Labour MP for Erith & Thamesmead

Teresa Pearce MP

Comrades come rally…..

Posted on June 07, 2009 by Teresa Pearce

I have spent many hours reading in newspapers and on blogs the thoughts of members on the current problems facing the Government and one of the things has become clear to me is this……..  In the main the members of the Labour party who are most vocal in shouting ” Change the leader, change the leader” are the ones who either joined the party since Blair or because of Blair and therefore have no real experience of what it takes to steer through such difficult times.  Those of us who stuck with the party through the awful years of Tory rule when admitting to people you were a Labour party member would get at best laughter or at worst abuse know that there are no easy or quick answers.

I would say to some of the “newer” members of the party that in a way you have had it easy, 12 years of being in a party in government with an opposition in tatters. But all that was possible because the party had strong roots which sustained it through the defection of previous cabinet members to the SDP, and kept the party alive so that it could regroup and refresh itself. The grassroots kept Labour going during those wilderness years and its those roots that must been drawn upon now.

You can rarely change the fortunes of a party by just changing leaders, this is evidenced by the number of leader changes the Tories have had since Thatcher which did not bring about any magical change in fortune for them. Cameron is doing better than the rest because parts of the PLP are so distracted with in fighting that he has been given a clear road.

Spin, cosmetic changes and personality contests do not run a country.  The Cabinet is dealing with rising unemployment, recession and a crisis of parliament not an episode of Changing Rooms, we need strong leadership not Llewelyn Bowen.  Being in the Labour Party especially when in government is not a popularity contest nor should it be. The right decision is not always popular but if it is right it may become popular.

I have always believed that the closeness between New Labour and the press was a huge mistake. Managing the media is one thing, operating through them is another.  It was no surprise that Purnell announced his resignation to the Murdoch press before he even told the Prime Minister. The press do not understand the Labour Party and never have , they think they do because they know some MPs and Ministers but that is not the party, its just a small part of a much much wider and more complex organisation.

The press have an agenda that is poles apart from ours they want to sell newspapers and have “interesting” stories. Things are ok is not a story, things are a disaster is.  Therefore much of the speculation we have seen is driven by a media that needs to fill a 24 hour rolling news agenda and politicians who want to be famous more than they want to be effective.

I would ask the PLP before tomorrows meeting to remember what your job is, why you are there and who you represent.  This is no time for posturing or sound bites. If you are not prepared to say what you mean out loud and to the party then maybe you should not say it at all.  Get out of the tearooms and the corridors of Westminster into the streets of your constituencies and start listening to your fellow members and constituents and maybe we will then regain trust and pespective which will give us a fighting chance at the next election.

1 to “Comrades come rally…..”

  1. Bring in the Youngsters and New Blood

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