I can’t say I’m a big fan of Labour’s new Party Political Broadcast.
I don’t believe the message Labour should be taking to the electorate is “we’re not as duff as the Lib Dems nor as evil as the Tories”.
There’s no denying that both of those things are true. But “vote for us, we’re a bit less crap than the other guys” is not the message that’s going to either inspire increased voter turnout or win a mandate for the kind of changes that Ed Miliband’s Labour wants to make on a return to power. Nor is it the kind of message that will win over the anti-politics voters we risk losing to UKIP.
I think Labour’s message that these are tough times for too many of us is the right one. I think it is a sober and serious message. I get that the coalition parties are not dealing with the cost of living crisis, but I think those who are struggling need to know – really know – that we get it. That we take their pain and their hopes seriously. This isn’t that.
But I don’t want to be a hypocrite. So I’m not going to write a negative post about a negative PPB. Instead, I’m going to take my cue from my leader and set out Labour’s own positive agenda.
This is what I want to see Ed Miliband say. Direct to camera. No jump shots, no film students convinced they’re the next Bertolucci. A plain spoken and clearly delivered message.
“My friends we live in very difficult times. Thanks to a worldwide economic crash – one that I accept that the last Labour government did not do enough to insulate us from – we are suffering through a prolonged period of austerity.
Even now, as the economy staggers slowly back to growth very few of us are seeing our own situations improve. Wages are not recovering for all but a very few at the top. The rest of us find ourselves increasingly working for an economy that doesn’t work for us.
People feel shut out. Shut out of growth, shut out of the kind of future for ourselves and our families we used to assume was not just possible but natural. Our children with secure roofs over their heads, secure jobs and wages that would rise as they worked out their lives.
They also feel shut out of politics. Shut out by the broken promises – on Tuition fees and on the NHS. Shut out by a sense that we aren’t listening. That we aren’t on your side. The siren cry of UKIP that we’re all the same.
I know the Labour Party is on your side. But it’s not enough for me to know it. I have to prove it to you.
I know I can’t do everything in government that I would like to. We still have to deal with the deficit. We will have to undo a great deal of the damage that has been done over the last 4 years. We are constrained. But we can start to change the way things work. Change the balance of power between consumers and monopolies, change the markets that aren’t working – in housing and energy for example.
I offer you today two things. A contract outlining ten concrete ways in which Labour will tackle the cost-of-living crisis. And my cast iron guarantee that these will be enacted into law by my Government in my first two years in office.
If you are worried about the cost of rented housing and the lack of homes to buy, we offer you a solution.
If you are worried about the cost of childcare, we offer you a solution.
If you are worried about your energy bills, your job security or your ability to borrow as a small business, we offer you a solution.
And if you’re worried that I’m just like all the rest and won’t keep my word, I offer you this promise:
If these policies are not in my first two Queen Speeches, I will have failed myself as well as you. So I will step down. I will resign as leader of the Labour Party, as Prime Minister and as an MP. Because I came into politics to change things. If I can’t manage that. If I am unable to keep these promises to you, then I will step aside for someone who can.
I know I will deliver to this country and start to make the changes that our economy desperately needs to build us an economy fit for all its citizens. This contract is just the start of that. But that start is my pledge to you.”