Forgive the sudden introduction; you probably don’t know me, but I’ve seen you around these parts and wanted to get in touch.
I hope this doesn’t appear too forward, but at some point last week, after a little consideration I decided to join to your party. A few of my friends speak warmly of you, others less so; regardless, I’m looking forward to getting to know you better, should we get the opportunity.
I’ve actually seen you in action, at a recent hustings (I sat at the back, you wouldn’t have noticed me), where you presented five of your candidates for Leader. How quaint, to have two brothers on the same ballot, and such a coup – in the 21st Century, no less – to have secured a nominee who is both black and female. I hear three candidates studied PPE at Oxford too, which means they probably know each other already and don’t need to waste time with the formalities. That’s nice.
Anyway, not wanting to give the impression of silently stalking you, I should mention here that I do also know about your past. People have mentioned a few things to me, and – well – recent events were covered in all the papers not that long ago. What a horrible coincidence that we suffered such an economic catastrophe whilst you were in power, and how generous of Gordon Brown to lend so much money to the banks to ease the situation. He must be thrifty, to have saved so much in the case of such an eventuality. I hope someone sent him a ‘thank you’ note.
So now we know each other a little better, I hope you’ll allow me to speak plainly: you need to make a few changes.
I’d suggest you start with the way you look – you’re better than the others, but that’s not saying much. Male and pale is so last season; you’ve got some great assets, use them! Don’t be afraid to diversify, and remember who your audience is (clue: it’s not 1950s suburbia).
The second thing is responsibility – seize it. Doesn’t it feel good? I know that 13 is an awkward age, and it probably felt like no one was listening to you at the time, but maturity comes when you take your fair share of the burden. It’s part of growing up, sadly we all have to do it.
Thirdly, do some homework. It might seem apparent to all that the Lib-Con budget is ideology at the expense of reality, and millions of people like me are going to be hit, but I don’t think I can quite put my finger on what your alternative budget would be. Do you need more time to think about it? If you need ideas, there’s no shortage of people prepared to offer their thoughts.
Lastly, don’t take anything for granted. Or me, for that matter. I’m sure you’ve been doing some soul searching since May, but quite frankly you should be ashamed of losing so many voters (I’m sure you are; you’ve been well brought up). With your hard work and commitment, they may seek you out again as I have, but make no glib assumptions about how easy that will be. You would do well to remember that we are as important to you outside the party as we are in it.
Ok, I’ll be honest about my motives. I’ve joined your party because I want the right to vote for your next Leader, for no reason other than the chance that they may occupy Number 10 in five years time and I’m not letting any old chump in. So, in all seriousness for one moment, I need some guarantees: that you will speak for me; that you will endeavour to help me be the best I can; that you will protect the services and standards which make this country more humane than vast parts of the world; and that you will do everything in your power to make my vote count. I think these are fair, given the circumstances we are in today.
I’m sure, being such a party of the people, you’ve taken my recommendations well. And I hope you’ll pass them on to those who can really make a difference. It would be lovely to meet up – you’ve texted and emailed a few times, but nothing beats a good chat eye-ball to eye-ball. Maybe you’ve lost my address, as no one came round in the run up to the election when I was expecting you. Maybe you thought my constituency was a lost cause. Maybe that’s why you lost the election.
I know you’re busy, so I don’t expect a reply. No doubt I’ll hear a good deal about you these coming months as you gear yourself up to select your next Leader, and I look forward to participating in that giddy process now I can. But I hope you’ll remember me – not because I am a shiny new party member ready to be filled with Labour doctrine, but because I can leave as quickly as I have joined. I hope that scares you enough to make you work relentlessly hard for us all.
I’m sure I’ll see you around some time; and you know where to find me. I’ll be busy trying to work out how 2.5 million unemployed people can find work, and how we can save the poorest from being utterly broken thanks to the rise in VAT and cuts in benefits. I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.