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One of Jez’s first tasks must be to frame his project, and to de-frame Osborne’s

osborne red facedIf there is one single reason why Labour lost the election, it’s that Osborne realised the critical importance of framing his project in a way that made it acceptable in the eyes of a majority of the electorate. The fact that it was a string of lies didn’t matter as long as people believed it.

This was Osborne’s line: the Labour government left a terrible economic mess, we’ve cleared it up by the only means possible, it’s been painful but we’re all in it together, we’ve succeeded in our recovery and should stick with it. Every statement there is false, but in the absence of Labour refuting all these lies, it was the only tale in town.

Labour lost because Ed Miliband, though he won a lot of support for his policies on energy freeze, living wage, house-building, etc., nevertheless neither exposed the Tory mantra for the utter falsehood it was, nor, even more crucially, produced a commanding narrative which framed his own project in a manner which grabbed the electorate’s attention.

Labour didn’t cause the economic breakdown, the bankers did. The Tories didn’t clear up the collapse in the only way possible; they chose to impose austerity when they coul dhave continued with Alistair Darling’s policy of expanding the economy and generating growth and jobs to pay down the deficit quicker. We were not all in it together when the top 1% have continued to increase their wealth while the squeezed middle and pummeled poorest have paid the price for the bankers’ recklessness and arrogance. Osborne has not produced a proper and sustainable recovery , only a weak and irregular upturn trapped in prolonged austerity with no end in sight.

Why Labour didn’t say this loud and clear between 2010-15 must remain one of the unaccountable mysteries of modern politics. But Labour didn’t, and it allowed Osborne, lies and all, to dominate the political landscape right through to the election. Now he will try to do exactly the same again, and paint Corbynomics into a corner even before it’s got off the ground. Labour must now urgently do two things. It must tell the truth about Osborne’s total misrepresentation of the political record, even if it means apologising for letting down the country by not pronouncing the truth before.

But above all, Jeremy Corbyn should quickly begin to draft his own project. It might run something like this. The Tory bankers allowed their greed and incompetence to capsize the British economy. The Tory government chose to deal with this by imposing austerity which hits the poorest hardest and lets the bankers off the hook. It hasn’t worked because hard-working families are still worse off, companies are not investing and household borrowing is at dangerous levels. We need a fundamental change, and growth and jobs is the answer to austerity.

11 Comments

  1. Verity says:

    One of the most serious problem we have is the number of Labour MPs and especially shadow cabinet people who prefer to speak with opponents in the media that wish to see any change project fail. I can understand that opponents would wish to go public on major areas of disagreement, but I sense that there are some who quite like to do so on the basis of more trivial issues to add to the weight of opposition. Whilst I would not welcome the development of a culture of deselection of internal Labour opponents there does need to be promotion of more cohesion. I did expect this opposition on major issues and after a period of say a year, but I am surprised about this indulgence or political manoeuvring having occurred in a matter of days and on relatively minor issues.

    1. Billericaydickie says:

      There is a lot of stuff about this in the London Evening Standard today. There are now calls for defections from Labour to the Lib Dems. This is going to develop over the nest few days and the weekend.

  2. Mervyn Hyde says:

    “Why Labour didn’t say this loud and clear between 2010-15 must remain one of the unaccountable mysteries of modern politics.”

    Michael Meacher is a politician I have always had time for, my only criticism is that when he poses a question like the one above, it would appear obvious that New Labour was alive and well with Ed Miliband, even after he said he understood that the Neo-Liberal agenda had gone too far.

    I repeat what I have said in the past, in that Ed promised at his leadership election speeches that he got it, saying “I get it,” and then repeating it as though the audience would be rocked into overwhelming rapture by his proclamation, only as far as I was concerned it was totally unconvincing.

    Ed was as shallow as his speeches, people were desperately trying to believe him because issues like health and welfare were so important to them they readily accepted his bland policies in the hope he would bring about the change we all need.

    What was staring me in the face was Ed’s duplicity, he had of course Ed Balls as chancellor, the man that was part of Brown’s deregulation team, that is one clue that tells you it was business as usual, another was Andy Burnham as health secretary that produced the preferred provider, meaning privatisation would continue. (I could go on, but to suffice it to say both Ed and Andy knew that the 2015 Reinstatement Bill would come before parliament, only to find that it took Caroline Lucas to put the Bill to parliament).

    Ed Miliband’s team was as weak as water, they attacked the weak, mimicking the Tories, they constantly parroted that business interests were paramount to save the economy when manufacturing jobs were still being exported abroad and jobs lost.

    Hunt supported free schools and the attacks on hard working teachers relentlessly undermined the very pupils they said they were working for, supported academies which of course were the next staging posts to becoming free schools. None of this had any educational validity and was all part of the Neo-Liberal agenda.

    Finally with all of this in mind, it was obvious to me Ed was a charlatan, I don’t believe real Labour supporters had any confidence in him and certainly a lot of Public Servants were depressed by his lack of support.

    As with his cabinet when I questioned him at a Labour Hustings during the election, he prevaricated and didn’t give a straight answer, in reality because he was deceiving people into believing he was going to save the NHS, when in fact it was just privatisation as normal.

    So if anyone wonders why he did not want to expose the Tories lies on the deficit, it was because he had the same agenda.

    1. SANDRA CRAWFORD says:

      I asked him at one of his soap box town visits about Lord Adair Turners OMF as an answer to public spending. He turned around quickly and said “the questions are getting harder.”
      I believe that it was probably either cowardice or indoctrination with the neoliberal way.
      He did say that normal borrowing was better as this was now cheap, after thinking for a while. But his initial reaction was one of horror.
      I thought that maybe there was some Harvard conditioning there that was very hard wired.

      1. Robert says:

        Ed Miliband was a rotten choice his brother would be no better, they live off their fathers ideology, Fame without really believing it themselves .

        Both brothers joined labour because they knew we would fall over our selves giving them a job.

        Ed was totally ineffectual, he was a total wet or a drip as we use to say in the 1970.s he was controlled by Blair through Progress .

        It was easy to see look at the Living wage we all thought great and then Chukka had his moan about small business people not being able to afford it, so Ed said in London first then out side when employers could afford it, and then when that did not do it for Chukka he dropped it, by saying if labour wins your looking at a higher min wage to the great £8 in five years which was shocking poor offer.

        But it was obvious progress were running Ed.

        Now look at Owen Jones Shadow Chancellor saying labour must review the welfare state and the cap, this is telling Corbyn you better change direction or I will be off. Again it’s progress .

        God help us if we have to vote on Syria and bombing you would get the left going one way and the right joining the Tories to try and get back labour.

        Interesting time.

        1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

          Most people I know think the Milibands are a complete joke and indicative only of just how completely out of touch and how far up their own rectums Labor, (but particularly the well heeled and embedded Blair Labor place-men and women in government,local and national , the NHS and elsewhere now are; as Sandra Crawford implies above, the multi millionaire, American educated, Jewish sons of Polish refugees, living off the proceeds of property speculation and banking, “speaking to you now for the servant’s quarters of my £2.6 million London mansion,” were hardly going to strike a chord with the electorate, but particularly not the many people living in increasing poverty, (without even mentioning this country’s disabled,) and desperation for whom being, bullied, cheated and robbed both by unscrupulous employers and the the DW&P is becoming a daily experience. .

  3. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    Also as far as I’m aware no one is placing the Blair/Thatcher, so called, “neolibral,” agenda in it’s proper modern historical context of American foreign and economic; Free Trade and Globalization, (the dollar gap, etc,) policy implemented and driven by the IMF and the World bank etc, that aims to reduce all other economies to low wage service economies entirely dependent on American companies to provide services and facilities who also own directly or by proxy all their revenue generating assets.

    For examples of the probable future of the UK if this continues; look at the current state of places like Mexico, Iraq, Greece or Nicaragua etc and ask yourself would you really want to live there ?

    1. Mervyn Hyde says:

      You are absolutely right, in saying that the Neo-Liberal agenda is the transfer of wealth and power upwards.

      A powerful statement by Jeremy Corbyn in rebuttal to the Trident onslaught and the Jeremy Corbyn wants to get rid of the army was when he said that people forget that Costa Rica gave up it’s standing army back in I believe the 1950s to in order to spend what little money they had onb their people, not weapons.

      1. Billericaydickie says:

        1948 and it was to stop coups. We have never had an army coup in this country unless you count Cromwell’s.

  4. Bazza says:

    Yes and the CONservatives are run by the Hard Right but present Hard Right policies in moderate language pretending they represent the new centre ground which is well described by Tariq Ali as “the extreme centre” (Neo-Liberalism).
    Whilst we should remember that it is Cameron and Osborne picking people’s pockets with their rise in VAT to 20% that may just be keeping the economy above water but perhaps we should see them as just petty policians setting petty traps for Labour which should be exposed and met with counter arguments.
    We need our own narrative which is put over in simple, clear and straight forward language that is understandable and I would argue we beat the Tories and Neo-Liberalism with our belief as democratic socialists in MORE DEMOCRACY AND MORE SAY FOR PEOPLE IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE.
    Take Jeremy’s support for the democratic public ownership of rail, and the utilities – with rail it could break even and could have staff electing a qualified board and communities having a say.
    With the utilities again staff could elect the board and communities have a say but we could also pay a Community Dividend (like the old Coop Divi) which could be taken as money or used to offset against bills (to help address fuel poverty) but in both cases people would believe they were theirs and they would be nailed down against future Right Wing carpet baggers.
    Yes a potential weakness is there are some cautious Labour MPs but through the democratic discussion of ideas and by letting democracy decide policy they if they realised too could free themselves from the Neo-Liberal straight jacket -come in – the waters lovely!

  5. Bazza says:

    The World and particularly the EC seems currently helpless in the migration crisis and perhaps part of the challenge is, amongst genuine refugees fleeing terror are economic migrants (I am not being judgemental, if I was in a country with no hope I may be with them).
    And in the UK we were all refugees once, driven from the land & pulled to the cities by the capitalist industrial revolution.
    But perhaps as democratic socialists we could think bigger- whilst continuing to offer and step up sanctuary to refugees in the West, perhaps for some non-refugees (but still desperate human beings) we could look perhaps at getting the countries of the World to fund building a new model democratic country or give up land (we need the help of geographers) and if not feasible we just all take more.
    But shoudn’t force people but it would be wonderful to talk to economic migrants to work out answers.
    It could give the crisis some space and help us focus on refugee need.
    Just trying to think in terms of international solidarity.

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