapping into their aspirations as well as being business friendly. Now, I know for some folk in our party , one of our greatest and most successful Prime Ministers who understood this is deeply unpopular, (I disagree with their view) but for me I find it naive that we did not listen and learn from the approach of New Labour. We spent far too much time trying to apologise for the past effectively wiping out years of success. We needed to adapt not reject that ideology.
So what happens next? We need a complete review of what we as a party are about and policies that meet the aspirations of all classes to succeed in life. Above all we need a Leader that understands this and is able to galvanise the party, they must be strong and have credible policies that appeal. They will need all the necessary skills required to bring this together.
As a fair minded individual, I offer congratulations to David Cameron. He can now say that he won an election and at the same time removed 3 opposition leaders. He will have challenges on economic policy and whether he sticks to the plan remains to be seen. We have already seen some social unrest but expect more once there is clarity on welfare cuts. He is going to need to need all the skills of persuasion to manage his back benchers on Europe. He will be looking for an advantage beyond this Parliament. Boundary changes will be a priority and pushed through now they have a mandate. One thing for sure, it’s going to be interesting. Let’s see what happens.
As for Labour, the clock is ticking..........