Petulant children. That's what Labour call those of us who turned our noses up at the idea of helping THEM develop THEIR party's new policies.
Well, if they are so desperate to get our input (perhaps they are really struggling for inspiration?) who am I to deny them? So here is a list of my suggestions for some radically new policies for the Labour party.
1) No more torture.
A real headline grabber this one. It's going to be a hard sell within the Labour party, if their last term in Government is anything to go by, but I think this might be a really positive step forward. It's pretty simple really: the Labour party just needs to promise (and keep said promise, I know don't follow Nick Clegg's example on this one!) NOT to torture anyone or aid in the torture of anyone.
Some, in the Labour party, will say this is impossible. That something so radical can be barely be contemplated. But I really think NOT torturing people might work. Let's just give it a go, see how it works out? Go on. Try something new!
2) No more killing innocent civilians just because your weirdo Christian fundamentalist friend in the USA thinks it's a good idea.
War is Hell. We all know that, and I think it's probably near impossible NOT to kill innocents (i.e. civilians) during wartime operations. Now Labour here's where things get complicated so let me spell it out to you:
JUST BECAUSE CIVILIANS OFTEN GET KILLED IN WARS, THIS DOES NOT EXCUSE KILLING CIVILIANS IN WARS
Indeed the fact they often get caught up in the crossfire means that going to war needs to be a decision made for the right reasons, at the right time and in the right way. Getting it wrong and saying sorry doesn't quite cut it. Killing people with real lives, real families, real hopes, and real dreams for the wrong reason isn't something you just get to say "oops" about. So the new policy would be "No more unjust wars". This is a hard one, and perhaps you might want to get rid of some of the people in your party who still have blood on their hands. It really puts those of us with a conscience off dealing with you at all, knowing you've got killers in your midst.
3) Do not think that your drinking buddies represent entire groups of people
When your drunken friend, who happens to fall in love with members of their own sex, leans across the bar and slurs "You know, not all lesbians want marriage. I think you should set up some sort of unequal civil union instead." don't take this as representative of the entire LGBT community. Perhaps ask around (and not just your friends like David Miliband did), or (crazy idea here) consult your fundamental party values and ask the question "Is this right?". What are fundamental party values, I hear the Blairites cry. *sigh* I'll see you after the lesson.
4) Balance the books
Yes, I know it's fun to hide balances here, there and anywhere and sell off parts of public property to private business but pretend you haven't. BUT trust me this sort of fun always comes back to bite you in the bum. Perhaps work out how much money is coming in, and work out how much money is going out. Then you need to balance those amounts. Yes, it's elementary economics and perhaps an oversimplification of how possible (or desirable) that is at a national level. But promising to keep it in mind this time might go some way to rebuilding trust with the people paying the bills (i.e. the electorate).
5) Don't treat your citizens like criminals.
Relax. Calm down. Breath. Terrorism is not new. It's not something that's going to stop. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be vigilant and we shouldn't try to stop it from happening but perhaps you might want to start balancing freedom and security a bit more sensibly. When the police start stopping people in the street who are simply taking photos, you know you've got that balance wrong. And let's be honest... Labour has that balance really wrong (also see torture and murder, these things are linked). Remember: the public are not here to do your bidding. Your there to do the public's bidding.
Just a few little tips to start you off. Finding a heart or soul may also be of benefit. Any questions please feel free to ask someone who thinks you might actually do even one of the above.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist