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Tories start 2014 with victory looking impossible: Labour must not be timid

Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer who is Cameron’s nemesis, has just produced a very accurate poll of Tory opinion across the country with just 16 months to the election which reveals the Tories as almost certain losers. He divided the 8,000 questioned, a very large sample, into 4 categories: loyalists, joiners, defectors, and considerers. Disastrously for Tory hopes the defectors are by far the largest group. The joiners, i.e. those who did not vote Tory in 2010 but say they will probably do so in 2015, amount only to 6%, while the considerers, i.e. those who didn’t vote Tory last time and wouldn’t tomorrow, but equally wouldn’t rule out being lured into the Tory camp in 2015, are even fewer, namely just 3%.

The joker in the pack are the defectors who number a whopping 37%, four times more than the joiners and considerers combined. So Ashcroft poses the $64,000 question: can Cameron not only keep all the loyalists and joiners, but win over all the considerers and bring back all the defectors? It must be a racing certainty that he can’t. So is Labour home and dry? It certainly isn’t.

It’s clear that Labour isn’t winning over many previous Tory voters since overwhelmingly the Tory defectors are going to UKIP. But that doesn’t matter too much since if Labour is going to be worth its salt and not turn out another pseudo-tory blairite regime, it’s never going to get much from the Tories. But the election will be won or lost in an entirely different context.

The one single issue which would make Labour a racing certainty winner is getting back the 3-4 million non-voters in the last 3 elections, overwhelmingly potential Labour voters, who gave up voting because they thought (correctly) that Labour didn’t really represent them any more and (correctly again) there was hardly anything to choose between the two main parties. The Tories have certainly been very helpful in exposing that there is now a very real difference, with the Tory Nasty Party in full cry, but Labour has still failed to rise to the challenge to show that it is positively and strongly on their side.

What is really missing is a Labour Party that is strong, self-confident, enthusiastic and convinced it is going to win and therefore going for the jugular. Above all the weakness lies in economic policy where the country is crying out for an alternative to endless austerity and which will cut the budget faster whilst at the same time investing strongly in jobs, industry, growth and exports – a combination which serendipitously is entirely possible and obviously necessary. So why isn’t Labour shouting that from the rooftops, especially since the present so-called ‘recovery’ is anything but, with business investment and wages and productivity and exports all drastically depressed and still falling?


  1. swatantra says:

    I was thinking just looking at that cartoon, that if EdM were to be standing on the backs of Clegg Salmond and Martin McGuiness, he could easily reach that 2015 step.

  2. treborc says:

    We all know in the past that Labour has proudly stated they would win the next election and then spend five years wondering why they lost, then started again telling the public do not worry we will win the next then spend another five years asking what went wrong it’s mostly trust.

    Do you trust Miliband and Ball’s and the simple answer to that is no for god sake Miliband looks like he still got nappy rash, and Ball’s is a million miles from being trusted.

    New labour is dead, well you should have buried the corpse because it stinking up the labour party with Progress and the Union link and the attacks on the poorest.

    I do not know where I will vote, or if I will vote in 2015 but right now it’s not going to be for the hammer wielding Newer Labour party.

  3. Dave Roberts says:

    Out here in Spain politics are watched with interest as most of us lived the majority of our adult lives in the UK and supported various parties, mostly Labour.

    One of the comments above is very true, Milliband doesn’t look like a Prime Minister and Cameron does. Don’t take any notice of this poll, it’s just to scare the Tory faithful into pulling their socks up and lure Labour into a false sense of security. Milliband and co have a mountain to climband they know it.

  4. eric clyne says:

    Your final paragraph is excellent. We need a new radicalism expressed in easy to understand policies.

  5. Chris Lovett says:

    This is not a Labour Party. Not even remotely. I cannot understand why they don’t attack the endless the Tory lies. Only today I heard a treasury spokesman say that welfare is the biggest slice of government expenditure – it’s not, unless you add welfare and pensions together. They are getting away – unchallenged – with this sort of rubbish every day.

    I was never a “New” Labour supporter (even though I voted for them every time, best of a bad bunch) but they actually grew the economy and left it growing at 2.6% in May 2010. Then in October of that year Osbornomics killed it stone dead – and the “growth” now is based on a housing bubble.

    With the rich getting ever richer, the poor ever poorer, we need a party of the left, one with courage. But then I’m a child of 1945.

  6. Peter Hack says:

    The significant One Nation policy that is never aired is a Fair Rent Act to reduce poverty and incentivise work and “rebalance the economy”; in Germany Merkel campaigned on rent controls yet there is not one voice in the UK Parliament advocating this despite the UK property market lower tier being underpinned by high rents subsidised by high housing benefit ie 25bn; yet it is London that distorts the entire economy and has done for two generations.

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