Take The Lords Fight To Labour If They Will Keep Thatcher In Parliament
Lords Reform could not fail if had the full support of Labour. The unknown destiny, at the time of writing, of the Lords Reform Bill is purely because that supposedly progressive party is split over whether to support or oppose democracy for the Upper House.
On Monday, the first day of debate on the Bill, the majority of Labour MPs who spoke were against reform. The Labour frontbench planted more ambiguity in their position longer they spoke.
Duncan Hames MP asked which side Labour will campaign for if there is a referendum as they call for. You would think the Labour leadership would have determined this. But Labour said they could not say and the question was “stupid”. I think the reasonable person in the street may differ as to where stupidity is.
To plagiarise a famous line of William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 Cross of Gold speech, many in Labour today would crucify democracy on a cross of ermine.
I believe we will succeed in passing the Reform Bill and Nick Clegg will be remembered in the far future as the Father of the British Senate. If I am wrong, and the Bill fails, or if it succeeds despite the drag of many Labour MPs voting against then it will be clear that Labour is a defender of patronage and privilege and is no party of progress.
There are millions of people who will say, when you canvass them, “I’ve always voted Labour.” In a town by-election in February in Deal (where we came a hundred votes or so from taking a seat from Labour) I canvassed scores of neighbours who said “I was a miner so I vote Labour” or people younger than me saying “my grandad was a miner so I have to vote Labour”. East Kent’s coalfields closed in the early 80s. These sentiments were voiced in quasi-religious tones. Many of these people were willing to talk about why they felt this way. Information about this or that policy didn’t persuade them. These are voters who understand values and ideals. They believe that Labour has a set of progressive ideals (honesty, fairness and compassion for the working man) and have been programmed to believe no other party does.
A real electoral revolution, one that sees the Liberal Democrats become firmly set as the second or first party in UK politics, will involve persuading many of these millions to think about not voting Labour. I believe this has to be done at a level of idealism: what we have to prove is that Labour doesn’t have the values their loyal supporters believe they do.
Labour betray the values people ascribe to them if they are not wholly for Lords Reform. A vote against the Reform Bill is a vote to say that Margaret Thatcher, who did real harm to many of the voters I am talking about, should continue to have her vote for life on what should happen to your life. Labour: in favour of protecting Margaret Thatcher’s place in Parliament.
Let’s take the fight to Labour. This page on my website gives you an idea of the kind of message some Labour streets near me may soon get
It’s time to give people the truth about Labour today. Conversion will not be quick but it is a conversation worth starting.