Thursday, 14 May 2009

Sticking plasters do not inspire people, dreams do.

Huw Lewis AM, who is seen as among the leading contenders to take over from Rhodri Morgan as leader of Welsh Labour, has written a very interesting and challenging review of the recent Fabian pamphlet 'Change We Need', setting out some specific lessons for Labour in Wales as well as UK-wide.

He takes the pamphlet's warning not to put method before message to be the key issue, arguing that vision must be central:

There is a good reason for one of the Fabian contributors to suggest that if we are looking for an Obama movement over here, we should start the movement, not wait for another Obama. However, there was something much more fundamental at play in that campaign, which allowed the messages, the door-knocking, and the rhetoric to win over America. Barack Obama had the courage to go to the American people, whilst the country was engaged in two wars and facing economic crisis, and ask them to take a risk. At no point in his campaign did he promise an easy path, more of the same or the need for a “safe pair of hands”, the ultimate euphemism for “no change”. He rejected the political elite and offered instead a new explanation of what mattered, and why, in language rooted in traditional values, but pointed very much at a nation’s future.

If there is a fundamental lesson for us in the Labour Party at this time, then surely this should be it. We have become so fixated on trying to solve the problems of today, we have forgotten to articulate our vision of tomorrow – the current recession makes it even more important for us to act on this. Sticking plasters do not inspire people, dreams do.

Huw also warns that "Talk of the Tory bogeyman, which I admit frequently echoes around the Assembly chamber, has for too long been a comfortable fall-back position filling the vacuum where our ideas and our ambitions should live".

Read it all here.

The Western Mail has picked up his post.

Huw helpfully plugs the Change We Need website. And I'm going to post his piece on twitter using hashtag #cwn which can also be used to keep the discussion going over time.

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