There’s no such thing as a free lunch

20th December 2019

Written by

Post general election thoughts from Labour in the City Secretary, Nick Smith.

This is the first time I’ve ever felt bad voting Labour.  There are many reasons for this but mainly because of what the party has come to represent, and how it’s no longer a viable candidate to run the country.

I’ve seen the party change considerably in the past few years.  While we’re good at recruiting activists this seems to have been prioritised at the expense of listening to voters.  I hope that the election result will raise awareness that these are not the same thing.   A party that used to focus on winning the argument across the country now retreats from scrutiny, particularly when it comes from quarters of the party or country that are designated as illegitimate.  Worst of all the party has developed pockets of bullying and anti-Semitism. The f****** Labour Party!

The other big issue was competency.  Others can review the polling data and sift through the voter/candidate feedback to their hearts content, but the flaws in Labour’s approach to policy and opposition have been in plain sight for several years.  You don’t have to have read Milton Friedman to know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or broadband).  People will always support more investment in health, education, infrastructure but if you don’t show them this can be done in a coherent way by winning the argument, they’ll never trust you.

I still think Labour remains the best (only?) vehicle by which we can make the UK a place where people are able to succeed no matter what their background.  The leadership race to come is a chance for the party to show voters that this is still at the core of the party and move on from the mistakes of the past.  The need to offer effective opposition to the Government is now greater than it has been since 2010.  Holding the Government to account during this period will also be more important to voter’s perceptions in the next general election than any other factor.  I look forward to hearing how all leadership candidates plan to do so over coming months.  I also hope that they’re offering enough of a break with the past that I don’t have to feel bad voting Labour ever again.