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Time to Get Serious...

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One thing is for certain - there will be a general election in 18 months.

That knowledge is accompanied by attacks on Labour from the right and the left. So we've been threatened by the Tory party that they will destroy us - a party that now appears to be ruled by Australian emigrees - and we've also been warned by some on the far left that we're not even worth talking to unless we put an end to capitalism right now.

We've even been entertained - latterly by the comedians Russell Brand and Robert Webb slugging it out over whether or not it is worth voting in the first place.

Brand told us it was time for a revolution. And we can see the logic to his reasoning. People are suffering as never before, through no desire or fault of their own. And when the Appeal Court twice in one week have deemed government action illegal - over aspects of the NHS privatisation and on workfare - it could seem that now is as good a time as any to revolt.

Revolution with the cry 'to the barricades' can sound very appealing. Bev's granddad - an old-school socialist - argued that there would never be real change in Britain until blood ran in the streets.

Trouble is whose blood are we talking about? Who suffers when the people revolt in the way Brand suggests? Not those like him who have the money and influence to avoid the fall out of such events.

We get some sense of who pays the price for the revolution Brand advocates in his reference to the 2011 UK riots. We're inclined to remember the street fires where cars, buses and other vehicles were overturned and set alight plus the injuries - to people, homes and small businesses - that resulted, taking painful months to heal, as well as the months - sometimes years - it took to settle insurance and/or compensation claims. And if some might not have much sympathy with those arguments - arguing that 'all property is theft' - there are those who suffered the consequence of getting caught up in the looting that took place. One youth was given a custodial sentence of six months for stealing a bottle of water. Others received sentences that were considered by many to be harsh for the actions undertaken.

Labour can sound somewhat dull when the alternative to our attempts of democratic change is versed in terms of revolutionary action. But it depends on whether you want real change or if you prefer to play with the fantasy of a revolution that is unlikely to happen and if it did would not necessarily turn out the way you hope. (Robert Webb cited Animal Farm, we might prefer Doctor Zhivago but the outcome is the same - a new kind of tyranny.)

As we write this Ed Miliband is about to make a speech on jobs and wages. He has already challenged the bedroom tax, living standards, energy prices, as well as the corporate bosses who continue to enjoy huge bonuses while forcing others to use food banks or face eviction if unable to pay the rent.

It's tempting as the election approaches to succumb to a romanticism of a revolutionary future rather than do what Milband's Labour is doing: which is coming up with policies that will help create a fairer, more equitable society.

That's the real - if everyday - work of practical politics.

Now is not the time for chattering class fantasy politics. Now is not the time for playing the 'I'm a purer socialist than you' game. Nor does it sound intelligent for those aligned with a more right wing ideology to throw in comments about the politics of the l970's/80s. And now is not the time for the politics of 1997 or the politics of the Russian Revolution.

We have to find answers for today and we believe Ed Miliband is right in challenging those who have taken and continue to remove people's dignity and rights. Thousands of our family members worked together during the decades of the last century purely with the intention of us leading better and more civilised lives.

As we see all this unravel, we witness distressing signs from the past - the rise in homelessness, children suffering from rickets, damp and unsuitable housing brought about by uncaring profit-seeking landlords, the cessation of employment rights, not to mention the demolition of public services that people in a fair society rely on in times of need and of course the coalition government policies that are dividing our society. We should all feel embarrassed by the sight of people begging.

Now is the time to look to the future and decide what kind of society we want to live in. This is what the choice at the next election will come down to.

Fair or unfair ?

Equal or unequal ?

Yes, it's time to get serious - now is definitely not the time for the politics of the playground.

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