I read with interest Dan Jarvis's speech about the economy. Some really good points were made. Then a weird feeling appeared.
What was the point of it?
I struggle to see what was Mr Jarvis aiming to achieve by this speech.
Was the point to present some alternative ideas about policy and how we should proceed with the economy? If yes, were these suggestions discussed with the appropriate parties? In all circumstances, ideas and suggestions on policy should be discussed with the Shadow Chancellor first. Has Mr. Jarvis approached John McDonnell to discuss these ideas and ensure the party is united behind him? If not, why not? How does he believe Osborne will react when he challenged on the Budget next week from a Labour party that cannot agree on a set of economic principles?
A number of Labour MPs have declined to work with the current leadership team. Yet we constantly get different ideas about policy in a number of areas by backbencher MPs. Have these ideas been ran by the National Policy Forum? Have they been discussed with the relevant shadow ministers? If not, why not? Is personal ambition and personal feelings a good enough justification not to work cohesively as a unit towards getting Labour elected? Does Mr Jarvis believe that such approach is what the Labour Party needs or its members want?
One of the main reasons we lost the last election was the lack of a coherent vision. We got random policies and ideas without them being thought through and fused together in one vision for the country. Many complaints were made that policies were thought of on the spot and bypassing the National Policy Forum. I would expect that we would learn from our mistakes and stop repeating them. Unfortunately, it does not seem so.
Was the point of the speech to prepare the ground for a leadership challenge?
If yes, Jarvis's speech demonstrated a clear lack of political acumen and misunderstanding of the Party as well as the political landscape. The Party overwhelmingly elected Jeremy Corbyn. Since he was elected, he has not been given the space to develop his vision that got him elected and to work undisturbed to offer his alternative to the country. To be allowed to win the country, one has to win the Party first.
Does he and other believe that if we perform badly in May elections the blame will be allocated squarely on Jeremy's shoulders? Or does he believe a lot of the blame will be allocated to the PLP that has been attacking him throughout and not given him the space and time to show what he can do? He presented a vision that won the Labour party. Why has he not been allowed to present a vision that may win the country? If his vision fails, then by all means challenge him. But not before then.
How does Mr Jarvis believe the Labour members will react if Corbyn is pushed to a leadership challenge? Any leadership challenge will succeed only if Corbyn is not in the ballot paper. How does he and others believe the membership will react if democracy is hampered by internal procedures?
How does Mr Jarvis believe the Labour members will support and vote for him if he is seen as the one who undermined the current leadership against the wishes of the 60% of the people voted for him?
The Labour party at a PLP level is divided. Jeremy Corbyn elected only a few months ago with a massive mandate has been at a constant attack throughout his leadership tenure from within. If MPs have issues with the approach taken, the first thing would be to discuss with the leadership to improve any weak areas or blind spots. Not attack from without. Labour members cry for unity and want to see a party where everyone works together for the common good and to win elections.
What we have been getting instead, is a constant refusal to accept that the landscape has changed and the world has moved on. In the four steps of change (Denial, Resistance, Exploration, Commitment), some MPs seem to be stuck in the Denial phase whereas some have now moved to the Resistance phase. We cannot afford the time it will take for them to Commitment.
One thing we do agree on Mr Jarvis, is that Labour should always aim to win and we should set the bar high for each and every election.
We should campaign and aim to win.
We should do so together not independently.