The recently published Beckett Report on the reasons for Labour’s defeat in the 2015 general election is both useful and persuasively argued. It provides a set of observations and reasoned conclusions which will help us to build for the next election, and put Jeremy Corbyn into 10 Downing Street.
The report debunks some of the folkloric explanations: Continue reading
The dramatic leadership contest this summer has overshadowed Labour’s poor result in the General Election in May, but the war of ideas in explaining Labour’s defeat is still quietly raging. One of the latest explanations offered for this defeat – and a set of prescriptions for 2020 – comes from Oxford lecturer and former SpAd to Tony Blair, Patrick Diamond, in a book for Policy Network titled, Can Labour Win?
Diamond is a Blairite policy wonk through and through – he served as Chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students in the late 1990s and then held a variety of positions in the IPPR and Policy Network, also working closely with Alan Milburn in the run up to the 2005 election, and also as Director of Progress. The purpose of this latest publication is to diagnose the problems that the election throws up – something it does rather well, before assigning a set of policy prescriptions – specifically, recoding Blairism for a post-2015 Labour Party. Unsurprisingly then, the interviews with successful 2015 candidates on how Labour can win next time are conducted with Ben Bradshaw, Peter Kyle and Wes Streeting, three MPs firmly on the right of the party. Continue reading
It’s been picked over already, but there are a couple of points that need picking up on re: the Jon Cruddas inquiry into why Labour lost. For him, the findings confirm that anti-austerity politics is spurned by the majority of those asked – the subtext being, of course, that Jeremy Corbyn’s course will sail the Labour ship into very choppy waters. This drew a Corbynite response arguing that Jon has spun the results to fit his own preferred conclusions. In fact, if anything, they underline the position Camp Corbyn has taken. Who’s right? Continue reading
Our appetite for cuts is abstract. Ask the median voter if they support ‘balancing the books’, and of course – as Jon Cruddas’ independent review into Labour’s election loss points out – the answer will be a resounding ‘yes.’ The intuitive analogy of household budget and national economy has been honed by the Conservatives for decades, and no-one wants ‘too much debt’; especially as we all agree the banking crisis was caused in some sense by debt – whether we’re attributing it to cheap credit, Consolidated Debt Obligations, or the vulnerability of public finances.
Ask the median voter if they want their local library closed, nurses sacked at the hospital or the council to leave their bins an extra few days and their response will be very different; even when it comes to benefits and even including lobby groups like Keep Britain Tidy, hardly tribunes of the proletarian revolution. So much so that the Health Service Journal says we need a ‘reality check on public expectations.’ Continue reading
Ipsos Mori have now published their findings on the recent election. However, it is I think worth highlighting some of these as they are of crucial importance in any consideration of Labour’s future electoral strategy. The information is broken down by gender, age, social class, housing tenure and ethnic group, by gender for age and social class, by turnout for all and by changes since 2010. The key facts are:
- Labour only has a clear lead among those aged 18 – 34, the D/E social groups, BAME voters and renters.
- UKIP increased its vote among all groups, but is strongest among older, white and working class voters.
- Female voters are more likely to vote Labour and less likely to vote UKIP, but older women have become more Conservative.
- The huge fall in the Lib-Dem vote included transfers to Labour (24%), Conservative (20%), Green (11%) and UKIP (7%).
- Labour retained only 72% of its 2010 vote, losing to the Conservatives (8%), UKIP (6%), and by 5% to the SNP, Greens and Lib-Dems each.
- The Conservatives retained 82% of their 2010 vote losing 13% to UKIP.