Posts Tagged ‘2010 general election’

What has changed on the deficit since general election 2010?

07/01/2015, 08:31:55 AM

by Jonathan Todd

This is the first of a series of pieces from Uncut on what has changed in respect of key political issues since the last general election. Looking over this timescale, we hope to distinguish the signal from the noise; what really matters from the day-to-day froth.

Liverpool played Burnley away on Boxing Day. The last time that happened was just before the 2010 general election when Rafa Benitez managed Liverpool. Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish both did so between Benitez and the current reign of Brendan Rodgers. Hodgson’s tenure coincided with the near bankruptcy of one of the world’s great sporting institutions. Enter John Henry, deus ex machina. This American has invested in the club stadium and playing squad, including in Luis Suarez, who brought both disgrace and nearly a Premier League title. Life is easier off the pitch and harder on the pitch sans Suarez. Fans yearn to be made to dream again. And will soon have to hope to do so without talisman Steven Gerrard.

In summary, much has happened at Liverpool since the last general election. Soon after which, I wrote my first piece for Uncut on ‘the emerging politics of deficit reduction’. Since when, as much as politics feels like a rollercoaster, these politics have changed remarkably little. Around the time that piece was published, Peter Mandelson was fighting for airtime by launching his memoirs.

We would not convince the country, Mandelson conceded on the deficit, that the Tories were going too far unless we convinced them that we would go far enough. That reflection on the 2010 election exactly parallels the advice that both myself and Samuel Dale have recently given Labour’s current campaign. I called for ‘Don Miliband’ to show himself, Sam for a ‘carpe deficit’ moment. The terminology doesn’t matter, the point is the same. Mandelson returned to the debate before Christmas to make a similar point in a speech to a Progress and Policy Network conference. Labour, Mandelson advised, will only get a hearing on ‘what will the effect be on society and the economy?’ if we are clear on ‘how much must we cut public spending?’


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Exclusive Uncut poll: Over 1 in 4 2010 Lab voters have been lost. Here’s what can be done to win them back

21/09/2013, 01:16:40 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Forget “too far, too fast.” With less than two years until the next election, Labour has chosen its new line of attack: the cost of living crisis.

We might have a nascent recovery, but for most people, life keeps getting tougher as prices continue to rise much faster than wages.

It’s powerful, but Labour needs to be careful.

Exclusive YouGov polling conducted for Uncut reveals that almost as many people blame the last Labour government for today’s cost of living crisis as they do the Tories. 66% of respondents said they blamed the Labour government either a little or a lot for the problem while 71% blamed the Tories.

Even among Labour supporters, 37% blamed the last government. Simply attacking the Tories and saying the words “cost of living crisis” will not be enough for Labour.

Worse still, the polling shows that since the last election over a quarter of 2010 Labour voters (26%) have decided not to vote Labour in 2015.

Although the party’s poll rating is buoyed at the moment by new support, the danger is that this could be soft – voting is a habit and a quarter of Labour’s voters are on the way to breaking theirs’. The erosion of Labour’s opinion poll lead over the past year is indicative of what could happen in the run up to the next election.

Out of Labour’s lost 2010 voters, almost 1 in 5 are now supporting the Conservatives (18%) and 1 in 10 (10%) the Lib Dems. Add-in those who’ve switched to UKIP and over a third of these lost voters have shifted to parties to the right of today’s Labour party.

In contrast, just 1 in 20 have moved left to the Greens, with most of the rest (41%) undecided.

The political need is pressing. Labour needs to show wavering supporters and potential switchers how life would be better with Ed Miliband in Number 10. Actions, or in this case, policies, speak louder than words.

The announcement of Labour’s intention to repeal the bedroom tax will have lifted activist spirits. This government policy is incompetent (clearly there was never going to be enough accommodation for people to move to) and generates arrears and misery in abundance. It is the right thing to do, but whether it is the right commitment to roll-out first, is another matter.

Labour is already blamed for excessive welfare spending (as Uncut reported last week, 54% of those who think welfare spending is too high blame the last Labour government, just 5% the current government, a margin of 10 to 1) and the Tories are rubbing their hands in glee at labeling Labour as the “welfare party.”

Labour needs a broader offer, where policies like repeal of the bedroom tax sit within a prospectus that shows how everyone will benefit from a Labour government.

Next week at Labour conference, Uncut will launch a book, “Labour’s manifesto uncut: how to win in 2015 and why” that gives a fully costed, centrist vision of a progressive Labour alternative.

In it, Uncut sets out the five steps Labour need to take for Ed Miliband to become the new occupant in Number 10 on 8th May 2015.


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3 years on: Five years’ hard Labour?

03/06/2013, 07:00:47 AM

It’s 3 years since Uncut started so, in a series of pieces we’ve been taking stock of what has changed for Labour since 2010. In the last of the pieces, Rob Marchant looks back at this parliament, and forward to 2015

Obviously, we’re only halfway through the parliament, but what would be a celebration of our third birthday without a look back at the immediate past and a little look to the future.

2010: the year of purgatory. Uncut is born out of the ashes of Labour’s electoral disaster in May. The country still in economic crisis. It takes six months, however, for the party to get itself together and organise a leadership election, in which David Miliband, the seeming heir apparent, is effectively defenestrated. Most of the year is wasted, politically.

2011: the year of innocence. There is the sad departure of Alan Johnson, but a fresh-faced Fotherington-Miliband has skipped into public view. Hullo clouds, hullo sky, says he. We are going to do a new kind of politics. There are good people and bad people, for example in business there are producers (good) and predators (bad). Eh? says the public, a bit confused, and rather more concerned about their jobs and mortgages. Much work to be done.

2012: the Tories’ annus horribilis. A disastrous budget, coalition scandals and the travails of the Murdoch press mark the year. Miliband plays a blinder on the conference speech and the party discovers One Nation Labour. There is hope.

2013: the year of drift. One Nation Labour stays a slogan. The Tories start to recover. Disappointing election results. Trouble with the unions looms. The party organisation, unreformed, falters over controversial candidate selections.

And some thoughts about a possible future:


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3 years on: Labour is a happier place

30/05/2013, 09:25:51 PM

It’s 3 years since Uncut started so, in a series of pieces, we’re taking stock of what has changed for Labour since 2010. Kevin Meagher looks at party morale

“Let sunshine win the day” urged David Cameron speaking to his party’s conference a few years ago. Derided at the time, “Ibiza Dave” was on to something.

One of the noticeable changes to Labour over the past few years is that it’s a happier party. Not pleased to be in opposition (I don’t think), but a party, relatively speaking, at ease with itself.

After a decade and a half of the Blair/Brown psychodrama it is a welcome change of mood. Labour is more open these days. The era of top-down party management, vibrating pagers and lines-to-take are largely over. Not rejected per se, more absorbed into the party’s bloodstream. This is a sensible, social democratic party of incremental reform. We have made our peace with the pager.

What has been rejected though is overbearing centralisation. The days when frontbenchers actually shaved off their moustaches and beards at the behest of image consultants are thankfully long gone. The obsession with the media has eased, driven by the increasingly pluralistic ways of talking to voters and getting the party’s message heard.

Indeed, it is interesting to think how a Blair or Brown leadership would react to the rise of digital media, which has done so much to alter the terms of political discourse in the past few years. A gust of free speech has blown through the Labour party, allowing members far more say over its direction. The world has not ended.

In terms of the leader, there is no cabal of Millibandites (the Milliband perhaps?) running around stitching up their rivals. Spats between Unite, Labour’s main trade union backer on the left and Progress on the right are, in Labour party terms, fairly anaemic.


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3 years on: Ed isn’t in the Hobbit and needs to bin the invisibility cloak

30/05/2013, 07:39:44 PM

It’s 3 years since Uncut started so, in a series of pieces, we’re taking stock of what has changed for Labour since 2010. David Talbot looks at Ed Miliband’s public profile

Ah, the Daily Express. What to say about this esteemed presence amongst our media? Last content sometime during the Boer war, today its coverage sticks to the traditional middle class issues of house prices, cancer survival rates and Princess Diana. A friend to the Labour party it almost certainly is not. Indeed, under the tutelage of its chief political commentator, one Patrick O’Flynn, the Daily Express can have a serious claim to be amongst the first members of the fourth estate to take the UKIP threat seriously.

O’Flynn seems an amicable, if slightly misguided, chap who nonetheless stumbled across pertinent analysis as we consider the three year anniversary of Labour’s demise, and Uncut’s rise from the ashes.

Three years on the Labour party is out of government, out of sight and out of mind. O’Flynn dubbed this Labour’s “invisibility cloak” in his leader last week, which was a charitable way of highlighting that three years on from a historic defeat, the party’s hierarchy has not constructed a coherent strategy for Labour’s return to power.

Ed Miliband continues to be Labour’s invisible man. Still virtually unknown to the British public this void in the British political realm can surely continue no more. Cameron was known to taunt the then novice Labour leader at the back end of 2010 noting that “he had been in the job for the past few months” before adding, woundingly, “people are wondering when he’s going to start?”

Too much of Labour’s strategy at present appears to be based on the coalition’s unpopularity, and frankly keeping low and not saying anything too stupid.

Indeed, as a political strategy it is well worn and often successful in the short-term. But three years on, Labour has rightly set itself an ambitious target of returning to power after just a single term out of office – a feat, historically, that has been near impossible to muster. Wearing an invisibility cloak for the next two years simply won’t achieve that high aim.

David Talbot is a political consultant

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3 years on: Ed Miliband has created Blue Nun Labour

30/05/2013, 06:20:09 PM

It’s 3 years since Uncut started so, in a series of pieces, we’re taking stock of what has changed for Labour since 2010. Mark Stockwell gives the other side’s view of Labour’s progress

You could see it on Ed Miliband’s face, that far-off day in September 2010 when he snatched the party leadership from under his big brother’s nose. David had led him in every round of the ballot, eclipsed him over every fence, but at the end, somehow, Ed had snuck through on the rails and won by a short head. And the new leader of the opposition was as surprised as anyone. In truth, he wasn’t ready for the responsibility that had been thrust upon him. Over the last three years, it’s shown.

Granted, he didn’t start from the most auspicious position. For all that the Conservatives had failed to win a majority, this only served to disguise the scale of the defeat Labour had suffered at the hands of the British electorate. When what Labour needed was to face up to the manifold reasons for that defeat, too many have sought comfort in the travails of the coalition and revelled in the difficulties of the despised Liberal Democrats.

It fell to Miliband to drag his party away from this comfort zone. He has failed. In truth, he hasn’t even tried. Yes, senior Labour figures have queued up to utter insincere pieties about how the leadership had been wrong in the past to dismiss the concerns of the party’s supporters about immigration. But the party as a whole continues to give the impression it doesn’t think it got much wrong in office – on the domestic front, at least.

It is no use Labour going into the 2015 election telling voters it was a mistake to kick them out last time. Asked to review their verdict (and you may be sure Conservative strategists will happily play along with such an approach), the good people of Britain will apply a swift coat of polish to their boots and find their own way to make sure Labour “reconnects with the voters.”

Miliband’s lack of preparedness has manifested itself in his desperate casting around for a distinctive, coherent agenda. It is rather as if, like the second year politics undergraduate he so closely resembles, finding himself unexpectedly home alone one evening, he has set himself the task of coming up with a tasty supper using only the ingredients he can find already in the kitchen.

Blue Labour? Hmmm, yes I remember picking that up on the way home after the leadership election. Maybe I’d had one or two glasses of wine. Anyway, it sounds interesting, in it goes.

But hang on, it’s missing something. I know, there’s that half-empty packet of incomes policy that’s been hanging around at the back of the cupboard since, ooh, about 1979. If I stick a big label on it saying “predistribution”, maybe I can kid myself it’s not past its sell-by date.


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3 years on: The Labour party is allergic to making decisions

30/05/2013, 02:00:22 PM

It’s 3 years since Uncut started so, in a series of pieces, we’re taking stock of what has changed for Labour since 2010. Atul Hatwal looks at how Labour is led

When Gordon Brown departed the Labour leadership, there was a sigh of relief across Westminster on both the left and right of the party. For many, the problem with Gordon hadn’t been the policies, though there was clearly room for improvement, but leadership.

Decisions would sit on his desk for weeks and months, sometimes years. By the time a choice was made, the moment would have passed and after all the haggling and deliberation, those involved felt exhausted.

The advent of a new leader was meant to change that. Regardless of his politics, Ed Miliband’s swift and determined decision to stand against his brother boded well for his style of leadership.

Unfortunately it seems that was the last major decision Labour’s leader made. Stories abound about landmark speeches being constantly rewritten with endless debate in the leader’s court on the correctly nuanced line to take.

Everyone has an opinion and all are heard with the result that little substantive is ever said.


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3 years on: We’re still at square one on the economy

30/05/2013, 12:23:58 PM

It’s 3 years since Uncut started so, in a series of pieces, we’re taking stock of  what has changed for Labour since 2010. Jonathan Todd looks at Labour’s progress, or lack thereof, on the economy.

As anticipated in my first Uncut piece, the deficit has defined the politics of this parliament. The political premium on being able to say where the money will come from has remained high, while the interest on government debt has stayed low.

George Osborne claims these low interest rates as City endorsement for his policies when really they implore him to borrow to invest. The market, it seems, is always right but only when it’s politically convenient.

While ministers struggle to offer the Treasury the cuts that the spending review demands, the political potency of the cuts narrative hardly seems diminished. This is in spite of the government failing to meet their stated objective: deficit reduction. As they reap a whirlwind of youth unemployment and stagnant growth.

Yet the economic debate stubbornly refuses to turn to Labour. The public seem trapped in a doom loop that is economically self-fulfilling and debilitates Labour, which must convince that a better economy could be achieved under prime minister Miliband.

As well as winning on bread-and-butter issues, Miliband has to address the deep structural problems that the nasty hangover from the NICE – non-inflationary continuous expansion – decade has revealed. Economic rebalancing requires rebalancing our top heavy state. The best chance for this in this parliament came and largely went with the mayoral referendums.

Having worked on Siôn Simon’s campaign, it was a big disappointment that Birmingham rejected this way forward. I’m working with Demos to try to think through new ways ahead for our cities.

These are times laden with immense challenges and without the resources that the delusions of the NICE decade conjured. Solutions urgently demand bold imagination. “One more heave” isn’t enough, as my first Uncut piece concluded.

Jonathan Todd is Labour Uncut’s economic columnist

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Philip Cowley finds the incumbency factor alive and well in 2010

07/10/2010, 02:20:12 PM

The first obvious evidence of what (at least to me) was one of the more surprising aspects of the election results came at just past 2am on 7 May, when Labour held Gedling. It was the first obvious manifestation of something which the 10pm exit poll had claimed to detect, but which I wanted to see for myself before I believed it: evidence that hard-working Labour incumbents – in this case, Vernon Coaker – could survive against the swing.

The Conservatives would end the election having taken almost a clean sweep of seats from Labour in their top 100 targets. But of the nine they failed to take, eight were held by an incumbent Labour MP. (more…)

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