The problem with being a reasonable moderate is that everyone thinks they are a reasonable moderate.
As I continue on my Labour journey it is astonishing how different the reactions I get to my blogging can be. When I try to examine how Labour can and should temper its message to the whole country, I am roundly derided as a Blairite out-runner. When I try to explain that this doesn’t mean capitulation on either message or medium, I’m decried as an idealist Leftie with my head in the clouds.
I don’t think I’m that different to most Labour Party members really, generally excepting those with a high profile. I also don’t think that Labour Party members are from Mars, and that we are as close to the mainstream as everyone else. Edging our way through the vagaries of life.
Most members I meet want Labour in power, but want that for the purpose of achieving economic and social justice. We want to see a proud and confident Labour Party that know what it believes in and how to achieve it, but we want that to also be a consensual process.
The problem I have is that I rarely meet people who are confident of the soul of the party and values, who also want to fight for a slick media operation and presentational structure. And I rarely meet people who want the Labour party to have the kind of presentational values that a modern Labour Party needs who are confident in the heart and soul of the Party.
I am trying, with this blog and my work elsewhere to persuade the Labour Party to be comfortable with and of itself in all its forms. Doing that means disagreeing with each other where necessary, but being loyal too.
It recently struck me that while this is the stance of practically every Labour member I meet, this is not a very popular stance on the Internet. Those who shout the loudest, or who come up with the most outrageous positions from either the left or right of the party generate much heat but little light. Luke Bozier’s recent rant is a particularly good example, but there are just as good examples of Ed being attacked from the Left (Ed, if you’re being attacked by both sides, it’s because you are getting the balance broadly right).
Balance is a tough thing. If one is only critical of the leadership, that criticism loses its punch. When Dan Hodges writes yet another anti-Ed column what used to annoy me now bores me. Equally, I am sure if Dan reads this, he gets bored of my supportive columns. I try not to be a cheerleader, but on the whole I think Ed is doing a good job, and I’m not going to lie about that just to be a sensationalist, however much it might propel me into the spotlight to do so.
So I’ll keep on talking tactically about what Labour need to do to win, which is my forte. I won’t be hitting the headlines, or become a darling of the blogosphere, but I hope that someone somewhere finds this interesting and useful.