Labor MP and Mayor Dan Jarvis has argued that if his party can deliver a ‘counter-narrative’ to the government’s ‘race to the top’ agenda, it will be in a ‘very good position to challenge in the next general election’.
Speaking at a Labor in Communications event today, the South Yorkshire Mayor and MP for Barnsley Central argued that the upgrade is starting to ‘slip into’ public conversation, but ‘much of it is smoke and mirrors”.
“There are a lot of people who know the upper tier and think the government can do something to make their lives better than where they are right now. What is our counter-narrative? What is the story we are going to tell?
“I think that’s hugely important, given that this could well define the next general election, that we have the basis for a big, bold but achievable plan, and that people have an idea, a strong idea, of what it is and get a feeling from us that we could deliver it and it would make their life better than it is right now.
“I think if we could do that, then I think we would be in a very, very good position to contest in the next general election,” Jarvis said.
In his penultimate public appearance as mayor of South Yorkshire before stepping down in May, Jarvis criticized Rishi Sunak’s approach to the spring declaration on Wednesday, describing it as a ” car accident”.
“What was he thinking? Some kind of standing in front of a Sainsbury’s putting gas in someone else’s car? Does he really think this will convince the public that he is on their side? asked the MP for Barnsley Central.
“Now he’s a fabulously rich person. That’s not a problem – I think most people don’t necessarily care about that, they don’t necessarily care where you’re from. But they do care. what you’re doing and where you want to go, and I think he fell short this week.
The Labor mayor stressed the need for Labor to find the “common currency of the language that people speak” and to show that “we are indeed on their side, and we have the basis of a plan”.
Asked about the Labor leadership’s stance on NATO, Jarvis said he believed the party’s commitment to the alliance had been “widely appreciated” both in his constituency and across the UK.
He said: “When you go to a general election there are some very big questions the public will ask. They want to know, can they trust you with public finances…but the other big question people will want to know is whether we as a party are protecting them.
“When it comes to the armed forces, when it comes to defence, when it comes to national security: can they trust us? This is an extremely important question. And if the answer is no, they won’t vote for us.
Commenting on the general public’s views on Labor’s defense policy in 2019, when the party was under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Jarvis told the event today that “there was this feeling that we weren’t not on their side.
He added: “We are in a much better place. We must continue with this, and we can never again afford to be in a place where the overwhelmingly decent majority of the British public thinks we are not on their side.
The event was organized by Labor in Communications. Early next month, the group will speak to Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor Nik Johnson will also be interviewed later in April.
Do you appreciate our free and unique service?
LabourList has more readers than ever – but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labor politicians and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.