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When 5th is 2nd

Published on September 9, 2015

When 5th is 2ndDid you see the athletics championships? In addition to the notable successes – Mo, Jess and Greg – we had quite a few just below the medal places with, for example, Dana Asher-Smith and Zharnel Hughes both coming 5th in the 200m.

I wonder if they have had time in their busy schedules to join the Labour Party? Probably not but as you know competition at that level often means that you need to find a little extra something and maybe following that party’s principles would work for them? That’s because in the Labour party, it seems to me, the best way to come 2nd is to be 5th.

How so? Well the way that it works is that if you run for the leadership, and come second, you don’t become leader (fair enough) but nor do you become deputy leader. No, that’s down to a separate ballot for the deputy leadership that excludes all 4 candidates for the leadership, obviously…

To my mind good organisations need a convincing message and proper organisation and I think that the Labour party falls down on both counts:

  1. Its message is either “let’s give the voters what they want” or “let’s end austerity, without being weighed down by facts or the effect that this would have on our children their children and their children’s children”; and
  2. Its organisation is not designed to promote commitment to a cause but to enable one of the cheapest thrills. For the equivalent of 3 lottery tickets you can choose who might be the next Prime Minister and his or her deputy.

I think that we all want to achieve roughly the same things: fair taxation, good health, a peaceful harmonious society. The differences arise when we create a plan to achieve them. As our athletes know, there is no quick fix and no substitute for hard work, nor any guarantee that there won’t be some setbacks along the way. Turning 5th into 2nd is one demonstration to me that the Labour Party is still byzantine in its organisation and so unable to confront the critical issues of wealth creation and re-distribution. Until it does, no matter who is leader, they will never win the gold medal for the race to No. 10.