Like many, when I listened to Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' interview on LBC the other day, I cringed.
That's because as a fellow progressive (whether Greens accept me as one or not as a Labour PPC) I know her performance hurt us all.
That's because she was talking about a public not private NHS and a country that invested in building more council homes. To that end she was advocating a progressive vision for a socialist not Thatcherite/neoliberal approach to politics and the economy. Anyone attempting that in such a hostile media, deserves our support.
However, it does remind us all that whilst we on the 'left' may not want to fight on the chosen battlefield of neoliberalism, it is nonetheless the arena/paradigm we find ourselves in at present. As such we have a duty to both fight them and their ideas on that ground (which Natalie herself will admit she clearly failed to effectively do in these interviews) as well as move the debate onto our own chosen ground and frames.
Alas, before you can do the latter you must first master the former. The public expect nothing less and that is ultimately why Natalie's performance hurt us all.
It also reminds us why Ed Miliband receives similar treatment. We (Labour) are not the same as the Tories despite what some Greens would have you believe. It may be a matter of degree but the reality is Labour's moral and economic prerogative is fundamentally different.
We have been where the Greens and Natalie Bennett now find themselves; i.e. attempting to convince a sceptical public we offer a valid alternative to the neoliberal version of reality.
Talking about a 'new way of doing economics' is fine for the converted. Alas, the wider public make their choices based on the established orthodox framework. Breaking away from that will take a united not a divided left.