How can Labour have a “core vote” strategy if our core vote don’t know what we’re for?

7th October, 2014 12:57 pm

It’s now less than three weeks since Scotland decided to stay in the Union, with Miliband’s closing promise to the people of Scotland being that Labour would boot the Tories out next year. And yet every day since the referendum result has brought bad news for Labour. Our conference was flat. Miliband’s speech was lacklustre and largely forgettable (Do you remember the six point plan for Britain’s future?). Tory conference was cheerful – at first inexplicably, and then after Cameron’s speech, explicably. It didn’t seem to matter that it was built on shonky figures, it suggested sunlit uplands after years of despair.

And now, for the third day in a row, YouGov has the Tories pulling ahead of Labour. One poll is an outrider, two is a fluke, but three is a trend. Once multiple pollsters start showing Tory leads, the Labour Party will begin to despair. This was not the script. Steady as she goes wasn’t meant to bring us to this place, this far from the election.

Some will claim that such an outcome was inevitable. The idea that Labour has been pursuing a “core vote” strategy is one that has been circulating for a while. Those of us who wanted to see something more ambitious talked about the need to get the “missing millions” back onboard, and aim for a 40% strategy. At present it’s looking like such warnings were ignored. Yesterday Peter Kellner blogged on YouGov polling that shows the fallacy (or failure) of the “core vote” strategy:

“Implicit in media discussions of the core-vote strategy is the assumption that these are all firm party loyalists, and that Miliband’s task is simply to mobilise them..The trouble is, they aren’t….If there is a case for pursuing a core-vote strategy, it is not that Labour’s base is firm, but that it is fragile and urgently needs strengthening.”

So what might the core vote want to see from Miliband? The one time his personal poll ratings have lept upwards was after his Energy Price Fleeze pledge, followed by him taking on the Mail’s treatment of his father. Miliband stood up for what he believed in, showed ambition, stuck it to the unaccountable and powerful forces that run Britain, and received a dividend. Since then, we’ve seen nothing on that scale.

Ed Miliband's New Year's Message 2014 - YouTube 2013-12-30 11-21-35

So what might motivate Labour voters – and the electorate more generally – to back Labour? Well there are many things Miliband could do that I’d happily walk through fire for (or perhaps more realistically, stomach painful cuts in other departments for). Building enough homes so that every family can have a place to call their own, a genuine Health and Social Care service that guarantees quality care for vulnerable and older people without bankrupting them or their families, Universal childcare which unleashes the full potential of our society rather than leaving parents unable to work due to sky high costs – and of course a living wage for all, eliminating poverty pay by ensuring that the minimum wage pays everyone enough to live, not just enough to eat.

These – any single one of these – would show ambition, radically change Britain in the way Miliband claims he wants to and appeal to those potential-Labour voters who are frankly unimpressed by what they evidently see as tinkering around the edges.

If Ed Miliband wants some dividing lines, he can pick any of those and run with them – rather than just deploying the NHS parachute like the Labour Party always does when things look tough.

The Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing. But at the moment, too many of the British people don’t have a sense of what Miliband and Labour are fighting for, and they no longer believe in sufficient numbers that we’re fighting for them.

So is Labour pursuing a core vote strategy? Compared to what’s on offer at the moment I wish we had a core vote strategy. At the moment we have a “take much of our core vote for granted strategy”. It has been the Labour Party’s strategy on and off for a decade or more. And tacking on disaffected 2010 Lib Dems to that diminishing core vote no longer looks enough to get Miliband into Downing Street next year. Bigger thinking is needed. Labour needs to prove that it’s on the side of Britain’s forgotten millions – or the “core vote” as the media might prefer to call them – who are struggling on low pay, unable to find a home, unable to get to work because they can’t afford childcare or struggling to pay their parents care costs. These millions of people aren’t all poor, they don’t all live in the North, Scotland, Wales or London and they didn’t all vote Labour in 2010. But what they do have in common is a desire to see fundamental change to how our Britain works, matched by a loss of hope that such change is possible.

At the moment, those millions must still look at Labour (and the rest of the political establishment) and wonder what on earth – and who on earth – we are for.

If the Scottish referendum reminded me of anything, it’s that millions of people have been told for years that their hopes of big, radical change in their circumstances in particular and British society in general are pie in the sky. Politics used to inspire people and make them believe that a better tomorrow was possible. Now the art of the possible has become the art of pessimism. Nothing much will change, say the people, because that’s the mantra that our politicians seem only too willing to impart. The case Salmond made for Scottish independence was weak. He spoke of higher wages and benefits, lower taxes, higher public spending and oil money aplenty. It was cobblers, and if there had been a Yes vote his promises would have been exposed for the fools gold they were. But what he showed is that motivating people through hope of a brighter tomorrow is a simpler endeavour than motivating people with a marginally improved tomorrow.

A year ago we still had the organisation of Arnie Graf and the policy platform of Jon Cruddas to be hopeful about. Now one has been silenced and the other is strangely silent. And so all eyes fall upon Miliband to bring hope before despair sets in. What have you got, Ed?

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  • reformist lickspittle

    Can’t disagree with much of that, tbh.

    Sometime in the past year, for reasons that remain unclear, the “minimal offer” brigade – led by Alexander and Mr/Mrs Balls – decisively won the internal battle about how we should approach the GE. We can now see the “success” of that approach.

    They have failed. A new approach is needed – and even now it is far from too late. Even given the latest polls, the Tories and Cameron are *not* popular (why else are UKIP causing them such angst?) But the “minimalists” – with their stale and outdated ideas of what works in politics, formed in a Westminster bubble that has never been more despised – risk throwing this real opportunity away.

    So – whose side are you on, Ed?

    • Daniel Speight

      Just a few months ago Alexander denied he was going with the limited offer. Now there seems no doubt he lied. It is a recipe for the defeat. The thing is the group around Ed Miliband don’t seem capable of taking on the Progress crowd. In fact they seem pretty second rate.

      • Dan

        This is why I think Ed should go, even as someone who voted for him. I truly believe that his private beliefs are very decent and left-wing, but he is just too weak to stand up to the likes of Balls, Alexander, Flint etc.

        I’d trade him in for someone who’s own beliefs were marginally less left-wing, but atleast had the balls to tell the hardline Progress Tendency to STFU.

        • Guest

          So someone even further to the right? When Labour loses votes every time they move right?

          No, please don’t bother with the “left-wing” guff.

  • MoreLeftThanYou

    If you had even one investment proposal in your list of urgent wants, it would greatly add to your credibility. But a list of spend, spend, spends is what you demand – and that is what the average voter sees and thinks ‘Here we go again.’

    I agree we need more radical policies. We also need a more balanced approach to policy. Spending and wealth creation should be given equal weight.

    • David Lewis

      Well said – sense at last.

      • treborc1

        F*ck your finger must be tired pressing those up votes.

      • Guest

        That means stopping your capitalists looting.

    • Spending = Income !

      I don’t know why anyone has a problem seeing that. But they are caught up in the thought saving must be a good thing. That’s what the virtuous do. Spending on the other hand must be a bad thing. That’s what the reckless do. Except of course if the spending can be classed as “investment”. Then of course it might be classed as a good thing too!

      Everyone everywhere who’s earned any money has done so only because someone else has made a decision to spend some money. If people aren’t earning enough its because other people aren’t spending enough. That might be simply just going down to the pub and buying a pint or two!

      • MoreLeftThanYou

        Consumption led recoveries lead to more debt. UK Government debt is over £1 trillion. All you are proposing is having future citizens pay for your consumption of services and calling it investment. Future generations will not thank us for our collective self indulgence dressed up according to the Dummies Guide to Keynesianism.

        • Johnnydub

          Exactly. The “moraility” of spending now to make ourselves feel better and leaving our grandkids with the bill is bloody hard to justify to anyone not a narcissist.

          • Guest

            So you leave them with poverty anyway, AND a deficit.

            You’re a hyper-narcissist by your own definition.

          • Johnnydub

            Moronic comment.

            Why is it every problem is solved by throwing money at it and it doesn’t ever matter that we don’t have that money to throw?

          • Guest

            “Moronic comment.”

            Yes, your comment is. You don’t understand what a Fiat Currency is, I see, and the anti-disabled bigotry is also notable.

            But I’m sure you believe in the Magic Jobs Tree.

          • Matthew Blott

            “… the anti-disabled bigotry is also notable.”

            And there you have encapsulated in one half sentence the problem with the Left today – righteous indignation at a non offence due to an obsession with identity politics.

          • Guest

            No, there’s the problem with your defence of anti-disabled bigotry, that you hold it and frantically make excuses for it.

            You are determined to have identity politics – my type before all. Rather than treating people as people, *not* focusing on their skin colour, sex, disability…

            Easier to be a bigot like you, of course.

          • Matthew Blott

            Where is your evidence I am a bigot?

          • Guest

            Hm..let’s see…your posts.

            Oh, right. Could just be sloppy wording, but why should I get people the benefit of the doubt, when I don’t think they’d give the poor benefits?

        • All recoveries are consumption led. The ultimate one was known as WW2 which led to the “consumption” of just about everything that was made on a vast scale. Of course it would have been better if the consumption had been on more socially useful expenditure like schools and hospitals but whereas there was money “available” to buy tanks and aeroplanes there wouldn’t have been the same money “available” for those.

          Consumption and investment are in any case emotive words and often interchangeable. So did WW2 consume our resources leaving us broke, or was the expenditure on WW2 investment for future peace and prosperity? You decide.

          As far as WW2 goes we represented the ‘future generation’. Did we have to suffer to repay war debts? No , of course not. Just as previous generations consumed the products of their economies so we consumed the products of ours. We couldn’t send anything back in time to them and what they left to us, the railways and other infrastructure that survived the war, had been built and so didn’t need to be rebuilt.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Peter, you keep talking about this money.

            There is a reality: our Government buys debt to service current spending. We only finished paying the Americans for their WW2 credit to us about a decade ago (we incidentally helped them become a massive economy), and currently we pay nearly £50 billion annually in debt repayment. Just imagine if we had no sovereign debt. Without raising taxes, we could spend that on whatever we wanted. £50 billion more on health, or less taxes, or housing benefit, not cutting services….

            But instead we pay off the over-spending of previous generations. And you propose more over-spending, so that your grandchildren will pay off our generation’s debts.

          • Johnnydub

            And you make a couple of massive assumptions.:
            1) People keep buying our debt
            2) Issuing our debt doesn’t cause sever problems for the pound such as devaluation
            If either of these problems kick in the country could go into a death spiral from which it cant recover. So you’re basically playing Russian Roulette with the economy with maybe more than one bullet.
            And maybe this time you won’t be able to blame the US…

          • Guest

            Rates are at near-record lows, and we maintain a good credit balance. Moreover, the ratings agencies are not worried about borrowing.

            We *are* in a wage/productivity death spiral, which you refuse to even consider pulling out of. To use your metaphor, you have shot the economy, and are chasing off the first aiders with a gun, American!

          • Johnnydub

            The ratings agencies have a terrible record of seeing where the next crisis is coming from so their “blessing” isn’t worth the paper it’s not printed on.

            Secondly you’re ignoring potential external macro events such as Ukraine going hot, or the Eurozone going tits up or any other thing you haven’t considered.

            People are poor because the pound has significantly devalued, we’re massively overtaxed to feed the greedy public sector, and policies such as Renewable energy are precisely designed to make us poorer. Can or will Labour do anything about these issues? Hell no, they’ll make them worse.

          • Guest

            They still lead borrowing costs, if you like it or not.

            And of course you need to drive down the pound, take even more basic services away (and of course they have access to far, far to much food and shelter for you) as you lash out at the NHS and schools, and want to burn coal, putting billions in costs onto the poor.

            Labour won’t do anything about them because they have moved right.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Johnnydub,

            We have not yet met on LL before, but to put your comment in context, I am always the one calling for less debt-fuelled spending and indeed in times of economic inflation, the paying down of debt. Which makes Peter with his patient but relentless opinion greatly frustrated that I do not see the world as he does. And it makes people like Newsbot9, Leon Wolfeson, and “Guest” positively incandescent with rage. Or a person with such names. Apparently, I am a fascist supporter of death camps for such views, according to Newsbot9, which made the lawyers sniff money and a rapid recantation of those comments.

          • Johnnydub

            Hi Jaime.

            As I’m sure you’re aware the key point being that if we lose control of the debt, the Governments ability to look after those who really need it goes out the window. Just look at how Government spending has been savagely cut in Greece and Spain, and the real hardship there…

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I need no persuading, but be careful of such thought on LL when Leon is fuelled up with ire. You will be pursued from comment to comment. Perhaps soon you will be a Nazi Camp Commandant, in his eyes?

          • Guest

            Keep spewing that personal hate, that bitter rage which fuels you, as you use every excuse to disrupt conversation, and try and paint me as being just like you.

            No surprise you also try and godwin conversations, as you show your true colours over and over, and demand that others see things as you demand. You want to cause division and class war, evidently.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Indeed – Every time austerity has been used, even with a primary surplus (Italy), it’s caused a sharp contraction in GDP and rise in poverty.

            (Note jamie’s constant personal attacks, sadly he’ll get round to you sooner or later if you keep having principles different to his. He’s made sweeping claims which are not remotely related to what I actually said)

          • Guest

            You’re calling for cutting the poor still further, as usual, right.

            Then you see only one type of allowable criticism, as you deny your expressed views. And then you admit you use legal threats to silence people, as you rearrange people’s words to allow you do so.

            The rage is yours, against the British poor, as you are supporting them having less food and shelter than they can afford today. Not to mention the fact that austerity shrinks GDP…

            You’ll get round to making threats against Peter soon enough. of course.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Prove that I call for cutting the poor, using my words as I wrote them, not that which your mind interprets.

            And when you called me a Nazi Camp Commandant, actively killing my patients, you can expect me to take an informal legal opinion, because that was libellous.

          • Guest

            You are proposing not closing the deficit, for the same result AND a vastly smaller economy. Moreover, you are in denial about the nature of fiat currency – the economy in your world would be far smaller than the £50 billion you are “missing”.

          • Johnnydub

            Its not the deficit on its own its the debt.

            It’s 50% higher after 4 years of the Tories because they simply didn’t have the political courage to deal with it. The interest payments are now over £50Bn a year.

            If the Tories cant or wont deal with it, what chance under Labour? None.

            So how big will the debt be and how much will we need to service it at the end of the next parliament? And how long before we’re simply putting the service placements onto it? Are you think they aren’t going to be serious ramifications for doing this?

          • Jaime,

            The reality is that the £ is a creation of the State/Government so the question naturally arises as to why they would need to buy it from anyone else? The £ is a monopoly. It is made in Britain. It doesn’t come from China or Switzerland.

            Logically the government needs to spend the currency into existence before any of us is able to use that money to pay taxes or buy government bonds. What’s hard to understand about that?

            So we can have a simple check list of how it all works.

            1) The central bank is part of the government/state.
            2) All government spending is from newly made money (electronic or paper)
            3) All money from taxes is destroyed (electronic or paper). That stops us spending it and regulates demand
            4) All money collected from government bond sales is destroyed. That removes, in a controlled way, excess reserves from the banking system and sets a floor on interest rates.
            5) All government bonds are paid off with newly made money or swapped for new bonds.

            If government get it wrong one way we have too much inflation. If they get it wrong the other then its recession and unemployment which is the problem.

          • Guest

            You’re not going to get him to admit low wages and poverty are a problem, Peter, and unemployment is a bonus to him since it helps drive those low wages.

          • The amount of money paid in interest is just about enough to cover inflation. 10 year government gilts yield about 3%. That’s what it costs government in interest payments. It’s really not a problem.

            When government creates money it needs to look at the likelihood of it being spent. It can create as a much as it likes if it knows it isn’t going to be spent. So it doesn’t necessarily follow that whatever it pays out as interest, even after the effects of inflation are allowed for, could in theory be spent on something else.

          • MoreLeftThanYou

            WWII recovery was based upon industrial war production not the purchase of consumer trash.

          • Guest

            They build houses. Trash!

          • MoreLeftThanYou

            Well. I suppose that made more sense to you than to me. Because it made no sense at all to me.

          • Guest

            How do war factories build houses, exactly?

            I agree it made no sense, because it was based on your argument.

          • MoreLeftThanYou

            Sorry I forgot it was idiot’s hour.

          • Guest

            You forgot it was your hour? I see.

          • “Consumer trash” is just a subjective term. The post war boom was largely based on military expenditure too. The Marxist left called it “The Permanent Arms Economy” it was also referred to as “Military Keynesianism”. Essentially the same thing.

            The idea was that Capitalism needed to be supported by making things we didn’t really need at the time, and in the hope that we never would in the future.

            Whenever there’s a war to be fought, or even a large war, like the Cold War, to be financed, all talk of deficits and balancing the budget is discontinued. Keynesian Economics are fully embraced when the funds are needed for the “Defence Industry” in the UK or what is known as the “Military Industrial Establishment” in the USA.

            The challenge for anyone who considers themselves to be vaguely on the left is to channel that productive energy into doing and producing something useful.

          • MoreLeftThanYou

            The real challenge is not saddling future generations with vast amounts of debt and then rationalizing it with talk of investment that is really consumption.

          • Government “debt” is comes about by it issuing money into the economy. Have you ever wondered where all the money we have in our purses and wallets comes from? When Government spends it creates money. When it taxes it destroys it. Logically it must follow that it can’t destroy more than it creates. Therefore the natural state of all governments is to be in “debt”.

            It is not a normal debt like a car loan. It is simply the process of government issuing money. If it issues too much, yes, we can have high inflation. Too little, and we have high unemployment.

            Even Margaret Thatchers government was in “debt” ! So to whom should we repay the “debt”, that she created? How can we send a cheque, or real goods and services back in time to do that?

            To whom should our children and grandchildren repay the debt that we create? How will they be able to send us a cheque , or real goods and services, to “bail us out” of our alleged profligacy?

          • Northerner

            The UK national debt is the total amount of money the British government owes to the private sector and other purchasers of UK gilts.

            In August 2014, Public sector net debt (PSND ex) was £1,432.3 billion 77.4% of GDP.

          • Is that a problem? Do the owners of the gilts want their money back any time soon? If they need money for any reason they can cash in their gilts. They don’t need to wait until they’ve matured.

            The Chinese and Germans own quite a lot of our gilts. They’ve sold us more stuff than they’ve bought from us and they’ve ended up with a load of ££ due to their trade imbalance. So they’ve bought gilts with them because that way they get a bit of interest. Not a lot. Just about enough to cover inflation. That’s fair enough. Right?

            So say they decide that they’ve had enough of shipping us computers and BMWs, or whatever, and just collecting these bits of paper, or computer digits that we call pounds in return. So they decide they are going to spend them. OK that’s fair enough. So they swap their gilts back into ££.

            The process is just like if we have money in the bank which we keep in our savings account and we move it into our current account so we can spend it. The bank just moves the money. The government just would move money for the Chinese and Germans in exactly the same way. Its all done at the Treasury and BoE. It won’t have to levy taxes to find the money. It will just create it.

            So what will the Chinese and Germans do with it? All they can do is spend it , or swap it for another currency with someone else who wants to spend it. They’ll buy Rolls Royce jet engines or Scotch whisky or whatever they like. Politicians will line up to be photographed signing trade deals. They’ll say how good it will be for jobs. The Germans and Chinese won’t want to do anything too drastic which will devalue their remaining holding of £ based gilts. Why would they?

            So its really not a problem if our creditors decide they “want their money back”. They’ll have to spend it and it will be good for the economy.

          • Northerner

            The cost of National debt is the interest the government has to pay on the bonds and gilts it sells. In 2011/12, the debt interest payments on UK debt are anticipated to be £48.6 bn (3% of GDP).

          • 3% of GDP. So what is inflation? 2%? Anyone who has ever borrowed money will know that if you borrow money at 3% when inflation is 2%, then by the time its been repaid the net cost will be 1%.

            Is that really such a problem?

            Government, in a sovereign currency issuing state like the UK, doesn’t have to issue bonds to get spending money. That wouldn’t apply to countries in the EZ. They are no longer sovereign after giving up their own currencies.

            It has to first spend the money into the economy before there is any money available to buy the bonds. So, why does it do so? It does it as part of its monetarist policy of setting interest rates. It wants long term rates to be about 3%. Government can set interest rates at whatever it likes. If it wants 10% it can have 10%. If it wants 0% it can have that as well.

          • Guest

            And the relevant factor there, as we can print money, is…inflation.

            And…given North Sea oil prices are falling, inflation is expected to fall another 0.2% below expectations.

          • Northerner

            The relevant factor is that it is increasing rapidly and solving it with future inflation will increase cost of living of those in the future. The future pays for the profligacy of the present.

        • Guest

          You’re proposing there be no recovery, as there has not been. We haven’t followed Keynes at all, and the debt has stayed high because of your right’s economic policies.

          Do you think that killing off the poor now will help in the future or something?

          • MoreLeftThanYou

            When you respond to a comment, you are meant to respond to the content of that comment and not some paranoid imaginary vision of the person who made the comment and their evil ideology. I understand that doing what you do is easier than growing up, but you should really try it sometime.

          • Guest

            Right. So you might try that rather than spending your time attacking me, as you did.

            I was being quite literal, and I asked a question. You’ve dodged answering, which in itself is telling, and the reality of what I said about the economy remains.

            If you see your views as evil, not my problem.

      • blingmun

        “spending can be classed as investment”

        You fall into Gordon Brown’s habit of playing with words. It is only an investment if it makes a profit. Just spending money on stuff you think is worthwhile and “classing” it as investment is delusional. You need an accountant to carefully work out the true costs including depreciation and interest and compare this to the value generated. If the first figure is greater then you can call it a bad investment, spending, essential government services, spunking money up the wall…anything you like. But don’t kid yourself it was an investment.

        • You’re looking at things from the POV of a user of currency. Whereas the Government is an issuer of currency. As an issuer it can issue whatever it likes. It doesn’t need profits in quite the same way.

          So yes what you say is true – for a user. So for example the Channel Tunnel was built as an investment but it didn’t turn out to be a good investment in terms of the financial return it gave to investors.

          But is the Channel Tunnel such a bad thing? It will be there for ever. If government had funded the project, how should it have defined success or failure? For a start, unlike the private sector, it knows that when it creates a job by spending a sum of money, it will get back some 30% or so in taxes and NI contributions. The remaining 70% gets spent and respent into the economy. Taxes are levied at every stage. 20% VAT. Capital gains tax. Corporation tax. Yet more income tax and NI contributions as the money is spent and respent.

          Obviously if government tried to do much, build too many tunnels, then it would be calling on resources that weren’t readily available in the economy and it would generate too much inflation. But nevertheless it is easy to see that different considerations do apply to the currency issuer.

          • blingmun

            This is Soviet style economics. To prove the point, Blingmun Enterprises will now dig a million holes in the ground, each of them deeper than any other holes yet built by mankind. All the holes shall be filled in immediately after being dug; all will be done in places like the Sahara where there is absolutely no possible gain even to agriculture.

            I forgot to mention, in addition to the holes the corporation will procure a new weapon that can easily destroy all the armies of the world at the push of a button. Everyone will pay 30% in taxes for every hole dug, and all money not spent on Blingmun Holes TM is subject to VAT.

            All that work digging holes represents a net increase in the world’s economic activity and best of all Blingmun Corp will foot the bill so none of you lot will have to spend a penny.

          • That’s to misunderstand both Soviet and Western economics. Keynes noticed that it was capitalist economics which dictated large holes being dug in the search for gold. So, if we decided to not rely on gold, should governments bury pots of newly created fiat money and let companies dig it up? ie create Treasure Hunts?

            That wouldn’t make much sense, but on the other hand there’s no reason why governments shouldn’t get them to dig a hole connecting the UK and France, for example, and just issue the money to pay for it. Yes, it is increasing the money supply but on the other hand there’s a capital asset in exchange.

            On the other hand if companies were digging holes to look for gold, maybe in the Sahara desert, the money supply (gold) would increase without any compensating asset.

    • Matthew Blott

      This is a fair point and I was thinking the same as I read the piece. Mark Ferguson isn’t an economic illiterate like too many in the party who think a deficit is nothing a good dose of Bolivarian socialism couldn’t fix. There’s quite a lot that could be done to raise money without affecting the wider economy. Russian and Saudi billionaires do little for the wider economy and distort the housing market which has negative effects, we shouldn’t be afraid of doing something about this.

      • Guest

        Except, of course, that the countries based on those ideas which haven’t fallen into cults of personalties are doing okay.

        And you want to take very limited action, which will do little to nothing for anyone except the British rich who want those flats.

  • MikeHomfray

    To have any of those things means accepting that the deficit shouldn’t be a priority and that we will need to tax and spend.
    Perhaps if the Blairites had let Ed do what he wanted to do rather than blathering on about what people in the south east think this wouldn’t be the situation

    • David Lewis

      Tell the electorate. They will just love that.
      Tax and spend? Does that remind us of something?

    • Alexsandr

      tax who?
      the rich
      I keep asking where ‘rich’ starts but i just get abuse.
      cos unless you get well down into the median earners you dont get enough tax take. And I dont believe people on 40k will stomach more tax.

      • I would put the take on those earning on or above median wage. For over thirty years now the rest of us have seen the wealthy having better lives whilst we have spent those decades doing the McJobs, interspersed with long periods on the cobbles.

        Time for revenge.

      • Guest

        The top 15%? You’re there again.
        Nothing but to cut the NHS, then.

        You’re all for that, right?

  • paul barker

    I am no fan of Milliband but you are actually being unfair. Milliband wasnt elected as a radical new force, he stood as the Unity candidate, the man who would hold Labour together against all the odds. Labour hasnt yet split openly so in that sense Milliband has been sucsessful, so far. There never was any chance of a Labour “Victory” except by accident. You havent lost anything real, only pipe dreams.

    • Doug Smith

      We’ll have to wait until after 2015 for the split.

  • If there was a genuine core vote strategy then Labour would be promising more spending, with a pledge to increase taxation on the middle class to pay for it. The Mansion Tax is a good idea, but already the more Blairite elements are picking holes in it.

    • David Lewis

      The middle class is the demographic which holds the balance of voting power.

      They are going to be thrilled with your idea and rush to vote Labour.

      • Who cares how the buggers vote? Tory, Lib-Dem, UKIP so long as Labour has its core of claimants and McJob people it can slide through the middle. And that ignores the types who work for local government who I suppose we should welcome on board.

    • MrSauce

      The ‘mansion tax’ really isn’t a good idea.

      • Not perfect, but it looks decent enough to me. Screw over those who own houses worth more than £2,000,000 – what’s bad about that?

        • Alexsandr

          that will be my aunt. aged 110, lives in a house she was born in.

          Why should she be taxed on her house?

          • Because she is wealthy and can afford to fork out. Or move to a smaller property. To be honest, I really have no interest in her, assuming she exists.

          • Sim Chi

            Yeah she must be earning a fortune at her age…..

          • Why are you making this comment to me? Surely it would be better directed at someone who gives a stuff about some wealthy old woman?

          • Guest

            Why should she be able to free-ride?

  • markmyword49

    Like reformist I agree with the thrust of this article.

    The policies I’d add would be ones that made the tax regimes progressive rather than regressive for the bottom 80% of the population as defined by wealth and income. Labour are going to pick up many votes in the top 20% whatever their policies and they’ve had nearly 40 years of troughing at the expense of everyone else. I’d like them find a way of closing down the expensive PFI contracts. Cancel Trident, sell off the aircraft carriers and use at least half the savings to modernise the armed forces for a much diminished role in the world. Instead of HS2 spend the money on a comprehensive upgrade that wouldn’t take 20 years to complete. Stop subsidising big business (see today’s Guardian piece by Aditya Chakrabortty). Even if only half materialised as savings it could usefully be put to better use.

    • Kurt Stephens

      HS2 will deliver benefits to the old and new network in 12 years, not 20.
      Also, have we learnt nothing from the £9bn upgrade of the WCML? Even GWR upgrade is going over budget.
      Upgrading old railways is both massively disruptive (14 years on WCML if not HS2), massively costly (compared to building new) and delivers far less than building new.
      We need to ensure HS2 is designed correctly to offer maximum benefits to both old and new networks, but by taking intercity services off the WCML, ECML and MML that leaves those lines for vastly improved local services.
      In over 4years of HS2 planning no one has offered a credible alternative to offer the capacity we need for freight and passengers on our railways to HS2, that in itself should tell us there is no option but to build HS2 and make it as good as possible for those who use the new and old lines.

      • Alexsandr

        HS2 is a waste of money. If you want to benefit the north, do osbournes HS3 – do a real upgrade on liverpool/manchester/leeds/york. More capacity and more speed. But remember there is a whacking great hill in the way.

        • Kurt Stephens

          So what is your solution to allow for more services on the WCML into Manchester, Birmingham etc? Or are you suggesting we never ever run more services, be they commuter or freight, into those cities from the south (Manc) or east (Birmingham) or south of Rugby?
          Seems to me that suggesting we restrict the capacity of the railways, from the northern cities to Birmingham and London that will have a significant impact on the economies of these places, unable to move more freight, unable to add more services.
          Doing nothing means no additional freight services from the Liverpool docks, from Trafford Park in Manchester etc, no new commuter services into Manchester from the south etc.
          To me, that needs to happen along with HS3, HS2 for the connectivity to the south, HS3 for the connectivity east and west.
          I’d love someone like yourself to either provide a credible alternative to HS2 to offer the new capacity or acknowledge the impact of restricting rail capacity on places like Manchester, Liverpool, Brum etc.

          • Alexsandr

            Virgin WCML growth is flat and LM are not really at capacity. a flying junction at Hanslope would help. As will the flying junction they are building now at Norton Bridge
            North of Rugby the wcml is hardly at capacity. And Felixtowe freight traffic is increasingly being routed via Ely and Peterboriugh -a route that has been enhanced.
            But there are worse pinch points on the railway than the WCML.
            Manchester South has a pinch point at Slade Lane Junction. That could be eliminated with a flyover.

          • Kurt Stephens

            The tracks are full,

            Google ” capacity-on-north-south-main-lines.pdf ” for the report highlighting the challenge.

            The services are becoming more full, up ~5% last quarter.
            There is no room for freight.
            Slade Junction is a small part of the problem, talk about the Stockport viaduct, the tracks through Macclesfield and many other pinch points.
            Tell me, after over 4 years why has no credible alternative been produced to HS2? Telling in my book.
            So please do explain, what you think the implication of not allowing new freight services from Liverpool docks or Trafford Park to the south EVER would be?

          • Guest

            “after over 4 years why has no credible alternative been produced to HS2?”

            I’ve read…four at the last count.

          • Kurt Stephens

            I would love to see a link to these credible proposal.
            From what I have seen they’ve all be dismantled given they either add no extra track capacity, they ignore huge challenges along the route (like the Grand Central proposal that ignores half the route is now housing) and almost never provide any details of the London terminus – typically suggesting adding more trains, both freight and passenger, the tracks that are already full, going into a terminus station that is already full.
            So yes, please do provide me with those details, I would love to see something new as a credible alternative to HS2, when you post the links could you please highlight the answers to the questions above, i.e. how much new track capacity is created, how obstacles on the route are allowed for, how the termini are dealt with and also the P95 (as used by HS2) cost of the scheme as opposed to the P50 version for a valid comparison.
            I would have thought after all the millions of taxpayers money wasted on pointless court cases trying to stop HS2, those opposed to the scheme must have also had the money to provide such basic and simple proposals that address the issues HS2 does, alas I have never seen them.

          • Guest

            Pointless to try and prevent a waste of cash? Yea, says it all.

            HS2 is an expensive toy for the rich, and quite unrelated to the normal lines people will keep using.

          • Guest

            Not to mention spending 10% of the cost of HS2 on expanding high-speed broadband in the North would do far more for the economy!

          • Kurt Stephens

            So to bring your comments together into a more managable post…

            Quote
            “Commuters? With higher ticket prices, it’s highly unlikely to put it mildly that there will be anything like enough commuters to fill the trains. Everyone is not rich.”
            Yet the modelling is done at today’s prices showing that it makes money with no premium, remind me, are the original construction costs for WCML, GWR, ECML, MML, HS1, Crossrail etc included in the cost of the tickets today? Why would it be any different to HS2?

            Quote
            “HS2 tickets, per policy statements, will be a lot more expensive to claw back construction costs.”
            Please do share these policy statements up, I think you may be imagining things to be honest.

            Quote
            “You called for ending other long-distance trains, too. In practice, the “same services” would run the same, on the old lines, while new faster services will run on the old lines, we just have a new tier of ticket, in effect, “HS2″.”
            No one is calling for the end of long distance services on the legacy network – you seriously need to look at what is being planned and not simply imagine the worst case scenario imagining that those planning have not thought about these issues.

            Quote
            “Overcrowding on other lines will continue apace, since HS2 does nothing for the average traveller. Prices are set, too, based on company profits and will continue to rise indefinitely”
            Yes, and you are still in all your posts to address the fact that the WCML is full on many parts of the track.

            Quote
            “HS2 is about creating a new, separate line for the rich.”
            Really? So those who work in factories, producing goods that need shipping on the WCML as freight are the rich are they? Those jobs that you have no answer to how to protect.

            Quote
            “Most countries electrified their networks years ago, of course.”
            Other than Switerland I am pretty sure no where has a 100% electrified network, we are as I said electrifying at an almighty rate at the moment – HS2 is happening as well.
            Most developed contries have seperated their fast, high speed inter city services from slower freight and commuter services – you oppose this.

            Quote
            “And true, there’s also the chance that HS3 won’t be delivered at all, because there will be no cash whatsoever for it. Two banana and a apple in that case.”
            We will see

            Quote
            “Pointless to try and prevent a waste of cash? Yea, says it all.”
            You do realsie that MPs votes by a majority of over 400 to build the thing don’t you? You do realise that contracts start to be awarded during 2015 to build it don’t you? The only remaining issues are compensation and mitigation that the select committee are working through that the 3rd reading in parliament will sign off in 2016. The second reading, last April, was the agreement that the thing would be built.

            Quote
            “HS2 is an expensive toy for the rich, and quite unrelated to the normal lines people will keep using.”
            And yet you offer no solution to the problems that HS2 is set out to address, you neither suggest any way to provide the extra capacity for passengers nor the freight nor acknowledge the implications of doing nothing.
            Your lack of engagement in the issues that HS2 addresses is typical for those opposed to HS2 and goes a long way to explain why you were so unsuccessful in stopping the scheme.

            Quote
            “Not to mention spending 10% of the cost of HS2 on expanding high-speed broadband in the North would do far more for the economy!”
            So please do share how freight can be moved by broadband. Again, you are not talking about the issues that HS2 addresses, rather ignoring them, ignoring the implications of the effects and had hoped that the decision makers would also ignore why HS2 is happening – they did not, they understood and decided to build it, people like you failed by failing to engage in the topic and talk about all sorts of side issues that are either irrelevant or being addressed anyway.

          • Kurt Stephens

            So to bring your comments together into a more managable post…

            Quote
            “Commuters? With higher ticket prices, it’s highly unlikely to put it mildly that there will be anything like enough commuters to fill the trains. Everyone is not rich.”
            Yet the modelling is done at today’s prices showing that it makes money with no premium, remind me, are the original construction costs for WCML, GWR, ECML, MML, HS1, Crossrail etc included in the cost of the tickets today? Why would it be any different to HS2?

            Quote
            “HS2 tickets, per policy statements, will be a lot more expensive to claw back construction costs.”
            Please do share these policy statements up, I think you may be imagining things to be honest.

            Quote
            “You called for ending other long-distance trains, too. In practice, the “same services” would run the same, on the old lines, while new faster services will run on the old lines, we just have a new tier of ticket, in effect, “HS2″.”
            No one is calling for the end of long distance services on the legacy network – you seriously need to look at what is being planned and not simply imagine the worst case scenario imagining that those planning have not thought about these issues.

            Quote
            “Overcrowding on other lines will continue apace, since HS2 does nothing for the average traveller. Prices are set, too, based on company profits and will continue to rise indefinitely”
            Yes, and you are still in all your posts to address the fact that the WCML is full on many parts of the track.

            Quote
            “HS2 is about creating a new, separate line for the rich.”
            Really? So those who work in factories, producing goods that need shipping on the WCML as freight are the rich are they? Those jobs that you have no answer to how to protect.

            Quote
            “Most countries electrified their networks years ago, of course.”
            Other than Switerland I am pretty sure no where has a 100% electrified network, we are as I said electrifying at an almighty rate at the moment – HS2 is happening as well.
            Most developed contries have seperated their fast, high speed inter city services from slower freight and commuter services – you oppose this.

            Quote
            “And true, there’s also the chance that HS3 won’t be delivered at all, because there will be no cash whatsoever for it. Two banana and a apple in that case.”
            We will see

            Quote
            “Pointless to try and prevent a waste of cash? Yea, says it all.”
            You do realsie that MPs votes by a majority of over 400 to build the thing don’t you? You do realise that contracts start to be awarded during 2015 to build it don’t you? The only remaining issues are compensation and mitigation that the select committee are working through that the 3rd reading in parliament will sign off in 2016. The second reading, last April, was the agreement that the thing would be built.

            Quote
            “HS2 is an expensive toy for the rich, and quite unrelated to the normal lines people will keep using.”
            And yet you offer no solution to the problems that HS2 is set out to address, you neither suggest any way to provide the extra capacity for passengers nor the freight nor acknowledge the implications of doing nothing.
            Your lack of engagement in the issues that HS2 addresses is typical for those opposed to HS2 and goes a long way to explain why you were so unsuccessful in stopping the scheme.

            Quote
            “Not to mention spending 10% of the cost of HS2 on expanding high-speed broadband in the North would do far more for the economy!”
            So please do share how freight can be moved by broadband. Again, you are not talking about the issues that HS2 addresses, rather ignoring them, ignoring the implications of the effects and had hoped that the decision makers would also ignore why HS2 is happening – they did not, they understood and decided to build it, people like you failed by failing to engage in the topic and talk about all sorts of side issues that are either irrelevant or being addressed anyway.

        • mattwardman

          Yes. HS3 before HS2.

          • Kurt Stephens

            But think about the logistics of that.
            Delay HS2 = cost increase.
            Politically acceptable?

            What effect on confidence on finance and rail sector in UK government ability to deliver on what they say they are planning?
            Reason HS2 has cross party backing is because those involved in the planning recognise the urgent need for new north / south rail capacity, they recognise there isn’t any credible alternative, otherwise Alexsandar would have provided a link to a credible alternative that had been produced in the last 4 years.
            So yes, we need HS2 and HS3 will come as a result of the development of HS2.
            On 23rd Oct we are expecting the HS2 Ph2 preferred route announcement, I strongly suspect on that date we will see more about the east / west connectivity that HS3 offers.

          • Guest

            Cancel HS2, massive savings. Electrify the main lines instead, for starters.

            And we’ll see “HS3 will be delayed until way beyond HS2 because we really, really can’t afford it thanks to austerity”. I bet my eating a banana on it.

          • Kurt Stephens

            One point at a time…

            Cancel HS2, massive savings. Electrify the main lines instead, for starters.

            HS2 is about creating much more track capacity for freight and passengers into our largest cities, the economic powerhouses of the country.

            How much extra track capacity into Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Birmingham will electrifying the lines create?
            In case you have not noticed the current government is electrifying the current network at quite a rate (effectively as fast as possible given the existing available infrastructure to do this work in this country), since that is already happening, this seems somewhat of a mute point.

            Also work pointing out, both electrification in the north and on the GWR is currently running massively over budget seemingly – highlighting just how expensive and troublesome trying to mend and fix the old network is.

            Meanwhile the new build Crossrail and Metrolink – two new build rail systems from scratch, both on (or below) budget and being delivered on time for Crossrail and massively early for Metrolink. Those in the treasury can see this happening, making investment in new, rather than old, a much more reliable way of delivering the benefits that they are after.

            Quote…”And we’ll see “HS3 will be delayed until way beyond HS2 because we really, really can’t afford it thanks to austerity”. I bet my eating a banana on it.”
            We will see, my crystal ball is no better than yours, other to say that I don’t see HS3 being delivered in the same way HS2 will, by that time comes around I am hoping and expecting a significant level of devolution of transport autonomy to the northern cities to shape HS3 as they chose, not someone in Whitehall.
            Also, there is one sure fire way of killing HS3 and that is killing HS2 – the effect on the rail and financial sectors confidence in the UK government’s ability to deliver large scale railway schemes would be hit very hard, those companies bidding for contracts (there are companies bidding for HS2 work at the moment – the first contracts will be awarded next year) would lack confidence that the contract would be awarded and would incrementally increase their bids as a result – increasing the cost of HS3, making it less, not more, likely to happen.

          • Guest

            HS2 is about creating a new, separate line for the rich.

            Most countries electrified their networks years ago, of course.

            And true, there’s also the chance that HS3 won’t be delivered at all, because there will be no cash whatsoever for it. Two banana and a apple in that case.

        • Kurt Stephens

          The other obvious point is that Miliband has been accused of being anti-growth and anti-business.
          Given EVERY northern chamber of commerce supports HS2 and is actively campaigning for the scheme to happen, what would it say about the party to cancel the scheme in terms of being anti-business and anti-northern business at that.
          Politically impossible for Labour to oppose HS2 now as was shown when the northern council leaders came down heavily on Balls when he hinted Labour may change position on HS2 last autumn.

      • Guest

        It delivers rich people faster. Wider benefits? Makes London more, not less, dominant.

        Moving things entirely to HS2 and it’s higher ticket prices would screw normal travellers over and good. Using “local services” to travel up the country because it’s the only cost efficient way sucks!

        • Kurt Stephens

          Lets address those items point by point.

          It delivers rich people faster. Wider benefits? Makes London more, not less, dominant.

          It will also enable more and more commuter services into cities like Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds etc to be used by everyone. The reason to build the tracks high speed is simple – to create the most possible extra capacity on the legacy network the best thing to do is take away the fastest trains from those tracks that consume the most track capacity (given longer stopping distances etc).

          Also, given the lack of track capacity and the trains (short distance commuter as well as long distance) being fuller and fuller, at the moment price is used to suppress demand – one thing is guaranteed to ensure that the railway becomes more of a transport system for the risk and that is not producing any additional track capacity to increase the supply of new trains.

          With regards making London more, not less dominant, I guess you know more about this than EVER northern Chamber of Commerce and almost every single northern council who see it differently?

          I suspect in your consideration you have not considered the positive impact on places like Manchester and Birmingham, places at the moment that can only run, for example, a single train per hour through places like Prestbury in the commuter belt due to there being no space on the tracks to run additional services – the local authorities and business leaders see the benefits to Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds etc of providing that extra track capacity to allow those extra services.

          Moving things entirely to HS2 and it’s higher ticket prices would screw normal travellers over and good. Using “local services” to travel up the country because it’s the only cost efficient way sucks!

          Why do you think the ticket prices on HS2 would be higher than current prices?
          The economic modelling for HS2 is based on the same price as the current services on the current network.
          Also, you fail to acknowledge that the current situation, with limited track capacity means that both commuter and long distance travel (during the peak) is supressed by raising the fares given the lack of capacity.
          The only effective way of moving more and more people AND freight is to allow more services to operate – unless you are saying that we will NEVER need to run any additional freight or passenger services from the north?
          You also seem to miss that point that the long distance trains will continue to operate. For example, the Manchester to Euston train currently stops (typically) at Stockport, Macclesfield, Stoke and Euston and takes about 2hrs 10mins. Post HS2 that same services could still run, but stopping at Stockport, Macclesfield, Stoke, Rugby, Milton Keynes, Watford and Euston, probably taking about 3hrs. Those services providing faster connections between more places that today, e.g. increasing seats into London from Milton Keynes and connecting the town much better to Manchester. So contrary to your suggestion that building HS2 would force up the cost I would argue the exact opposition, HS2 creates the economic position whereby supply is sufficient the mean that cost is no more used as a tool to supress demand.

          • Guest

            Commuters? With higher ticket prices, it’s highly unlikely to put it mildly that there will be anything like enough commuters to fill the trains. Everyone is not rich.

            HS2 tickets, per policy statements, will be a lot more expensive to claw back construction costs.

            You called for ending other long-distance trains, too. In practice, the “same services” would run the same, on the old lines, while new faster services will run on the old lines, we just have a new tier of ticket, in effect, “HS2”.

            Overcrowding on other lines will continue apace, since HS2 does nothing for the average traveller. Prices are set, too, based on company profits and will continue to rise indefinitely.

          • Guest

            Commuters? With higher ticket prices, it’s highly unlikely to put it mildly that there will be anything like enough commuters to fill the trains. Everyone is not rich.

            HS2 tickets, per policy statements, will be a lot more expensive to claw back construction costs.

            You called for ending other long-distance trains, too. In practice, the “same services” would run the same, on the old lines, while new faster services will run on the old lines, we just have a new tier of ticket, in effect, “HS2”.

            Overcrowding on other lines will continue apace, since HS2 does nothing for the average traveller. Prices are set, too, based on company profits and will continue to rise indefinitely.

    • Guest

      Bearing in mind that you also have to downscale i.e. trade and so on to match your goals. And the savings never materialise on the scale you want, and you have to deal with not having i.e. NATO’s shield, and….

      • markmyword49

        I’m not altogether sure that NATO is the answer to our defence. To me it always appears to be rattling its sabres looking for a fight. I’ve no desire to see this country spend 2% of GDP on defence so that it has a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

        • Guest

          So..35-40% more military spending, as would be reasonable without NATO, would do you?

          And that seat is not dependent on NATO – but we should be pushing for UNSC reform anyway. (Then we can look at winding down our own deterrent and having America pay for that, via NATO)

  • DaveL

    You can’t really interest me in talking about ways to spend money.

    You could grab my attention and imagination by talking about making the country more democratic, especially in ways that are party neutral. Put the advantage with the voters, rather than the party whips.

    • markmyword49

      It’s been offered over the last decade and we, the voters have given it the thumbs down. We like to grumble and mutter into our beer but are terrified of what would happen if we actually did something radical.

      • DaveL

        Fair point, but I think there’s probably mileage in exploring options which enhance democracy and reduce the size of government, rather than just add additional layers.

        • markmyword49

          Yes I can see the argument about not increasing the number of layers. However, I do think FPTP has now passed its sell by date given that even political anoraks see how out of touch our elected representatives are, even those who make great play of being constituency MPs. I’m also in favour of the “city regions” that are being set up to coordinate those policies that cross local authority borders. They are usually made up of the leaders of the local authorities plus a business presence (LEP).

      • Leon Wolfeson

        AV was a step back and tripping over it’s own shoelaces.

        Where polling allowed MMP as an option, it polled twice what AV did.

        • markmyword49

          I’m open to argument about what the best system is for improving democratic involvement. I just think that FPTP is long past its expiry date. Parties like the three main ones are such a broad church under the system that even if you vote say Labour you get too many policies that you disagree with. The result is you vote for a party that closest resembles your political ideals.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Well yes, that’s exactly why I support PR – you get parties which are far closer to their voters. It doesn’t necessarily end having two major parties, but it severely prunes their representation and the left and right (and Greens) also have representation.

            (And FPTP does indeed lead to “parties” which are coalitions)

            I support MMP because it does retain a “local MP” link, you can set a threshold for voting etc. – I’d copy Germany’s system wholesale for the Commons.

          • markmyword49

            I’ve looked at an explanation of the German system. It looks reasonably democratic and easy to follow (I don’t believe any voting system can fully take account of everyone’s views). However, we’d have to brush up on our Duckworth/Lewis.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            “(I don’t believe any voting system can fully take account of everyone’s views).”

            Actually, that’s mathematically true 🙂

            See Arrow’s impossibility theorem and the Gibbard–Satterthwaite theorem.

            (Why yes, I might have had to look up Duckworth/Lewis 😛 )

  • kle4

    I still think Labour are on course for a majority, albeit a slim one. It would have been sensible before now to be a little bolder, but that involved too much risk for the leadership which knows it can rely on oppositional weakness to see them through. Better for everyone if Labour were to be more dynamic and were connecting better with people, but at the end of the day, they will probably win, just, with the current strategy, so why would they change it.

    • Matthew Blott

      You highlight the problem. There is little to substantiate your claim and quite a lot to refute it. Yet because too many Milibandites think the same as you the Labour Party is just going through the motions, sleepwalking to defeat.

      • kle4

        You may well be right, not least because my gut feeling has been quite wrong lately (I called the IndyRef very wrong for instance), and as I am not enthused about a Labour government (though I do not fear one), I would not counsel Labour for their own sakes at least to sit back. Support Labour or not, better to fight harder than play it too safe, there’s just disagreement about how bad it will be if there is no genuine fight.

  • EnglandLaments

    It is great to see Labour in such disarray and floundering. But wise up – there is no point changing your leader now, the time to do that was one or two years ago. A caretaker like Johnson might steady the ship, but there is not enough time to do a convincing turn around.
    Look at the Tories under IDS – Michael Howard may not have won the 2005 General Election, but he prevented it being the disaster it could have been – and he had two full years to get their act together!

  • alanmdouglas

    If Mili had any brains, he would change his mantra from ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ to ‘Cost of Taxation Crisis’ – biggest expense of the poorest is 54 % – onTAX ! And he wants to increase this burden – are you NUTS !

    Not income tax, but NI, VAT, and the sin taxes as well as Mili’s boosted fuel taxes and duties.

    • Alexsandr

      we could mention employers NI and maternity pay etc.

      When an employer decides to hire, he thinks, how much can I afford to get this job done.
      then he takes away all the related costs. and offers that as a salary
      If the costs of employment were lower people would be paid more.
      employers don’t pay these costs, they pass them on to employees.

      • Paul Trembath

        You really think employers pay workers the very most they can after a fair allocation of costs and overheads? Does anything strike you as unlikely about that idea?

      • Guest

        Complete nonsense of course.

        Employers just pocket the difference when social taxes are lowered. The result is that working people don’t get JSA, pensions, etc.

  • Ringstone

    “What have you got, Ed?”
    A pair of twos, a chip and a chair.
    Not looking good.

  • mollie collins

    Core vote was once those who supported Labour in their unions, in their workplaces in local government and people who ideologically viewed the world from a left wing basis, usually preferring peace to war. Many of these voters were also environmentalists and are moving in increasing numbers to the Green party which ticks most of the boxes in their manifesto. Even the BBC is noticing that the Green vote is increasing, particularly among young voters. I feel antagonised by the way labour is following a mechanistic approach by the use of obscure slogans and unflattering photos of Ed Milliband. I still cannot believe that the man who attacked the tory austerity programme, Ed Balls, on the grounds that the economy required investment, in housing, school buildings, to encourage growth. I agreed with him and watched with no surprise as the deficit grew under the policies of George Osbourne. At conference Ed balls failed to inspire and claimed he must take from child allowances to reduce the deficit – pleeeeze.

    • blondebuster

      The deficit has reduced by more than 40% as proportion of GDP under Osborne. Deluding ourselves of basic facts wont advance the credibility of proposed alternatives.

      • Guest

        The deficit has only been reduced by 40%, after major GDP shrinks, and a major depression, thanks to Osborne’s policies.

        Yes, we most definitely should remember that.

        • David Lewis

          Do that and lose the election as sure as night follows day.

          • Guest

            You’re saying the Tories will lose? Probably.

  • Johnnydub

    So Labour represents the ordinary man or woman?

    Well if you’re in hospital and you die due to negligence , you can be sure that Labour will suppress it for electoral advantage.

    If you’re a young white girl raped by a Pakistani Muslim grooming gang, you can be sure that the local Labour council will sweep it under the carpet for the benefit of “community cohesion”

    When these issues become front page news, Labour will ignore it, deride it, and do precisely nothing to change it.

    So remind me again how Labour represents the ordinary man or woman?

    • David Lewis

      It doesn’t and that is why in Scotland they are relocating to the SNP and I’ve heard that in Wales, the Labour die-hards are moving to UKIP.

      • Guest

        You heard a lie? Well well!

    • reformist lickspittle

      Oh dear, this thread was looking promising until the know-nothing trolls turned up – Staines sent you here again, has he??

      • David Lewis

        Are trolls those people who disagree with your opinions? Oh `Staines’, yawn. Not in the least bit pompous are you?

        • treborc1

          But he’s right….

          • David Lewis

            Is he? In what respect?

          • treborc1

            Your a Tory chump and look at those eleven guest votes you really are a troll.

          • David Lewis

            `You are’ not `your’.

          • Alexsandr

            You’re

          • treborc1

            Still a Tory Chump sent from the Tories to make us all smile.

          • David Lewis

            I have told you more than once that I am not a Tory. I was once but I disagree with their policies now.

            There is an interesting article by Mary Riddell in the DT today which discusses the antediluvians like you who still infect the Labour party and whom are destroying it from within with their 1950’s cloth cap mind set which bewilders and bemuses the outside world.

            It is you who will lose the next election for the Labour party.

            You are the enemy of Labour – very much not their friend.It is people like you who insist that moving leftwards will be the salvation of Labour but the Tories cheer every time they hear this. It is very reassuring to them and keeps their morale from flagging.

            You will jeer at this notion but you will be wrong.

          • Guest

            Oh right, not bleeding votes might risk a Labour victory. Can’t have that now.

          • David Lewis

            No we certainly can’t

          • Guest

            You certainly don’t want to , and you’re still one person no matter how many personalities you have.

            This is not “can’t”.

          • David Lewis

            You used the word `can’t’. I certainly don’t want to risk a Labour victory since it will mean the destruction of the economy just like every previous Labour government.

          • Guest

            “Risk” democracy. Risk your fantasies.

            If you hate the UK so much…

    • Euan Gray

      “So Labour represents the ordinary man or woman?”

      It doesn’t, and
      that’s part of the problem. It represents the middle class public
      sector bureaucrat, the public sector teacher, and so on. It assumes
      those in the manual trades and the unskilled and the unwaged will vote
      Labour anyway and so doesn’t really care too much about them. It seems
      from recent polling that said manual trades, unskilled and unwaged are
      starting to think “hang on a mo…”

      • Johnnydub

        I think it goes deeper than that. Labour has never forgiven the working classes for voting for Thatcher. That’s why they have thrown them aside and replaced them with a new constituency – public sector workers, immigrants and the welfare classes. What this article then points out is that when the working classes twig that Labour holds nothing but contempt for them, Labour can’t win a majority. And if Rotherham and Stafford don’t inform the working classes well more fool them, and damn the rest of us.

        • reformist lickspittle

          Most of the “working classes” NEVER voted for Thatcher. And your post goes downhill from that Goebbelsian falsehood.

          • Johnnydub

            Keep telling yourself that. Thatcher closed ALL the coal mines as well….

          • David Lewis

            No she did not. Harold Wilson closed more pits than she did.

          • Johnnydub

            I was lampooning reformist dickspittle – Labour supporters love their own lies…

          • Guest

            Ah, that’s the claim. After, always after.

          • MonkeyBot5000

            He capitalised the word ‘ALL’. That’s how everyone knew that he was using exaggeration for comedic effect.

            Everyone except you, obviously.

          • Paul Adams

            As someone who lives in the South Wales Valleys I can assure you there is no comparison to Harold Wilson closing Coal Mines in the 1960s for economic reasons (with plenty of better jobs available ) and Maggie Thatcher closing them in the 1980s (for ideological reasons)

          • Redrose82

            As someone who worked in the coal mining industry for 44 years and who went to a rally in London to protest against pit closures I can tell you that is not the way it happened. What’s more the the mining people who lost their jobs under Margaret Thatcher (I was one of them) were treated far more generously than had been the case hitherto. The rally I attended by the way was a protest against the Labour government. You let your political bias get in the way of truth.

          • treborc1

            Go away with you, we all know the reason Thatcher closed the mines it was to get rid of the miners Union.

            Nothing was generous under labour or the Tories if you believe that then I think your telling porkies.

          • Thats_news

            Ah. Got it. A miner thrown out of work by Labour was a worthwhile sacrifice, yet a miner thrown out of work by the Tories was shockingly wicked.

          • treborc1

            For a bloke who worked in the mines in the valleys tell me what was the difference.
            Well the difference was under Wilson other mines took on the workers who wanted jobs so the out fall for unemployment was kept down, but after a while it was obvious if you wanted to stay a miner then you had to move I moved out of mining into the building trade.

            But in the end the only difference was the miners knew under Thatcher coal mining was over, and lets be honest coal mining would have been over under a labour government both political parties had other reasons, Thatcher decided to end the miners Union and the labour party did not want coal.

            I think the argument about coal and who loved the miners and who hated it was simply meaningless these mines were going to close whom ever was in power.

          • reformist lickspittle

            I “tell myself that” because it is the truth (just ask any remotely switched on psephologist)

            The big Tory wins of the 1980s were largely built on MIDDLE CLASS support, much of which has now deserted them.

            Still, why am I trying to tell a kipper troll facts? Nailing jelly to the ceiling might be a more productive use of my time 😉

          • Johnnydub

            Keep telling yourself that. Thatcher closed ALL the coal mines as well….

        • Euan Gray

          Thatcher did gain (and retain) a share of the blue-collar vote, but it was never a majority. She appealed more to the patriotic, small-c conservative nature of much of the working classes, not to any sort of proletarian ideological desire for privatisation. It’s fair to say the majority of the working classes stayed with Labour, or perhaps shifted to the SDP / Liberals.
          There probably is, or was, some form of electoral calculation in Labour that a client community of grateful immigrants might be more likely to vote for them (and electoral data shows there’s some truth in that), but to say there was some sort of wilful intent to replace the faithless working classes with welfare-dependent immigrants is frankly absurd. You also run up against economic reality here – this country has an ageing population and so it needs immigrants to keep the working population large enough and productive enough to pay the tax needed to support that ageing population through pensions, NHS, etc., which are eye-wateringly expensive. There’s a problem there too, in that we have a high level of structural unemployment and yet also high levels of immigration – we should be making our citizens work, which would reduce the cost of social security and would prevent idiots wittering on about immigrants.

        • Dave Roberts

          Your point about the disillusionment of the Labour Party and the left generally with the working class is dealt with in some detail by Ed West in ” The Diversity Illusion”. Nick Cohen deals with it as well in ” What’s Left”.

          The white working class having failed them by persistently refusing to play the part allotted to them by the Marxists of the far left and the quasi Marxists of the Labour Party, both turned to other sources for votes and the revolution.

          Women, Gays, Muslims, immigrants and anyone else who was oppressed were welded, at least in theory, into a new proletariat. The fact that they didn’t know they were the new vanguard and didn’t behave like one took a while to sink in.

          Because of their propensity for buying their own homes and worrying about the economic and cultural effects of massive and seemingly uncontrolled immigration by the beginning of the new millenium Labour and the far left had not just given up on the WWC they now positively hated them.

          They saw them as racists and if not actually BNP voters then certainly potential supporters. When Respect gained twelve councillors in Tower Hamlets to go with the carpet bagging MP Galloway the loony left thought that the revolution had arrived. They are still trying to work out what happened when the whole thing collapsed in a couple of years.

          What is certain is that there is a constituency of white people that has concerns about a number of things looming large in which is immigration. Their concerns have been dismissed as racism by the Labour mainstream and they are voting elsewhere. It’s as simple as that.

          • Guest

            It’s the usual, the lies about wages, the attack on anyone not just like you, your denial of your racism based on orwellian redefinitions of English.

            Labour should not be pandering to the far right for votes, as you spew nonsense about Galloway, and try and narrate your own histor.

            You are trying to force Labour right and stir up hatreds, when the polling tabs are plain – very few people are going from Labour to other parties. They are going to “not voting”, because Labour moves right.

            You are here to push that for your Dear Leader.

        • Guest

          Keep spewing hate and supporting disenfranchising people as you try and push Labour still further right, when a significant fraction of the working class are not voting because of that rightwards movement.

          You are already damned if you’re a Christian, FYI, by conventional morality for those views. And of course you need to pick on two things which have done a small fraction of the damage your right are doing…and which can be traced back well before Labour.

      • Paul Hughes

        It doesn’t represent this public sector teacher. I’d rather it represented the students of public sector teachers. It ought to align with the consumer rather than with the producer. Their interests are not one and the same.

      • Guest

        It’s moved right. It’s not interested in the Unions, it’s shadow-boxing with the Tories for their marginal voters.

        Your revisionism is revisionism, there’s millions in this country who Labour has left behind as it moves right, and most of them are working class!

    • Euan Gray

      I should add that although what happened in Rotherham and quite possibly in other places is unforgiveable, it is not the fault of Labour per se. It is neither right nor fair to blame the party for it – yes, you can blame individual party members, councillors and so on, but that’s not the same thing.
      That I can see, things like that happen for two reasons – one, the sense of entitlement that comes from prolonged periods in office of ANY party, and two, an over-emphasis on not offending at the expense of doing what is right. That last one you can pin on Labour in this case, but in these litigious and politically correct times the Tories and the Lib Dems will be just as guilty in other cases. It’s more a cultural thing than a party political thing, and I think this gets overlooked too easily.

      • reformist lickspittle

        Actually, that is very reasonable.

        And – re a certain poster – why I would never call you a “troll” even if you do have different politics to me 🙂

        (let’s not forget the less than glorious role of SYP in Rotherham btw)

      • Johnnydub

        Strange how the multiple grooming gang convictions have all occurred in Labour run towns. Its almost as if there was some sort of link…

        • Guest

          Oh, you ordered the police in yours to ignore it did you? Or similar.

          • Johnnydub

            It would seem that the Councils and the police have some sort of shared Common Purpose…

          • Guest

            You mean society? Law and order?

            Oh, yea, funny that.

      • Dave Roberts

        It may have been local party members but they were Labour members and councillors and that is what sticks.

    • Guest

      So you demand Labour act precisely as you do.
      No, it’s you.

  • mollie collins

    Core vote was once those who supported Labour in their unions, in their workplaces in local government and people who ideologically viewed the world from a left wing basis, usually preferring peace to war. Many of these voters were also environmentalists and are moving in increasing numbers to the Green party which ticks most of the boxes in their manifesto. Even the BBC is noticing that the Green vote is increasing, particularly among young voters. I feel antagonised by the way labour is following a mechanistic approach by the use of obscure slogans and unflattering photos of Ed Milliband. I still cannot believe that the man who attacked the tory austerity programme, Ed Balls, on the grounds that the economy required investment, in housing, school buildings, to encourage growth. I agreed with him and watched with no surprise as the deficit grew under the policies of George Osbourne. At conference Ed balls failed to inspire and claimed he must take from child allowances to reduce the deficit – pleeeeze. The core vote has socialist tendencies – labour front bench has none so what is there to vote for. If nothing else the voters need a commitment to building 200,000 houses a year and regulations to control the banking sector and criminalise banks like RBS who cheat and defraud their customers and businesses.

    • EnglandLaments

      Mollie, you cannot deal with a deficit by increasing spending. The reason the deficit has been stubborn, was not because of necessary cuts, but because of the depressed state of our biggest market, the Eurozone. Despite the continuing travails of the Eurozone, the UK has notched up pretty decent growth in the past couple of years and long may it continue. Ramping up spending at this stage, would only cause problems as the UK once more lost its way in a sea of debt on account of the structural deficit left behind by Brown/Balls.

      • Guest

        Except all the times it’s happened.

        We had the “necessary” cuts and more, the deficit stayed high because costs rose sharply as cost-saving spending was ended and the economy contracted.

        The UK has a bubble in the city, and a death spiral of downward wages/productivity. When the bubble bursts, if we’re still in austerity, we’ll be talking food aid.

        Moreover, you’re still stuck in “blame Labour” HOW many years later?

    • Leon Wolfeson

      There’s not so much evidence of Labour voters moving to the Greens. The movement is primarily to “not voting”. The Greens are feeding quite heavily off young voters and liberals, in fact.

      And the thing is, Labour have not indicated they will have a program significantly different from the Tories ongoing austerity.

      The “core vote”, which Labour has lost on an ongoing basis over the New Labour years, and is still bleeding today, has a *left wing* tendency – “socialist” is a charged word, which I’d tend to avoid since it alienates people (not least thanks to the poisonous legacy of the SWP), and drives away i.e. the Mutualists of the Cooperative Party.

      Instead, Labour refuse to even consider allowing the most moderate policies like councils being able to borrow to build houses – assets – on land they already own!

  • Jimmy Sands

    It’s pretty simple. Talk to people you know who are not Labour members and ask them what they think about Ed as PM. It’s as basic as that.

  • mattwardman

    Not a supporter but I’d say MiIIiband needs to offer things not avaiIabIe eIsewhere.

    That was aIways puzzIing about the Energy Price Fleeze pledge, offered at a time when most of the big operators in the market had aIready had 2 or more year price freezes avaiIabIe for months. It was more puzzIing why the eIectorate took it seriousIy.

    Top of my shopping Iist is democratic reforms of TUs, but that can never be deIivered from the Ieft.

    • reformist lickspittle

      The voters “took it seriously” because they were – are – sick of being ripped off by an oligarchic cartel.

      The point is, there are lots of things Labour *could* propose that would be both practical, popular and – in many cases – recognisably leftist. But a big part of the problem is that much of the left has forgotten how to “do” populism, instead putting too much faith in the idea that telling people the “facts” will alone suffice (much of the time, it won’t – especially with the types inclined to UKIP et al) and/or becoming subsumed in ideology free technocratic wonkery.

      Of course, this wasn’t always so. And that needs to be the case again.

      • mattwardman

        “ripped off by an oligarchic cartel”

        That doesn’t stand up to examination.

        We had then, and have now, some of the cheapest energy prices in Europe. Go and check some numbers.

        And a price freeze is an interesting aim when we know that one effective way to reduce energy usage is to push them up.

        I’d argue that the traction obtained teIIs a depressing story about the potentiaI effectiveness of propaganda.

        Your second para is more interesting imo.

        • Guest

          After standing fees are added? No, no, we do not. Moreover, you can’t look at them in isolation – you need to consider the profit margins of companies, the rise in prices, the way prices don’t fall with supply cost falls and moreover the overall cost of living!

          Forcing the poor to turn off lighting at night and heating in the middle of the winter is not how you save money overall – it’s dramatically counter-productive. And that’s where we are at, sadly.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        I disagree. Policy is what swept the 1945 Labour government into power, and it’s what could get the currently non-voting left out in vast numbers.

        (Whereas for the left wing ideology divides, sharply, not least thanks to the SWP’s poisonous legacy)

        The problem is that Labour has bought into the austerity and neoliberal agenda, and hence simply cannot offer policy significantly different to the Tories.

        When you poll on actually left-wing policies separately, they often get widespread support – but Labour does not support those policies!

    • Euan Gray

      There’s a limit to what Miliband can do with the energy companies. Common sense and engineering requirements STRONGLY suggest grid power generation should be nationalised, but that’s difficult in the EU once it’s been privatised. Competition in mobile phones is good and healthy, but in natural monopolies like power it only increases prices and, in this country at least, drives more and more people into energy poverty. Nobody wins, in the long term even the power company shareholders lose out. But, since Miliband isn’t about to tell Europe where to get off on this (or anything, probably), all he can do is a populist gesture – which in the end only serves to increase prices before the election in the expectation of no further increases being allowed for some time. Stupid, really.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        You can still split up the companies to prevent their vertical integration. And control their profits. And…

        Also, water companies as regional monopolies absolutely can and should be renationalised.

    • Guest

      “democratic reform”.

      Ah, so the government dictating how workers are allowed to speak to each other. To make them, no doubt, guilds who cater to the Masters, not the Journeymen.

  • Charlie_Mansell

    A very good assessment of the current polls. The problem is that we seem to have a 32% strategy where Ashcroft polls shows our key marginal performance is pretty good yet we show no real energy in making a fight of Rochester and Strood and that is not a mandate even if we get most seats next May. Labour does need to send the message that it has some form of 50 state strategy to ensure we don’t get a government that struggles and which is thrown out in a landslide

  • David Lewis

    Four polls in a row have Labour dipping well below 35% with the Tories out in front:

    I have been arguing for three years that Labour are going to lose, and they surely will.

    • Alexsandr

      wonder if the dip is in Scotland? Labour Uncut had an article saying Labour support was deserting to SNP in Glasgow area. They said they did not like Labour supporting ‘No’

  • Neutrality44

    Perhaps if every Labour government in history had not run the UK economy into the ground.
    Perhaps if the last Labour government had not run up a structural deficit of £170Bn in a BOOM PERIOD.
    Perhaps if Labour did not define “fully funded” as being paid for from The Magic Money Tree
    Perhaps if they stopped alienating wealth generators with class envy dog whistle politics
    Perhaps if they could actually make the state run more efficiently at a lower cost and stop £1 in 3 of taxes being pissed away, instead of just collecting more taxes

    Yeah Right. Because then we would be talking about a Conservative government.

    • Johnnydub

      “Because then we would be talking about a Conservative government.” – not any more. Now the Tories are just as economically illiterate.

    • Guest

      So as they didn’t…right.

      Thanks for the myths though – your ignorance of fiat currency is notable, although I’m sure you believe in The Magic Jobs Tree, and whine about paying VAT.

  • osho

    There are so many voices here that i entirely agree with. I would vote for a labour party that had the distilled common sense and values of you folk. But I cannot forgive the stench of PC that emanates from Rotherham, the corruption that seeps from Tower Hamlets, and how the Harriet Harmans and Jack Straws of the world shoe in their relatives into safe seats. Labour also must regain a sense of morality. Winning isn’t enough, unless you have a moral core for a better society.

    • Guest

      So you’d vote for a Labour party which had UKIP’s policies.

      • osho

        UKIP is not a term of abuse. I would vote for the party that represents my values for what a good society is. If UKIP offered me that, I would vote UKIP. That’s how democracy works.
        And please avoid this disdain for UKIP. You are basically holding in contempt all the working class White people who have been abandoned by labour. They deserve better

        • Guest

          Of course you don’t see it so.

          You are myth-making, there’s very little crossover indeed between the people Labour left behind to the left and UKIP.

          You want them to have a better Dear Leader, it seems, not quite the same. And Cults of personality cause disasters when they rule, but details!

          • osho

            You have closed your mind. You just make personal remarks about the other person’s failings, not about the argument.
            Good luck with your tribalism
            In a moment of insight, you might find that you are what you hate

          • Guest

            No, I am not you, and I focus on your posts, not being PC.

            You are the tribal UKIPer, the one supporting the cult of personality. The one with very little internal democracy.

  • Dan

    Hear hear. A TRUE core vote strategy would be by far the best bet for Labour at this point (since Blair’s soft Tories were simply NEVER going to be up for grabs this election cycle), and frankly it would probably still be enough to sneak over the line with the Tories still so unpopular and still below even their mediocre 2010 score.

    But their current policy is about as far away from a “core vote” strategy as it is possible to be. They are needlessly throwing away the votes of thousands of people who’s #1 priority is an end to austerity, and not even gaining anyone who supports austerity to compensate since they’re so damn unconvincing at posturing about “tough decisions”.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Completely agree.

  • RWP

    The biggest problem is that the economic reality is that the country can’t afford to borrow any more money – it is an economic, not political, imperative that the deficit is eliminated and the debt reduced. Unfortunately, all the “core” policies that Mark mention will cost a lot more than the annual budget – they would require borrowing (or taxation that would hamper growth). Thus Labour has no room for manoeuvre, hence the limited Tory-lite agenda proposed.

    • Dan

      It’s this acceptance of the supposed “economic reality” that’s the problem for Labour. If big cuts have to be made, that inevitably means services getting worse and poor people getting poorer. And if that’s going to happen, people may as well go with the Tories who are the pros at making services worse and poor people poorer, rather than a Labour government which would do the same things but with a more sorrowful expression on their face.

    • David Lewis

      `economic reality’? I think you’ve got the wrong website. This is Labour List.

    • Guest

      This is a good point, but don’t expect the usual suspects on here to agree. Those who think you can spend your way out of everything and kill off job creation and investment. Labour would commit major suicide politically if they think they can offer a Hollande-esque platform because his disastrous government in France is turning that country into the new sick man of Europe.

      The same people who think Labour “abandoned” the working class because of their “Tory-lite” policies, when it’s actually the other way around. The links between the working class and the left have become weaker and weaker over the generations. Think you’ll find a huge chunk of blue collar working and lower middle class voters who can’t stand traditional left wing views on taxation and benefits. Same ones whose parents and grandparents may have voted Labour. Raising taxes on hard working families (yes I dare say the term that’s Kryptonite to the left!) just kills off growth.

      • David Lewis

        100% spot on.

        • treborc1

          tired only four up votes.

      • Guest

        Suicide if they appealed to millions of non-voting voters. Hmm.

        Keep ignoring the people not-voting, as non-people. There’s always been a minority of working-class people who vote against their own economic interests, as do the Tea Party supporters in the US. It’s not a rapidly growing group, however, as polling tabs data shows.

        You make up your own terms, when your coalition have done so much damage to work in this country, and caused a depression. Your faux outrage is obviously so, and the crossover is simply not there in the polling tab data.

        Or are you saying all the polling data is wrong?

  • Hamish Dewar

    How about a coherent costed economic plan?
    Rightly or wrongly, all parties are committed to eliminating the deficit which is currently 100 billion. But the proposals all parties are putting forward would only make a small dent in that, typically 2 or 3 billion.
    The LibDems have at least quantified the ratio of cuts in spending to increases in taxation as 80% to 20%. Labour should do the same, and if it is 0% to 100% so be it.

    • Guest

      Actually, Labour has asked the OBR to analyse the main parties spending plans. The Government has refused to order the analysis.

  • Hamish Dewar

    How about a coherent costed economic plan?
    Rightly or wrongly, all parties are committed to eliminating the deficit which is currently 100 billion. But the proposals all parties are putting forward would only make a small dent in that, typically 2 or 3 billion.
    The LibDems have at least quantified the ratio of cuts in spending to increases in taxation as 80% to 20%. Labour should do the same, and if it is 0% to 100% so be it.

  • Chas999

    “…what they do have in common is a desire to see fundamental change to how our Britain works…”

    Fundamentally Britain works in two ways: it works through a market economy and through democratic institutions. If you have a desire to “see fundamental change” I must assume you want alternatives to the market economy and democracy. Therefore you presumably want a Marxist command economy and a Stalinist dictatorship. No doubt you will deny wanting those things, so perhaps you can spell out exactly what “fundamental change” you do seek, and how Britain will look and work in your socialist utopia. Just so I know when to leave the country.

    • Guest

      Goodbye! That socialism of yours, absent since the 1970’s, is a thick smog. The Marxists are marching and the Stalinists are smoking.

      Reality? No, but run, they’re on the way now. For Che!

      PS, Your capitalism isn’t pro-free market, quite the opposite.

  • Monkey_Bach

    The apparent Tory boost is based on dubious undertakings, winks and nods that don’t hold water and will unquestionably unravel over the next several months when put under proper scrutiny. For example: if the Tories make support to young people dependent on them being permanently in a job, training or education will the government offer a copper-bottomed guarantee to every unemployed young person that they will always have the offer of a job, full-time education and/or full-time training, contiguously, without any breaks, or explain what is going to happen to any youngster who finds, through no fault of his/her own, that they end up in a situation where they are not working, training or studying? From what I have heard so far any boy or girl so affected will, under Conservative policy, end up penniless and quite possibly sleeping rough on the street. Another example: If Housing Benefit is frozen and suffers real-terms cuts for two years, what happens to tenants who can no longer meet increases in their rent, end up evicted and become the responsibility of their local authority massively increasing the amount of money spent locally on the unintentionally homeless?

    Conservative popularity like this is based on fabrication and lies.

    Expose it for what it is and see support for the Tories wither.

    Eeek.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Easy – LA’s are now only putting the people they are required to onto housing lists, and in many cases saying that people who can’t afford to pay the bills and rent are “voluntarily” homeless.

      With their budget cuts, they don’t have much choice, I note.

  • Alexsandr

    of course labour could win by offering an in out EU referendum to be held in Aug 2015. But that wont happen will it?

    • Guest

      So they could bleed votes and put a hard block on investment, costing this county billions and a significant number of jobs, not to mention our borrowing rates would rise sharply.

      This to you is a “win”. Oh, things move right and wages fall. A win for you.

  • Victor Martin Hunt

    Constructive article ! Maybe the Labour Party needs a female leader . Now that would be too revolutionary for Darth Vader of Progress & Ed Balls to even consider.

  • M4rkyboy

    ‘He spoke of higher wages and benefits, lower taxes, higher public spending and oil money aplenty.’
    Naw mate,you just put those words in his mouth.

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    Almost a perfect evening for Mark. A scathing attack on Ed followed by an invasion of Tory trolls where someone who never comments on this site and I’ve never seen before gets 84 up votes. Don’t forget to donate!?!!

    In respect of the substantive issue in the article. Cameron made a completely unfunded offer of tax cuts and the Bullingdon Broadcasting Corporation and the Murdoch Press haven’t challenged it. What the hell did you expect to happen?

    We used to make completely unfunded spending commitments. Now, let me see when was the last time we did that? Ah yes, I remember now, it was under Neil Kinnock in 1992. That turned out well for us didn’t it?

    We need to have a repetitive line saying – ‘ How are you going to pay for it Dave?’ Or, ‘What are you going to cut?’ ‘ Are you going to raise VAT?’ ‘How much are you going to cut from the NHS or cancer care?’, etc- the opportunities for attack are endless. Instead of writing this sort of garbage Mark, perhaps you ought to be posing the serious questions about how Ham Face and his chums are going to pay for this promise of a tax giveaway, then the site might be worthy of donations from Labour supporters like me.

    • David Lewis

      Is a `Tory Troll’ someone who disagrees with you?

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Not at all. A Tory troll is somebody who suddenly appears on the site makes an unsubstantiated anti- Labour comment and gets 109 ‘up’ votes.

        • David Lewis

          Can you vote for yourself? I don’t think so, and what idiot would anyway?

          No, your concept of a `troll’ is someone who challenges your position in a way which makes you uncomfortable simply because you reluctantly recognise truth there.

          If there was no truth there, presumably you just would not care.

          Your defensive response reflects the fact that you are well aware of the weakness of your situation. Others around you are strong enough and bright enough to take stock and discuss sensible remedies – not you.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Thank you for telling me what my concept of a troll is. By the way there are no political ‘truths’ – only political opinions (IMHO).

            Nothing like a bit of condescension to start the day off – Typical Tory attitude.

          • David Lewis

            I’m not a Tory and you are presumptuous.

  • Chris Lovett

    Exactly why are all these comments about the past? Is that why Britain is stuck in a time warp of failure to progress? I think so. Little England, little Wales, little Scotland and NI – none a recipe for real movement forward. It’s no use examining the belly button fluff of Thatcher etc., get real – the enemy is things like TTIP, corporate take over of the world. As long as we allow paid professional lobbying, as long as we hjave an adversarial house of commons (or lords) sitting opposite each other, as long as we have the farce hat is “:PMQs” we are stuck in a past we should have abandoned many, many decades ago. Tinkering around the edges? No, re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. WAKE UP LABOUR. You are cowardly fools.

  • Paul Hughes

    This article asks the wrong question. It is not a question of how the party can get its message across more clearly. I rather suspect that the people see Labour’s offer and are beginning to move away from it. The question is one of how Labour can lose its top-down approach and ask how it can meet the concerns of those voters it would like to attract.

    For example, you can argue the case of unlimited immigration (and that is what we have) all you wish but your “core vote” doesn’t seem to agree. You can bleat that they don’t understand but it would seem as if they understand all too well. You intend to ignore their concerns. Re-explaining your view whilst pretending to listen, to hear, to understand, doesn’t really cut it anymore. It’s time you accepted that the democratic will of the people is at variance with your view that immigration is an unmitigated good. It doesn’t even matter if you’re correct. What matters is that you’re failing to heed the wishes of those people whose votes you wish to win.

    The Labour Party is remote and sanctimonious. You are losing the debate and you are losing the votes you need to win. You will not convince the people that they are wrong. The debate has moved on. You can only win by listening, by being prepared to change (at whatever cost to your present beliefs) and by appearing to be more competent to the available alternatives.

    • Guest

      You are arguing the case for shutting off trade and preventing the 99% from crossing borders, for not allowing business visitors and paying students. For that matter, for encouraging division between communities along the lines of France’s.

      Why are you not clearer about that? Why are you not admitting that?

      Propaganda, all of it, from you – as you say Labour should move even further from the profile of people who voted for it in 1945. Labour bleeds votes every time they move right, but you can’t stand even a moderate right wing option.

      And moving right is why Labour might lose the election.

      • David Lewis

        Actually it is the diametric opposite but I’m not complaining.

        • Guest

          Oh yes, the polls all lie, because you say so.
          And lol not complaining.

      • Paul Hughes

        Except that I’m not arguing for any such thing but I thank you for proving my point. I’d argue for some semblance of control and choice over who comes in. It really won’t reduce us to the stone age. It would, in fact, return British immigration policy to the terrible Dickensian days of the late 1990s. Dreadful times, to be sure. I remember them well, we never bought or sold anything from overseas. We were like the Andamanns.

        As for division, we seem to be having enough of that already and none of it is caused by a lack of immigration.

  • James1st

    What don’t you lefties understand? The ‘salesman’ is irrelevant – we simply don’t trust or want what you are selling; particularly as it has a 100% record of failure.

    • Guest

      Ah, the PC bigotry at play. Your far right don’t want to allow democracy, as you ignore your failings.

      • James1st

        There is no PC bigotry in my post old boy just a statement of historic fact – but I will willingly await your response to my assertion that every single labour government elected has ended in economic and now social chaos – I will NOT be holding my breath!!!!

        • Guest

          Yes yes, PC bigotry is a historic fact for you.

          And it’s a propaganda assertion, without rooting in history. And of course not, that’d take effort.

          • James1st

            Typical Marxist ignore the question and smear the questioner with the response

      • David Lewis

        It is the fact that you automatically assume the poster is `far right’ which tells the entire story of Labour’s paranoia and ragged collapse.

        Times are changing rapidly and you are standing bewildered and confused and resentful. Not a position to take if you desire leadership of the country I suggest.

        • Guest

          I don’t want to be PM. So that’s fine. I’m not a Labourite right winger, either.

          You keep saying that even the moderate right are paranoid and collapse, “move right, move right”.

  • Michelle

    Thank you thank you thank you Mark. Thank you for being my voice. I voted for Ed – am one of his most ardent and loyal supporters, but despair is setting in.

  • robertcp

    Does anybody really know what the Labour Party stands for? I don’t and regularly wonder why I am a member of the Labour Party!

    • Michelle

      I know exactly how you feel. I am reading Tony Benns diaries at the moment and I swear that’s why I haven’t ripped up my card. His loyalty to the party was incredible and he despised Tony Blair and new labour. He also supported Ed in the leadership election. I just fear, if he was still with us today, he would be disapointed with Eds leadership. He made such a promising start too. What’s gone wrong?

      • Leon Wolfeson

        Shadow-boxing with the Tories seems to have replaced any real policies. It’s the “35%” strategy, but it’s failing.

      • robertcp

        I know what you mean but I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Labour might still win next year.

        • Michelle

          It’s not just about winning though is it if he’s not prepared to make any radical changes in power. I mean seriously, £8 an hour minimum wage by 2020! It wouldn’t have been far off that anyway with inflation. It’s all just so weak.

          • robertcp

            I am old enough to remember Labour being unelectable in the 1980s, so I am inclined to agree with Ed M’s soft left approach.

          • Michelle

            But had they stuck to their guns, they may have stayed out of power but when the financial crash happened the Tories would have been in and they and their neo liberal agenda would have been blamed and a more socialist Labour Party would have been the beneficiaries.

          • robertcp

            The more likely effect would have been that the SDP/Liberal Alliance would have replaced Labour as the second party in British politics, which would probably have meant a government to the left of New Labour!

          • Michelle

            Either way…:)

  • Michelle

    Just want to add, this isn’t about the polls for me. If we were ten points up I would still be despairing. I don’t want us to win for winnings sake. I want us to win to change the country radically and change it for the better.

  • Guest

    The problem is you moved right again. And refused to take even the most moderate steps like promising to allow councils to borrow to build housing, an asset, on land they already own.

    A significant proportion of your old core vote stopped voting over the Blair years, as Labour went right, and that “not voting” share of it is nothing but growing.

    The reality is that Labour has promised to follow austerity, which in itself has alienated most of that base, and ensured that poverty will continue to rise and that basic benefits will continue to be slashed away in real terms.

  • Kevin Barry

    The post-conference Conservative bounce lasted less than a week The latest YouGov/ Sun poll has Labour at 34%, and the Tories at 32%.

  • derekemery

    It’s pointless politicians pretending they are in charge of the UK economy and can direct it down a new path. The reality is we have an ever climbing deficit and ever climbing debt which is pretty much unfixable due to ageing demographics. This creates unfunded liabilities rising at a rate beyond anything economic growth can match i.e. an ever rising funding gap way into the future.
    Only children will believe that politicians can create a new nirvana for the UK.

  • Syzygy

    Ed Balls is dictating the strategy with his lunatic promises on austerity. Balls’ Bloomberg speech in 2010 demonstrates that he knows full well that the UK govt needs to be the investor of last resort but seems to believe that aping Osborne is necessary for electoral success. IMO it is the very strategy to give the Tories a fighting chance… and completely alienate much of the ‘core’ vote.

  • Guest

    No, profit margins are highly relevant. As are living costs.

    Other countries have seen nothing like our high, sustained ongoing rises – over doubled since 2000.

    And “Sorry, your session has expired or you have not started the Data Explorer through a nonvalid entry point or no parameter set.”

    And refitting…which is completely off the cards for anyone not rich? Which landlords have little incentives to do? And does nothing for the higher bill, electricity?

  • Guest

    No, profit margins are highly relevant. As are living costs.

    Other countries have seen nothing like our high, sustained ongoing rises – over doubled since 2000.

    And “Sorry, your session has expired or you have not started the Data Explorer through a nonvalid entry point or no parameter set.”

    And refitting…which is completely off the cards for anyone not rich? Which landlords have little incentives to do? And does nothing for the higher bill, electricity?

  • MontyBest

    I want a Labour victory, a landslide even, I want this because the Labour Party is the ‘Least Worst’ choice of a very bad bunch!

    If only they had the balls to do what a 1945 Labour Government did straight after the war, a National Health Service, FREE at the point of need, a Welfare State, and a MIllion Homes built, roads repaired, sewage and water systems repaired and renewed…

    ALl this began only 12 weeks after ww2 peace treaty with Nazi Germany was signed!

    People say the election was Churchills biggest mistake of the war, (still ongoing in Japan), just three years earlier, in the darkest days of WW2, the British electorate had been provided with a tantalising glimpse of how things could be after victory

    The British people, then like now, wanted an end to austerity, and no return to a repeat prescription of the pre-war economic depression. They wanted change.

    William Beveridge had synthesised the bravest visions of all important government departments into a single breathtaking view of the future, the result?

    A landslide victory, an NHS, A Welfare State, Pensions…

    Everything the Tories with the help of the Lib Dem Tories, have started to dismantle, with the most obvious disaster being the damage done to the NHS.

    Like in 1945 the British people want HOPE, they want CHANGE, they want homes, rent controls, a re-nationalised NHS, ditto the Rail, Water and Power… They want homes that are fit for heroes, and schools to provide the same high quality education in every single school in the land for EVERY child, and they want the schools to be rebuilt so they are fit for the 21st century!

    They don’t want Ed Miliband’s Tory LIGHT!

    monty

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