Why Sadiq Khan’s Speech At The Labour Party Conference Left Me Cold

Despite that, I have to say that I was left cold by Khan’s speech. Repeating over and over again that you want to win elections does not constitute a strategy, a vision, or a project. On the contrary, the primary objective is to make party members understand that they can only aspire to affect positive change on the world if they defer to the experts and professionalised political actors who make up the Parliamentary Labour Party and their assorted entourage. Under New Labour, this approach was used to routinely override democracy within the Labour Party as members’ views were ignored and denigrated, removing checks and balances within the party and freeing the hands of the leadership to launch into mistaken and destructive policies such as the Private Finance Initiative and the war in Iraq. The second problem with speeches such as those by Sadiq Khan is that they send out a message that Labour can be trusted to do, or say, just about anything to win an election. This ultimately leads to political stances which are not even remotely strategic, and do little more than reinforce some of the most uncaring and misleading attitudes in British society, exemplified by Rachel Reeves’s efforts to channel Enoch Powell by arguing that migration would lead the country to ‘explode’ into race riots.

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