Labour have recently sent a new 32 page edition of its "One Nation" magazine in the post to its members. It was an expensive and time consuming exercise; although it is also being used as a fund raising mechanism. In fact, fund raising may be seen as its key purpose.
It is a glossy publication containing 35 coloured photographs and a variety of coloured diagrams. It includes a message from Harriet Harman, an interview with Ed Miliband and a piece by Douglas Alexander in his capacity as Chair of Labour's General Election Strategy - in which he actually manages to come up with just over a hundred words on "Labour's Plan For Britain's Recovery". There are snippets with photos from some new Labour Parliamentary Candidates, something similar from a number of rank and file activists, a fuller interview with a Labour supporter who is said to be a celebrity, an interview with a "tireless campaigner" from the House of Lords, plus many other similar bits and pieces. All this is mainly trivia. But those with advertising expertise may say that it is effective.
But what a glorious opportunity has been missed. Why was it not used to spread the word amongst Labour's membership as to what its policies are for the coming General Election? After all, these are the ground troops we are depending upon. They need to be given the tools to do the job.
What could have been achieved is shown on pages 12 and 13 of the document. It is the document's saving grace. But I hope that as members flip through the glossy bits and pieces, that they do not miss or skim this single isolated item. It shows four key areas of the Coalition Government's failings and then lists Labour's alternative proposals. In all it offers 13 bullet points on Labour policies.
If this just happens to wet the reader's appetite, they are then asked to undertake some research of their own to find what else Labour is promising. Whether they are into computers or not, they are asked to turn to labour.org.uk/issues; where they will then find that they need skills to be able to jump from one category of interest to another. Many might just find it easier to turn to Labour's document "Changing Britain Together" which can be found on Labour's alternative web-site "Your Britain" at http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/ This document extends the 13 policy points in the "One Nation" booklet into no-less than 114 items.
Labour's policies might not all be perfect, but it would help if at least its members knew what they are. Labour misses opportunity after opportunity to tell its members where it stands. In January, new membership cards were sent out to those who had paid by standing orders, whilst renewal reminders were sent out to others. But the opportunity to included a key selection of policy proposals was completely missed. Then emails fly around from my own Regional Office for members to send them donations or to buy expensive tickets to attend dinners with the high and mighty. Why not add a few policy proposals to these? They might even help to whet our appetites.