There are some great quotes in today’s Ed Miliband interview with Patrick Wintour in the Guardian that suggests the Labour leader genuinely understands the change that the party needs to undergo if we are to win the next election, and avoid more Bradford West-esque results. Here’s a selection of the most important lines:
“I take Bradford 100% seriously. It was a very important reminder that unpopularity for government does not necessarily mean success for Labour. You have got to earn it and show that not all main parties are the same. Let us be frank, there is a great, great cynicism about politics and politicians and that is what we have to punch through.”
“People are so sceptical of any established politics to deliver and part of my task is to think about the way we organise, the way we communicate, the way we talk about our politics, so we can convince them we have changed. We have got to take up the mantle of change.”
“You campaign at elections, but you also campaign all year round. If you think people have no faith in politics you cannot just be the people that say ‘vote for us’.”
“We have got to help change people’s lives directly. We have got to take our members seriously, so they are no longer there just to deliver leaflets. We have to find ways to grow an activist base from just 15 people. Every local party member that joins needs to get a visit from someone asking why have they joined what are you interested in. We often don’t do that.”
“The temptation is that you just knock on the doors of the people who have already voted for you, and you ignore those that don’t vote, but that means you have a declining pool of people to reach.”
Fine words Mr Miliband, for which you should be congratulated. But until we see concrete actions that these words will become actions, the membership will remain sceptical that the Labour Party is really changing at all. As I said last week – Labour is not a changed party – not yet.
This is another positive step on the road to change, but actions speak louder than words.