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Progress seeks to undermine Ed Miliband, again

In the pre-publicity for its annual conference, Labour’s right-wing party-within-a-party could not resist making another attempt to undermine Ed Miliband. Based on an unoriginal and entirely underwhelming Progress article by Peter Kellner, the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour was briefed with the flimsiest of evidence to run a negative story headed

Labour election victory in 2015 looks a distant prospect, says pollster
‘Troubling’ research, suggesting party is perceived as incapable of making tough decisions, will be put to conference”

As Ken Livingstone says:

The Progress organisation is a right wing faction in the Labour party that acts as a caucus for Blairite careerists. By orchestrating coverage today that may damage Labour’s leader on the eve of their conference – which he is addressing – they have shown once again their deep factional disloyalty.

Kellner’s spectacular conclusion from his “troubling research” is spelt out as follows:

There is one issue on which the Conservatives hold a large lead, and it could be decisive in a tough election campaign. By two to one, voters think the Tories have the courage to take tough and unpopular decisions. By three to two, voters think Labour lacks that courage. Once again, this echoes what happened in 1992, and Labour’s continuing vulnerability to the charge that it is ‘nice but dim’. For a party whose greatest campaigning challenge is to appear reassuring, this should be profoundly troubling.

The evidence for this is the answer to a question asked of 1,727 people last March:

If LABOUR win a clear majority at the next election, do you think that, in general, they will or will not have the courage, when necessary, to take tough and unpopular decisions?

The evidence that this is a decisive issue is nowhere to be found. We all know that taking “tough and unpopular decisions” are at the heart of Progress politics. They still haven’t worked out that it was the repeated taking of  “tough and unpopular decisions” by New Labour in government may well have been a factor in losing 5 million Labour votes after 1997, and in the achievement in 2010 of  winning no more than 18.9% of the votes of the British electorate, less than the 20.0% we achieved under Michael Foot in 1983, less in fact than at any election since before the introduction of universale male suffrage and votes for women in 1918.

But bogus evidence is good enough reason for Progress to attack Labour’s l;eader and undermine its election campaigns. No doubt Lord Sainsbury who funds Progress to the tune of £260,00 a year will feel his money is well spent.

Labour Party conference will this year be voting on the rule change proposed last year by ASLEF that seeks to regulate internal party pressure groups by requiring them to donate 50% of what they receive above £25,000 to the national Labour Party. It may cost Lord Sainsbury an extra £117,500 a year to sustain their current budget, but at least Labour would get something out of Progress that way.

Ed Miliband is speaking to the Progress conference tomorrow afternoon. I suspect that he will want to take them as far from their comfort zone as he did last year.

8 Comments

  1. Brian Moylan says:

    What has been “the fruit” of the coalition’s “tough stance” and austerity?

    Borrowing rising faster than ever.
    Double-dip recession.
    IMF warnings.
    Loss of credit rating.
    Vilification of the disabled.
    Associated increase in disabiltity hate crime.
    Bedroom tax.
    Huge increase in the use of food banks.
    The list goes on.

    And Progress want a bit of that action?
    Leave them to it.

    They could do worse than read “self-defeating austerity” by Paul Krugman.

  2. Jon Williams says:

    Disunity leads to election losses. Is it better to have as many thoughts and ideas as possible to formulate policy? If successful in 2015 the Party can operate as a single entity having discussed different views from left and right of the Party…

  3. John p Reid says:

    The old labour lost 5 million votes between 97-2010′ which part from the fact isn’t true, never over looks the face that we increased labours vote by 5.2m , since when you had your go in 83

    Then it was worse than 83 we’d been in power for 13 years and burnt out, in 83 the public were crying out for a change from the Tories and look what you did, also the like of at reborn didn’t vote labour in 2020′ but we stood by you in 83′

    As For Livingstone commenting on progress and loyalty, that’s sickening, he didn’t endorse Lqabour in the 2001.gen election backed the green for the mayoral assembly in 2000′ and then there was backing Luftur,

    So progress are pointing out we might not win, and you feel that’s bad,the party within a party is old hat, when are you going to say the CLPD are a party within a party, oh that’s right you’re not going too.

  4. Matty says:

    “tough and unpopular decisions” for Kellner and Progress I guess would mean cutting spending on things like benefits. Raising income tax though would be “electorally suicidal” wouldn’t it?

  5. Tom Blackburn says:

    ‘Tough decisions’ in New Labour-speak usually means ‘tough for Labour’s core vote’ rather than for the Blairite suits calling for and implementing them. It would be nice if we could have a Labour government which looked after its own in the same way the Tories do every time they come to power, rather than sticking the boot into them to curry favour with the right-wing press.

  6. John p Reid says:

    Tom I don’t understand ,are you saying that progress would feel it was tough to do something unpopular with middle England, and your assertion that the core labour vote is something progress doesn’t relate too, would only be realistic,if tr core vote had always been the same, since 92 there was a bigger swing in middle class areas to Labour than working class ones, in 79 there was a swing to the Tories more in the working class areas than, the C1 skilled working class ones and 2010 saw for the first time more middle class people vote Labour than working class, unless you mean the mid 80’ss core working class vote, I don’t see how you can define progress being different to our core vote, as that core vote hasn’t existed for over 21 years.

  7. Mike Homfray says:

    But that is because so many core voters stayed at home in 2010. We won’t win many convinced by Tory arguments but there are plenty who think we need a reasonable alternative. Progress seem to care more about unwinnable tests in the south. If we want a majority – ignore Progress!

  8. John p Reid says:

    So those who voted Tory in Newcastle, Birmingham and Sheffiled, in the 80’s ,and are the sort of voter that only went labour when progress were calling the shots ,arent needed for us to win ,

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