Posts Tagged ‘Labour defeat’

If Labour doesn’t kill old ideologies, they will kill it

11/05/2015, 02:10:13 PM

by John Clarke

We’re at that moment when Wile E Coyote has just missed the Road Runner again, run off the cliff and is now standing on thin air.

Labour seems happy when it’s flapping around on thin air. We’re good at it.

Old Labour, soft left Labour and New Labour have all failed and will fail again.

A Labour leader peddling any these old approaches will lose in 2020.

As things stand, to get a working majority in 2020 the best route is to win over 110 seats directly from the Tories in England.

Does anyone have any sense that Labour is capable of doing this? As it stands, I’m not so sure.

The Labour party has contributed to creating a politics that leaves people on the outside. That uses language that people don’t like or understand. That values systems over people’s lived experience, stunts over reality, simplistic messages rather than real engagement.

It’s a politics divorced from the lives of people.

We are completely unable to speak to people’s concerns about immigration. We are completely mistrusted on welfare reform. We’re not seen as being able to create a strong economy that works for everyone. No one knows what we stand for.

To top it all off we can’t speak to England. Those wondering why Labour are doing so badly in England may want to ponder a point made by Lord Glasman last year. It’s not that England dislikes Labour. It’s that England thinks Labour dislikes them.


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Let’s face it – Thursday night was painful

11/05/2015, 08:28:06 AM

by Joe Anderson

In the last few weeks we have seen some of the strengths of our movement.  Hundreds of activists in every seat across the country – full of the energy and passion of our people fighting for our values.

But their efforts unfortunately weren’t enough to convince the electorate to overlook our weaknesses over the last few years; confused communications and policies which never offered hope against the onslaught of Tory cuts.  Our people and the institutions they depend on were suffering and we weren’t sure whether a Labour Government would save us.

We need to work out what the next five years will mean for us. And we should get it right.  This new Tory government will challenge us on a number of fronts. Our narrative on devolution (local and national), benefits and welfare, the need for economic growth which gives people security and countless other policy areas has all been tested.  It doesn’t seem like it now, but we will look back on some of these and be proven right. On others we are clearly out of step with the country.

We need to take our time and ask the right questions.  Do we really understand how the country (all four of them) feels about what Labour has to offer?  Are we offering the right things to both cities and rural areas?  Do we really understand how the wider city regions and counties feel about what we want to offer?

Scotland is a case in point. The SNP haven’t locked us out of government – we lost the keys years ago when the mistakes were made. And despite fumbling around in the dark, we still haven’t found them again.

We have to face the reality that we have a lot of thinking to do.  And we must do it together as one party.

Anyone who blames “new labour” or “compass” or any other grouping, is damaging the party.

We need to come together and forge a new cohesive force for the country, before deciding which person we invite to lead us.  We need voices from every part of the country to be included, not just those from the Westminster Bubble. We need to work out a policy direction which will give hope to every single part of our country.  And we need to take our time doing it.

We have five years.  Let’s get it right.

Joe Anderson is mayor of Liverpool

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The Labour party is responsible for this defeat. It’s our fault. Nobody else’s

10/05/2015, 10:57:47 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Labour lost the election for the same reason that parties always lose elections – mistrust on the economy and leadership.

Defeat turned to utter disaster though following a grossly inept campaign.

As parliament was dissolved at the end of March, for the start of the short campaign, it was clear that Labour was going to lose. Just as it was clear at the start of the year and has been so for a number of years.

For the entirety of the past five years, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls trailed David Cameron and George Osborne in terms of who the public trusted to best manage the economy. At the start of April the deficit was 25%.

Econ lead

And for the entirety of the past five years, Ed Miliband also trailed David Cameron on the public’s preference for prime minister. In April, the average deficit was 15%.

PM lead

Two numbers. 25% and 15%. These are the reasons that Labour was going to lose to the Tories, no matter what type of campaign the party ran.

These are also the reasons that Labour was always going to lose to the SNP in Scotland.

The SNP pitch was only possible because Labour was evidently weak and Nicola Sturgeon could portray her party as the best route to stopping the Tories.

If Labour had been comfortably ahead in England and held the confidence of Scottish voters on the economy and leadership, this would not have been possible.

In the cacophony of polls, statistics and data journalism, this is the signal. All else is noise.


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Labour used to know how to win elections. We need to re-learn. Fast.

09/05/2015, 04:01:27 PM

by Ian Moss

We, who came into the Labour party in the late 80s and early 90s thought we had built an invincible election fighting machine – after laying the foundations to get Labour back in contention and become an electoral force again the New Labour project embraced the changes in society and was the only party that looked in touch with modern Britain.

In reality, when we look back in 2020 the last 41 years of our endeavours will have seen only 13 years of Labour government. Labour is back into its natural state – as a party of opposition. The only virtue to make of letting the Miliband leaderships run its course to the election is to say that the left had another go, and again it failed. We have tried this plan enough in my lifetime now and it needs to stop.

Cameron has now got the opportunity to be PM for as many years as leader as Blair was, although I suspect he will happily retire after 2 or 3 years. Think about that. Blair, the all-conquering, was PM for 10 years. Cameron could do the same, happily, given this election result.

But he won’t find it easy. The majority is thin and his party will only stay becalmed for a while before its inevitable tensions start showing – over Europe and social liberalism – and he’s not a man noted for knuckling down to the hard business of government or has the soft skills of wooing back benchers. His style of party management means he could be in for a rough ride.

Labour has the power in opposition given this result, to make life difficult for the government, but only if it joins forces with exactly the political groupings that the public were frightened it would. If Labour spends the next 5 years voting down measures in alliance with the Greens and SNP it should prepare itself for a long time in opposition.

The Labour party should not see the way out of this result as building a coalition of Green voters, left wing Liberal Democrats and various fringe campaign groups. The only connection to the non-metropolitan world they have is as they drive through it on camping holidays. Labour does not need to appeal to the drivers of motor-homes; it needs to appeal to the car mechanics that fix them.

The Labour party core vote is urban and liberal. It also needs to be suburban and blue collar. People who run small businesses, work in trades and, yes, drive white vans. Empathy with their issues was notably absent from the team around Miliband which was full of the types of people who spent their Saturdays in Fabian Conferences. Real people don’t spend their weekends in seminars. Labour need to appeal to aspirational and entrepreneurial voters.


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Answers to the questions of general election week 2015

09/05/2015, 12:28:51 PM

by Jonathan Todd

I asked five questions about this week at its start. Now we are at its end, we have our answers. And few of them are pretty. But amidst the rubble of Labour’s defeat, shards of opportunity protrude.

Will a “Sheffield rally moment” happen?

There was an eve of poll rally in Leeds but it generated few headlines. Rather than the Sheffield rally of 1992, we had humbling moments akin to Michael Portillo’s defeat in 1997. Douglas Alexander, Ed Balls and Jim Murphy were all symbolic and significant defeats for Labour. As were Danny Alexander, Vince Cable and Simon Hughes for the Liberal Democrats.

The churn in big names was high. The Parliamentary Labour Party has been shorn of major intellects and players. The Parliamentary Liberal Democrat Party even more so. Much changed eras dawn in both parties.

Can the Tories make it to 290 MPs?

The Tories cleared that threshold by a massive 41 seats. We erroneously thought that the Tories might fall short and that we’d be in for weeks of haggling over the government’s composition.

The 4 per cent swing to the Tories in the key seat of Nuneaton at about 2.30am brought the nightmare scenario of the BBC exit poll a decisive step closer to reality. The Tories did not just beat Labour in seats, like Nuneaton, that they were defending against us.

They prevented Labour PPCs from becoming or returning as MPs in a number of seats that had been held by Labour: Julie Hilling (Bolton West); Andy Sawford (Corby); Chris Williamson (Derby North); Martin Caton (Gower); Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood); Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Moor View); Rowenna Davis (Southampton Itchen); David Wright (Telford); and Chris Ruane (Vale of Clywd).

Conservative Amanda Solloway was so stunned to win Derby North that she hadn’t prepared a speech. “It was a bit of a surprise,” conceded Johnny Mercer, the new MP for Plymouth Moor View. Lucy Allan, who overturned David Wright’s majority, had been, “told Telford was totally unwinnable”.

“They couldn’t use NationBuilder,” Davis recently said of her Conservative opponents in Southampton Itchen. “They haven’t got the people to co-ordinate. And in an election where people don’t trust the media but do trust their neighbours, that’s a problem.” Somehow, however, the Conservatives did communicate more successfully than Labour in that seat.


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How Labour lost the centre ground and how to win it back

08/05/2015, 09:25:36 PM

by Samuel Dale

A debate is about to begin in the Labour party about how we recover from Thursday’s crushing election defeat.

The Miliband experiment has failed. Do we move to the left to retake Scotland? Or do we move back to the centre to win back Tory voters in England and Wales? Or maybe a bit of both?

Let me state my case that Labour needs to move decisively back to the centre if it has any chance of winning a majority again.

On Thursday, centrist voters drastically turned away from Ed Miliband for three reasons.

Firstly, he was perceived as owning a radically anti-business agenda accompanied with blunt price fixing tools.

“Give me Brexit, give me Scoxit, just don’t give me fucking Ed Balls,” said one concerned senior hedge fund executive to me in the run-up to polling day. Another senior figure said Labour treats the City like “terrorists”. These are typical views from business but they shouldn’t be and it’s damaging. Miliband was at war with business.

Just look at the post-election surge in Sterling and rocketing company shares at property firms, energy companies and others to see the real business fears of a Labour government.

Secondly, this coupled with public fears about economic competence. Miliband was viewed as a profligate custodian of public cash that he could never quite tackle head on.

Thirdly, leadership. This is nebulous but Miliband trailed Cameron by double digits in polls long before the SNP came along. He was seen as weak.

The Tories used the threat of an SNP deal to amplify all these fears but they did not create the weaknesses. If the public believed Miliband had the requisite leadership skills and economic competence then the fear of an SNP deal would not have had the same impact. The Tories’ SNP attacks were the symptom not the cause of problems.

So there were business fears; tax and spend concerns and leadership problems.Here’s what happened next.


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