Time for Labour’s flat earthers to get real

by Dan Hodges

The world is round. It’s a shame, I know. Personally, I’d love a flat world. Think of the excitement of being able to go on “Edge of the World” tours. Sneak up to the boundary; take a peak into infinity.

But alas, it’s not to be. We’re just so mundane. Too damn spherical.

Once upon a time, people thought the world was flat. It had to be. What else could it be? Then, all of a sudden, everyone knew the earth was round. Of course it was. How could anyone have ever though otherwise.

But in between there must have been a transition period. A time when views gradually shifted:

“I was chatting to my mate Ampelius the other day. About this round world stuff”.

“Yeah”?

“Yep. You know what? I think there may be something in it”.

“Get away…”.

And then there would have been the hold outs. The diehards who clung to the earth in all its glorious flatness right till the very end: “I don’t care what they say. It’s flat, and that’s all there is to it”.

What happened to those people? The “circumference deniers”. Were they mocked? Oppressed? Or did they just fade away?

I’ll tell you what they did. They upped sticks and joined the Labour party.

Over the past couple of weeks, Labour’s “flat earthers” have been out in force. About Ed’s leadership. The Tories. The debate over the economy.

On Comment is Free on Saturday, Sunny Hundal, editor of Flat Earth Times, better known by its other name, Liberal Conspiracy, wrote the following: David Cameron and George Osborne are losing the debate with Labour over the economy. Public confidence in the coalition is collapsing to such an extent that they are going to adopt a new strategy of claiming their deficit reduction plan is the same as Labour’s. What’s more, Labour would be  reaping a political dividend from all this were it not for three reasons. One, “The partisan effect”; that is that Tory and Lib Dem voters (seriously, Lib Dems; go and read it) are so partisan they are still giving David Cameron and Nick Clegg “the benefit of the doubt”. Two, the public have not seen enough of Ed Balls and Ed Miliband. Three – and, I promise, I am not making this up – a significant proportion of voters think Ed Miliband is being too right wing on the economy and other issues.

Forget that the majority of the public think Labour sits to the left of them, and Ed Miliband sits even further to the left than his party.

Forget that on Monday George Osborne “strongly defended his austerity measures” – Guardian; “issued a trenchant defence of his deficit-reduction plan” – FT; “dismissed critics of his economic plan as “left wing academics” – Telegraph.

There is a world out there where the world is flat, the Tories are desperate to swap their stance on the economy for ours, and if only Ed Miliband could convince more people he’s left wing, we’d be striding to power.

As the harsh realities of opposition continue to bite, it’s a world with growing appeal. Labour List, a web site which has consistently, if sometimes tenuously, maintained a grip on reality, also chose this weekend to give up the ghost and join Sunny Hundal and Sarah Palin in the  belief the earth terminates west of Alaska.

Under the headline, “Ed Miliband and the future of Social Democracy”, Mark Ferguson wrote: “If Ed Miliband were to fail as Labour leader that would be sad, but the greater victim would be social democracy as a force in the UK – and that would be tragic”. He went on, “if Ed Miliband fails, the Labour party – and British politics – will likely fall back into a discredited pattern of triangulation and political cross-dressing. The electorate will lose interest. Turnout will continue to dwindle”. At stake is, “nothing less than the future of social democracy in Britain”. The result will be political apocalypse, “Social democracy, under siege for so long in the media, will wither and die, fulfilling the right-wing prophecy of its irrelevance”.

Out there on the edge of space and time, where the earth bows to the heavens, Ed Miliband is the sole, final hope of progressive socialism. If he fails, Labour’s historic mission is over for eternity. The left will “wither and die”.

I’ve said it before, and I make no apologies for saying it again. The Labour movement is losing its marbles.

At the moment, the cult of the flat earther is everywhere. “It’s not true we have a huge funding problem”, said Harriet Harman to Andrew Marr. The local election results were great. There is a progressive majority in this country. Ed’s problem is that not enough people have got to know him.

This is not simple denial. Denial is an inability to face the truth. We’re not just ignoring the truth, we are constructing an entire alternate universe.

In politics people will always have different perspectives, even those on the same side of the political fence. But for debate to be meaningful, there have to be some basic areas of agreement to act as points of reference, and anchor the dialogue. At the moment, within the Labour party, those points of reference simply do  not exist.

The last time I experienced this was in the late 1980s. Thatcherism could only be defeated by a genuine socialist alternative; Labour could not afford to compromise with the electorate.

Nor was the creation of alternate realities the preserve of the hard left. I remember arguing, because I genuinely believed it, that Neil Kinnock’s poor poll ratings as a potential prime minister were simply the inevitable reflection of his current position as leader of the opposition. I really thought that national poll leads of 8, 9 even 10 points were the basis for victory. I watched us beating the Tories by 3 or 4 points on local and European election nights, and poured scorn on the psephologists who said the gains weren’t really enough for Labour to hope to win.

And I was wrong. Hopelessly, utterly and completely wrong. My world was flat. The world everyone else was living in was round.

By all means, let’s argue about Ed Miliband’s strength’s and his weaknesses. But let us at least begin that argument from a position of reality: our leader is not cutting through with the electorate.

Yes, let’s debate our stance on the economy. But let’s start by recognising that whatever doubts the voters have about the Tory-Lib Dem government’s strategy, their doubts over ours are greater.

And, above all, let’s drop the fiction that “things are moving in the right direction”. They are not. At best we are becalmed. At worst we are going backwards.

That is not defeatism, nor a betrayal. It is simply truth.

There is a real world out there. It is populated by people who need a Labour government. What they don’t need are dreamers, or idealists or fantasists, however well intentioned.

It is a world that is not flat, but round. And if we want to conquer it we must start to recognise that fact.

Dan Hodges is contributing editor of Labour Uncut.


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49 Responses to “Time for Labour’s flat earthers to get real”

  1. Shinsei says:

    The denial has been most apparent in Labour’s attitude to Osborne’s economic policies.

    Spending any time on CiF or talking to Labour supporters and it quickly becomes obvious that there is a general belief that Osborne is an economic illiterate whose policies are uniquely ill-conceived and have the support of no serious economist or economic body.

    Hopefully yesterday’s full endorsement of Osborne’s policies (and its suggestion than any alternative plan wouldn’t be less spending cuts but more tax cuts) will force the Labour flat earthers to actually engage on a sensible economic debate.

    There is much that Labour supporters should complain about and could campaign for (from controlling private equity funds, to greater regulations on banks, to a higher minimum wage, to closing genuine tax loopholes, like foreign registered companies avoiding stamp duty on UK property purchases, rather than the UK Uncut naivete) if they got over the fact that Osborne is basically correct in his central macro economic strategy.

  2. Peter Watt says:

    Spot on Dan. No doubt you will be condemned as a ‘Blairite’ or a ‘Tory’ again. But you are saying what members and supporters are saying up and down the Country.

  3. BenM says:

    Shinsei

    “There is much that Labour supporters should complain about and could campaign for… if they got over the fact that Osborne is basically correct in his central macro economic strategy.”

    Sorry, but the numbers just don’t bear this out. Economic growth has gone backwards, jobs growth has collapsed, the deficit is projected higher as is borrowing.

    All these things were predicted by those who did not join in the Tory debt and deficit hysteria.

    Poor old Dan Hodges. Lashed to the mast as the good ship Osborne begins to sink beneath the waves under the weight of its own absurdity.

  4. The only truth from Labour the public needed to hear was “there’s no money left”

    Out there, millions are handing over huge chunks of what little earn to repay debts caused by an entire philosophy that says “your money is my money”. Get over that hurdle first, if you can.

  5. Mike Mason says:

    “Diameter deniers” sounds better, but otherwise an excellent portrait.

    Sadly, I’m old enough to dimly remember the early 1980s. In a Battlestar Galactica way, we seemed doomed to make the same mistakes continuously throughout time: “all this has happened before; all this will happen again”, as Starbuck and Apollo might say.

    The lessons of the early 1980s (Gang of Four and all that jazz, excepted) were that we wasted years defending our mistakes and calling on the Government to repeat them in some way. Eventually, we acknowledged our mistakes, recognised where the Government might have been doing OK and – hey, presto! – suddenly people started noticing us again.

    Only then did they really start to listen to where we diverged in view from the publicly-accepted (and, therefore, actual) reality of UK economics.

    I’d like to think we’ll learn these political lessons this time around somewhat faster than our current world record of nearly 16 years…

  6. Harry says:

    Hugely relieved that people like Dan are bringing a bit of realism back to the Labour blogs. Well said!

  7. Forlornehope says:

    It’s bad enough when the Trolls appear in the comments! Everyone in the party knows that the British people are crying out for a real socialist alternative. We need to get back to the tax and spend policies of those great Labour governments of the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. Anyone in the top 1% of earners should be paying, at least 80% income tax to fund civilised levels of benefits and services. Until Labour acquires the balls to put forward real socialist policies it is going nowhere.

  8. Bizarre. Labour polling well into the 40s in most polls, a bare year after having been mired in the 20s, and all you can do is attack the people who have delivered that turnaround.

    Sunny’s right. As of today, YouGov gives Labour a 6% lead on “best party to deal with unemployment”, and the Tories a 4% lead on “the economy in general”.

    Hardly the sign of a party comprehensively losing the argument – and partly because Lib Dems (seriously; Lib Dems; take a look at the data) give the Tories a 12% lead (almost, but not quite, half would choose their own party).

  9. Dave Branwood says:

    You have just summed up my current feelings to perfection. EM is our IDS, simple as that. Without credible, alternative, progressive ideas which include a generous sprinkling of thinking the unthinkable then we’re gonna fall off the end of the world.

  10. These people are not in an alternative reality, the problem is that they are in a media-closed-circuit; the Guardian, News Statesman, wonk papers from their think tanks and their own flat-earth blogs. They don’t even read the Daily Mirror never mind the right-wing press that most people read. This reinforces the flat-earth group-think.

    Long may it continue.

  11. Stuart says:

    Quick translation to this piece – my man lost. Therefore undermine the man who did win in order to replace him with my man.

    The problem with all this is that as some don’t like or emphasise with one Miliband, there are others who equally can’t stomach the other one.

  12. peter iveson says:

    Brilliant article, right on the money

  13. Colin says:

    Millions of working class people are suffering because of cuts imposed by rich Cabinet ministers and what do you do? Attack the guy leading the fightback.

    The public is uncertain right now, and confused by the propaganda and disinformation pumped out by the capitalist media. People will rally to Labour if we offer clear and united leadership against this rotten system. That means getting behind Ed. End of.

    Why don’t you go off and join the Tories? It’s obviously where your heart lies.

  14. Tigger says:

    As a non-party person, I can’t get past the sheer hypocrisy of the fact that Labour were planning 70-80% of the same cuts anyway, presumably to last longer, as the deficit would have declined more slowly.

    Yet Labour have no constructive suggestions to make about how they would have gone about this better than the coalition, apart (occasionally, and on an extremely inconsistent/garbled basis) from ideas nicked from people like UKUncut, the Greens, non-Orange Lib Dems etc.

    And yet you expect to sway people like me into voting for you?

    Dream on…

  15. G Thomas says:

    Superb as ever Dan. As a youngster, I lost count of how many times Kinnock presided over resounding by-election victories and mid-term polls only to see him wiped out at the General Election. The 2 Eds and their apologists do Labour no favours in their schoolboy tactics and refusal to take responsibility for bankrupting the country. Swap these two permanent student politicians with a Milburn, a Johnson, just someone who gets the public mood, allied to a pragmatic, repentant, biding their time, non yah-boo chancellor and you might be in with a shout.

  16. Great post Dan! I’m no economist or historian but I do know that I neither want to be too far left or too far right – just Labour, but lost sight of what it is at the moment. We need backbone and to be proud that we’re nothing like the Tories or Fib Dems. We need to regain our respect and offer the credible alternative without pretending to be like them. The public aren’t stupid – listen to them first, reclaim our ground, show we’ve got conviction in what we need to do and we’ll gain their confidence for the long-haul not just to get back into power!
    Whilst I appreciate Labour needs to take a good hard look at where it failed – too long and people will lose interest then the condems, even with all their cuts, will have their feet well and truly under the table – which should be our table.
    As far as the world goes, yes it’s round – so let’s not be square and pigeon-hole ourselves too much in any one direction. We can be the people’s party by leading and progressing with them instead of just being the opposition, succumbing to the crafty ConDems.

  17. The Future says:

    Peter Watt

    I think you will find that this is not where the party as a whole is.

    You may not like this but it’s a fact.

    Members up and down the land aren’t saying anything like this. You are simply extrapolating what your friends and colleagues are saying and thinking that that is representative of other people.

    It’s not.

    And ironically it’s a true old Labour trick if ever there was one.

    And like Old Labour you seem intent on blaming the electorate for the leadership result rather than trying to understand what happened and why. You see articles like Dan’s and others are only weakening your position in future elections. People want to rally round each other but the constant stream of negativity from here helps no one, provides unnecessary fuel for the media and Tories, and leads other moderate members to resent your part in any discussion both now and in the future.

    And as a result the Blairites are turning themselves into an irrelevance within the party politically, talking only amongst themselves and becoming more and more removed from where the party middle ground is.

    If you keep on crying wolf then people won’t listen and need you understand this. The constant stream of negativity and lack of loyalty is harming the party and the viewpoint of people like yourself and Dan.

    The sooner you learn to approach the Labour party with the same rules you think we should apply for the national electorate the better for everyone involved.

  18. “Swap these two permanent student politicians with a Milburn”

    Really? You want Ed Balls and Ed Miliband to “take responsibility for bankrupting the country” (by spending less on average than Thatcher, until the banks failed), but you want to replace them with the man who said, in June 2007;

    “I want us to do more to encourage home ownership ….further reforms are needed … to work with mortgage-lenders to promote more flexible forms of borrowing which in the USA have helped millions more from low and moderate income families into home ownership.”

    June 2007!

  19. Auntie Edna says:

    Dan, you are very good at describing Labour’s problems and shortcomings – again and again. But short on coming up with any meaningful solutions or suggestions for the way forward.

  20. Tigger says:

    LOL – my earlier comment was open to misinterpretation. ;-)

    Labour should either become a coherent & effective left wing party again or it should admit that it’s got no alternative to the Thatcher/Blair/Brown/Cameron neo-con agenda and start making some useful suggestions about how it would do a better job.

    Either way, stop fiddling about and waffling incompetently.

    Having an opposition strategy that consists of little more than playing cheerleader to Cameron’s highly effective stitching-up & destruction of the Lib Dems really doesn’t cut it with anyone out here in the real world.

    If people vote for you next time just because you’re only 80% as bad as the Tories and there is no alternative is that a great achievement?

    Who knows what I might vote? Green, Pirate, Lib Dem, Monster Raving Loony? (Yes – of course I hate you for being so utterly pathetic over AV as well…)

    It certainly won’t be Labour or Tory – these days you’re just different camera angles of the *same side* of the same coin.

  21. Geoff H says:

    Osborne’s fiscal policy is wrong. Labour is right to criticise his timing. That’s not a drum to stop banging. But his budgetary instincts are right. The structural deficit needs to be tackled. And it’s this latter part that the broader British public understand, even if they don’t grok the dangers of the Tories’ pro-cyclical fiscal policy.

    More broadly, if Labour wants to govern it must seek the mandate the British public are willing to give – which is not necessarily the mandate it would ask for in an ideal world.

  22. Chris says:

    Brilliant…

  23. JohnB says:

    Does this piece contain a single concrete argument or proposal? If so, point me to it. It’s mostly patronising abuse of the ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ variety (i.e. agree with what I say when I actually get round to saying something, but in the meantime shut up). Saying over and over again that you are the only person who understands ‘reality’ doesn’t add up to much of a world-view, especially when your grip on the aforesaid reality seems so tenuous. It’s no longer the 1980s, or 1994, or even 2005. These may have been times when you were happiest, but you’ll have to get over it and move on. You’re stuck in a groove. The Milburns, Blunketts, Clarkes and Reids are as dead (politically) as Michael Foot and Tony Benn, or Gaitskell and Bevan. I see no atavistic red-blooded socialism in the quarters you mention, but quite a few genuine attempts (sometimes convincing, sometimes not) to get to grips with the fact that times have changed, and some new thinking is called for, and that Labour has to do much of it. Where’s *your* new thinking? Or is your thinking, like Osborne’s, that ‘business as usual’ will return as long as we tighten our belts and keep the bankers happy? Interesting that Guido (who is against thinking of any kind) is one of your chief supporters – maybe you and he should get together.

  24. Sunny H says:

    Well, you’ve got Old Holdborn and Guido Fawkes agreeing with you Dan! You must be doing something right…

  25. Jamie says:

    Forlornehope said: “Everyone in the party knows that the British people are crying out for a real socialist alternative.”

    And that’s the problem right there – the certainty of “knowing” what the British people want, when the evidence suggests that the British people want something quite different.

    I see you’re advocating an 80% top rate tax – would I be too far off the mark if I suggested that you yourself wouldn’t be eligible for higher rate tax, and therefore you’re quite happily demanding other people pay for your own political vision?

    I hope Labour do put this forward to the electorate – it’ll send them straight into the wilderness. You may remember it did last time, but you will no doubt refuse to accept it was the reason Labour were out of office for eighteen years. The article is spot on.

  26. Billy Blofeld says:

    The BBC’s widespread left wing bias accentuates the media-closed-circuit Guido references above.

    Labour has no clue.

    People hate being robbed by politicians that treat our money as their own, pissing it up the wall on vanity projects that we don’t care about.

  27. Jamie says:

    Colin said: “The public is uncertain right now, and confused by the propaganda and disinformation pumped out by the capitalist media.”

    Oh, we’re CONFUSED, are we? How awful for us – if only there was a party who would help us to see through all the propaganda and help us see the error of our ways. Another wonderful demonstration of how arrogant current Labour thinking is.

    Sorry, Colin – we’re not falling for it anymore. The only thing the public is uncertain and confused about is what Labour’s policy actually is.

  28. Martyn says:

    Let’s not forget the wider, but linked social-economic debate about the role of government (large or small), the role of the individual(s) in society, and the extent to which government considers your cash its cash.

    Now I’m a card carrying, moderate member of the Conservative party who believes in a responsible, balanced, fairly taxed society, but two of the key things that has always turned me off Labour is their inherent assumption that government knows better than the individual and secondly that somehow they don’t place the same value on our money as we all intrinsically do.

    Labour’s seeming inability to understand that money is precious wherever it happens to sit in the relationship between individual and state, that tax revenues should be made to work hard on our behalf and constantly seek value for all of us, and to acknowledge that it has a reputation for profligacy and shameful wastage of our public money, is, I’m afraid, one of the biggest whopping examples of flat-earth syndrome…

  29. donpaskini says:

    I’ve put a response to this tremendously eloquent and powerful piece over at Flat Earth Times:

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/06/07/helpful-advice-for-our-critical-friends-at-labour-uncut/

  30. Kirk Sloane says:

    “There is a real world out there. It is populated by people who need a Labour government.”

    Why? They already have your idea of a Labour government.

  31. Douglas says:

    “@What they don’t need are dreamers, or idealists or fantasists, however well intentioned.”

    Labour has always been an idealistic party, a party that dared to dream. Bevan, for example, had a dream of healthcare accessible to all, based on need and free at the point of purchase. Other had a dream of the most vulnerable in our society, sick/disabled people, being cared for and made sure they are able to live with dignity.

    Two examples of where idealism and dreams of a better society were made real by a Labour government.

    Now Labour only seems to dream of placating the bankers and the all-powerful markets. Labour removes benefits from sick/disabled people thanks to anti-disabled and anti-human Mr. Purnell. Labour only seems to dream these days of out-Torying the Tories. Labour doesn’t think twice about abandoning its core supporters, taking away from the most vulnerable, etc.

    All you “round eathers” want to do is achieve power at all costs, even if this power means abandoning your supporters, the vulnerable and your principles to be “tough” for the tabloids.

    Go join the Tories and let people like me get back to building a Labour party that is worth its name: Labour.

  32. Marc says:

    Stick to the facts, Dan. Facts are convincing; calling people names isn’t. Unless your intent was purely to preach to the choir, the first handful of paragraphs about Flat Earth guff do more to detract from your argument than to make it convincing.

  33. redmik says:

    Couldn’t believe it when I saw that Ed Miliband advocates “a new sort of capitalism” in his recent pronouncement on the future of the Labour Party. This is not ‘flat’ earthiness but is certainly ’round’ – being two-dimensional. The only proper way to see the question is ‘spherical’ and from all perspectives surrounding the ‘earth’.

    Sort of justifies my resignation last year (after 46 years of membership, 28 as a Labour councillor, and given the National Merit Award in 2008) – which was due to the corruption which had taken over the Party in the shape of its apparatchiki (are you listening, HP ?).

    Tony Benn famously asked five questions of people who claimed to have power:
    1. What power have you ?
    2. Where did it come from ?
    3. On whose behalf do you exercise it ?
    4. To whom are you accountable? and
    5. How do we get rid of you ?

    Since I am not as clever or perceptive as Benn I have reduced my questions to a simple two which are based on the first sentence of the ‘modern’ Clause IV of the Party (“The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party”).

    These are:
    1. Is what you propose democratic ? and
    2. Is what you propose socialist ?

    If the answer to either is in the negative the proposer should be told to go and form her/his own party (leaving Labour to us democratic socialists who took it to its highest form) before they are indicted under the Trade Descriptions Act.

    This particular task was undertaken by Save The Labour Party (STLP) in the form of the LabOUR Commission whose interim report was published in 2007 and can be accessed at:

    http://www.labourcommission.org.uk

    This is as relevant today as it ever was and current events from several parts of the country (Stoke, Tower Hamlets, Sunderland, etc ) seem to indicate that it should be resuscitated. Until this happens Ed M and his ilk can pontificate all they like but it will be to no avail.

    We know. Trust us.

    In democratic socialism,

    Mick Williams,
    Convenor (R&D), democracy4stoke (www.democracy4stoke.co.uk).

  34. Eden Mullen says:

    What a refreshing breath of a reality check

  35. iain ker says:

    I see you’re advocating an 80% top rate tax – would I be too far off the mark if I suggested that you yourself wouldn’t be eligible for higher rate tax, and therefore you’re quite happily demanding other people pay for your own political vision?

    ********************************

    Jamie knocking Forlornehope into a cocked hat there.

    Bastiat – the State is that great fiction where everyone tries to live at everyone else’s expense.

    Never fails to surprise me when ‘a socialist’ advocates tax and spend when someone else is getting the tax and he is getting the spend.

    Mind you the Tories are only a short hop from this with their decouncil-housing of £100k earners. If it’s the right policy for £100k earners, which it is, then it’s the right policy for £50K earners. More of the latter vote of course.

  36. william says:

    Is the Labour Party interested in winning a UK general election?

  37. AmberStar says:

    @ Dan

    And I was wrong. Hopelessly, utterly and completely wrong. My world was flat. The world everyone else was living in was round.
    ———————————————
    Are you absolutely certain that your personal history isn’t repeating itself? Just because you are convinced that you’re on round world & everybody else are the flat earthers doesn’t actually make it so….

    Your last article was a teensy bit paranoid & this is an ‘everybody is out of step except me’ one. Add to this, you seem to be enjoying having the support of Old Holb, Guido etc. i.e. People who wouldn’t vote Labour if you paid them.

    Are you sure that it isn’t you who is creating an artificial universe where the Labour Party can win an election by grabbing a few Southern scraps from the Tory table whilst ignoring the views of the rest of the Uk?
    8-)

  38. Waxie's Dargle says:

    You may say I’m a dreamer…

    …I’m not the only one.

  39. LD_Law says:

    Spot on Dan.

    The Bennites tried to clone their man and instead they got a frankenstein, far less backbone with about the same amount of unrealistic promises.

  40. Henrik says:

    Good luck with your debates, comrades. Sentimentally, I’d rather welcome a proper Red party emerging from Labour, it’ll be just like old times, except, of course, that the electorate are by and large too ignorant, bigoted and stupid to vote for such a thing this time around.

    Douglas has the right of it, I think, when he talks about Labour dreams. At the risk of repeating myself ad populi nauseam, wouldn’t it be interesting if, out of what seems, to this outsider like an odd sort of civil war, a bit like a gang fight on the Titanic over who gets to play the saxophone, a new and compelling vision of what the UK of England, Wales and Northern Ireland might look like under Labour – and how that would be funded and supported. Quick tip, probably best not include the terms “tax” and “borrow” in the vision, folk for some reason don’t seem to think that your best financial people are quite ready to be trusted with the contents of their piggy banks just yet.

  41. Gregg says:

    There is a real world out there. It is populated by people who need a Labour government. What they don’t need are dreamers, or idealists or fantasists, however well intentioned.

    But we found out what happens when you have a Labour government that doesn’t contain any dreamers, idealists of fantasists – it privatises everything the Tories haven’t sold-off, pursues ultra-authoritarian policies on law and order, maintains Thatcherite economics that believes financial and housing bubbles can sustain a generational trade deficit, and subjugates British foreign policy to America’s.

    Thinking the unthinable and emulating the Tories in word and deed got Labour and Britain into the current messes they are in. Doing it again doesn’t really seem to be the best solution – unless you are looking at the question from the purely partisan perspective of getting Labour MPs elected with no thought to the reason for wanting to do so, and are suffering under the deluded notion that anyone on the front bench (or David Miliband) could beat Cameron in a re-run of 1997′s “managerial” contest between parties that had no real political difference. Labour cannot win the next election, as it did in 1997, by saying “hey, we’ll do what they’re doing but we’ll do it better”. Indeed, it probably wouldn’t survive as a party – it’s a miracle it survived the damage Blair and Brown did to it, a continuation of New Labour under one of their acolytes would seal the coffin.

  42. Dan Hodges says:

    AmberStar,

    “Are you absolutely certain that your personal history isn’t repeating itself?”

    Very, very certain…

  43. Douglas says:

    You’re right, Dan Hodges. This idealistic dreamer will get out of your way. You can have your anti-dreamer anti-idealistic party. How very dare people like me get ideas above my station of improving the world, dreaming of more fairness and making a more ideal country. All we need to do, as you say Dan, is be even more tough on criminals, enact more privatisations (if there’s anything left of ours that hasn’t been sold off yet), more bombing of civilians in foreign countries, more profit in the NHS, stomp even harder on the sick and disabled, make everything for-profit, etc.

    You seem like the kind of person who doesn’t believe in anything apart from power and furthering yourself. I’d rather keep my principles and support a party that does the RIGHT thing rather than the POPULAR thing.

    I was considering coming back to Labour, but with the way people want to move the party to an even emptier, less compassionate, anti-working class, anti-weak, business-style Oxbridge cabal, I’ll have to pass.

    There is no major party for compassionate, left-of-centre, community minded people like myself anymore. All hail the successful and wonderful capitalists who enrich our nation so much, eh?

  44. AmberStar says:

    @ Dan :-)

    Okay, what are the round earth ideas for meeting the challenges currently faced by the Uk; or is it just about being elected & what Labour does thereafter is irrelevant?
    8-)

  45. Richard says:

    “from controlling private equity funds, to greater regulations on banks, to a higher minimum wage, to closing genuine tax loopholes, like foreign registered companies avoiding stamp duty on UK property purchases, rather than the UK Uncut naivete”

    UK Uncut has been calling for all those things. Either you’re monumentally ill-formed, Shinsei, or you too are a flatearther living in an alternate reality.

  46. Richard says:

    “I think you will find that this is not where the party as a whole is.

    You may not like this but it’s a fact.

    Members up and down the land aren’t saying anything like this.”

    And where are your stats on this, The Future? Nobody has consulted my CLP or any others in the entire South West.

    I suggest your “facts” are merely the figment of your own thinking.

  47. Richard says:

    “People hate being robbed by politicians that treat our money as their own, pissing it up the wall on vanity projects that we don’t care about.”

    Obviously you mean things like £800 000 pounds for a new kitchen for the PM.

  48. MrsB says:

    I’m a Lib Dem (yep, and still proud of it). I used to have Labour as my second choice. After Iraq I wavered. After John Reid, David Blunkett, Jack Straw, Gordon Brown, and all the rest of the dinosaurs I am absolutely sure I want nothing to do with Labour. Your party has spent the last year alienating itself from any progressive alliance, and is rapidly disappearing off up its own backside into irrelevance. You are talking to yourselves, which is the reason you think “The country” wants you back. It doesn’t.
    As I said, I’m a Lib Dem. I am sure you will heap scorn and derision on me for that, but at least we realise we are in a fight for survival. Which is more than you lot do.
    Oh, and surely Forlornehope’s post was sarcasm? If you are really advocating 80% tax as the answer, you are even more lost than I thought.

  49. Merseymike says:

    As ever Dan’s solutions are those of the Con-Dem government.

    If I agreed with them so much, then I would join them without hesitation. But I’d rather have an opposition who disagrees with their approach

    Frankly, if the majority do decide they agree with the government, then they will vote for them. Simple as that. But that is no excise to change out policies to theirs. We have to start from some sort of position of principle, and that cannot be those of supporting the Government. because those of us who are Labour believe they are wrong. You don’t, Dan, because you aren’t Labour. Soon you may realise this and be much happier in the Conservative party

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