The legacy of Bradford West….
I read an interesting piece in The Guardian last night. It concerned an interim report into our by-election loss in Bradford West. Certainly, given our recent poll spike, it is easy to feel that this loss is more than half a world away. However, it did illustrate in dramatic fashion how far away we still are from recapturing the commanding heights of government.
I find myself in agreement with Faz Hakim. It is simply not good enough for the Party to rely on votes delivered by community leaders en bloc to guarantee its success. It is not only obviously an electoral busted flush but also runs deeply counter to the professed value system our Party espouses. Hakim initially espoused this view in 1996 and yet still no serious action has been taken to amend this practice and cultural laziness and this is obviously entirely unacceptable. As Hakim intimates it runs counter to the spirit and letter of community organising and hopefully this leadership will be more receptive to changing this especially as it has espoused the aspiration of community organising being the bedrock of our revival.
However, there is a deeper issue that Hakim leaves untouched. In talking about an “increasingly young and ideological minority ethnic voters” we are touching on an issue with much broader implications. Labour was brought into existence to not just storm the gates of heaven but dismantle them and sell them for scrap to feed the people. In short, Labour is nothing if not a moral and practical crusade against citadels of earthly privilege. We need to rediscover that ideological spirit and not be scared of ideology. Pure ideological politics is just zealotry dignified with a semi-respectable moniker but politics with no ideology is soulless mangerialism, a thick gruel that is unlikely to inspire people desperately in need of convincing answers to big questions and this is where Galloway scored big points off Labour and why he won handsomly and hands-down in every area of Bradford West.
The legacy of Bradford West needs to be a fearless Labour Party, not afraid to talk about ideology and be ideological. We are facing one of the most ideologically-driven, viscious and ruthless governments of modern times. If we dont have a strong ideological counter-narrative with which to fight back then we can sadly expect more results like those we saw in Bradford West and we wont be returning to government anytime soon.