The new leader needs to be a team player as well

We must learn the lessons of our defeat.

If we want to get back into a position where we can challenge the new Tory-led government, we need to be prepared to rethink our policies and learn the lessons of our defeat, by listening to the sometimes sobering messages we received from the electorate.

We need a leader able to project his or her personality and present our policies in today's media environment. All this is true -- but we also need a leader capable of building a team, inspiring loyalty from colleagues, and one genuinely open to ideas.

When I was first elected to parliament 18 years ago, one of the many things that struck me and that I still feel now is how the Labour Party, the party of collective action, can, at MP level and above, behave in such an individualistic way. It's hard to find good teamwork in practice and I have never thought that we, as a party, were any better at working as a team than the Tories, despite our core values.

Yet, despite the increasingly presidential style of political leadership in our country, teamwork is essential.

We all know this and yet we have not practised it well in government. Yes, there has been discipline and there has been restraint, and many have bent their own views for the collective good, but collective, effective teamwork has not been the order of the day.

Time pressures are a good excuse, the complexity and size of government a good excuse, but they are still excuses. How can you reach good decisions if you don't genuinely share them with colleagues? How do you get the best unless the whole team feels involved and has some ownership? And when times are hard, how do you get the depth of loyalty you need, if you haven't inspired it by your own actions over time?

So, as well as the presentational skills that we know we will need, and in addition to delving into the detail of the policy beliefs of the different candidates, we must look for a person capable of building and leading a team, able to inspire loyalty from close colleagues, and who gets the best from people by including them in discussion before articulating the response to any situation. Look for those qualities when you vote.

Bob Ainsworth is MP for Coventry North-East (Labour)

Screengrab from Telegraph video
Show Hide image

The Telegraph’s bizarre list of 100 reasons to be happy about Brexit

“Old-fashioned light bulbs”, “crooked cucumbers”, and “new vocabulary”.

As the economy teeters on the verge of oblivion, and the Prime Minister grapples with steering the UK around a black hole of political turmoil, the Telegraph is making the best of a bad situation.

The paper has posted a video labelled “100 reasons to embrace Brexit”. Obviously the precise number is “zero”, but that didn’t stop it filling the blanks with some rather bizarre reasons, floating before the viewer to an inevitable Jerusalem soundtrack:

Cheap tennis balls

At last. Tennis balls are no longer reserved for the gilded eurocrat elite.

Keep paper licences

I can’t trust it unless I can get it wet so it disintegrates, or I can throw it in the bin by mistake, or lose it when I’m clearing out my filing cabinet. It’s only authentic that way.

New hangover cures

What?

Stronger vacuums

An end to the miserable years of desperately trying to hoover up dust by inhaling close to the carpet.

Old-fashioned light bulbs

I like my electricals filled with mercury and coated in lead paint, ideally.

No more EU elections

Because the democratic aspect of the European Union was something we never obsessed over in the run-up to the referendum.

End working time directive

At last, I don’t even have to go to the trouble of opting out of over-working! I will automatically be exploited!

Drop green targets

Most people don’t have time to worry about the future of our planet. Some don’t even know where their next tennis ball will come from.

No more wind farms

Renewable energy sources, infrastructure and investment – what a bore.

Blue passports

I like my personal identification how I like my rinse.

UK passport lane

Oh good, an unadulterated queue of British tourists. Just mind the vomit, beer spillage and flakes of sunburnt skin while you wait.

No fridge red tape

Free the fridge!

Pounds and ounces

Units of measurement are definitely top of voters’ priorities. Way above the economy, health service, and even a smidgen higher than equality of tennis ball access.

Straight bananas

Wait, what kind of bananas do Brexiteers want? Didn’t they want to protect bendy ones? Either way, this is as persistent a myth as the slapstick banana skin trope.

Crooked cucumbers

I don’t understand.

Small kiwi fruits

Fair enough. They were getting a bit above their station, weren’t they.

No EU flags in UK

They are a disgusting colour and design. An eyesore everywhere you look…in the uh zero places that fly them here.

Kent champagne

To celebrate Ukip cleaning up the east coast, right?

No olive oil bans

Finally, we can put our reliable, Mediterranean weather and multiple olive groves to proper use.

No clinical trials red tape

What is there to regulate?

No Turkey EU worries

True, we don’t have to worry. Because there is NO WAY AND NEVER WAS.

No kettle restrictions

Free the kettle! All kitchen appliances’ lives matter!

Less EU X-factor

What is this?

Ditto with BGT

I really don’t get this.

New vocabulary

Mainly racist slurs, right?

Keep our UN seat

Until that in/out UN referendum, of course.

No EU human rights laws

Yeah, got a bit fed up with my human rights tbh.

Herbal remedy boost

At last, a chance to be treated with medicine that doesn’t work.

Others will follow [picture of dominos]

Hooray! The economic collapse of countries surrounding us upon whose trade and labour we rely, one by one!

Better English team

Ah, because we can replace them with more qualified players under an Australian-style points-based system, you mean?

High-powered hairdryers

An end to the miserable years of desperately trying to dry my hair by yawning on it.

She would’ve wanted it [picture of Margaret Thatcher]

Well, I’m convinced.

I'm a mole, innit.