In the real world no one cares about your squabbles

22nd January, 2013 11:00 am

I have, or at least I think I have, Norovirus.

As a result I am sat at home whiling away the hours until my stomach starts to feel marginally more confident that I can leave the house. The upside to Norovirus, if there is one, is that it gives me the chance to read.

I have finished the newspapers already (I’ve been up since three o’clock) and now I’m moving on to the various Labour blogs that I am interested in. And what I have discovered this morning is that I seem to have stepped into an all-out war between various factions.

It seems the war was started by left wing ‘voice’ Owen Jones calling / not calling (depending on who you listen to) for the establishment of a new leftist party, and now being lambasted by some bloke called Luke Akehurst (and others) accusing Owen of being an idealist and not quite grounded in reality.

I have got news for both Owen and Luke (and anyone else stepping into the foray). Outside the pressure cooker of London CLP’s, in great swathes of the country, no one really cares.

What people care about – and as a councillor and group leader people speak to me every day – is that they are worried about their jobs, their benefit and the state of the high street.

Those same people who are worrying right now also realise that the country is in deep financial straits and acknowledge that cuts have to be made. Their worry is that cuts so far have been too far and too fast and the wrong people are being targeted.

What local people in my constituency couldn’t give a fig about is internal squabbles between the right and left of Labour.

And you see my constituency of North West Leicestershire is important. It’s not a close marginal but it was held by Labour from 1997 to 2010, when it fell to the Tories. It’s exactly the sort of seat Labour should be aspiring to win if they want a working majority come 2015.

But instead of focussing on defeating a weak government who are there for the taking, look no further than my own MP Andrew Bridgen, so many voices in Labour are determined to shoot themselves in the foot whilst naval gazing (I know my metaphors are getting decidedly mixed).

With less than two and half years until the next general election now is not the time to be arguing amongst ourselves. Now is the time to explain just how this government are hurting ordinary people.

Leon Spence is the Labour Group Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council

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