Monday, June 21, 2010

How to oppose

Lesson one from Labour Uncut
The art of opposition: speed kills, seize opportunities, never stop punching
Six weeks in, and Tom Watson MP is emerging as the leading anti-government stormtrooper. His latest assault is a series of Parliamentary questions and freedom of information requests, which have forced the government to
reveal that it has spent nearly £18,000 on re-stocking the government wine cellar since the election.

Tom is indeed making a new name for himself in opposition, using all the tools that he possesses to harry the enemy and cause them trouble. He's been digging away on salaries and pensions, SPADs and other things to boot and will continue to gnaw away at them like our own, rather more house-trained Guido Fawkes.

In opposition, you can behave like a government in waiting, ready to step in and undo the mess of the current shower. Or you can understand that we aren't going to be back in power by the autumn and we need to dig in for the coming months and years. It is attritional, guerrilla warfare, using any and all means at our disposal to wind up the government and expose them. Speed is the essence - spot the opportunity and exploit it with everything we have while it lasts, then move on to the next target. Keep up the pace, keep moving and keep attacking. The honeymoon will not last and we cannot afford to sleep until the coalition falls apart.

We need a leader comfortable with that aspect of politics, but capable of switching across into prime ministerial mode when the moment demands - for that time will come again, of that I am certain. But for now, we need someone prepared to get their hands dirty with the hard graft of rebuilding Labour in opposition as the foundation for Labour in government.

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