Jon Trickett says Labour’s policies didn’t lose them election and criticises leadership candidates

20th May, 2015 12:22 pm

Jon Trickett, who was shadow minister without portfolio under Miliband (a position he still holds) has rubbished claims that Labour lost the election because they were “too left wing.”

While recognising “many mistakes” were made during the campaign, Trickett said he didn’t “believe for a minute our policies were vote losers.”

Instead he offered his own critique of why Labour experienced a large scale defeat:

“Did you notice the Tories began to shift the argument? First of all it was ‘Red Ed’, that he wasn’t friendly to business, he was too left wing.

“Three weeks out, they changed their argument. Because the argument that our polices were too left wing wasn’t resonating with the public. It wasn’t because our policies were wrong or inappropriate that we lost. There were all sorts of other factors.

“What happened was a series of other developments that took place and eventually they found a bogeyman in the Scots and they whipped up English nationalism.”

He then hit out at some senior figures in the party who were chosen to represent Labour on TV, saying they didn’t have the right “accents” or “dress” to connect with voters. He said “Everything about them feels like Westminster”.

Trickett who was born in Leeds and who has previously worked as a builder and a plumber went on to explain:

 “Our message bearers, who carried our message on to TV, somehow didn’t manage to break through and get listened to.”

“Though I was very close to the leadership I was never allowed on the TV. And I wonder why? The people who went on the tele for Labour don’t talk like me. Maybe that’s because I’m crap at talking. It feels to me there is a gulf between the population and political class.”

Speaking at a panel discussion organised by think tank, Class, Trickett, who as been the MP for Hemsworth since 1996, also criticised the current leadership candidates for suggesting Miliband didn’t understand “aspiration”.

He said ‘aspiration’ is “a code for saying we think that inequality is acceptable”, explaining “the biggest engine for the delivery of working class aspiration are the trade unions. They deliver what people aspire to achieve.

Trickett then went on to lay out what path he believes Labour should take in the coming years:

“I do think elections are won on the centre ground, but the centre ground in our country is not where were the media and the rest of those people think it is,” he said.

“There are voices who are arguing that the party and movement should go back go back to the politics of 1990s and I think in no circumstances should we allow an argument to succeed that we should be going back.

“We need to move forward and in that respect to see what Ed did and what we did in the leadership as a transitional moment to a new kind of Labour movement and new kind of politics.”

He also argued that the party should be “friendly” to business but while doing so they must pay attention to the fact that “quite often the jobs which are being created are crap”. Before going on to defend the party’s plan to reintroduce the 50p top rate of tax and criticise those who wished to abandon this property:

“The average income is £26,000 a year or thereabouts. The tax we were prosing was those on £150,000 or more. People on £26,000 are not aspiring or expecting ever to get to £150,000. And yet we have leadership candidates arguing that it is an obstacle to winning an election.”



Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Stanvax

    Well he doesn’t appear to have much of a clue.

    • reformist lickspittle

      Au contraire, he is basically right.

      Labour didn’t primarily lose this time because of their policies (indeed, polling evidence – as far as that can now be trusted – shows most of them were popular, some extremely so) even if the balance maybe wasn’t quite right.

      No we were defeated by narrative, identity politics (both sides of the border) and – yes – leadership (Ed had a good campaign but it was not enough) We need some stories to sell next time, not just good policies. And a leader who can convincingly do this.

    • Mauro Andrade

      Trickett doesn’t have a clue, does he not? Lets run through some of what he is saying and look into who it is who doesn’t have a clue – him or you…

      1) Trickett’s central argument is that Labour’s policies were not, at least not at the beginning of the campaign, perceived, by a majority or anything close to a majority of the electorate, as being ‘left wing’ or ‘anti-business’. He’s right; in fact, he could have elaborated upon this by pointing out that, on the doorstep, many of Labour’s proposed policies, including but not limited to the energy price freeze, the so-called ‘mansion tax’, the decrease in tuition fees, the increased living wage, the abolition of non-dom status, were incredibly popular.

      2) He follows on from this by arguing that the Conservatives and their media allies tacitly recognised the truth in what I pointed out above, and thus changed the tact of their campaign – they went incredibly negative, focusing on the ‘danger’ of a Labour-led government dictated to by lefty Celts. Turning one part of the UK against another was an incredibly potent means by which the Conservative machine could deflect attention from policy detail towards a kind of emotive, nationalistic appeal to the English electorate. This played to the Tories’ advantage in that it allowed them to amplify their message regarding ‘safe’ Conservative stewardship of the public finances and the economy. Anyone who knocked on doors for Labour during the campaign – or at least all those that I know – will thus confirm Trickett’s argument regarding the important tactical victory won by the Tories in focusing on the combined SNP-Labour threat, particularly as far as marginal and Southern English seats are concerned.

      3) Trickett is, therefore, right in much of what he says. He doesn’t go far enough, though. A big reason why it was so easy for the Conservative machine to whip up nationalistic English fear of a centre-left alliance of Labour, the SNP and any other fringe party who wanted in on it was the Tories’ success, during the course of the last parliament, in blaming the Brown government’s fiscal record for the economic problems faced by the country and pretty much everything else besides. Much has been written about this since the election and, in fairness, some of us were pointing out the dangers of this long before spring 2015. To cut a long story short, Miliband and Balls made a criminal error when they chose to essentially try and move on from the past without forcibly combating the Tory-popular press narrative on the economy. They should have been screaming from the rooftops about how bailing out the banks, not social expenditure, caused the large fiscal deficit, and the economic and fiscal dangers of fiscal consolidation on the scale proposed by the Conservative government. They should have argued very strongly that there would be something along the lines of a double dip recession which would be followed by a return to tepid growth which would have been far stronger during the period 2013-15 had Cameron and Osborne not pursued Plan A in the first place. This would have given Labour both a coherent defence of their own record and a coherent means of attacking Tory-press claims regarding Labour’s lack of trustworthiness going into the election.

      Do you not agree with what I’ve just said? If not, what is your alternative? To ditch all the individually popular policies in an attempt to win so-called ‘aspirational’ voters (as defined by Blairites in the party, the Tories and the media, of course)? Do you really think that this is the way to win back Scotland and more marginal constituencies in 2020? Really?

  • Daniel Speight

    Jon, throw your hat in the ring. You are the only one that sounds different so far.

    • Michael Murray

      If only he would!

  • Demongo

    “minister without portfolio” pretty much says it all. But if a translation is needed “blah blah blah I’m not listening, it wasn’t my fault!”

    “There are voices who are arguing that the party and movement should go back go back to the politics of 1990s and I think in no circumstances should we allow an argument to succeed that we should be going back.”

    Wow that makes no sense. Surely the politics since the 90s have been in some part a going back to the policies of the 80s? By “back” he clearly means “centre” so what he is saying is never move back to the centre. Still as long as we keep twirling toward freedom I guess everything will work out.

    “The average income is £26,000 a year or thereabouts. The tax we were proprosing was those on £150,000 or more. People on £26,000 are not aspiring or expecting ever to get to £150,000.”

    The guy clearly doesn’t understand what the word aspiration means. Plenty of young people starting on figures like that who want to get to the top and pull in big bucks. Plenty of young people who aspire to have careers that have that sort of money. Plenty of people who think that the top number will change anyway because politicians never keep their promises.

    • Stephen Rogers

      Ed Miliband had aspiration, he aspired for a fairer society, and not one where money dictates your position in it. That is the basic difference between the aspiration of a Tory and the aspiration for people who believe in social justice. And by the way, wouldn’t it be great if a lot more people who were on the average wage could end up earning £150,000, due to them being given an equal chance to be aspirational.

    • Dave Postles

      Plenty? Plenty of people aspire to receive £26k p.a. and would be quite satisfied. Plenty would aspire to the salary taxed at 40%. Those numbers, I suspect, would radically exceed those who aspire to £150k (since aspiration includes some intimation of expectation).

  • bikerboy

    Where is Mili now anyway? Has he been spotted? In the HoC? Emigrated to Ibiza?

    • reformist lickspittle

      If you are *really* interested, he was seen in the HoC yesterday 😉

      • swatnan

        Will he be as active as Gordon in attending and speaking from the back benches? I doubt he’ll be promoted to the Front Bench.

    • Dave Postles

      Photograph of him in the papers on the return flight of Easyjet in the middle of the plane. It was packed. He and his family were amongst the last to board. No privilege, no higher-class seats, no special facilities – just like the rest of the passengers.

      • bikerboy

        Even on EJ you can pay a tenner for speedy boarding Dave!

        • Dave Postles

          Didn’t know that, but he didn’t do that. The guy (another passenger) who took the photograph of him in the middle of the plane said that Miliband boarded towards the last.

    • Fred Worthy

      He was in Parliament yesterday being sworn at, sorry sworn in.

  • Whatever else the recent General Election result expressed, it was certainly not aspiration. Not unless there are people who aspire to different ancestors? Good luck to them, if so. Rather, enough people to deliver a victory voted for a party that ran very explicitly on its members’ inalienable, hereditary right to rule. Effectively, those voters confirmed that right at the ballot box. That is where this country now is.

    Andy Burnham and Tom Watson, who are easily and thankfully on course to become the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, need to declare that for every seat that that party did not currently hold, its candidate would live in the constituency, would have done so throughout the previous 10 years, would never have attended a university, would be employed in the private sector, and would live in rented accommodation.

    He or she would not necessarily have to be a Labour Party member until having been selected, but would of course be required to join at that point. At least ideally, the shortlist of two would be submitted to a binding, independently administered ballot of all of the constituency’s registered parliamentary electors.

    With absolutely no exceptions, these arrangements would remain in place for three electoral cycles. Everything else, such as all-women shortlists, would be abolished forthwith. A simple announcement of all of this would make ratification by Labour’s committee system a formality. That always worked for Tony Blair.

  • paul barker

    Actually Labour dodged a bullet, if the polls had told the truth everyone would have seen that you had no chance & you would have got even fewer votes. It suited The Tories to pretend the race was tight, they could afford private polling that came much closer to the real situation but they kept that to themselves.

    • reformist lickspittle

      How did the LibDems do, again?

      Surprised you have the gall to show your face here now, tbh 😉

      • Fred Worthy

        Liddems had all the answers during the election, just no votes.back to the future then.

    • Dave Postles

      Amazing. Laws disclosed Byrne’s note to the Tories. Cameron takes every opportunity to wave it about. Laws is deposed by the Tory candidate. Not very subtle. I believe that you need a new strategist.

  • imw101

    The election was two weeks ago (nearly) and this man is still in a serious state of denial. He seems to be like the shocked survivor of an air crash who still thinks he is going to get to his holiday detention on time. Does he actually realise what happened on the night of May 8? Labour lost every seat in Scotland bar one. On this showing Labour will never get the seats to be in power again – ever. Can you see the SNP giving up those 56 seats? I can’t. Reading the posts and comments here makes me realise what it must have been like in the dying days of the USSR. Labour was a party set up for and by the working class. The world has changed. We are in a global digital economy where anyone can chuck in their job and be an self-employed eBay trader. The unions primarily now represent white collar workers. The blue-collar working class don’t need political representation. Thus Labour can only be relevant in the centre ground. n which case – may as well vote Conservative. The next leader will be Burnham – picked by the Unions. The electorate will see right through that. The Conservatives will tear him apart on his NHS record and affiliations to McClusky. Bye bye 2020.

    • Stephen Rogers

      Please go back to Conservative Central Office, and tell them that you have done a little spinning for them in Labourlist.We lost Scotland, because we weren’t left wing enough, and the rest of what Jon states is spot on. Thank goodness we’ve got at least one Labour member who has the guts to stand up for what he believes in, and not be barnstormed by Tory misinformation. This is not about left and right wing, but having a fair society where everybody has a chance to be aspirational. Cameron is not aspirational, he was told from an early age he was born to lead, so what he has achieved is probably the same achievement as most people feel when they learn to walk.

      • Chilbaldi

        We didn’t lose Scotland because we weren’t left wing enough. We lost it for two reasons:

        1. being on the same campaign team as the Tories in the independence referendum, rather than focusing entirely on our own campaign.

        2. not having an answer to the SNP’s aspirational, ‘Scottish’ focused, proud approach. We have been reduced to sniping at the SNP and cat calling. We need a positive ‘Scottish’ vision.

      • Patrick Nelson

        “Please go back to Conservative Central Office, and tell them that you
        have done a little spinning for them in Labourlist.We lost Scotland,
        because we weren’t left wing enough, and the rest of what Jon states is spot on.

        Thank goodness we’ve got at least one Labour member who has the
        guts to stand up for what he believes in, and not be barnstormed by
        Tory misinformation.

        This is not about left and right wing, but having a fair society where everybody has a chance to be aspirational.

        Cameron is not aspirational…”

        Quite right.

    • reformist lickspittle

      Just a few points in reply to this arrogant, triumphalist pile of trolling bollix:

      1) sooner or later, possibly sooner than many currently think, the SNP are going to become less popular. It is inevitable. Where do you think that lost support is likeliest to go?

      2) a Labour majority next time looks unlikely (it did in 1992, mind – and the Tory majority is half as big as it was even then) But it is extremely possible that the Tories will lose a significant number of seats and thus be well short of a majority (even after boundary changes) What do you expect to happen then?

      Smug cocksure “end of history” stuff has always been proven wrong in the past. Why should it be any different now?

      • Fred Worthy

        Don’t give up on 2020 Reformist, there’s lot of water to go under the bridge till then, and the Tories have got to have blood on the carpet in 2017 Eu. elections I totally agree with you about the SNP, Johnny come lately Strurgeon, it’s Ok. her promising the earth to the Jocks, but everybody in Parliament wants to do her down via Salmond, and they still have to re-elect in 2016, ride the wave while you can Nichola.

        • Mauro Andrade

          To an extent, I agree with you re: not giving up for 2020, but I wouldn’t just assume that likely Tory self-destruction over the common market (and also another economic crash, which I would argue is on the horizon) will be enough for the party to sail back into government.

          Whoever assumes the leadership will have to deal, finally, with the fiscal and economic record of the Brown government – it was arguably Miliband and Balls biggest failure that they didn’t do this, as I wrote below.

          Concomitantly, they will have to present a clear and coherent social democratic alternative to neo-liberal austerity. For all his strengths, Miliband didn’t do this – looking back at the campaign, it seems to me that Labour didn’t present a clear enough, positive message for the future. It presented the country with a few populist and, in fairness, decent policies, but failed to weave these together into a coherent framework for progressive, centre-left government. At times it looked as though Miliband was beginning to do this, very tentatively – predators vs producers in 2012; one nation in 2013, etc. But these baby steps weren’t built upon; no momentum was gained for what I think he was trying to do.

          I really strongly believe that this is the only way we will win back Scotland – and I agree with those who say that it’ll take a good few elections before Labour can win back all the seats it lost North of the border. Nevertheless, if we couldn’t take back at least a good dozen seats in Scotland next time, I would be very disappointed. I also believe that powering forward with a strongly social justice message, around which a different kind of message regarding ‘aspiration’ can be constructed – i.e., that in creating a more equal society, everyone will be better able to pursue their desired futures – is the only route to winning more marginal seats in England. (Remember: despite what the Tory-supporting press and the Blairites tell us, Labour did make gains in England this month – a three point something per cent increase in our share of the vote, and ten seats of the Tories (they took eight, I believe, from Labour).

      • Chilbaldi

        People were gleefully predicting the end of the Tory party in April 2015, pointing to the fact that they hadn’t won an election since 1992.

        Agreed that end of history stuff is self loathing nonsense for the most part – and our party does seem to revel in self pity a lot of the time. There are challenges ahead, but our election winning constituency is still there – we just haven’t spoken to them in a while.

    • luckydipper

      Why do the blue-collar working class not need political representation? Surely they need it if anyone does.

    • Michael Murray

      You wish, anti-Labour troll.

  • David Pickering

    “Jon Trickett says Labour’s policies didn’t lose them election”


    • Fred Worthy

      best don’t vote labour then David, like you didn’t this time,if so then why are you on here ? and if you did vote labour, you seem to have an extreme case of Hindsightitis, either way wipe your mouth next time you defficate.

      • David Pickering

        You’ll be astonished to learn, LabourList is a publicly accessible website. Anyone can come here and comment.

        As for my “Hindsightitis”, if you had taken the time to read my comments, you would have seen I have been absolutely constant in my views that Labour would lose, and the reasons for it’s loss.

        Your interest in all things scatalogical is rather apt, given your response to me.

        • Fred Worthy

          Comment above applies

  • Steve Stubbs

    !Trickett said he didn’t “believe for a minute our policies were vote losers.”

    Of course our policies weren’t vote losers. That’s why we won. Hang on, wait a minute…, We lost. Hmmm. So the election wasn’t about policies then.

    “They found a bogeyman in the Scots” If you think for a moment, even if we had won every seat in Scotland, the tories would have still had the same majority. So that’s nonsense for a start.

    So in essence it seems we lost because Trickett wasn’t on TV himself. Unless we start to address the actual problem, we are in for 15 years in opposition. And articles like this are just self-inflating dross.

    • reformist lickspittle

      This “if we had held every seat in Scotland” line UTTERLY misses the point.

      Which is very straightforward – had Labour looked like carrying Scotland again the Tories would NOT have been able to run their “wild eyed extremist Jocks are going to rape and pillage your idyllic Middle England” line – the difference would have been VAST.

      We would have won DOZENS more seats in England/Wales too.

      This years Great Scots Scare from Crosby will go down in history as a modern day equivalent of the Zinoviev Letter (and just as based in fact)

      • madasafish

        Prove it. Where are the polls that said Labour would have won “dozens of seats”.?

        Wild claims do not make an argument.

        • reformist lickspittle

          Umm, nearly all the polls 24 hours before the election?

          Nearly everybody, of all political persuasions, agrees with what I have said off the record.

          If you want to believe otherwise, and that the Tories are now set for their own 1000-year Reich, please do 🙂

          • madasafish

            “Nearly everybody, of all political persuasions, agrees with what I have said off the record.”

            Tough . I don’t . It was wrong.

            The pollsters were suggesting ranges of Labour 270 ish, Tories around 290…306 seats minus -290 = 16.. Which is ONE dozen not dozenS..

            Try doing sums..:-)

            Godwin’s Law … you lose.. Epic fail.

          • Steve Stubbs

            But the polls were badly wrong! Which bit of that is it you don’t understand? And all the politicos who blindly believed them were wrong as well.

            10 year Reich maybe…..

        • Fred Worthy

          Well, Zinoviev died naturally at least, Stalin Liked him lucky man

          • madasafish

            Zinoviev was before my time.I know I’m old but…:-)

            So as outdated as many of the views expressed here:-)

      • Steve Stubbs

        Rubbish. Self delusional rubbish. Even if the polls had been correct and if labour were to hold onto the majority of their seats, the combined labour/SNP block would have still been intended to counter the tories.. And Sturgeon would have still been shouting it from every TV screen.

        We lost Scotland years ago, and it was too late to save anything from the oncoming wreck.

        We lost England because we would not address any other policy than the NHS, while the voters (who in general are not stupid) looked at the 7 billion additional funding put in the the tories during the last parliament even whilst having to cut elsewhere and believed their pledge to put in the extra 8 billion the NHS (England) was demanding – which labour did not actually pledge to do. and despite Balls “secret plans” nonsense.

        So that left the other other major issues like the rate of immigration and the EU referendum – about which our manifesto had to say bugger all.

        Still, believe what you want. We now have 10 years to get the act together under a new leader, new MPs and a new party membership, who hopefully can accept reality and not live in the past. Meanwhile, my vote for interim leader is up for grabs, I would have voted Jarvis or Chukka for first choice.

    • Stephen Rogers

      No it wasn’t policy.

  • RWP

    He’s right, walk down any high street you like and you won’t see anyone who looks like a politician. Sit and watch MPs in the Commons and you won’t see many who look like people you would bump into on a high street. When was the last time you saw an MP with tattoos all over their bodies, or who used to make a living driving a bus or working as a window cleaner? Millions of people see politicians on TV who seem to be nothing like them – too busy scoring points off each other in their own bubble over subjects like inquiries, legislation, white papers, referenda, manifesto etc etc – it’s easy to see why so many people think they have nothing in common with, and therefore little interest in, these samey, besuited, managerial technocrats.

  • gpkearns

    Lets simplify matters: the Tories deepened the recession at the beginning of their term and let the brake off just before the next election giving them a pre-election boom. Add to that the aggressive support they receive from the papers and you get a small Tory majority. It’s not as complicated as it seems.

    • Carrotbrain

      Yes and that is what they will try again this time with (I would guess) a 3-year 2-year split. Possibly also with a bit of contrived low-end assistance alongside ‘we can input more now we’ve left the EEC.’

  • Sunny Jim

    I’m not saying I necessarily agree with Trickett but I could see why those on the left would be reluctant to abandon their favoured policies.

    If you think back to 1997 I think it’s fair to say a manifesto of real socialism would have still comfortably carried the election but instead that once in a generation (lifetime?) opportunity was used up on a centrist platform.

    If you are of the mind that the Tories will be hugely unpopular in 2020 (possible with what’s coming down the road) then I can fully understand not wanting to rush to throw everything out with the bath water.

    It just depends really on what you see the purpose of the Labour Party as being.

    • Jack

      Correct, in 1997, those who weren’t too interested in politics who voted for Labour just wanted rid of the Tories. Those who were Labour followers thought (hoped) they would be getting Socialism, even though it wasn’t spelled out, it’s a pity Blair knew different.

      • David Battley

        To be fair he wasn’t completely underhand about it. Remember clause IV?

        • Jack

          I would hazard a guess that the average voter hadn’t a clue about Clause 4.

  • Colin Gordon

    Well said. The embarrassing eagerness of all the would-be (and would-not-be) candidates to trash the platform they campaigned under does not reflect well on their personal seriousness or self-respect. How about a pause on further facile apologies and a clear restatement of commitment to the basic values of equality by the remaining candidates?

    • Dave Postles

      ‘The embarrassing eagerness of all the would-be (and would-not-be)
      candidates to trash the platform they campaigned under does not reflect
      well on their personal seriousness or self-respect.’
      They are demonstrably aspirational, though.

  • tiredoflosing

    We hardly had any policies so Trickett is probably right, we had a few highly polled micro targeted gestures.
    And no leadership or economic narrative.

    The Tories failed totally on the deficit, failed on rebalancing the economy and pumped up a housing bubble instead.Yet we pissed around with a mansion tax while millions get priced out of housing

  • Billsilver

    I run a building company. All my blokes voted UKIP. Nothing in Labours’ policies for them.

    • Jack

      At least that proves it’s the message, hardly anything to do with men in suits. It’s just a pity it was Farage’s divisive message that appealed to them.

      • Doug Smith

        But UKIP were offering an alternative to the Tories. Labour attempted to be Tory-lite – hence the wipe-out in Scotland and the probable wipe-out to come in the north of England.

        Sadly only one Labour MP voted against the Tory austerity package earlier on this year – Katy Clark – and she lost her Scottish seat.

        Can’t see that there’s much hope for Labour now, particularly in view of the current pro-business-pro-aspiration (i.e. inequality) frenzy.

        • Carrotbrain

          I have thought for some time that those behind UKIP are also behind the extreme-right of the Tory Party. It is a section of the Tory party who have always wanted out of the EEC because they see it potentially can counter Tory ideology and put controls on business/banking that might hinder their money grabbing.

          Their problem has been that they could not be overtly aggressively anti-EEC as they wanted while wearing a Tory tie. Hence creation of a mob = UKIP to do that for them if not at least open up the door for them to turn Tory agenda completely anti-EEC. Most Tories and most Kippers won’t realise this, but (IMO) UKIP are part of a two-prong contrivance where Kippers pave the way for anti-EEC Tories at the behest of a condensed elite group subtly pulling all the strings.

          • Doug Smith

            You could be right.

            My feeling, derived mainly from those I know who voted UKIP, is that a significant part of the UKIP vote is an anti-Establishment, protest vote.

          • Carrotbrain

            Which shows clever strategy – use scepticism around ‘Labour not helping the working man’ and general dislike of all things Westminster to whip up emotion so they register an anit-Europe vote albeit they mainly may be voting on immigration or ‘fed up with main parties’.

            Tories – and even more the elite who write their script – are ruthless. Labour show naivety to the degree. Tories are not just ruithless in their words and deeds, by by clever strategy over and prepare the way for ideological whim over a very long-term.

            Scotland is another example. Tories noted in 2005 when they won most of English vote but lost overall that it opened up a route to play Nationalism in a certain way.

            The wealth/power elite know that without their propaganda and ruthless strategy Britain would on common-sense evaluation become strongly social democratic. It seems clear-cut with that in mind that they will play divide and rule in a serious, calculated and ruthless way – and of course they, do.

            I know I keep banging on about it, and it must not be misread as strong-arm leftist ranting because I am firmly social democratic – but their influence via media etc of Labour’s ‘blueness’ is another method.

            We have to get Blair/Brown right/left old/new pugilism done and dusted then I hope we can sharpen up against the root danger that is clever ruthless right-wing strategy in unison..

          • Jack

            You are correct but the anti-establishment bit is as a result of Farage’s clever ‘marketing’, it’s not a reality.

          • Mandy Hall

            But it was a mistake on the leadership’s part to depend on UKIP to wipe out the Tories as they expected they would. I have been saying for years that the party most threatened by UKIP is actually Labour in their heartlands. They nearly won Hartlepool for goodness sakes!

          • Carrotbrain

            Yes I agree, which is the other gain in tory-right/UKIP collusion because it Labour suffers in the voting booth – something many of us could see coming with the immigration slant.

        • Jack

          But the problem with voting UKIP is it is not an alternative to the Tories, it is Tory heavy. Farage left the Tories because they were not right wing enough for him, however, for presentational purposes he has toned down some of his more extreme ideas and concentrated on ‘dog whistle’ tactics to which the less thoughtful voters have been attracted.

      • Michael Murray

        The parties that received the most votes in England and Wales were those who offered a referendum on Europe. I believed it was right for us to eschew a referendum and offer a clear choice but we completely underestimated the anti-European, nationalist vote. The result of the general election shows that Britain is about to exit the EU. And I shall be delighted when we do. Forty five years of membership of the bosses’ club has made this country more and more right wing. The public sector is tiny because marvellous state assets have been flogged off and life for most people, apart from the very rich, is generally awful.

        • Jack

          But the SNP are not anti-European, they want to stay in Europe as I do. Heath and Thatcher wanted to be in the EU for trade reasons, thinking they could undercut the others by having a low wage economy here. They soon found out that they had to accept the whole package, part of which was worker’s rights and conditions. I originally voted to stay out because I had no time for the Tories motives, however, Britain has gained tremendously from being in the EU therefore I would vote to stay in even to the point of joining the Euro which would make it stronger and cut out much of the FX speculation. Flogging off of State (the people’s) assets has nothing to do with the EU, it is Tory ideology.

          • bevinboy

            No entirely sane person would vote to join the euro now.

            It is dysfunctional and impoverishing millions.

            The Germans sell expensive cars to the Greeks while lending them the money to buy them.

            Economic lunacy.

          • Jack

            It is the banking system, not the Euro that is impoverishing millions.

          • bevinboy

            Cue, another rant about banks?

            It is the very idea of a fiat currency without a full political union that is at fault.

            It never could work. It is one of the things Gordon Brown got right.
            If you want to educate yourself, Google “Fiat money for dummies”.

            The Euro is dysfunctional. I repeat, no entirely sane person would now vote to join it.

            Tony Blair would have had us in !

            As would, Hesletine, Clarke etc (and the LibDems). Thus proving that all political parties, have their fruit & nutcases.

          • Jack

            You almost got it and then went off on one of your rants!

          • Michael Murray

            Any Labour government wishing to implement socialist policy in this country would come up against the EU. That’s why there has been no left of centre Labour government in this country snce Harold Wilson’s in the 1960s prior to our being railroaded into the bosses’ club. I am not denying that the workers have gained some protections from the EU. But why do you think the Tories want their renegotiation? To increase workers’ rights? Of course not. Once state assets are flogged off, under EU law it is very hard, if not impossible to return them to public ownership, that is why the railways will never wholly return to public ownership while we remain in the EU. If you want to see socialism in this country again and the end to the Tory hegemony we have to get out of the EU. It’s our only hope. The EU also remains fundamentally undemocratic.

          • Jack

            The Tories want to reduce citizen’s rights and turn the EU into Thatcher’s trade only version, that’s why they want a renegotiation.

            Where does EU law say state assets have to be flogged off?

  • Carrotbrain

    We need prospective leaders NOW to be upfront that the right-lean from 1997-2010 comprised of mistakes that would not be revisited, such as insufficient house-building, too much cosying up to financiers and media owners, seeing privatising potential where it should not have been considered, not clamping down on tax evasion, cutting the slack on banking rules, enabling multi-property ownership for a few and generally too much laissez-faire.

    Because even though good strategies were indeed put in place, and the Tories were kept out of office, the chance was not taken to reconstruct society.

    Whoever the leader is, give us a sign that you understand how this hurts. Peter Mandelson needs to realise it is not clever to be a capitalist to get Labour in power, it is a slow road to the death of Labour and a roadblock to the path to a progressive fair productive Britain.

    To say it sticks in the craw is an understatement. It is a dagger to the heart of a Labour person with a vision for equality when there are fears that Labour won’t so what is says on the tin.

    Give us a leader who can be sicnere about this and then he or she can mend the broken parts and we can confidently offer Britain a. Labour-led future of a re-balanced progressive functioning productive and fair social democracy.

    • Moose

      Totally agree TORY Blair and Prescott got into bed with the rich and forgot who they were supposed to represent if only Labour looked after the workers like the Tories look after the rich

      • madasafish

        Yes: far better that Labour were not in power at all. Then you could be poltically pure rather than be in power and do things.

        The world is not perfect. You cannot get everything you want. You have to make compromises to get power.

        If you don’t compromise, you don’t win..

        • Jake McQuillan

          Since when did the Tories compromise on behalf of their class ?

          • madasafish

            You mean you have forgotten the Coalition where there was a written Coalition Agreement?

            The Coalition which ruled from 2010 until April 2015.? The Coalition just ended?

            And btw I see nothing from the Tories saying they represent a class. Unlike Labour who claim to represent the working class and have 4 Leadership candidates all from Oxbridge…

            You are so old fashioned..No wonder you lost…stuucccckkkkk in the 1950s and cannot recall the Coalition..

            Time to give up politics.

          • Dave Postles

            Here’s your new Minister for Universities and Science.

          • Jack

            And that is one of the best questions ever posed here, any pretence at compromise they make is merely a holding tactic until they can strike again.

      • Theoderic Braun

        Lord Prescott, please! Let’s have some decorum.

  • swatnan

    Is there any way of making Trickett see sense?

    • Steve Stubbs

      No. Hard wired into self belief. I think he must comment on here under a handful of other names as well, they all seem to be smoking the same stuff.

  • luckydipper

    Labour needs to put its working-class leaders on show. As for Jon Trickett being ‘crap at talking’, I take that as knowing self-parody and exasperation at the perception of metropolitan party managers. But it will come across to many as passive-aggressive, and I think Trickett should get himself out there, try to be a bit more silver-tongued or less crap and give us his prescriptions and credo.

  • Doug Smith

    “He said ‘aspiration’ is “a code for saying we think that inequality is acceptable” ”

    Nail on the head. Well done.

    It’s about time someone called out Labour’s Westminster elite.

    • madasafish

      It’s BS.

      We can all be equal: poor. We cannot all be equal: rich…

      Who wants to be poor? No-one.
      So some people will be richer… so inequality.

      Anyone who writes that rubbish really really should live in the real world..

      • Jack

        It’s not about equality, that’s self evident, it’s about FAIRNESS!

        • madasafish

          It’s not fair some people are born with sensible parents who are healthy and have good genes.

          Life is NOT fair.. and anyone who thinks it is is seriously deluded.

          It’s not fair I cannot play football like Messi, am growing bald and white before my time.. but I don’t whinge.

          • Jack

            You seem to be a little angry that you are a rubbish footballer, that’s not a question of fairness it’s a question of ability or in your case lack of it.

            Fairness comes into the equation when people are either dealing with each other or with authority, they should be treated fairly but note, not necessarily equally. Some, depending upon their circumstances or their willingness to work harder deserve more than others, that is only fair.

          • David Battley

            Fairness arrives through equalizing the input: we should all have the opportunity to try out as the next Messi, and if we show the same skill to be able to persue that dream; equality speaks to the output: handicapping the real Messi and assisting those of us with less speed, flair, or skill, in order to make a head to head game competitive.

            I believe the public are in favor of the former, but less so the latter.

          • Jack

            Inputs cannot always be equalised; in the football analogy we don’t all have the same skill or ability, which are inputs, but as long as resources and opportunities are shared as fairly as possible in whatever circumstances dictate the situation, satisfaction should be the result.

          • David Battley

            Indeed so.

          • madasafish

            Not everyone can have a great coach – to continue the analogy. Or sympathetic parents. Or being close to a football pitch… Or having a school with a good football team..

            etc. It’s neither fair nor equal.

          • Jack

            That’s life.

          • Theoderic Braun

            A child drowning in river isn’t fair either but standing passively by as it happens without trying to intervene and do something about it is worse. Much worse. Go peddle your poisonous bile elsewhere you poor sad bitter [email protected]

          • madasafish

            What an unpleasant and irrelevant remark.

            And of course a straw man argument.

            Tell me where I suggested not helping people in danger? Nowhere.
            You really should stop accusing others of poison when your own writing is full of it. But I suppose you don’t do self awareness.

            You must have looked in the mirror when you wrote it.

          • madasafish

            I do not disagree with that..

            But I return to my original point.. we cannot be equal. Period.
            So stating equality is a “policy” is meaningless.

            Edit: I’m not at all bitter about being rubbish at football. I’m an OAP and came to terms with it about 50 years ago 🙂


            In fact you dont have anything meaningful to say!

          • madasafish

            You mean you don’t agree with me. Tough.

            Equality is a great slogan. Remind me how many seats it won for Labour?

          • Theoderic Braun

            How many seats did co-operating with a political party that actually fostered and encouraged inequality (Conservatives) win for the Liberal Democrats?

          • madasafish

            That’s right. Don’t answer my question but ask another one . And then answer it!!

            That’s a fail then.

          • Dave Postles

            Looks like a win to me – I think you might just make the Burnley team, though.

          • Theoderic Braun

            Only because you are obviously too dense to realise that less than one in five voters gave their support and more than four out of five didn’t. The idea that if Labour, as a supposed left of centre party, could improve its position by aping or giving the not to the Conservatives is preposterous, as the destruction of the Liberal Democrats, deserted by former members and casual supporters alike, amply demonstrates.

          • Kev

            Angryasafishcaughtinanet sling yer hook. Complete tool.

          • Hrothgir Ó Dómhnaill

            They were aping you- I ask again “What does genetics have to do with having a fair days pay for a fair days work?”

          • Hrothgir Ó Dómhnaill

            What does genetics have to do with having a fair days pay for a fair days work? The inequality is not about all being on the same average wage, but it is about a disproportionate amount of the worlds wealth concentrating and stagnating in the hands of the very wealthy, while the bottom end is squeezed with regressive taxation and ever lower wages, while being blamed for society’s ills as though being poor is a moral failing.

          • madasafish

            So you think drug taking , being obese and refusing to work are acceptable?

          • Theoderic Braun

            What are you ranting on about you fool? No political party to the best of my knowledge has ever announced that drug taking, or refusing to work, are acceptable or have ever been acceptable without good cause. As for obesity? Well, as far as I know that isn’t yet against the law for the rich or for the poor. I suggest you seek expert advice from Eric Pickles concerning the Tory position in respect to that one.

          • Kev

            Lol well said!

          • Hrothgir Ó Dómhnaill

            I asked about genetics, and what you gave is a response, not an answer – I ask again “What does genetics have to do with having a fair days pay for a fair days work?”
            Simple enough to answer, I’d have thought, but I think I may have over estimated you.

          • Kev

            What colour did you start off as? Have a good whinge pal its alright you know. As for genes my Mam never would buy Levis.

      • Doug Smith

        You should start your own political party – proposing affluence through inequality. My bet is that you’ll receive fewer votes than the Elvis Loves Pets Party.

  • new_number_2

    The problem wasn’t that Labour was “too left wing” but that it was behind by a large margin on the measures of economic competence and leadership and no one has ever gone on to win an election while behind on those two issues. Labour had an opportunity to seize the initiative in 2012 following the omnishambles budget but couldn’t do so.
    Right wing ideologues within Labour are merely being opportunistic by claiming popular policies such as the mansion tax lost Labour the election.

    • David Battley

      I will keep pointing at the yougov poll which lies at odds with this opinion…

      • Dave Postles

        Ah yes, polls.

        • David Battley

          Much better to rely on subjective opinion, right?

          • Dave Postles

            Might as well, it seems – one subjective opinion with no confidence level versus 1000+ subjective opinions with (er) little confidence level (judging by recent performance).

          • David Battley

            The stopped clock will show the right time more often than a slow clock… but that doesn’t make it more useful to have if you want to catch a train…

          • Dave Postles

            Clocks don’t have opinions.

          • David Battley

            Nor, apparently, do they understand metaphors

          • Dave Postles

            Metaphors, metonyms, synecdoches are fine as long as they are relevant.

  • Moose

    Like his thinking

  • James Chilton

    Because of their fears of gaffes, splits, and boat rocking, most politicians are too timid to say interesting things to the electorate. They have ‘in house’ conversations in which mere shop talk passes for policy discussions.

  • Jack

    Jon Trickett is on the right lines but I wish he’d cut the ‘crap’.

  • A bit of common sense

    This guy shows promise. Is he standing for the leadership?

    Quite true, the policies could not be considered left-wing, Labour are to the right of the CDU in Germany! There was too much flim flam over 5 years, they allowed themselves to be buffeted by the media and followed the Tory narratives.

  • Lee Harris

    Please throw your hat in the ring Jon. And win the lreadership. Labour will be the third party in 2020. Yes!!

  • mactheanti

    I read ths with some repatriation and he won me over by the end!

    • David Battley

      Trepidation, I think 🙂

  • Bernie Evans

    Excellent stuff!

  • David Morton

    It really is necessary that Jon Trickett stands for the leadership. Won’t win of course, but at least the debate will be broadened and more relevant. The current contenders make me want to stay in bed; not one of them represents a future for the party or the country.

  • Mikee Heth

    My take on a way forward for Labour: Key messages and
    needed popular policies:

    1) Defend Labour’s record on financial crisis, prevention
    of financial depression was down to labour action on banks. Labour not
    profligate but did rely on financial sector too much.

    2) Make clear Tory cuts have created stagnation (low pay
    economy) and ultimately worsens public finances (less tax receipts, more
    benefits paid, less income to spend in economy). You cannot cut your way out of
    a deficit.

    3) Policy of national revival/new deal to deal with Tory
    stagnation. Jobs, housing and income growth for working and middle class.
    Public investment is needed to tackle structural budget deficit and will give
    confidence to business to invest.

    4) Labour promise to protect public services but control
    day to day spend. Taxes on the wealthiest have to rise to pay for this. This is
    reasonable and popular.

    5) Support for business, rebalance the economy through a
    well capitalised public investment bank but controls on business and teeth for
    regulators where clearly needed eg finance and energy sector.

    6) Message of support for immigration, people come here
    to contribute and work alongside us. Immigrants help public finance and are
    needed for an ageing population. Investment in services and housing vital in
    areas with high immigration.

    7) Action on inequality is popular eg action on zero hrs
    contracts and rent controls. Reducing/removing student loans is clearly popular
    as is keeping the NHS public.

    Bold Popular Policies to Improve Economy, Public and
    Personal Finances:

    – Minimum wage equal to living wage for a decent life.
    This means more spend for business and reduces benefit payments. Associated
    policy of tax/ business rate reduction for small business.

    – Investment in massive social housing build to house
    working people and address immigration concerns. Reduces housing benefit.

    – Huge investment in green energy/conservation to tackle
    energy bills and climate change.

    – Big investment in HMRC staff to tackle tax evasion and

    These will mean more jobs for working and middle class,
    incomes up, deficit down and a way out of stagnation for all.

    Above all a really positive message of hope and
    alternative is needed. A new deal, a national revival, investment in our


LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends