Flying like an eagle (or, perhaps, a parrot or a pigeon)

Looking east towards the North Sea, Milton ward and beyond

Looking east towards the North Sea, Milton ward and beyond

The session ended with a polite but firm “sorry, not interested”. It began with what some in my party insist represents a big enough caucus to support a Labour Party moving leftwards in order to win, and that was someone for whom Labour is a compromise in the absence of a more left-wing alternative. This resident was thoroughly engaging, and we had a good discussion across a range of subjects. This leftie was alone in holding his views, and whilst it was certainly a small sample (insofar that I cannot speak to hundreds in an afternoon session) if there really is a hidden majority of those who want ideological socialist purity they do not reside in areas that I go canvassing.

In between I had a parrot perch on my right shoulder, which is a first for me and could be a first for any councillor in Southend-on-Sea. It was a very charming parrot. It was hot afternoon for campaigning, and a rewarding one. There was not huge numbers of Labour supporters, but each conversation was rewarding in its own way.

Someone had a pigeon problem, someone else had yet to register to vote over a year after moving in, another let me know why Labour could never attract their vote. Parking, rough sleepers, and dog’s mess also came up. A good afternoon, and a thirsty one.

My overall impression is of a Tory resurgence though, and in the absence of strong opposition my view is that the Conservatives are making hay. The distraction of a Labour leadership election cannot end soon enough for me. I have said it before, and I will say it again – Ed Miliband should have hung on for a while and we should have had the contest after the autumn, or even later. I do not understand the need for haste. It is largely acknowledge that the leadership election in 2010 allowed the Tories to set the narrative, and it could easily happen again in 2015.

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2 Responses to Flying like an eagle (or, perhaps, a parrot or a pigeon)

  1. Rob Brown says:

    And it is going on far too long. I feel like saying I told you so to all the naval gazers out there.

  2. if there really is a hidden majority of those who want ideological socialist purity

    But this is the problem with (any) party politics under First Past the Post. The system forces each party to be a hidden coalition and periodically that coalition has to re-align if it is to appeal to the electorate. This gives two problems:

    1) A party is effectively disabled whilst doing this navel gazing. The Liberals take two months (!) to do this but Labour take 4 months! That’s 4 months out of a 60 month Parliament that Gideon’s Government is getting a free ride. That is as almost as hard to forgive as losing the election and letting them in! When you are absent without leave you get the ludicrous situation of a acting leader saying “no to blanket opposition” but then you all end up being a “wet blanket”!

    2) If a party makes a habit of realigning its internal coalition to appeal to the electorate it becomes arguably a “weather vane” party rather than a “signpost” party (© TB – the original!) and it begins to look as if it has lost its soul.

    The purist in me wants our political parties to be signposts – which would imply many more parties. Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall would not belong in the same party.

    “I don’t think Jeremy and my politics are anything like the same,” Liz Kendall said (BBC News Website 19 July 2015 : Labour rivals clash over spending and welfare in BBC debate)

    “Signpost parties” would stand for something, and may well have more committed activists and supporters and be more sustainable. Who knows more people may join political parties. The inevitability of coalitions would mean that parties would soon learn to compete by debating ideas rather than slagging off people with whom they may end up in coalition.

    But it’s all a dream – our political lords and masters would never allow us peasants anywhere near a system that took power from them and gave it to us.

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