Here is my reflection on what happened in #bradfordwest.
Firstly, it seems to me that we had a candidate who did not focus enough on local issues. From what I saw of him on TV he did not really inspire confidence. This is surprising given that he is as I understand Deputy Leader of the Council?
Secondly, it was in my view a fatal mistake for us (Labour) to think that a local Asian and Muslim candidate would be the best person for the job. The local CLP needs to reflect on this. The best candidate should be the best candidate regardless of race, gender, disability etc. You get my point. If they are local then that is great, if they are not this should be no problem. Sometimes a fresh look at these things is much better.
Thirdly, lots of comment on the so called Asian vote. In the end it doesn’t matter if the electorate is black, white, yellow or green, male or female, straight or gay, young or old. It’s about our policies and what side of the argument people stand on. Yes there are those in the community that are disproportionately hit i.e., low GCSE attainment for certain ethnic groups, but if the policy direction is clear and people can see how it will benefit them, they will vote.
Fourthly, whilst I do not doubt at all the commitment of the volunteers pounding the streets of Bradford West, I suspect that organisation and preparation were not what they could have been given that the CLP and some in Labour thought this was a walk in the park. Any campaign needs serious organisation. What’s the saying, “fail to plan - prepare to fail” The mutterings from the Party indicate that Tom Watson went AWOL. The General Secretary needs to hold a firm line and even if it means upsetting people help get the organisation right.
In the end, it’s important that lessons are learned. Some are already saying that this will never happen again. If we are complacent, it will.