Why?

These are my personal reflections as the former Labour and co-operative MP for the marginal constituency of Loughborough which I held between 1997 and 2010.

The Blogs are largely about understanding the Labour Party since 2010 and plenty of unsought advice for how to win a marginal ‘Middle England’ seat!

I have shared my frustration with the Miliband years and the horror of the Corbyn period leading to the disastrous 2019 General Election defeat.

At times I have been too timid for the fear of upsetting friends and being accused of undermining the Party and candidates – whilst at the same time being accused of doing that! So maybe I got the balance about right. I have certainly not held back on what I thought of Corbyn since day one.

As we move through the 2020’s I will reflect on what a Johnson Government means, how Brexit will unfold and what will happen to the Labour Party. Is it the end or just another long period in the wilderness. Will Labour members ever learn about the importance of winning elections?

I am sure the next decade will be as eventful at the last. Except this time we don’t have a home Olympics to cheer us up a little as we did in 2012!

  • Sleaze and Weakness doesn’t help any party in the long run.
    It feels impossible to take a week off from politics even in these more ‘normal’ times! The Sunak era was supposed to bring us calm sensible government. The Tory party itself has always had other ideas. Who knew?
  • From Braverman to Quorn Country Hotel
    Thanks to those who gave suggestions of topics to be covered by the View from the Margins during 2023. On top of of relevant hot topics there is plenty to keep us going. But this week we have to look at how progressives deal with and tackle the issues of asylum, immigration and migration .
  • The end of Bridgen finally?
    Apart from the personality of a few of our recent Prime Ministers I tend to think as Tony Benn said – It’s about politics not personalities. However, the case of the awful Andrew Bridgen means he is the exception that proves my own rule.
  • Political Predictions for 2023. You’ve got to be kidding after 2022!
    Only a fool would venture to make any serious predictions about what will happen politically in 2023. After all who called 2022? Anybody? From Johnson resigning to Hancock on Celebrity TV to the Truss v a lettuce premiership you couldn’t have made it up. I have waited to write this weeks blog because I saw the two big speeches from Sunak and Starmer were being trailed, and I might have something new to say! I have to admit it wasn’t worth the wait for the Sunak speech. As Chris Mason from the BBC put it to the PM in the Q&A section – “was that it?”
  • The Best and Worse of 2022
    We won’t forget 2022 in a hurry. When we look back to what we were doing this time last Christmas and New Year it is hard to imagine that everything … Continue reading The Best and Worse of 2022
  • Driving Home for Christmas… and what 2023 might have in store.
    As we draw to the end of the year as we make plans for the Christmas break it is a time to reflect on what has been a tumultuous political year. I’ve called it driving home for Christmas because more of us will this year because of the train strikes….. It is almost impossible to think back 12 months and guess where we were as a country. What were you doing this time last December. Who was Prime Minister, Chancellor and Foreign Secretary. What was the status of the Covid Pandemic? I teach at Cranfield University – a senior civil service course on working with Ministers and Parliament. Most of my teaching/ lecture notes have been useless int he last 12 months. So you can see why the thought of some stability after the Truss nightmare might have seen a Sunak bounce in the polls. So far there is no sign of this happening, but we will do some poll analysis and what it might mean for the Loughborough seat. Based on current polling there is a 90% of Labour winning IF an election was held tomorrow based on ‘Electoral Calculus’ tables. But as I always point out polls are not elections and there is some way to go.
  • Jeevun Sandher Selected to fight Loughborough – our next Labour MP
    This blog started out its life in 2010 as a place to capture my thoughts and observations about how we would return a Labour MP in Loughborough again. Having fought the seat for over 20 years I thought I had a little insight into what made the constituency tick. So it was a pleasure to be present at the selection of Jeevun Sandher this week, as he is given the job to be the next Labour MP. I didn’t think in 2010 as Cameron failed to win the election outright that we would be here in 2022-23 still talking about having to come from behind to win. The elections in 2015- 2017 and 2019 as well as the Brexit referendum in 2016 have all made predicting elections and politics so much harder than in the 90s and early noughties.
  • Loughborough Up for Grabs for Labour
    This week saw the Labour literally back in Business when a conference with over 400 Business leaders took place in Canary Wharf showed just how serious it is about working to win the next election. Despite some of the nonsensical ramblings of some on the left, no party seriously hoping to win a general election and run the economy can do so without a partnership with Business. The show of confidence from Business leaders attending speaks volumes about who they think will win in 2024. I have written quite a bit about what an inclusive economy based on a wellbeing agenda could look like over at my Saje Impact website. There is plenty of good thinking around at the moment and much of it from good businesses and business leaders.
  • Rebalancing Power – More than Abolishing the House of Lords
    Today the Labour Party unveiled its plans for devolving power away from Westminster and modernising our unwritten constitution. The headlines are dominated by the democratisation (or abolition as this sounds so much sexier) of the House of Lords as this is the ‘easy to understand’ element of the package. It is right to do and something about the Lords, but this is only part of redistributing power. This is political power, but I am just as interested in where economic lies in this country.
  • Has stability Really Returned?
    Isn’t it amazing how quickly we have all forgotten that bizarre period when we had a Truss premiership. Sadly the consequences of that madness will be felt by us all for years. The experiment with Tufton Street Trussonomics has damaged the reputation and economy of the UK. And just because Rishi Sunak is not as clearly as terrible as Johnson and Truss it does not mean we are out fo the woods yet.