Labour frontbencher Bridget Phillipson has set out the party’s challenges and strategy on the path to creating a “social democracy of hope” in a conference organised by member organisation ‘Labour to Win’.
Phillipson told the Zoom call: “Our party cannot ever just become a parliamentary pressure group. We can and we must be a party of working people in every corner of our country, and we must learn to win power again.
“I’m proud that our membership today stands at well over half a million people. But that still means that 99 people in every 100 of our country aren’t members, and I’m worried that we’ve got out of the habit of talking to them.”
Arguing that “making our own echo chamber larger is no substitute for knocking its walls down”, she said: “I know that the people who need to hear from Labour frontbenchers most aren’t you.
“Nor are they the hundreds of thousands of people who follow Labour MPs on Twitter or like them on Facebook. Nor are they GC [general committee] delegates at CLP [Constituency Labour Party] meetings.”
Phillipson described the voters that Labour must speak to as such: “They don’t follow the news much, they don’t follow Labour politicians on Twitter and they don’t have time to follow the detail of policies that don’t affect them.”
The shadow cabinet member explained how Labour intends to approach appealing to such voters, saying: “To go forwards, we don’t need to reenact the past. But we do need to understand the priorities of the people who haven’t been giving us a hearing.
“We need to listen, learn and use their language. When people told us they thought we were going to spend money on things our country didn’t need, we can’t just tell them that they were wrong.
“When people complain about local services being terrible, and we nod and talk over them about the impact of austerity, we cannot be surprised that they don’t think we see things as they do.
“Our language and our framing must reflect the world as our electors see it, not as how we might discuss it at a GC. When people told us they didn’t trust us with their security, telling them that they’re wrong just gets us nowhere. We have to ask why and we have to fix it.”
She said one of the principle challenges facing Labour was reaching those voters who do not watch Prime Minister’s Questions and “ensuring that they see the contrast that we all see between Keir [Starmer] and [Boris] Johnson”.
You can read the full article here at Labour list
You can watch the conference here: