Posts Tagged ‘1970s’

When did the Labour party give up on fighting racism?

06/05/2014, 09:03:14 AM

by Atul Hatwal

There was a time when Labour was the party that stood for equality. For people in a minority community, those of a different colour or heritage, Labour was the party that would fight for them.

No more.

The basic principle of confronting racism, once an irreducible element of Labour’s core, has been greyed into a guideline.

During the past few weeks Labour politicians have been complicit in allowing Ukip to redefine what is acceptable in our national debate.

When Nigel Farage used an interview in the Guardian to brand Romanians as having a “culture of criminality,” and said that British people were right to be worried if Romanian families moved in on their street, there was barely a murmur from Labour.

The party’s silence has helped validate an extraordinary shift: it’s now politically legitimate to say Britons should be scared of foreigners moving in next door.

Politics has just regressed 40 years.

Back then, as now, fear of the foreigner was a defining aspect of political debate. Rather than eastern Europeans, the targets in the 1970s were Asian and Afro-Caribbean immigrants, but the sentiment was exactly the same.


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Time for some nostalgia marketing for Labour

23/05/2012, 07:00:05 AM

by Peter Goddard

We are living, as the old Chinese curse has it, in interesting times. Greece is on the verge of exiting the Euro, in Spain, Bankia has to deny rumours of a run, the News International debacle just keeps on going. Short of Rebecca’s horses eating each other, the signs that the old certainties no longer apply couldn’t get much worse.

The Tories are playing directly into this narrative of unease with their programme of cuts, cuts and more cuts. And this week they have further identified themselves with the sense of national uncertainty and fear with their plans to make sacking employees easer.

This close identification between the Tories and personal insecurity for so many people provides Labour with an opportunity to offer something different.

Leaving it to finer minds to identify the policies that might take the country through this traumatic period and into happier times, there are a range of things we can do in terms of messaging and presentation to maximise the attractiveness of the party during a period like this.

It is a widely-agreed truth in marketing that in times of hardship or recession, nostalgia becomes a powerful ally.

As Martin Lindstrom says in his book, Brandwashing, “In the face of insecurity or uncertainty about the future, we want nothing more than to revert to a more stable time.”

Marketers have been acting on this for some time already. Back in 2009 the New York Times reported that, “As the recession continues taking its toll, marketers are trying to tap into fond memories to help sell what few products shoppers are still buying.”

Certainly things have not got any better since then.

Knowing this, what could Labour do?

First and foremost, it can stop reinventing itself, having ‘conversations’ in which nobody is really listening and obsessing about exactly what shade of what colour the Labour party might be today.

Secondly, it can start remembering, celebrating and reminding people of the substantial achievements of the Labour party, locating today’s party as the evolution of the party for people who stand up for the less fortunate.

The NHS. The sacrosanct-to-all-voters NHS that Labour built is the easiest example to point to, but there is much, much more.  The post-war social housing revolution, equalities legislation and most recently, rebuilding this country’s schools and hospitals after generations of neglect.

Practically, this can be achieved without mechanical repetition in speeches. Labour doesn’t have to trap itself in a retelling of the past to make its point.

What is required is some retro show don’t tell.


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