It’s knockabout stuff, Rebecca, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of politics that celebrities saying yay or nay to a party should help frame the debate. And although I have reservations with lots of things in politics more widely – in my capacity (I think) as a thoughtful member of Labour (which, in fact, doesn’t make me at all popular anywhere in the Party – certainly not at local level) – Labour’s current non-charismatic, non-celebrity, non-Big Media Interests, non-Big Business Interests approach (where the latter are clearly interests that exhibit a pretty rank misunderstanding of how the more disadvantaged in society are truly suffering right now) is less of a fail – much more of an admirable, almost moral, crusade.
Crusades of such a nature don’t win elections in the perverse, shallow, disengaged, self–interested, unrepresentative world of Westminster’s cruel politicking? There, you may be right. Only May will tell us there.
But the old (ie recent) techie adage holds true here: “You run the risk of becoming like the competition you choose.” And if Labour fails to deal with the fairly putrid mess that the Coalition has made of representative democracy over the past five years, this will only be because – competing with unscrupulous souls – it has lost its heart, courage and better instincts.
Labour’s failure, after all is said, done and dusted, will be Cameron & Co’s failure too.
And the only collateral damage will be those who no longer fear that perennial getting to the end of the month but, rather, have started to fear – even more tragically – the first or second week.
We only need to look at one key piece of legislation – the gagging law, designed to muzzle experts in poverty from manifestly linking government policy to those who suffer its impact – to realise the most important freedom of speech and expression the Coalition has silenced is not the right to access a free web freely (though this is a key, fairly undebated and mainly privately outsourced measure the government has put into place) but, rather, the liberty and duty of extra–parliamentary, civil and civic interests to participate fully in democratic life precisely at the time that elections take place.
That the Tories and Lib Dems have wrapped up all extra-parliamentary activities which used to interface with Parliament and throw light on its activities, exactly when voters were looking for more even-handed information, indicates that whilst Labour may or may not haemorrhage voters left, right and centre (maybe through its quixotic attempt not to ape the government), the Coalition itself has spent a precious five years lobotomising out the decency of a once admirable body politic.
Labour’s fuzzy? Sure. It’s always been a coalition.
The Coalition’s sharp? Well. So are surgeons’ scalpels.
And I know who’d I prefer to support, enable and give hope to my country’s poor in the second week of the month.