2013: in Labour’s do-or-die year, it’s the strategy of hope versus the strategy of hopeful

January 2, 2013 4:31 pm

Author:

Tags:

Share this Article

The audacity of hope: it worked for Obama in 2008, and it is an important quality for an opposition to bring to the table, as Ed Miliband did in his New Year’s message last Friday.

It is fairly clear that at this point the Coalition is bringing very little credible hope to the Great British Public, although we must also accept that this situation may well have changed by 2015, as and when the economy recovers. But right now, there is clearly no light at the end of the tunnel, and this is an opportunity for Labour.

Why is this the critical year? Well, we can already see the landscape: because of the new, fixed parliamentary terms, we now know when the election will be: May 2015. Knowing this, it is all but an inevitability that there will be a very long campaign, because no-one will care about “moving too soon”. Also, it is certainly seems probable that the Tories will want to start campaigning sooner rather than later, hoping to exhaust Labour with their superior resources.

In other words, the first four months of 2015 will likely be pure campaigning, and virtually no government business (Whitehall will surely stop working quite early, given that the possibility of a change of government usually slows the Civil Service gears). And that’s if campaigning has not already started earlier, by late 2014.

So, amazingly, although the last election seems like yesterday, we are now almost in the final straight. There is 2013, and there is 2014. And that is it.

Furthermore, by 2014, the die will be cast: it will be too late to make any dramatic changes to Labour’s direction, as any such change would look like last-minute panic in the face of possible defeat at the polls. No, the grand plan, and any big changes, need to be clarified this year, or never. This is not a political statement, just one of common-sense election practicalities.

And so we come to the big question: where are we with that grand plan?

Labour has had a decent year: good party polling, strong conference speech, unifying One Nation theme. And in his New Year’s message, nearly two years after Nick Clegg’s correctly thought-out but terribly-executed Alarm Clock Britain message to Britain’s strivers, Miliband is playing smarter.

He has had a seemingly Damascene, although entirely necessary, conversion to supporting its “forgotten wealth-creators”. He is using Cameron’s out-of-touch aura more subtly, rather than waging an unappealing class war, as he tried earlier. And he is harnessing the Olympic spirit much more effectively than his opponent’s desperate attempts to claim that it was “a year that made us proud” (no, Mr Cameron, the Olympics made us proud. It was a rubbish year for your government).

Thank heavens for those advances, at least: we are slowly getting to a One Nation place, very different from the divisive “producers and predators” 2011 conference speech, so roundly trashed by most commentators. In his first election, Obama taught us the importance of hope; in the second, that “it’s the hard-working middle classes, stupid”.

Miliband, to be fair, has known this ever since his “squeezed middle” speech, but its tone was wrong. Even the phrase itself implies being the helpless victims of external forces, language which can turn off an important part of that middle class who feel that they can make their own way, if only the government will get off their backs. He is now, rightly, re-engaging with those people, which also represent a portion of his lost voters.

That said, as the BBC’s lobby staff point out here, the Budget handed Miliband “a free lunch”, one of many other Coalition failures. And to a large extent, the positive polling is arguably the result of these failures coupled with good, old-fashioned mid-term blues, not forgetting that Miliband’s personal polling is still poor. Even Labour’s positive polling at mid-term, as Peter Kellner pointed out, is not enough to point to a probable election victory (he notes that the polling should be touching 20%, not 10%, for that). And, as Atul Hatwal pointed out, no opposition has won an election without a big lead on the economy, something which Labour lacks.

It is all very well predicting an X seat majority for Labour, based on a current 10-ish % poll lead; it is also, as any statistician would tell you, arrant nonsense, because it assumes that the situation will be the same in two years as it is now.

In this mixed picture, hope can be a good cornerstone for Labour strategy. But it now desperately needs policies more than slogans. In other words, it now needs to decide whether its strategy is hope, or merely hopeful. A clue: hopeful is not a strategy.

Hope is about energising its members and supporters with a realistic, concrete programme which it will roll out, starting in two years’ time. Hopeful is to go in with slogans that sound good, scant policy meat and hopes that the Coalition will screw up just enough so that the next election plops gently into our laps without having to make any radical, applecart-upsetting changes.

Three hundred and sixty-five days. Count ‘em. That’s roughly what we have, to decide if we want either a Labour majority, or more Tory-led government. The former will require initiative-taking and agenda-setting. The latter requires merely drift.

And the third possibility, a Labour-led coalition, would arguably be the worst of all worlds. An unreformed Labour Party, not having learned any visible lessons from its time in opposition, would limp through a few years of hamstrung misery as government-by-default before being conclusively out of power for many years more. And, as any strategist will tell you, if you plan for failure, as a few are currently advocating, that’s just what you’ll get. Failure.

Hope or hopeful: at the beginning of 2013, we still have time to choose. Just.

Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour Party manager who blogs at The Centre Left

  • telemachus

    Look.
    Forget Miliband and his performance.
    2015 will be a breeze as the coalition implodes.
    When have you ever known an election that is anything other than the Government loses?

    • Quiet_Sceptic

      It’s somewhat before my time but weren’t people saying the same thing in 1992?

      Personally I think it will be very difficult to put together an attractive policy offer. If it is bound by the fiscal constraints likely to apply in 2015 then it risks disappointing supporters and would-be voters but a giveaway budget could throw in doubt claims of economic competence or scare voters with fears about tax increases.

      Delivering an attractive policy offer with little extra spending will be very difficult.

      • Alexwilliamz

        A focus on what all this financial constraint is for, might be a start. The tories have badgered on about austerity and then the only narrative of what happens next is some perpetual competition with China, India and other emerging countries. In other words maintain low wages and no breaks for the ‘squeezed majority’. Just as after the war when Labour was swept to power on a mandate of a vision of something that had been worth fighting for, Labour can begin to offer a picture of a good society which will be sustained by fairer taxation and an emphasis on genuine job creation and education reform. Selling a story of tough now for something better is what I think people can buy into. At the moment the message is tough now because of the fun you have already had!
        In terms of policy without additional cost, there will be lots of possible flexibility in some areas like education, health and maybe even welfare where the conservatives are presently wasting money trying to make ideologically driven policies work. Abandoning much of the costly paperwork trying to create artificial ‘markets’ could probably save billions! This would require some legwork to generate some alternative mechanisms for delivering some services, but that should be the focus for some of the policy review. Hell I am ready to get stuck into some research and number crunching if the spads are too inept to do that themselves.

        • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

          “policy without additional cost”

          All policy costs – it only takes a few seconds on the internet to discover the cost of the Coalition’s failing austerity nonsense.

          Just have a look at the increasingly radical Krugman taking the Tory austerity merchants apart and you’ll see why Krugman, Portes and others are regarded as the real opposition to the Coalition government:

          • Alexwilliamz

            Of course it costs, but if it costs the same as something that is being scrapped then the net cost is zero.

          • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

            And you would scrap…what, exactly?

          • Alexwilliamz

            Free schools, reforming the existing system could have given parents and heads greater involvement no need to spend money trying to open new schools especially when there is a strategic need for them in some places and not others. Remove the ATOS contract, we are already paying health care professionals to treat the same people who are then being assessed again. The cost of many polices is the salaries of those people implementing them, as such by redirecting them you will not be generating ‘new’ costs. Of course there will inevitably some costs to having to sort out the mess that this government will have created and there will be a massive need for infrastructure investment. The latter does not increase the ‘strutural’ deficit, and there is an asset produced at the end of it.

          • Alexwilliamz

            Out of interest Rob, does your question imply that you would see Labour merely continuing coalition policy?

          • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

            No.

          • Alexwilliamz

            Good

      • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

        It will indeed. Good to see that some people see the reality of the predicament Labour is in about fiscal constraints. For some others, it seems that the financial crisis never happened.

    • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

      Erm, 2001? 2005? Hello?

  • robertcp

    Labour is not going to get a majority in 2015, so a Labour-led government is the best possible outcome. If it happens, Labour should aim to extend any coalition or alliance beyond 2020.

    • aracataca

      You can see into the future can you? Astonishing! Where the hell did you get that ability from?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        I think a small but secure Labour majority is more likely than any link with the LibDems who are too close to the Tories to switch sides – and simply not trustworthy

      • 2stcenturytruth

        You are right aracataca. But wisdom dictates planning. A little empathy is not difficult in guessing at the main strategy the Conservatives will use. Apparently Osborne has been looking closely at Obama’s success. What was Obama’s central message. It was ‘Are you going to let the guys who created this mess and the deficit repeat their behaviour’. It worked in America. Obama won. Gideon will use it in 2015. Thus we have to start neutering it now. The bankers caused the financial crisis that caused the economic crisis. Labour has to start saying this now and loudly. Despite Aristotle most people are not political animals; well not to the extent bloggers here are. A simply punchline from the Tories will tar Labour with the deficit everyone is suffering. ‘The bankers did it’ must be Labours response. And it must start NOW. Otherwise Labour is probaly sleepwalking into defeat in 2015. Futurology a bit. But wisdom must dictate actions.

        • Redshift1

          Except that wasn’t Obama’s message.

          I’ll give you one example:-
          Obama saved the auto-industry from collapse, when people like Mitt Romney said he’d have let them go to the wall. Hello key campaign message in Ohio.

          What has the coalition saved? What can they point to? What can they say they’ve done that’s better than us?

    • Redshift1

      I don’t understand what basis you can say we’re not going to get a majority at this stage, when the evidence (which I’m not saying can’t change) currently points to a large Labour majority. Even the usual modest recovery of the governing party in the polls wouldn’t prevent a Labour majority – it’d actually have to be fairly impressive, just to deny us a majority.

      Cameron needs an economic recovery or a gargantuan cock-up on our part to win this. Even then a Tory majority would be long-shot.

      • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

        “A large Labour majority” assumes circumstances will be the same in two year’s time as they are now. This is a forecasting fallacy.

        Historical evidence shows that poll differences invariably narrow as the election draws near. You simply cannot conclude a win from where we are now, not even close.

        • aracataca

          No one can conclude anything about the political future. Who are you- Mystic Meg’s less successful twin brother? As that incisive sage Joe Strummer once pronounced: ‘ The future is unwritten’ – it is both fallacious and silly to propose that it isn’t.

          • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

            Quite.

        • Redshift1

          Erm…I said that…including the point about polls narrowing…

          My point is that all predictions or estimations of where we look to be heading have to be based upon some sort of evidence, not just baseless hunches. To have a come back from where we are, the Tories need something dramatic to happen, not just a few points in poll-narrowing in the last 6 months.

          What dramatic event do you expect, to consider a Labour majority unlikely? Economic recovery? If you don’t have one, I rest my case.

          • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

            Economic recovery, precisely. It only needs to be modest.

  • http://twitter.com/danielelton Daniel Elton

    “as Atul Hatwal pointed out, no opposition has won an election without a big lead on the economy, something which Labour lacks.”

    Sorry to poop on the Labour Uncut parade, but it’s not true. The last time Ipsos-Mori asked which party had the best policies on the economy before the ’97 election, in the April, Tories were ahead 45-23

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemID=22&view=wide

    • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

      Yes, as per my tweet, this is not quite correct: Mori figures say 7% not 22% behind the Tories. But you have a point and I agree it’s very interesting that this figure diverges from Mark Pack’s numbers. Needs more analysis.

      I would also add that I’m not sure in any case that this would wholly invalidate Atul’s principal argument, which is that every time an opposition wins, they have a lead on the economy. Even if it were to be “every time but one”, he still has a good point, that that is not exactly a great position for Labour.

      • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

        One other thing, as per my later tweet, I am not convinced the categories are the same for the two polls, either, which means we may be comparing apples and oranges. Need to check.

        • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

          Ok, after a bit of Twitter debate with Atul and Daniel, the facts are clearer: the main thing is that Atul’s numbers appear to be from a “which of the two main parties is better on the economy?” question, and the Mori also includes the Lib Dems. It is, essentially, impossible to map one onto the other.

          Therefore, although Daniel’s figures are correct for the question they ask, we are comparing apples with oranges and they do not disprove Atul’s hypothesis, that a lead on the economy (on a two-party basis) is a necessary condition to win a general election.

    • aracataca

      Besides Daniel – as the financial advertisers constantly remind us- ‘past performance is not an indicator of future success’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004219060987 John Bell

    Will Labour be able to win a majority, or be the largest party, in a Westminster Election without any Scottish contingent?
    I say this because, if the Scots vote YES in their Independence referendum in 2014 then it’s patently unfair for ANY Scottish MPs to be returned at the English GE.
    It is also obvious that Mr Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ speech does not take onto account devolved administrations which have different priorities than Westminster’s.
    The SNP government in Edinburgh espouses ‘socialist’ policies like no secondary charges on prescriptions or university education or personal care for the elderly – these are policies which put Scotland on a diverging course from England.
    I really do hope Labour can win again, but I want it to be a Labour party nearer that of Bevan than that of Blair.

    • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

      John, agree it’s an interesting question of what would happen in the event of a Scottish Yes. I can’t imagine they’d get the separation in place within 12 months, but there could conceivably be some interim deal which changed the electoral arithmetic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    Previous polling has assumed that the governing party is opposed by one main party and another option. That isn’t the case. The LibDems are fatally wounded in much of the north and their vote is not going to drift back because there was never really any association Kwith them in any national political sense.

  • Amber_Star

    Nobody needs to get too excited until after we hear what Cameron has to say in his ‘Tantric’ EU speech. If he promises a referendum & gets no significant polling bounce then he & the Tories are in a dark place.

    • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

      So you are advocating do nothing, and hope the Tories implode? Think that goes in the “hopeful” category…

      • Amber_Star

        I’m saying we’ll have a better picture after Cameron’s speech on the 19th January 2013. That’s hardly waiting in hope for the Tories to implode.

        The Tories have killed themselves with the tax credit cuts. When working class Tories are screaming for benefits to be cut, they mean other people’s benefits not theirs & their families.

  • Daniel Speight

    It’s all very strange. Those criticisms from the right wing Progress types never seem to be about supporting Labour differentiating themselves from the two coalition parties. It always seems to be about moving Labour back into economic consensus with those parties. I dare say we will soon start to get lectures on triangulation and focus groups and such.

    To me they seem to represent an SDP wing of party. They showed their strength in getting Boris Johnson elected as London mayor. What else will they do? Would they possibly see a better personal outcome if Labour were to lose in 2015? Would that be their optimum if they cannot regain control of the leadership?

    So some big unanswered questions from last year.

    One – has anyone seen Rob Marchant and Anthony Painter in the same room at the same time?

    Two – are Dan Hodges and Luke Bozier the same person? In fact has anyone seen Dan, Luke Bozier and Chuka Umunna in the same room at the same time?

    Three – will Labour ever have a working class parliamentary candidate again?

    • Amber_Star

      Luke Bozier is in a bit of bother at the moment. Louise Mensch reported him to the police. You can google for the story, if you are interested. Meanwhile, perhaps refrain from suggesting that Dan Hodges is the same person, no matter how much you dislike Dan. The comparison has become untenable until Luke Bozier is cleared (assuming he will be) of the alleged offences. I cannot imagine that Chuka would allow himself to be in a room with Luke Bozier in the present circumstances; I certainly wouldn’t want to be, if I were Chuka!

      Regarding Labour having working class candidates, what do you mean by that? If people come from a working class background but have had opportunities (won for them by past Labour activists) to get an education & a qualification, why should they not stand as candidates?

      • Daniel Speight

        Sorry Amber, Bozier is my little joke as Hodges gave him such a friendly write-up when he joined the Tories and there are a few on LL who would probably have described themselves as his friends at one time. I know I shouldn’t, but I must say I’m enjoying his fall from grace at the moment. I think my daughters would describe it as a gross, but it made me giggle. (Remember Cameron actually welcomed him onboard during a PMQ.)

        Re. working class candidates – I’m following up on what Ed Miliband was promising just a few months ago. The problem we have is that the PLP is so unbalanced. It’s loaded so far in favour of young middle-class careerists that it’s losing its connection with real people doing real jobs. This isn’t a left-right thing. I would welcome seeing today’s versions of right-wingers like Ernie Bevin and Herbert Morrison as well as the like of Nye Bevan.

        As for Chuka… Best leave it for another time.

        • Amber_Star

          Thanks for the reply, Daniel. It’s appreciated.

      • AlanGiles

        Without wishing to make any comment about what Mr Bozier might or might not have been up to, this should act as a warning to all self-important, self-aggrandising,media hungry, PR sodden nobodies: Mensch and Bozier really deserved each other – both vacuous has-beens, famous (in a miniscule way) for being famous.

    • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

      So, any thoughts about the arguments, Daniel, or just the usual rant about people whose views you disagree with?

      • Daniel Speight

        What arguments Rob? Tell me what you believe in rather the spin. So ‘One Nation’ is better than ‘predators’ as a slogan. Got that. What else are you bringing to the table? What policies do you want to see? Are you another pushing for Miliband to specify the cuts and promise more austerity? 18 paragraphs Rob, but have you actually told us anything?

        Me? I think I will go back laughing about Bozier.

        • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

          As Rob is reluctant to launch Manifesto Marchant allow me to sketch its likely contents:

          1. I.D. cards

          2. Intervention in Syria followed by intervention in Iran. Rob, leading from behind a desk in Westminster, will attempt to rally the nation with: “My troops will only stop marching when they are able to wash their boots in the Gulf of Oman.”

          3. Benefit cuts in order to repair ‘work incentives’ and to prise claimants from their beds.

          4. Regionally weighted benefits and public sector pay.

          5. Shrinking of the welfare state through privatisation (disguised as necessary austerity).

          6. Austerity.

          7. More austerity.

          8. Coalition with the Tories.

          (Ok, number 8 is a joke, included by Rob to rile grass-roots L.P. members.)

          How’s that Rob?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Could 9 be Rob Marchant to finally find his true home in the Conservative party
            And 10 be the real party the rest of us could hold when he does so?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        It might have helped if you had provided some arguments in the vacuous article above, which you generally didn’t.

  • AlanGiles

    Yet when many on the left suggested – not that long ago – that you need to offer hope and inspiration to the voting public, that would be football magnate DAVID Miliband rejected the idea of “the politics of reassurance”, and, needless to say, all his little sycophants both within the Labour party and on LL agreed with him.

    If this is the case you need to stop fools like Liam Byrne dividing up the British people between his imaginary “strivers” and those unable to find work through misfortune or handicap. That would be a start, and something Ed Miliband could do something about tomorrow, by finding a more competent minister to shadow DWP.

    To offer a real alternative, to use a musical metaphor, you have to write something new and original, not just offer variations on a theme. Byrne is merely pandering to the increasingly hysterical posturings of Duncan-Smith

    Could it be that right wing labourites are now admitting Gurning Dave was wrong – including our esteemed “ex Labour Party Manager”?, for one thing is certain – you cannot expect to win an election by keep saying meaningless words like “one nation”, with nothing to back them up

    • Redshift1

      I have always wondered what/where/when Rob managed for the party.

      • AlanGiles

        I can only guess he managed to alienate many traditional Labour supporters.

  • 2stcenturytruth

    Labour is sleepwalking into defeat in 2015. As sure as night follows day the Coalition partners will curse Labour with the charge ‘Can you afford to let these guys mess up the economy again?’ Labour does not appear to have a killer response. A killer response that tars the Conservatives is ‘The Bankers were responsible’ for the financial crisis’. When is Labour going to clarion this reality. Just because the party is 10% ahead in the polls is totally no reason to think this will win the election. It will not. Look at history. So start now undermining this inevitable weapon the Australian leading the Conservative election strategy will use. Time is running out.

    • Redshift1

      Hard to make that argument unless there is a recovery. Obama hadn’t caused a double-dip (Osborne may even manage a triple-dip).

      • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

        There is very likely to be a recovery before 2015. Even if this were not so, it is highly risky to bet everything on there not being one.

        • aracataca

          ‘There is very likely to be a recovery before 2015′. Oh really? How did you work that? Have you heard of Japanisation? If not check out the economic record of Japan 1991- present.Guess what? That is what is happening to us.

          • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

            I didn’t say it was certain. I said it was “very likely”. This is a game of probabilities, not certainties. You, on the other hand, seem to be claiming certainty here: ” That is what is happening to us.”

            And yet lower down this thread you are rightly saying “No one can conclude anything about the political future. Who are you- Mystic Meg’s less successful twin brother? As that incisive sage Joe Strummer once pronounced: ‘ The future is unwritten’ – it is both fallacious and silly to propose that it isn’t.”

            Consistency not your strong point, I can see.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I think its very unlikely – or if it does exist, it will only be in the south, and we aren’t going to win many seats there in any case (which we ought to start accepting rather than wasting time in places where we haven’t a cat in hell’s chance)

          • aracataca

            Where is the economic recovery going to come from? Consumer demand/spending? Improbable -this is a debt deleveraging driven recession. Wages have been frozen for some years now and annual inflation has been running at between 2 & 5%-hence living standards are falling. Government spending? Certainly not. Austerity measures are certain to continue up to 2015 (one thing we can be certain about). Investment led recovery. Possible. However, it typically takes five years for investment led booms to gain traction in the real economy. Furthermore, such an expansion is unlikely to involve investment in UK real estate.The price of UK real estate remains high largely because the super rich from around the world have bought luxury houses in Central London creating a ripple effect on house prices in the rest of London and the South East.
            So where exactly is the ‘very likely’ boom going to come from?

            In respect of Japan we are seeing ( note present tense) the same kind of scenario being played out here as was played out in Japan in the 1990s – namely a massive asset bubble followed by a crash followed by an extended debt deleveraging led recession. Companies’ balance sheets are becoming more important than making profits-exactly what took place in Japan during the 1990s

          • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

            I think you are talking about a return to strong and robust economic growth for the UK, which may just turn out to be a tall order in two years. However, that is not necessary. All that is necessary is that we are out of recession and do not seem to be slipping back by May 2015. That will be deemed a recovery. It is enough.

            So, no, I don’t think this is at all unlikely. The alternative would be that we remain in/return to recession for the next two years. That remains unlikely, although possible.

          • aracataca

            I am delighted Rob that you appear to have rowed back from your assertive ‘There is very likely to be a recovery before 2015′ statement without attempting to provide any evidence to support it. The scenario you have set out above is usually referred to by economists as economic stagnation. I am of course unable to forecast the future direction of the UK economy but fully accept that economic stagnation is a possibility for 2015. However , during periods of inflation, economic stagnation typically results in declining living standards and this state of affairs is commonly referred to as ‘stagflation’. (We would do well to take note of the predictions from Waitrose this morning of steep rises in the price of food over the coming year). In general terms the record of incumbent governments during periods of ‘stagflation’ (where living standards are eroded) is not good and prolonged periods of ‘stagflation’ can lead to more generalised social crises and social breakdown ( See the period 1974-1980 esp in Latin America for reference here).
            I would argue therefore that even if your scenario comes to pass (and of course we know that it may well not) the prospects for the coalition remain limited. They have passed the ball to us – we must make sure that we play it well.

          • Redshift1

            Well we’re heading towards a triple-dip at the moment….

          • Redshift1

            At least others seem to give reasons for their economic forecasts. You have no justification for your statement that recovery is ‘very likely’ unless as I say above your idea of recovery, isn’t really.

        • 2stcenturytruth

          Possibly Rob. But there will be enough suffering for the ‘These are the guys who caused your suffering’ to resonate across the country and lose the party votes

        • Redshift1

          ‘Very likely to be a recovery before 2015′ – not that I like to put down optimism or anything but at best ‘very likely’ is an incredible overstatement at worst it is plain mental.

          I can only assume that unless your a complete idiot you’re judging a recovery to be something like surpassing 2008 output by 2015? This is perhaps achievable but given most advanced economies have got there already, this wouldn’t be my idea of recovery but grindingly painful stagnation. Similarly, I doubt the public would be enamoured with this so would hardly be the kind of recovery that’d boost Tory poll ratings.

      • 2stcenturytruth

        I think not Redshift. They will throw the dirt at Labour. And it resonates as all the latest polls show. We are mistrusted on the economy. Check out the latest polls. You can see it now. Those vans with big posters on picturing the two Eds with the message ‘Can you trust these guys who got us into this mess’?
        We need to be undermining this message now on in. Blame the bankers. They are disliked. Most importantly they did cause the deficit

        • Redshift1

          I do agree with your concluding point, attacking the bankers is exactly right BUT fact of the matter is that they have been throwing the dirt since day one. ‘Labour’s mess’ has been on every coalition press release for 2 and a half years. It’s getting old and they need to be able to point to some general competence on their part for it to work anyway.

    • http://twitter.com/rob_marchant Rob Marchant

      “Just because the party is 10% ahead in the polls is totally no reason to think this will win the election.”

      An important point, which will be the subject of my piece at Labour Uncut tomorrow: http://labour-uncut.co.uk

  • uglyfatbloke

    The Scotland thing….

    First up…it is perfectly possible for Labour to win a GE without a big Scottish contingent but of course it would be that much more difficult. Equally, there is very little chance that Labour can retain the current level of representation from Scotland. The days of getting 40% of the vote but 80% of the seats are probably gone forever, and for obvious democratic reasons there is some justice in that.
    Even so, it is likely to be the glib-dumbs who will be most affected by Scottish developments. If they collapse to 20 seats there is every chance that the gnats will replace them as the third party – a recent poll had the glib-dumbs 2 points behind the SNP in northern England, let alone in Scotland…which is that rarity in politics; a thing that is genuinely funny.

    If the gnats win the referendum however we should expect to see all Scottish MPs out of Westminster PDQ; the Daily Mail will stand for nothing less and we all know how subservient all 3 parties are to the Daily Mail.

    Alternatively, the gnats can be stopped in their tracks by Labour adopting FFA which is what most Scots actually want, but don’t hold your breath for that.

  • reformist lickspittle

    I see that Marchant has been slaughtered in the comments. Again.

Latest

  • Comment Reforming bus services is an important aspect to revitalising many local economies

    Reforming bus services is an important aspect to revitalising many local economies

    Rail services and infrastructure dominate the debate around transport, but with two thirds of all public transport journeys made by bus we are right to talk more about the importance of local bus services. I serve an area with no rail or light rail link, where many people are entirely dependent on buses. I hear from older residents who are left cut off and isolated, unable to easily access GP or hospital appointments. Shift workers who simply cannot get to […]

    Read more →
  • Comment A rent increase for our Armed Forces tells you all you need to know about David Cameron

    A rent increase for our Armed Forces tells you all you need to know about David Cameron

    This week the Government announced that it would be making changes to accommodation for our service personnel and their families. At first glance you might think that is good news because quite frankly, housing for our service personnel and their families is, at the moment, barely adequate. But what the MoD were actually announcing, hidden under details about a new contract for maintenance, was that our armed forces will now have to pay more in rent to live in accommodation that […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Who are the potential candidates for next leader of the Scottish Labour Party?

    Who are the potential candidates for next leader of the Scottish Labour Party?

    Johann Lamont has resigned as leader of the Scottish Labour Party, prompting a new leadership race. As we noted this morning, candidates do not necessarily have to be MSPs, as long as they stand in the Holyrood elections in 2016 – meaning that the next leader could currently be a Westminster MP. So, who are the potential candidates? Here (in alphabetical order) are some of the names that are being mentioned: Douglas Alexander MP: Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary and elections […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Scotland Why Lamont left – and what happens next?

    Why Lamont left – and what happens next?

    Johann Lamont’s resignation was a surprise, if only in terms of timing. Politicians – especially party leaders – rarely resign in newspaper interviews released over the weekend. Yet it seems this decision had been coming for a while. This was not something that transpired over a matter of days, but weeks, months or even years (depending on who you speak to). Lamont has made the right decision to step down. She was facing increasing fire both internally and externally, and didn’t […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour “can indeed win”: Blair denies doom-mongering

    Labour “can indeed win”: Blair denies doom-mongering

    The Scottish Labour Party is not the only headache for Ed Miliband this morning. The Telegraph’s front page doesn’t make for the best reading either, running with the news that Tony Blair predicts a Tory victory next year: However, the story is not all it seems. The only quote The Telegraph supplies is from an anonymous source who claims that the former Labour PM made the prediction in a private meeting with them: “The Conservatives will be the next government […]

    Read more →