Posts Tagged ‘economic trust’

Until Labour addresses the toxic trio – immigration, welfare and economic trust – it will never win again

24/05/2016, 06:14:39 PM

by Kevin Meagher

You’ve probably heard Labour politicians concede there’s a ‘perception’ that immigration is a problem and respond by saying that ‘people are not racist for being concerned about the issue’.

These are the two weaselling formulations trotted out time and again to body swerve the issue that looms large in the concerns of electors – particularly those who still vote Labour – and millions more who the party needs to win back if it ever has a hope of governing again.

Yet Labour is not serious – not at all – in trying to meet the public’s expectations. There is no concession that mass immigration has indeed been damaging for many communities and groups of workers, (albeit largely positive for the urban middle-class). Behind the platitudes – the obfuscations – the real view is clear: Immigration is an objective good. There are no downsides. You are a fool or a racist if you think there are.

Enter Jon Cruddas. The Dagenham MP and sometime policy chief to Ed Miliband, has launched a new report, Labour’s Future, Why Labour Lost in 2015 and How it Can Win Again. It argues the party needs to: ‘…stop patronising socially conservative Ukip voters and recognise the ways in which Ukip appeals to former Labour voters…’

Devastatingly, Cruddas – a former academic and not much given to hyperbole – adds: ‘Labour is becoming a toxic brand. It is perceived by voters as a party that supports an ‘open door’ approach to immigration, lacks credibility on the economy, and is a “soft touch” on welfare spending.’

‘A toxic brand’. My, how we sneer at the Tories’ lack of electoral success in the north, yet as the report points out, 43% of voters in the south said they would never vote Labour (the same figure for voters in the north who would never vote Conservative). (more…)

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Labour is fighting the wrong campaign

05/05/2013, 09:16:02 AM

by Anthony Painter

Since 1993, Labour performance in county council elections on a national equivalent basis is as follows: 39%, 44%, 42%, 36%, 22% and 29%. Thursday was better than the absolutely disastrous 2009 result that came a year before its second worst defeat in the modern political era. But it was a performance significantly worse than a party expecting to be winning a majority in two years’ time should have had.

The comfortable thing to do now is focus on the Tories’ travails and UKIP’s surge. But for anyone who wants to see a Labour Government in 2015, the far more sensible thing is to focus on Labour for a while. It is very difficult to write a piece cautioning the party about its current direction when so many new councillors have just been elected and so many local campaigns were so effective. That tremendous work absolutely needs to be acknowledged. Unfortunately though, the overall picture is extremely worrying. There has been a spooky silence on this fact since Thursday and that ultimately won’t help Labour win the majority it should in 2015.

Labour’s strategy isn’t working and it needs to reassess radically the approach that it is taking. Labour has decided to adopt Obama 2008-style “hopey-change” as a strategy. The problem is that next election doesn’t have a hopey-change feel to it. People want change but it is a desire for change that is sceptical and grounded in perception of what will be effective rather than wispy visions.

The 2015 election has a “please spare us from George Osborne but don’t be silly” feel to it. If it were an American election it would be 1992 rather than 2008. It’s the economy, stupid but that doesn’t mean anything goes. It’s just as winnable for Ed Miliband’s Labour as it was for Bill Clinton’s Democrats (UKIP as the Ross Perot of the UK anyone?) and Neil Kinnock’s Labour in 1992. One won and one lost and in that tale lies the strategy that can take Miliband to Downing Street.

There is time to correct what has gone wrong over the last few weeks. Moreover, Ed Miliband has come back from set-backs before – stronger, wiser, more effective. His conference speeches in 2011 and 2012 barely merit comparison; the latter was vastly superior which got across a similar message.

Labour’s campaign came to abrupt halt in a down-the-line interview on BBC Radio 4’s World at One. It was the moment when its strategic weakness was completely exposed. Hopey-change met stark reality in what was simply a series of very straightforward questions that any opposition hopeful of winning power should be able to take in its stride.

Miliband’s problem is not one bad interview. It’s what lay behind that interview. And the biggest concern is the policy weakness.


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