Is Labour paying the price for the “easy years”?

Is Labour paying the price for the “easy years”?

Did they fail to keep up when the Tories were so feeble?

I continue to be flabbergasted by Labour’s abject failure to score a hit over the Hannan-Tories-NHS affair.

They were presented with everything they needed to impede the Cameron surge and have failed to capitalise. The Health secretary who is also a Cambridge English graduate, Andy Burnham, has simply been unable to find words that work and the result is that the story has lost almost all of its potency.

I wonder whether what we are seeing is the product of the decade or so when the Tories could do nothing right and little was demanded of Labour. All they needed to say was “we are not the beastly Tories” and voters did what the party wanted.

Burnham is from a generation of Labour politicians who came into politics when the party was in the ascendancy and life was just too easy. They never had to work hard on winning win public support on a national stage. The result is that they appear to be floundering as things have got tougher. They simply don’t get it – something they share with large parts of the Lib Dem party.

There’s a pointed attack on Burnham on the Spectator CoffeeHouse blog for his NHS sound-bite that the Tories intend to turn ‘Britain’s best loved institution into the world’s biggest quango”. So what the hell does that mean and how does it take Burnham’s case further? It doesn’t – it’s pathetic.

For political rhetoric only works if what you say resonates with the voters. Meaningless mumbo-jumbo phrases are simple a wasted opportunity.

The only leading Labour figure I’ve heard who has worked out what Labour needs to be doing is Alan Johnson who hit the nail on the head in a Sunday Times interview in February which I have linked to before.

“Cameron’s been very skilful at the way he has projected his own image onto his party. Now there is a feeling that, yes, you are a nice guy, but what is next?..

Cameron’s genuine, but he is leading the Conservative party. It is not a presidential system – much as we might have disguised it under Tony. This is a party system.”

Has anybody listened to Johnson? It seems not and the general election is getting closer by the day.

Mike Smithson

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