There are very few things in life that vex me quite so much as those Labour members who unreservedly criticise the Labour government’s of 1997 – 2010 as led by Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Whilst these administrations undoubtedly made mistakes we undermine Labour’s record, and our chances of future success, by focusing on the few negatives of those truly transformative years of Labour government.
It’s all very well to attack the point’s in Labour’s record that some of us are less than proud of, be that Iraq, PFI or elements of financial deregulation, but by focusing obsessing over the worst aspects of Labour’s time in government we fail to inspire public confidence that the next one will be any better.
If we want to see a Labour government in 2020 then we need to stop with the self criticism, and the almost joyful pleasure some members get in slating Labour’s time in government and instead start highlighting all the positive things that Labour can do when we are in power.
To my mind, that start’s with looking at what Labour administrations are doing right now, in communities up and down the UK. Whether that be Liverpool’s Labour Council setting up “the Liverpool LECCy”, a low cost energy company to help alleviate fuel poverty by working on a not for profit basis, or Plymouth Labour’s efforts to found CATERed, a Co-operative that provides school meals to the cities schools, and helps tackle holiday hunger by providing free school meals outside of term time. (You can find more details of what Labour is doing in local government here: http://lgalabour.local.gov.uk/web/lgalabour/publications/-/journal_content/56/330956/8254732/PUBLICATION)
Other than the local there is of course the national successes that Labour can bring when we are in power. Whether that be New Labour’s National Minimum Wage, Human Right’s Act, Sure Start or Paternity Leave, or the fact that Labour took 900,000 pensioners and 600,000 Children out of poverty, Labour does amazing things when we are in power and it’s about time we shouted a little more about them. (For 100 of New Labour’s Achievements look here: https://softleftpolitics.com/2016/09/20/100-new-labour-achievements/)
It’s time for Labour to stop beating itself up for the mistakes we made in government, because all governments make mistakes. We need to remind the public of what good Labour in power does, and how revolutionary we can be when they give us the chance to change Britain for the better.