Liam Byrne mentioned "Social Security" no less than 12 times in his speech on the same subject today. It's something many Labour supporters and campaigners have been shouting from the rooftops for the past 2.5 years! In previous years the Labour Party have unashamedly marched right into Tory rhetoric by using the same language as the out of touch aristos of society they represent.
Labour have used "Welfare, Shirker, Skiver, Scrounger" as easily as the PM seems to go on holiday! And the most hated phrase "hard working families" trips off the tongue of Labour Shadow Ministers like ice cream for a sore throat! Many core supporters and card carrying members of the Labour Party have banged their heads against walls as Labour shame-facedly used the language of the right. Many like myself at the time, repeatedly questioned why Labour were moving into enemy territory and acting like them.
Today, Liam Byrne signalled a change in Spin Doctor strategy by using the correct term for our pensions, benefits, etc as "Social Security". The security of knowing that if you are disabled, become disabled, become ill, become unemployed, become old, have to leave your job to become a carer, our proud state will step in to provide social security for a short while, while you get on your feet to find a job or for longer if your disability renders you incapable of working.
No apologies needed Labour. No need to look anxiously over your shoulder to ascertain who is in support of you or not. Loud and proud "The Labour Party believe in Social Security". Liam Byrne spent a good deal of time on his speech,quite rightfully,focussing on IDS' woeful high cost of delivering a range of reforms within the DWP. But Liam Byrne did not quite shout loud enough about the human cost of Mr Duncan-Smith's abysmal, abhorrent treatment of people.
Because people - workers, disabled, unemployed, carers, pensioners make up the Labour Party. Take the whole class system and throw it out of the window for a minute. The Labour Party are about people and have a proud history of standing up for human suffering. Mr Duncan-Smith and his henchmen at the DWP never speak of people and the human cost of their policies. They rattle off stats, mostly made up at whim to scaremonger about supposed rates of fraud within the system. The Labour Party know better. They have stories of the people on the frontline. Mr and Mrs Smith battling the Bedroom Tax, Ms Jones wondering how she will afford to even rent on a nurses salary, Mr Bloggs on 13k a year with 3 kids who cannot make his income stretch a month, Mr Watson borrowing from payday loan companies month after month just to survive. Mrs Shaw battling cancer and being told she is fit for work by ATOS.
Labour need to focus on these real life people who are suffering under the Governments "Welfare Reform". By all means highlight the human cost with a few figures, but highlight the real people suffering the most. Take your MPs out of Westminster and onto twitter for a day Ed M and see the real stories for yourselves.
Unite the Union have produced a teachers resource pack, to educate children about their rights as human beings to protest about things they feel are unfair, to know their rights in the workplace. An absolutely brilliant idea that needs trumpeting and celebrating not fearfully hiding in the corner in case the DM and Telegraph accuse Labour of being in league with the unions! Let's celebrate our union affiliations- the people who put money into the Labour Party from the sweat of their brow like nurses, policemen, teachers, binmen. Now's the time to say "Yes the Labour Party are proud to be affiliated to unions who represent the rights of working people. The right to stability in their work contracts, the right to know exactly how many hours they will work next week. The right to choose they do NOT want a zero hours contract. The right to a Living Wage."
Now Labour you have finally seen the sense in kicking Welfare out of Social Security, start standing up tall and speaking out loud and proud about the people you represent. You will be surprised just how many new voters you will secure and how many old Labour voters will come back into the fold.