In the years since Tony Blair, while some things have remained the same, there has also been much that has changed.
It would be foolish as a party to pretend that we still live in the heady days of a first term Blair Government.
For example, we are in a far more unequal society. It was towards the end of Blair's second term of office that inequality sadly increased rather than decreased because of his flawed welfare reforms and lack of willingness to tackle the problem of tax evasion.
We live in a world where the focus of national security has shifted from threats posed by other countries to that of threats posed by terrorism from both within our own country and externally.
We have a far more divided country where intolerance of others is fast becoming a norm that needs tackling.
We have a country where public services are far more under threat than Tony Blair ever had to face thanks to the Tory dogma of austerity, which affects the most vulnerable in society. We must look at how we can challenge that dogma and how we can redress the damage done by austerity.
Our workforces are facing greater threats to their working conditions and rights than they have ever faced, such as those we saw at Sports Direct.
We have migration levels that Blair never faced or could imagine, and we must realistically look at how best to integrate those who need asylum and minimise the effect on our public services, whilst looking at addressing wider migration issues.
We have disabled people whose rights have been under greater attack than ever. Some of that was sadly begun under Blair and we should admit it and look at how we as a party can treat people with disabilities more fairly and protect the rights of people with a disability.
Not to mention the issues caused by the uncertainty that have been caused by Brexit.
These are just a few examples of how the world has moved on since the time of Blair. Whilst there is no doubt Tony had some successes, many of his policies are now out of date and that is why I believe we need to tackle the problems we face in the 21st Century with 21st century solutions, rather than out-of-date solutions that are no longer valid or fit for purpose. I believe we must recognise that the electorate felt the policies that Gordon Brown and Ed Milliband fought for during the last two election campaigns were not relevant to the time and to the electorate’s experiences, so were not seen as a credible alternative.
If Labour are to win the next General Election, the MPs and members of all sections of the party must stop the infighting and plotting and come together to seize the opportunity to build a strong and credible Labour Party that is not harking back to past glories of a very different world. They must create a set of policies that address the issues that the people of a 21st century United Kingdom face. We now have a wonderful opportunity to create a manifesto of policies that are not only forward looking, but will be a credible alternative to the Conservatives. We have the ability and we have a huge pool of talent within and across all sections of the party who can address these issues and find 21st Century solutions.
We must come together and put the party and our country before individual prejudices and differences. As Jeremy Corbyn said: “There is more that unites us than divides us”.
Above all, our MPs and grass roots members must rebuild mutual trust and start working together to create those policies rather than working against each other. It is time now to drop the bitterness and work with each other in a more comradely way.
That is how we win the next election. It is not about one person; it is about how we all work together as a party to find those 21st century solutions to the problems we as a country face. I believe we can do it and we can win the next election if we work together.
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