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Don’t believe the papers, Labour is not in meltdown

Labour Leadership Candidates and now they are 4_edited-1Another day, another bout of mischief making. In today’s Indy we learn that things aren’t looking too rosy for Labour. In a specially commissioned poll, it “shows party is now even ‘less electable’ than under Ed Miliband. Blimey, that doesn’t bode well for 2020. They go on to say, “voters think Labour has gone backwards since its crushing defeat under Ed Miliband. Only 24 per cent of people believe the party is more electable than it was in May, while 76 per cent say it is less electable.”

The article also pours scorn on the idea of a core vote strategy as the route to electoral success. Drawing on Fabian research, adding up all the Green and LibDem voters to Labour’s total still leaves the party trailing the Tories in the marginals.

Two points are worthwhile noting. Firstly, who is arguing for a targeting of Green and Lib Dem voters? True, some – but by no means all – in Camp Corbyn think Labour can win an election without having to bend over to attract Tory-leaning swing voters. Yet their analysis is more complex than the simplistic guff regurgitated here. They observe that to win back in Scotland, where the SNP are posing as an anti-austerity party; to see off UKIP – who ate into Labour’s vote in ‘safe’ and swing seats; to win back Greens whose vote disproportionately hit Labour’s and allowed the Tories to sneak through in a number of places; and to mobilise the missing millions who sat the election out, Labour has to offer something other than a colourless, technocratic pitch. Where it comes to Tory voters, some can be won on the merits of a platform offering a fairer, more secure capitalism and an end to austerity’s dog-eat-dogism. A point made by Matthew d’Ancona, and emphasised in a missive from CCHQ last week telling Tory MPs and officials to knock off promoting Corbyn as it could shift politics to the left.

As it happens, I think pinning your electoral hopes on a coalition involving large numbers of abstaining voters. They are no more on the left than people who do vote, and their reasons for not particpating are – again – quite complex. The unavoidable road back to power takes us through lands populated by Tory voters who can be persuaded to vote Labour again. This however is not captured in the Fabian research because the question it’s trying to answer is based on a false premise. Again, so there is no uncertainty, no one thinks we can win by cobbling together a coalition of Green and LibDem voters.

A lesson that the Indy could do with learning when it next commissions a poll. So 76% of people think Labour are less electable now than three months ago. Colour me shocked. In case their editorial office hadn’t noticed, Labour doesn’t have a leader and therefore the results uncovered are utterly meaningless. Most party members I know would conclude, right now, that Labour is unelectable on this measure alone. That’s before you factor in the almighty row caused by the caretaker stepping outside of her remit, and the leadership debate’s forays into the gutter. Meanwhile, in actual elections taking place every week in local authority by-elections, the results can hardly be described as a meltdown.

Once again, it needs reiterating that the press – even The Indy – don’t have Labour’s best interests at heart. Some are overtly striving for a Die Linke/SPD-style split, ensuring the permanent marginalisation of the centre left; and others will contribute to the narrative because it generates clicks and coverage at an otherwise dull and sedate time of year. And some are prepared to make themselves look quite stupid in the process.

19 Comments

  1. Matty says:

    Yes, it was a very partisan article in The Indy.with an obvious agenda. No surprise that the byline is the Grice guy who wrote a scornful article on Corbyn only last week

  2. Dave says:

    The tories must be laughing.
    The labour party will lose even more votes if Jeremy Corbyn is labour leader.

  3. David Ellis says:

    There is no doubt that social democracy, reformism, is collapsing dramatically all over Europe and the Labour Party is no exception. Only a Corbyn Victory can save it but then only temporarily because left reformism, centrism and neo-Stalinism is bound to be a very unstable isotope as Syriza just proved because the capitalist system is in meltdown and not amenable to opportunism. It is reduced to a zero sum game where every pound in the rich man’s pocket comes out of the poor mans and vice versa. Corbyn can not only win the leadership of the labour party he could easily go on to win a general election and not just win but like the SNP in Scotland win in a canter but if his light is not to flare and quickly fade the movement he is rapidly becoming the spokesman of must move on from mere anti-austerity to develop a programme for working class power and the transition to socialism. It must put forward practical but urgently needed policies together with a vision for the good life. There needs to be such demands as full employment by sharing the productive work with each paid the min of a trades union living wage; end of the bank bail out and a people’s bank lending at base rate to small business and facilitating social investment in accordance with a democratic plan; workers democracy to replace fat cat executives etc.

  4. john P Reid says:

    it’ll be 28 years by 2020, since 1992 the last election to have a turnout of more than 71%, and 97 was only 4% more than this year, the idea that those don’t vote will start voting is daft, and half of those who voted in 92 are dead

    1. Mervyn Hyde says:

      This is the 21st century now and the trouble with right wingers is that they are trapped in the 19th century.

      With the technology we have at our disposal today the media are no longer able to spin their lies without a genuine rebuttal, the reason that Labour lost the last election was not because they were Labour but that Labour supporters saw they were as the SNP labelled then red Tories.

      Clearly if Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t win the leadership of the party that position will persist and Labour will decline further, what has been obvious to me is that it does not matter to some on the right of the party and one has openly stated on television that he would rather David Cameron to win again than see Jeremy in office. I rather think it was the same person referred to in this article. Not that I heard of him before last night.

      Those on the right that threaten to split away from Labour need to remember what happened to the last lot that thought the electorate was on their side. They fell so far down that they had to join the Liberals to form the Libdems.

      1. jim kirsopp says:

        But that SDP split helped to keep Labour out of power until 1997 … will the coming split do the same?

        1. john P Reid says:

          had the SDP stayed and fought the left,labour may have won in 92, but even with the SDp vote ,which was only aobut 10% extra of the Alliance vote as the liberals had got 15% in 79,the Tories would still have own in 83,87, but with smaller majoirties, saying that alot of Potential tory voters,voted,SDP in 87, so the Tories may have got more votes ad the SDP never existed,

          i dont’ know if Corbyn will win,or if he does he’ll still be leader,in 2020, but there’ll be no split,but i can see a few bright young things looking for a job in the city

        2. Mervyn Hyde says:

          No because we have the technology to circumvent the media lies, the reason Ed Miliband lost was because lots of real Labour supporters couldn’t see any difference between him and the Tories.

          The media can’t manipulate the way they did in the past, the SPD were hailed as the nice people in those days, yes there are probably some that think they could split Labour, but remember the SPD with all that support they received then; didn’t get them anywhere and they ended up in the wilderness.

          If you look at those in the crowds that support Jeremy, there are lots of young people, and it doesn’t take an Einstein to recognise they are new to politics and are drawn by what he has been saying, remember also the media are seen as complicit with right wing ideology and don’t have the same gravitas they had in the 1980s.

          1. John P Reid says:

            As they’re young,they not old enough to recall 83,87,1992

            we should listen to the press,its’ destroying us this view that people genuinely think that a civil war would be good to clear the air

          2. Robert says:

            The left will win this one but I cannot see them beating the Tories at an election and then what, pick another left winger hopefully more will stand for elections now.

          3. John P Reid says:

            So permanent opposition it is then, and all the bitterness the electorate rejecting us,like they did in the 80’s will return,

          4. Rod says:

            John Reid: “not old enough to recall 83,87,1992″

            Well. I am. And I was active in elections further back than those. I also remember 2010 and 2015 – when New Labour (2010) and Tory-lite (2015) policies deprived the LP of victory.

            As Mervyn Hyde says: ” Labour supporters saw they [the LP] were … red Tories.”

            The only way to beat the Tories is to provide an alternative with more equitable policies and a positive vision. Corbyn is doing that.

            Taking on the Tory pro-austerity mantle and Tory welfare ‘reform’ policies is and was disastrous.

  5. Michelvis says:

    Sooooo tired of this! Not the leadership contest – I imagine it would take some members a while to choose wisely! But the neverending whinging!!! Left-Whingers… I’m leaving Labour only to escape the neverending whinging!!! Still vote Labour tho…

  6. David Ellis says:

    The SDP had nothing to do with Labour’s defeat and neither did the `radicalness’ of its manifesto. Labour were out of power for 15 years because a right wing Labour government in power in the 70s destroyed the party’s reputation for many years to come. It is out of power now because Blair and Co did the same in the nineties and naughties but with knobs on. New Labour have bought the party to the brink of anhialation. The only thing now that will actually make Labour electable is a Corbyn victory in the leadership campaign and if the right split off to join the Lib Dems as a result of his victory they will end up with as few MPs as that Tory collaborating outfit and will in fact have entered the dustbin of history.

    1. John P Reid says:

      Right wing labour govt in the 70’s ,scrapping heaths Trade union laws, the closed shop,b98% tax, incomes policy, end to selling council homes?

      Why has new labour brought it to anhialation, the last election Blair got 35.% the last kinnock got he got 34.4%

  7. Mervyn Hyde says:

    Robert:

    I do hope that Jeremy sweeps to power because he gives people like me hope, that is what all those people that left Labour want.

    I am not wealthy but do not have to look to my next wage packet or pension to pay the Bills, and so am not desperate to find a party that will end my troubles, but I recognise that we are all getting worse off, that institutions that have served us well are being destroyed even by the people within our Party, need I mention the detestable Alan Milburn and co.

    Had New Labour won this election I would not be backing Labour but probably the Greens or Left Unity, because they would impose the sort of cuts the Tories are now, and if we oppose the Tories then there must be a logical reason for it, what was transparently clear to those that did not vote Tory was that New, Blue Labour were just the same old same old Tories in a different colour.

    Greece demonstrates visually to people how austerity creates the need for more austerity and is the neo-liberal means used to asset strip our country, that is what we have to reverse, we need to destroy the Tories as they have done to New Labour and you don’t do that by reinforcing Tory economics.

    1. John P Reid says:

      Are you saying the the recent manifesto was blue labour, Ed Miliband went away from blue labour a year ago,and from new labour 8 years ago, and new labour isn’t blue labour

  8. swatantra says:

    Of course it isn’t!. I’m reminded of Canada where indeed the Conservatives did melt down to 2 seats, and hey presto 20+ years later the b****rs are back in power. I mention Canada because old Corby reminds me a bit of Pierre Trudeau who was a successful Libaral,, PM twice and a reluctant one at that. Pierre was pretty relaxed and went around , not in a donkey jacket, but in corduroy and panama suits, just like old JC.

  9. Richard Tiffin says:

    Medialens have already shown the position the press is taking http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2015/797-corbyn.html
    No surprise there as Corbyn clearly represents a threat even if all he achieves is to reframe the debate. The question is how this can be combated?
    The ‘new media’ is cheap and widespread, but seriously fragmented as no single website or forum has authority and there are dozens of choices. Unless a victorious Corbyn creates and disseminates a site that gains authority he will not reap the rewards of the new media, this needs to be his first task or the press will rip him to pieces.
    In terms of the future chances for a Corbyn led Labour government then he doesn’t want to angle for segments of the electorate as his popularity is based upon his authenticity, if he becomes a carbon copy of the ‘suits’ studying every poll then he will lose this, let him trust his instincts.
    Will this work? Clearly, he can win back voters lost to the ‘left’ (SNP & Greens) and by reframing the debate to explain that imigrants are not the cause of unemployment and housing shortages he will take the wind out of UKIP’s sails and win back large swathes of those disillusioned Labour voters, though not the racists.
    Then there will be the campaign for registration, at the last election alone 900,000 electors vanished from the register, on top of the many millions over the years who have vanished.
    Then there is simply the inspiration of having a reason to vote rather than the Tory and Tory lite choice that workers have had for years in terms of a party that can actually win to vote for. If Corbyn keeps the momentum going then Labour will once again be a true mass party with door knockers and community activists with enthusiasm and these will go to the estates where most of the failure to register and to vote exists.
    After that he can start worrying about workers who vote Tory, particularly in the south outside of the major conurbations. Well they will have also seen the agenda reframed and had 5 years of austerity so they won’t be an easy win for the Tories. The only thing Corbyn will need to do is make sure he is having a dialogue with them so the Tory press (including the BBC) can’t run the red menace campaign. This brings us back to a site with authority and a mass movement, if we get those then Corbyn, or rather, we, are in with a shout.
    The real issue then will be down the line as Corbyn’s policies read like a Trotskyist set of transitional demands and when push comes to shove will Corbyn follow his own logic or will he do what Tsispris did?

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