Under performing and not getting our message across were phrases used by the old bruiser to describe his own Party Leadership this week. Does he have point?
Well of course he is right and it goes right back to the one great truth told about the British economy in recent times. Whilst it was probably done in jest it was oh so right – ‘there’s no money left’ was the parting note to his successor left by Labour’s former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne after Labour lost power at the last election. Liam Byrne was of course right too.
What happened next set the Labour Party up for the problems they have now; little if any credibility when it comes to the economy. Indeed, they set themselves up (without any help from opposition parties) by pretending that the cuts were not necessary, that they had no responsibility for what had happened to the economy, that savings need not be made, championing every cause where savings had to be made and generally trying to give the impression of ‘recession what recession?’.
Such nonsense appealed to Labour’s core vote, to public sector workers who were and still are feeling the pinch and to socialists who want a common ownership economy. BUT no one else was listening as they knew Labour’s economic head in the sand was just that.
Labour kept getting away with it because the economy was still bumping along the bottom and that further cuts were still to be made (they will probably still have to be made long after the next election), yet Miliband and Balls knew they would have to significantly change direction and appeal to the middle ground if they were to stand any chance at the 2015 election.
So the brakes went on and there was big talk about Labour accepting the Coalitions cuts, not reversing them etc. etc. Trouble was and still is that many Labour MP’s, councillors and activists are still on the old tune; they do not like the new one so they do not sing it.
And thereby Labour ends up not getting its message across and performs poorly; no wonder when it is singing from two different hymn sheets! So Prescott is right and the loss of a couple of council seats to the Lib Dems in his own Hull back yard (Hessell to be accurate) last week will not have done much for this sense of humour either.