Labour are dangerously complacent: it’s time to wake up

Comment

Opinion digest: Labour’s problems with the electorate remain unaddressed and UK innovation is falling short.

LAST UPDATED AT 12:06 ON Tue 2 Oct 2012

LABOUR’S DANGEROUS COMPLACENCY
BROGAN ON LABOUR’S GREATEST WEAKNESS 
The Labour conference may have lost the ostentatious security measures that accompanied the trappings of power, but its delegates have not been humbled, says Benedict Brogan in The Daily Telegraph. This is politics as usual with displays of trade union bombast, self-congratulatory speeches, composite motions and stage management. Free from the internal squabbles plaguing the coalition, Labour believes itself best placed to get its message across from the podium this year, and Ed Miliband has no shortage of advisers telling him that Number Ten is now in his reach. If anything, Labour is gripped by a complacency far more entrenched than that of the Tories. If the party this week appears confident and united, it is because large sections delude themselves that the enemy has all but thrown away the next election. And it is this immodesty and lack of self-reflection, warns Brogan, that could yet be Labour’s greatest weakness.

IT’S TIME FOR ED TO WAKE-UP RACHEL SYLVESTER ON WHY LABOUR IS STILL MISSING THE POINT
Without facing up to the reasons for Labour’s defeat in 2010, Ed Miliband’s party machine will fail to present him as the candidate of change, writes Rachel Sylvester in The Times. He may have tapped into the public mood by defending the “squeezed middle” and calling for a breakup of the banks, but he continues to make one glaring omission: failing to accept any blame for the deficit entrenched during the Labour years. This cannot continue if the party wants to attract voters back to the fold. Too many people believe it was Labour that sacrificed economic credibility, ran out of ideas and reneged on Tony Blair’s promise to create a “new kind of politics”. To date, the party has made little effort to change this impression, leaving policy proposals ambiguous and offering few hints as to whether it would consider a coalition with the Lib Dems. The next election presents the youngest Miliband brother with a huge opportunity – but only if he has his eyes wide open about why Labour lost the last election.

DON’T CONFUSE INNOVATION FOR GROWTH
ADITYA CHAKRABORTTY ON OUR LATEST BUZZWORD
Innovation may have become a public buzzword, but it does little to boost economic growth, writes Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian. To be an innovator in growth-hungry Britain is to have a government ministry dedicated to advancing your cause. It is the badge that must be worn by seekers after arts funding. Public servants can no longer simply lay on schools and hospitals and social services; they must do so with private-sector sass and novelty. Yet the fruits of this innovation amount to little more than “techno-lunacy”. IT developments may have increased our efficiency but the quality of life improvements that they have engendered look minimal when compared to previous industrial revolutions. The same is true of innovations in finance and healthcare. “It's time we got a lot more discriminating and demanding about what passes for innovation”, Chakrabortty concludes. · 

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