Posts Tagged ‘Peter Kellner’

Progress Annual Conference 2014: Labour slowly faces up to reality

02/06/2014, 09:26:36 AM

by Jonathan Todd

The Progress annual conference 2014 was a conversation in slow motion. The political context means there is little point in discussing much besides three questions: Is Labour on track to win next year? If not, why not? Given this, what strategy should Labour adopt?

Peter Kellner drew gasps in answering the first of these questions – even though he said little that he hasn’t elsewhere. Only fleetingly did we get on to two and three. However, being queasy about engaging with reality isn’t an anecdote to Labour’s building fatalism.

My view is that Labour is not doing as well as we might because we haven’t done enough in the past four years to respond to the messages of the 2010 general election. We now have less than 12 months till the next election. This implies a number of approaches to the period between now and then.

Keep going as we are – putting most of our eggs in the cost of living basket. I wrote for Progress magazine at the end of last year about my concern that this campaigning would be overtaken by events in advance of May 2015. I’m also not convinced that such focus on the cost of living does enough to show that Labour can rise to the national challenges that the governing parties are failing.

Another approach would be to attempt to do in one year what we might have done in five. 2010 confirmed that public trust in Labour as responsible custodians of public money has corroded, which undermines Labour’s capacity to win on other issues. In the book that we published for Labour party conference last year, Uncut set out a strategy for recovering this trust and building from this recovery to a credible and compelling Labour alternative.


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Latest YouGov figures show over 1 in 4 2010 Labour voters have defected. Tories have higher core vote.

11/02/2014, 01:55:07 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Important new analysis from YouGov today. Peter Kellner has looked at all of YouGov’s polls across January – a sample of over 37,000 voters – and crunched the numbers to understand the shifts in voting intention for those who voted in 2010.

This is important because it gives a good idea of the core support for a party and the volatility of the electorate.

For Labour, the common refrain is that our core support is near the level of the vote at the last election. Last year, Marcus Roberts at the Fabians produced an interesting analysis which exemplified this view – he pitched Labour’s core vote at 27.5%.

Around the same time, Uncut commissioned some YouGov polling which found that Labour had lost 26% or just over 1 in 4 of its 2010 vote. Today’s findings from YouGov confirm this figure.

This places Labour’s core vote at 21.5%. The Fabian analysis suggests generational churn (e.g. older Tory voters dying and younger Labour voters coming into the electorate) could add roughly 2% to Labour’s core total, but even allowing for this, a Labour core vote of 23.5% does not set the party up for victory.

In fact, if all other elements of the Fabians analysis were proved to be correct (and this includes a debatable target of attracting an extra 3% of support from the ranks of non-voters ), the absolute maximum Labour could hope for at the next election would be 35.5%.

If this is the ceiling, its not difficult to see a potential, even likely, outcome where Labour posts a result in the low 30s.


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How does Labour secure a majority in 2015? Find out on Monday February 3rd

30/01/2014, 12:45:01 PM

As the polls narrow and Labour nerves begin to jangle, it’s the question many are thinking: how does the party secure a majority in 2015? What seemed comfortable 13 months ago, when the poll lead was regularly in double digits, is now in the balance.

Fortunately, for those of a nervous disposition who do not simply want to wonder in silence, the good people at Progress have organised a series of events where answers can be provided. Uncut will be taking part in the next one

6-7.30pm, Monday 3 February 2014

Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons

Atul Hatwal Editor, Labour Uncut
Peter Kellner President, YouGov
Marcus Roberts Deputy general secretary, the Fabian Society
Polly Toynbee Columnist, the Guardian
Chair: Siobhain McDonagh MP Member, education select committee

If you can make it, come along. If not, follow it (and the other events) on twitter at #labmaj.

As a teaser for the debate, over the coming days, we will be publishing a series of short pieces that look at the key issues for Labour to win majority in 2015, where the party is and what needs to be done. So look out for them and we’ll see you on Monday.


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Labour must look forward, not back, to win in 2015

28/05/2013, 09:51:49 AM

by Jonathan Todd

Peter Kellner reminded us in his recent hard hitting analysis for Progress that the Tories’ central message in 1992 was that Neil Kinnock was a dangerous man who would lead Britain down the road to ruin. He also recalled that the same trick completely failed in 1997. This was because, he argued, Tony Blair had reassured voters that their jobs, homes, pay and savings would be safe with him.

The “Demon Eyes” poster just seemed daft next to the reassurance that Blair had provided. Labour’s “Demon Eyes” football team, founded in 1997, plays on, but the need for reassurance from Labour has returned. Ed Miliband is, according to the Tories, the menace that Kinnock once posed. He must convince that his sums add up on the big challenges facing the country: the economy, welfare, immigration, public services and the cost of living.

While Miliband must seek to reassure, his capacity to do so is not entirely in his control. It can be argued that the tentative economic recovery of 1992 was a harder context in which for Kinnock to provide reassurance than the more upbeat economy in which Blair campaigned in 1997.

Taking a chance on an opposition party seems less of a risk in a stronger economy. Which is why a tepid recovery by 2015 may be the best backdrop to David Cameron’s “don’t let Labour ruin it” message.

Labour’s opposing message, of course, will be “it’s time for a change”. But why? We might say that it’s time for a change because if too far, too fast cuts had not been implemented then we’d now be better off. Unfortunately, this invites the Tories to remind the country why they deemed the cuts necessary: Labour’s profligacy. And there is evidence that this argument increasingly convinces the public.

As the opposition party, Labour has to argue for change in 2015 but this should be an argument about the change that could be achieved from 2015 under Labour, not the change that might have been achieved had Labour been in office from 2010. This might seem obvious but placing an attack on the depth and speed of the government’s cuts at the centre of our economic argument has us looking back to 2010.

Labour can only win with a positive argument for how things will be better from 2015. Yet not only is our main economic argument backward looking but it is backward looking in a tonally negative way. The implicit message of much of our rhetoric is fearful: the government shrinks and the economy collapses; the immigrants arrive and society implodes.


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We now know where Labour’s five million lost votes went, but the party doesn’t seem to like the answer

31/10/2012, 01:14:23 PM

by Rob Marchant

As any economist will tell you, we live in a world of incomplete information. A change in information can serve as a shock, and change the economic landscape all by itself.

But this is also true of politics. Changes in information can also change the political landscape, and Labour has just experienced one of what ought to be seismic proportions: it now knows which voters it has lost.

However, surprisingly, this fact went almost unreported in the press: in fact, in the broadsheet press it was initially only reported by the Telegraph; on the left, barely a whisper.

So there are two stories here: the event itself; and the lack of attention it has received.

Why is this event so important? Well, during the last half-parliament, conventional wisdoms as to why Labour lost the last election have built up, fallen and built up again. On the left and on the right of the party, we have all had our theories but, as so often in politics, based more on intuition than hard facts. A rigorous post-mortem has been noticeable by its absence.

Until now.

On Monday last week, YouGov pollster Peter Kellner released a detailed polling study of the now-celebrated five million votes lost between 1997 and 2010. And the results might be really rather surprising to Labour’s high command.


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