Sunday, February 11, 2007

John McDonnell in Norwich

On Friday night, this citizen attended a speech in Norwich by leadership candidate John McDonnell. Attendance was a little on the low side although in fairness it was a pretty miserable night. Earlier in the day he had given a speech to a much larger group of students over at the UEA.

The gist of his speech was that leading up to 1997 we had built a broad coalition of supporters and over the next 10 years proceeded to alienate each section of that coalition. Public sector cuts have driven away union support, Iraq has driven away those who were anti war, and so on. He then went over what exactly he thought the current government had done wrong and what he thought a Labour government should do. He finished off answering a few questions, sadly this citizen didn't get the chance to ask any of his.

My Thoughts
While John quite clearly managed to express his disatisfaction with the status quo, his ability to put forward an alternative vision was not quite so clear. On questions of actual policy he was quite vague. For example, on the subject of taxation he didn't want to commit to any plans to change income tax.

Also missing from his speech was any mention of any wars other than Iraq, no mention was made of Afganistan or Kosovo, making it hard to determine where he stood on the subject of international politics.

A curious subject that was touched upon was the fact that there had been no media coverage of John's campaign

Conclusions
I have to say that I wasn't convinced by John's speech. Admittedly my own political beliefs lie somewhat to the right of John's, but I feel that a good politician should be able to win over people who don't entirely share the same beliefs. The meeting felt more like John preaching to the crowd than John trying to convince new followers. In conclusion then, John McDonnell will have to seriously up his game if he hopes to beat the big clunking fist of Gordon Brown.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

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