Lucy Powell has some of the qualities to make a good politician. In particular she is hard-working and believes in the cause. However, there are two debilitating hurdles she needs to overcome. (see also here)
First, is that she stands for a political party that has undermined public services for a generation. By creating a structural deficit in the boom years, by my estimates, up half the National Debt of £1400bn in 2014 will be due to Labour’s policies, with less than a fifth the hang-over of the world recession.
Second, one of the worst aspects of the present government is failure to admit when their errors and learn from that experience. In the wake of defeat of the Manchester Congestion Charge by 4 to 1, Ms Powell wrote in the Guardian on 12th Dec 2008
“Even after a big public information campaign, the basic facts of the proposed scheme just didn’t get through. It was a complex set of proposals, which were not readily understood. There remains much confusion and misunderstanding about them.”
I suggest, after an enormous expenditure of public money to vote in favour, people understood exactly what was proposed. Though only 20% of adults would have paid the charge, there were loads of voters who know someone who would be. Like donating to disaster relief, lots of people sacrificed a little to help a minority a lot. It would be a mark of political maturity for Ms Powell to recognise this aspect.
Update – Ms Powell’s strong support for the congestion charge caused her to make a little video.