Hesitant Control is not Leadership

Disappointed was my overriding feeling witnessing the Labour leadership's response to the 2023 Uxbridge by-election loss. Where we might expect to find a robust defense of Labour policies, we instead have an inward looking rush to assign blame, usually the stuff of general election defeats.

It is correct to say that the concerns of constituents should be listened to. But publicly undermining green policies of the Labour Mayor of London suggests a regimented mentality aimed only at winning the next general election.

Taken together with recent election candidate selections, Keir Starmer's team seem more concerned with absolute control than they do leadership and building consensus. Rigid control with a reactionary attitude to concerns with climate policy cannot solve the climate crisis.

Climate policy is always going to be difficult. It would be massively disingenuous to suggest that tackling climate change is not going to negatively impact some people. Yet the negative impact of staying on our current course will be so much worse for all of us.

Without leadership grounded in the positive belief that the issues of the day can be solved by our collective action, we cannot progress together to move forward. Leadership comes through manifesting a shared value, building a community and maintaining focus on the problem.

Labour's response on the other hand effectively exposed a desire to not want to face the problem. Whether ULEZ (London Ultra Low Emission Zone) is implemented or not the climate crisis is here. So suggesting ditching ULEZ (what was clearly meant but not said) is just avoiding the need to have a public debate about how we counteract the crisis. This serves no one at all, neither the voters in Uxbridge, or anywhere else.

The result of the Uxbridge by-election shows that doubt remains. When confronted by legitimate concerns, if a party supposedly committed to green policies cannot respond with positive leadership, instead undermining itself, then how can we ever expect those doubts to be dispelled?

I believe strongly that we can solve the climate crisis, we need leaders who believe this too.