Fraser Nelson

Decoding Lewis

Decoding Lewis
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It's always a pleasure when a Labour MP - panicked about impending defeat - ruminates about the future for their party strategy. It's rarer for a minister to do so - which is why Ivan Lewis’s piece in Progress (picked up in today’s News of the World) is worth reading. Here's my decoder:

1) "We must show we're on the side of ordinary people if Labour is to win again." (People don’t think we’re on their side, and we’re heading for defeat.)

2) "The New Labour coalition which has delivered our unprecedented three terms is now under severe strain." (Now Blair’s gone, the aspirational C1s and C2s are deserting us.)

3) "New Labour’s success has been based upon… individual aspiration and the need for national renewal and a new generation of political leadership." (And what do we do? Elect as leader some bloke whose been on the Westminster scene since the Kinnock era.)

4) "We looked and spoke like people who understood what it is like to bring up a family, struggle to pay the bills." (You’ll note I used past tense. Now we just tax them, and throw the money away.)

5) "Labour is… the party which is telling people that the global credit crunch means things are going to be tough for hardworking families in the period ahead." (Or we should be telling people that, at any rate. Instead we’re peddling Brownies at them, punting little lies, making out inflation’s low and folk have never had it so good. No wonder they don’t trust us!)

6) "Fairness means everyone paying an appropriate level of tax. It is true there is nothing wrong with being ‘stinking rich’ providing you pay a significantly higher proportion in tax than your fellow citizen." (As opposed to a significantly lower marginal rate, which is what happens at the moment. Pips aren’t squeaking yet! Let’s whack the rich some more – and cut taxes for those ‘hardworking families’.)

7) "Fairness means if you are a foreign national who is breaking the law by being here illegally you will be deported with immediate effect." (And being told we can’t do this by the EU is not fairness.)

8) "Respect means public services…organised around the lives of the citizen not the bureaucracy and enable you to exercise maximum control and meaningful choice." (So why bury the Blair “choice” agenda? Brown may hate market mechanisms, he may love control, but it’s taking us nowhere. State or individual – which side is Brown on? The public know the answer, and that’s Labour’s problem.)

9) "Respect is also accepting that people of faith have the same right to their convictions and principles as assertive atheists." (So Brown’s attempt to whip the Frankenstein Bill on embryos was self-defeating lunacy.)

10) "Gordon Brown’s challenge now is to persuade people that we truly are the servants of the people." (Gordon Brown’s most egregious failure is failing to persuade people of this. Unless he shapes up quickly, he's leading us to defeat.)

Of course Lewis explained to the NotW that this is "not a criticism of Gordon" (heaven forbid!) but a "wake-up call to Team Labour that away from the Westminster village and the Islington dinner parties, decent hard-working families need persuading that we are still on their side". Islington dinner parties?  Who can he have in mind?

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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