Monday, 27 September 2010

Labour must learn again to 'do God'

CV coordinator Austen Ivereigh in the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' argues that Labour under Ed Miliband (photo) now needs to recover some of Tony Blair's ability to tune into the concerns of  churches, lost under Gordon Brown.
Most people are not in churches and mosques. But millions are. And in political terms those millions are dynamite. Fired by strong values, believers in a better world, members of organisations built on strong bonds of trust, and willing to turn out to demonstrate and build power – churches were, and for Labour can be again, potent sources of political renewal. True, there are plenty of secular people with ideals, but they are less organised; or, if they are organised, they tend to know better what they oppose than what they stand for. Contrast the 10,000 who protested Pope Benedict with the 200,000 lining Whitehall to welcome him.

Ed-led Labour needs to know that you can't have the fruits without the roots. If what the party must now do is galvanise people where they gather – and especially where those who gather are hardest hit by joblessness and cuts – it must first remove the single biggest obstacle in the way of the party reconnecting with communities: its dogmatic, sneering secularism.