I saw Andy Burnham talk for over an hour last week (15th June), at a meeting in Cardiff.
He spoke of his impressive career and voting record.
He spoke on a wide range of issues, offering solutions for the problems of immigration, inequality, Labour’s economic credibility, and also discussed the reasons for Labour’s defeat. This last was the most interesting. He stated that Labour needs to demonstrate that they could see beyond the ‘elite Westminster bubble’ and to regain its emotional connection with voters.
He then demonstrated why he wasn’t the man to do this.
On all these issues, he spoke intelligently and eloquently.
But, he didn’t speak passionately.
He discussed a range of issues, which it was obvious that those present felt very strongly about. But, most of the time, he discussed them in the same calm, dispassionate tones that one might normally use for explaining one’s preference for digestive, rather than bourbon biscuits.
It was only when he talked about the NHS, that any feeling, conviction and passion came through.
At that point, he suddenly seemed like a ‘real’ Labour politician, who cared deeply about things that were important to us.
At that point, he was beginning to show that he ‘got it’.
He was beginning to convince.
He was beginning to develop an emotional connection with us.
Then he stopped talking about the NHS, and I think he started talking about ‘biscuits’ again.
Andy; you spoke of the need to connect with ordinary voters, to talk in a language that people understand. But, it’s not what you say; it’s the way you say it that counts.
You said all the right things, but all in the wrong way. Try showing us that you feel our pain, that you care, that you are genuinely angry about the things the Tories are doing.
Try showing us that you are a ‘real’ Labour politician.
Try it once more, but with feeling!
Andy; when you talk to your next group of Labour supporters, imagine they are voters who we lost to UKIP, because they felt that Labour was no longer representing them.
Convince them that you really care about what’s happening in their lives.
Don’t change your answers; say exactly what you said to us at the meeting, but show that you really mean it.
Then, do that in every media appearance you make, from now on.
Do that, and you might be the kind of politician we need.
From now on, you have to show that you ‘get it’:
Get passionate, get angry, or get out of the race.