Labour adopts localism

by Stephen Tall on April 9, 2006

From today’s Observer:

Rebel Labour candidates, including the brother-in-law of a senior cabinet minister, are publicly distancing themselves from their own government in a frantic bid to salvage votes in next month’s crucial local elections.

In some areas the party has also resorted to ‘stealth’ leaflets that do not appear to come from the party – including a letter to voters in north London purporting to come from a man living near by, urging them to vote for his ‘old friend’, the Labour candidate, despite reservations over the war on Iraq. Electoral register searches reveal nobody of that name listed at his supposed address.

This, a Downing Street source informs us, is because the Labour Party is a ‘broad church’ – ‘We said we are fighting the campaign on a local basis, and we have been as good as our word’.

This strategy should not be in any way confused with Labour’s tedious accusation that Lib Dems say one thing in one part of the country, and another in a different part (or ‘localism’, as it is often termed).

I’ve no problems with Labour adopting a localist agenda. It’s just that it would be nice if it emerged from some form of ideology, rather than as an opportunistic band-aid to keep the party together.

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