Who is Labour supposed to represent?
Without fail, the Guardian's columnists manage to wind me up. Today, step forward Jackie Ashley with her absurd claim about "Labour pitching its appeal to the centre right".
Having strong policies on crime, defence, immigration and terrorism is NOT a characteristic solely of the right.
We have spent the best part of 20 years trying to convince the public that it was not a characteristic of the left to be soft on crime and defence.
Has Jackie Ashley ever canvassed a council estate and asked Labour's core working class voters what policies they want in these areas?
Why do people like her want us to go back to the days when voters had to choose between jobs, schools and hospitals on the one hand and police and defence on the other?
I never want voters to be put in the position again, as they were in the '80s, of liking Labour's social policies but feeling unable to vote for them because of our weakness on security issues.
The average voter wants a government that will fund public services AND keep individuals and the country safe.
Ashley talks about the "liberal middle classes" as a component of Labour's coalition. That's correct but this tiny segment of the electorate must not have a veto over our policies.
I want the "liberal middle classes" to vote Labour because they care about our agenda for tackling poverty and inequality and providing high quality public services, not because we sold-out working class concerns about crime and security to appease them.
The clue is in the names of the parties:
Labour - set up to represent the interests of the working classes because the "liberal middle classes" of the day were hot on free trade and devolution but not prioritising trade union rights or the fight against poverty.
Liberal Democrats - set up to represent the interests of the "liberal middle classes".
Not content with having one entire party dedicated to their interests, the "liberal middle classes" want to dictate the policy agendas of Labour and the Tories too.
As a democrat I resent the undue influence of this small segment of the population and the attempts of Jackie Ashley et al to contemptuously dismiss the concerns of Labour's core vote as "centre-right".
Elsewhere in the Guardian a reminder of Neil Kinnock's 1983 leadership acceptance speech had him quoting Nye Bevan on Labour's leaders needing "to speak with the authentic accents of those who elected them". To my mind that means that when our core supporters tell us they are concerned about crime, ASB, immigration and terrorism, we listen, and we act.