Comment at end
8th April 2010
FIGHTING TALKING FROM LABOUR’S ELECTION WINNER
Tony Blair: “This is the race of our lives, the fight of our lives, and we can win it.”
Fighting to win is what Labour must learn, according to one who knows.
But first, what the papers say on Mr Blair’s audacious – nay, disgraceful behaviour – taking his family on holiday in the school Easter holidays in the run-up to a general election! (Tch! Whatever next?!)
Notwithstanding the fact that the timing is mainly to suit little Leo, it could be that Labour and/or Mr Brown think Mr Blair’s presence on the election stump is still too risky a gamble. He’ll be happy with this. It’s Gordon’s fight – to win or lose. After all, Mr Blair insists they “CAN” win. That is an interesting choice of verb.
To be fair, the papers have thus far failed to make much hay with the Blairs’ safari – aka The Real Big Beasts get-together. Easy material, if you ask me. But then, like Rory Bremner I have few illusions as to the Big Beastliness of today’s political offerings. The papers know this too. Best skip over any reminders.
Instead the press falls back on the green eyes and the stirring-pot tactics. Always useful, when other arguments fail.
The Times suggests Number 10 disquiet – sorry – AGHASTNESS! – over Mr Blair’s business speeches abroad, booked long ago for the end of April.
“Downing Street was aghast to learn that the former Prime Minister is planning to do two motivational speeches in the Far East at the end of the month.”
“Aghast”? I think the word they were searching for was “RELIEVED”.
A far-flung Blair is likely something for which Mr Brown is, in fact, quietly grateful. Whatever the present prime minister wants, he can do without too many reminders of the party’s historically record-breaking, three-times winner spoiling their cuppas with the voters.
Though he might invite him for an ice-cream in the last week of the campaign, if he thinks he can afford it.
Just as the general election campaign gets underway sans Blair-style vision, eloquence and charisma, Mr Blair has left behind a little note of encouragement at his website, also pasted below.
A quick resume of the below: Notably, Mr Blair refers to NO policies nor to Mr Brown himself. He says the public mood is anti-politics; that although voters want ‘change’ they are not convinced they want to change to the Tories. He believes that voters share Labour’s values. He recognises that the internet is uncontrollable and says that the media is largely Tory-supporting. The main message – it’ll be a fight, and fighters win. The underlying message? Losers lose.
By Tony Blair, Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 in Election2010
And so we are off again. My sixth election, three won two lost, and I am determined this one makes it four-two. All elections are different, no two remotely the same. This one will be a roller coaster ride, when advantage will be temporary, and upsets continuous.
The dominate mood of the electorate is anti-politics, the new electorate force the vast autonomous internet army, who cannot – and will not – be controlled. This election will be no place for the faint hearted, fortune will favour the brave.
I have just read Race of a Lifetime: ‘How Obama Won the White House’ by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. It is a compelling account of the 2008 US Presidential election. What is clear about it is this: he- or she – who fights hardest wins. Of course strategy, and polling and message are crucial but time after time it is the fighter who pulls through. Obama of course had the courage to take on an apparently invincible Hillary Clinton and win. But Clinton too advanced when she fought her way to success in New Hampshire, and showed limitless guts in the later stages of her campaign. And John McCain although he lost his way towards the campaign end, secured the Republican nomination largely through sheer guts. Fighters win.
Labour must learn from this. We may have less money than our opponents but we can fight harder, and if we do, we will win through.
It is true that we are behind in the opinion polls but the public mood is uncertain and fickle and this election will change and change again before the final dye [sic] is cast. There will be moments when it looks difficult for us, but other moments when the Tories falter, and that will be our chance. This will be an election like no other in our life time.
I believe that elections are won or lost on the fundamentals, on the big dominant issues that really matter to voters, not the surface noise of a daily news agenda. Voters are wise and getting wiser, they increasingly use the internet to receive their information, they distrust politics and politicians and are determined to make their own autonomous judgments about what is really happening.
Ironically as the internet increases its influence and news cycles get shorter and shorter the fundamentals matter more and more. People look more and more for evidence of authenticity, integrity, substance and seriousness. They want politicians who look to the long-term, are prepared to take tough decisions that are in the national interest, and who have got their best interests are heart. Above all they want evidence of values that they can trust.
And that is why in this election we have a fighting chance of success. In most elections that result in an emphatic win for one side or another the fundamentals all lean one way: this was the case in 1945, 1979, and 1997, but it is not the case in 2010. The arguments are much more finely balanced than that.
The biggest fundamental favouring the Conservatives is the mood for change, and it is true that the electorate wants change, but not to an overwhelming degree. In their recent – March – marginal poll Populus found that 56% wanted change, but 40% wanted experience. Difficult for Labour but not impossible.
However although the voters favour change, they do not want a radical change in direction. They favour Labour values, and believe that Labour best represents their interests.
According to Mori 32% of the nation considers itself Labour, while 30% considers itself Conservative. And 32% believe that Labour stands for the things you believe in, while 27% believe the Conservatives do.
This is why the electorate is so conflicted and why the election is closer than it might be. The public want change but not change to the Conservatives
This tension between change and values is the decisive hinge on which the election hinges. The electorate want a better future, and they will vote for the party that they can trust to deliver it, in a way that is fair and benefits all of us, not just some of us. That is why our slogan is ‘ a future fair for all’, because it is what the public want, and what only Labour can deliver.
The Conservatives have many advantages in this campaign, a media largely friendly to them and vast amounts more money. But it is Labour that has the power of values, Labour that the British people trust to stand up for them, Labour that is on their side. That is why if we fight, if we are resolute, if we show guts when the going gets tough then we will prevail.
This is the race of our lives, the fight of our lives, and we can win it.
- 1. The Sun: Labour MP Jim Murphy in Brown ad snub
- 2. Daily Mail: David Cameron risks making Tories one-man-band
3. A glance at the Norfolk political scene -we’re going to have plenty of this to come, especially in the absence of inspirational political vision.
Political Editor Chris Fisher looks at the election landscape in Norfolk. “To win the election, the Tories need a shift of support to them that been achieved only once by either of the two main parties – by Tony Blair’s New Labour in 1997 – since the second world war.”
NO PROBLEM then, eh?
“I followed him [Brown] and said ‘why won’t you talk to me?’ but he just walked off.
“It seems to me he doesn’t want to talk to people other than at staged opportunities.
“I think he is afraid of anything he can’t control. I suspect Tony Blair might have handled it rather better.”
“Tony Blair’s ambush by Sharon Storer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham completely overshadowed his manifesto launch in 2001.
Mr Blair stopped and had a conversation with Miss Storer, telling her: “They’re going to do better, they’re trying.””
“Completely overshadowed”? Yet he still won. AND with a second landslide.
PREVIOUS (RELATED) POSTS HERE
- Rory Bremner’s backfiring joke on Tony Blair. But did Rory realise it?
- General Election confirmed – Tony Blair’s birthday, 6th May 2010
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