Untrusted on economy and competence: TUC polling sheds light on why Labour lost the election

21st May, 2015 7:39 am

Ed Miliband

Labour were seen as too profligate, too soft on welfare and immigration, and too incompetent, according to a major post-election poll carried out by the Trade Union Congress (TUC). There were both gender and age gaps, with men and older people more likely to vote Conservative.

The top three reasons people gave for not voting Labour were fears that the party could not be trusted with the economy and would spend too much, be too generous with the benefit system, and be forced to make too many concessions to the SNP.

Meanwhile, the top three reasons for supporting the Conservatives were to keep the economy growing, the progress that had been made with deficit reduction, and the belief that David Cameron would make a better Prime Minister than Ed Miliband. Asked how they judged Labour on a variety of topics, the party ended up with negative scores on competence (-30), honesty (-27), and being radical (-44).

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the results showed that the British public could not be easily categorised as simply right wing or left wing:

“What comes through is that this poll offers no simple set of solutions for a new Labour leader – the attitudes revealed are a fascinating mix that shows voters are on the left on some issues and on the right on others.

“The challenges Labour now faces are very different from those in the past.  Voters back a lot of the trade union agenda on living standards and an economic policy based on investment and growth, rather than the deep cuts we now face. But on welfare and immigration their views are very challenging.”

Of voters who supported Labour in 2010, but backed someone else this time, the two biggest benefactors were the Tories, who secured 33% of lost Labour voters, and UKIP who won over 28%. The SNP won 20% of the lost 2010 vote while 10% went to the Lib Dems, and 7% to the Green Party. Of this group of voters, 51% came from C1 and C2 social grade.

People who voted on May 7th judged the Tories to be better at handling the economy by a 39 point margin, gave the Tories an 8 point lead on the cost of living, and a 22 point lead on handling immigration. Overall 62% of people thought Labour should have been tougher on immigration, while 22% thought the party should concentrate more on benefits of immigration.

There was a similar story on welfare, with 63% saying Labour are too soft and only 25% saying that the party is too tough. On devolution, 54% wants Labour to protect people from uneven ‘postcode lottery’ public services, while 20% would prefer to see more power devolved to cities and regions.

However, despite widespread concerns about Labour’s spending plans, more people said they believed the party were too tough (39%) rather than too soft on the deficit (34%). Similarly, 42% said Labour were too soft on big banks, compared to just 22% who believe the party have been too tough.

Almost 5,000 UK adults were polled from 10pm on election night until May 12th – you can see interactive graphs of the results here. The poll was conducted by GQRR, the company that carried out internal polling for Labour and Ed Miliband over the last five years. Pollster James Morris said:

“The Labour leadership election has rightly focused on the need to re-establish Labour’s reputation for competence. This poll suggests that solving that problem requires a reckoning with the party’s perceived record. Voters are twice as likely to see the Tories as having a good track record in government as the Labour Party, with doubts about Labour’s approach to spending and immigration particularly concerning for voters.”

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  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    The “cost of living crisis” that Labour kept talking about does not seem to have found any support, with the Tories having an 8 point lead. Meanwhile, the NHS and housing issues were not mentioned at all in this poll.

    It seems that the strategists in Brewer Green were aiming at the wrong targets.

  • David H

    Interesting results. I think it is true that many people hold a mix of right and left wing views. I know a fair number of people who are left wing when it comes to views on benefits, the minimum wage, nationalisation (for example) but who are distinctly right wing when it comes to Europe, immigration and overseas aid.

    I think the future for Labour depends on deciding what the Party *actually believes* and then spending the next five years winning hearts and minds; rather than chasing votes by trying to retake the centre ground. The SNP success shows that there are still possibilities for a left-leaning party which understands how to effectively win people over to its position, rather than moving itself towards what the pollsters would say is the ideal position for gaining votes.

  • Ian

    Told you!

  • swatnan

    The Public’s perceptions were spot on. Labour is lumbered with this image, right or wrong, rue or false, of soft on benefits and welfare, and spending money like it grows on trees. Throwing money at problems is not the answer. Self responsibility and self discipline and living within ones means, is. Do we really want to be tarred with the same image as the Greeks?

  • salamisausage

    There is a way back for Labour but, given its history, it will be extremely difficult.
    Labour lost the general election because it relied on its trusted policy of sloganeering and negative campaigning. The slogans that poured from Miliband and others’ mouths were seen by a majority of voters as laughable. These are some of the humdingers: “the Tories are planning to sell off the NHS”, “we are the party of the many, not the few”, “there is an epidemic of zero-hours contracts”, “there is a cost of living crisis”, “Tory cuts will take us back to the 1930s”, etc, etc.
    Every Labour spokesperson throughout the campaign read these statements from their cue cards at every opportunity. Now, each one is disowning this guff and blaming it all on Miliband
    There is only one possible way back for Labour: embrace honesty. Stop sloganeering. Stop all the negativity. Decide once and for all what the Labour party stands for and then sell to concept to the British electorate. Forget the lies. Forget the negativity. Cease attacking other parties and only talk about what Labour can do for the country. Stop trying to find segments of the population you can hoodwink. If Labour really does have something worthwhile to offer, it will find support.
    Make a start with being honest with each other. By owning up to the calamities of the New Labour coalition Labour may restore some credibility.

    • CrunchieTime

      Many of those policies and catchy slogans in the lead up to the election couldn’t withstand 24 hours of even mild scrutiny. Some couldn’t even survive one morning’s news cycle before they were exposed as being utter nonsense.

      Labour treated the electorate with contempt, thinking that their utterly vacuous slogans would be swallowed hook line and sinker. People aren’t stupid, but Labour thought they were.

      Many of us on here were called Tory trolls for pointing out that which to us seemed glaringly obvious, that Ed had no clothes. Now it appears the tribalist agree with us. If only they’d had the courage to speak up beforehand, then action could have been taken earlier. Because this silliness was going on for years.

      • Michael Murray

        You are Tory trolls

        • salamisausage

          Michael,
          If you are a typical Labour supporter, then Labour is doomed.

          • Michael Murray

            When the conflict between Capital and Labour is eradicated from the earth then will the Labour Party be doomed. But so will the Tories, for our respective justifications for existence and the necessity for our existence, will have gone and our presence will have become otiose. Until then, the battle between Capital and Labour continues. As usual, you are talking complete garbage.

          • David Battley

            I think he might have been referring to “this parliament will now see Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the break up of the Union. Good.”

            Which looks an awful lot like sour grapes.

          • Michael Murray

            Not sad grapes. A confirmation of the duplicity of the bosses. Labour’s manifesto offered the opportunity for stability in Europe and the Union. It was spat on by those same bosses’ who are now campaigning for us to remain in the EU to save their massive salaries and create ‘stability’. The stability they could easily have had if they’d supported Labour. I have never been a fan of the European project which is a bosses’ club. I voted for withdrawal in 1975, and, if alive, I will vote for withdrawal again in 2015. Why? Because even moderate socialism is impossible in this country while we remain in the EU. As for Scotland, I would be quite happy for the Scottish people to obtain independence if that is their wish. Even though it would mean the irrevocable loss of our Scottish seats. But then, it looks as though they have gone forever, anyway.

          • salamisausage

            Michael,

            You really are a ghost from the past. Are you preserved in aspic?

            Reading your stuff takes me back to the 1950s when I started work. I was a research chemist for a small manufacturing firm and it was company policy for all new employees to spend a month on the shop floor humping sacks etc. I spent four weeks with blokes who would be described by Miliband as “working people”. About every hour we stopped work and huddled inside a smoke-filled glass cubicle and drank builders tea. Without exception these were great blokes, all with the typical British sense of humour. But they all read the Mirror and spoke like you. I can’t remember whether or not they were vexed about the “conflict between capital and labour” but they all hated the “bosses”. These were seen as the “criminal class”. I once asked these blokes who the bosses were. The answers were truly comical: supervisors, foremen, anyone in a suit, anyone who went to university (that made me a boss although I had never bossed anything in my life), the plant manager,. the shift supervisor, everyone who worked in the company office, everyone who didn’t read the Mirror.

            Michael, it is a real pleasure to meet you. You must be as old as Methuselah

          • Michael Murray

            And as wise.

          • salamisausage

            Michael,

            “conflict between Capital and Labour” and “revisionist infiltrators”?

            This stupid rhetoric died a death when Michael Foot ceased to be with us. It reminds me of the stuff coming out of Moscow during the Soviet era. My son has been revising this nonsense for his GCE exam.

            Surely the Labour party has moved on since then Hasn’t it?

          • Michael Murray

            The rhetoric may change: the reality never does.

          • salamisausage

            Michael,

            Really? So the party is stuck in the past? This is exactly why Labour was rejected by the electorate.

          • Michael Murray

            No. It was rejected by the electorate because of the rise of nationalism on both sides of the border.

          • Gegenbeispiel

            You wish. If the Labour party moves on from class conflict and attacks on exploitation and inequality, the reactionaries will have won, permanently.

          • Dave Postles

            Given the candidates, I think the Party is doomed. ‘Wrap your arms around business’. ‘We were seen to be anti-business’. What next, sponsorship by Wonga as it starts its credit for the middle class? Don’t criticize any business because the CBI or IoD might have a hissy fit. How depressing. I’ll leave you to it.

        • CrunchieTime

          QED

          Honestly, a comedy script writer couldn’t have written anything sillier.

          Off to the political wilderness with you.

          • althejazz

            Why then did camoron refuse to debate head to head with Ed Milband – because he was s**t scared of being shot down in flames when he couldn’t defend his government’s appalling record.

          • CrunchieTime

            Because as the encumbent PM he had nothing to gain. That’s why it’s always opposition leaders who demand these events. Regardless of who is in power.

          • CrunchieTime

            Because as the encumbent PM he had nothing to gain. That’s why it’s always opposition leaders who demand these events. Regardless of who is in power.

        • Mighty Oaf

          “The general election result was terrible for the Tories. Just six seats past the winning post.”
          I’m sorry – but this is absolutely ridiculous Michael. From the polls leading up to the election you think Tories getting a majority was “terrible”? I’m afraid you’re in a state of delusion.

          • Michael Murray

            Of course it was terrible. Six by elections and it might be gone.

          • Ian

            This from the guy who was predicting that our highly trained campaigners would see Labour through to a majority. Still living in fantasyland, I see.

          • Michael Murray

            What are you talking about? I called the general election result exactly right. I said there would be a majority of between five and thirty seats. I couldn’t tell if it would be a Labour or Tory majority so, as I’m a Labour supporter I crossed my fingers and hoped it was a Labour majority. But I told everyone not to trust the polls, there would be a majority.

          • althejazz

            A tory majority IS terrible, especially for all those who will be made to suffer for the next five years and who knows how long after that.

        • Patrick Nelson

          “You are Tory trolls. Anti-Labour trolls. It wasn’t our slogans that the Tories were afraid of, it was our manifesto. That’s why they wouldn’t go anywhere near it”

          Nor, unfortunately, would the great majority of the media, to the point that most people were completely unaware of Labour’s actual policies.

          • bikerboy

            No. Ed went almost unnoticed during the campaign.

          • Patrick Nelson

            If being a human insults dartboard counts as going unnoticed.

          • bikerboy

            Russel Brand. Ed stone. These weren’t inspired moves.

          • Patrick Nelson

            Thwak! thwak! two more flung at him and he isn’t even leader anymore.

          • Michael Murray

            But he still frightens them, obviously.

          • Michael Murray

            Indeed. They suppressed any explication of our manifesto.

        • salamisausage

          Michael,

          The Conservatives won 100 more seats than did Labour. Not bad considering they were in coalition with a party to the left of Labour and despite the persistently negative scaremongering by Labour and the left-wing press, and despite the need for unpopular budget cuts needed to rescue the economy. This should have been a dream scenario for Labour but they blew it.

          They blew it not because they had a crap leader with an unfortunate physiognomy, but because they had no policy apart from negative slogans about their opponents.

          What is the point of Labour? That was the question the electorate asked themselves. Answer came there none.

          • Michael Murray

            You obviously didn’t read our manifesto. But you are not alone. Thanks to your media lackey supporters all reference to the many positive policies in our manifesto was suppressed in favour of reviewing the different ways Ed Miliband ate a bacon sandwich.

      • Dave Postles

        Miliband was absolutely right in differentiating between predatory and productive capitalism. That distinction is now being jettisoned by all the candidates – which is a grave mistake.

        • Michael Murray

          You are so right there Dave.

          • Dave Postles

            But the time for remorse is over – long over – Michael – putting aside for the moment the fines on Barclays for Libor and Forex manipulation.

        • CrunchieTime

          It was and still is blatantly obvious to anyone with a brain in their head. Giving Ed Miliband credit for pointing at it and saying “look”, is like giving him credit for not wetting his pants.

          I think the Labour party membership deserves a little more ambition from its leaders.

          • Dave Postles

            Obviously none of the candidates has a brain then and Kendall wishes to ‘wrap her arms around business’ with apparently no qualification. Miliband had the balls to say it.

          • CrunchieTime

            Well, saying it and producing actionable policy are different things. Blair had a similar trait, thinking that just because he’d made a speech on a particular subject meant that the problem was solved. Life isn’t so simple.

            You may be right about the current crop of candidates though. Not sure who is the least worst option to vote for.

          • Dave Postles

            May I suggest that you read Ben Chu in today’s The Independent? Don’t you think that there was a Blairite drag on Miliband?

          • CrunchieTime

            I will when I have time.

            I think the biggest drag on Ed was himself. He would go missing for four or five weeks, then produce a big media splash about a subject. Sometimes it would chime and other times be ripped apart after the media had looked at it a little more closely. Then he would disappear for another month.

            He closed himself off from his party, refusing to take advice from experienced Labour MP’s, who, with no legitimate channel via which to funnel their ideas, found the only option they had left was anonymous briefings to political commentators.

            Ed had over 4 years to build a party around him. Instead they chose a cult of Ed approach, with all policy announced by him and a 35% strategy to win power. His shadow cabinet were emasculated and given no trust whatsoever. Even their final conference speeches were vetted and limited by Ed’s office to 900 words. Why else were they so invisible?

            I don’t think he could have lead in a manner much worse than he did.
            Time to learn and move on.

          • Dave Postles

            Hang on – I said that he was right to make the distinction and that he elaborated it. I’ve no idea who these experienced MPs are. I don’t think that Balls, Cooper, Burnham et al were gagged. As to speeches of 900 words, the concentrated attention span of most people is 20 minutes. It sounds like a good strategy. ‘Vetted’ or submitted for collaborative improvement? Isn’t that the usual cabinet practice? It looks to me like a Blairite drag.

          • CrunchieTime

            Cast your mind back to last autumn. Labour’s conference was reported as being lacklustre and something of a damp squib. That was Ed’s team’s doing. Not Blairite drag and certainly not what was needed in the last conference season before a general election.

          • Dave Postles

            He was right to distinguish between predatory and productive capitalism. The Blairite drag was obviously there. Look at them all scurrying out of the woodwork.

          • CrunchieTime

            And we’ve come around full circle…

            Bye!

        • NewForestRadical

          Yes, but what did he do with this distinction once made? What policy pathway did it lead to? How was it developed discursively? The answer of course is that it lead to nothing; it was left to the Tories and the tabloid press to define what it meant and why it was important, which they did, of course, in a way that was most damaging to Labour.

          • Dave Postles

            I suspect that he was hijacked by the constant carping from the Mandelsons in the party. Actually, as Ben Chu points out in todays’ The Independent, he did elaborate. Chu indicates the policies which were directed to that end. The piece is entitled: ‘We should praise Miliband’s ideas on business, not bury them’.

          • NewForestRadical

            OK, thanks, I will look that out. I don’t doubt the ideas were there it’s just that they were never developed into a coherent, coaltion-building narrative.

          • NewForestRadical

            Chu concludes – ‘Labour’s central error lay not in Mr Miliband’s 2011 rhetoric but his failure to flesh out the themes of that speech over the subsequent four years, and his failure to offer a coherent package of reform that would create an environment in which productive, rather than predatory, business behaviour would thrive.’ I couldn’t agree more!! Sadly, the chance to develop such themes seems non-existent for some time to come

          • Dave Postles

            Er, no, that’s not the conclusion. He goes on to (a) quote Cooper on Labour sounding anti-business, which indicates a drag against Miliband’s proposals – Miliband’s agendum is indicated above in the article by Chu (i.e. Miliband did elaborate, but it was the others who held him back); (b) ‘There is little doubt that Mr Miliband lost an important presentational battle’ (not only with the Tories, but his ‘colleagues’); and (c) ‘The next Labour leader would be unwise to assume the road back to power and popularity must involve an uncritical dash through the gates of the big business lobby’. The people coming out of the woodwork since the election and Chu’s nuanced prose, seem to suggest that Miliband was constantly being dragged back by adverse internal comment.

      • althejazz

        That is definitely a tory viewpoint and very much like that of their placeman, Tony Blair. The only people who treated the electorate with contempt are the tories and their captive press barons who lied and lied again and there were enough mugs who believed the lies. Labour actually got more votes than Blair did in 2005.

        • CrunchieTime

          Oh good grief. You need to take a very big dose of reality. Or you need to find yourself a new electorate. I’ll let you decide which.

    • Paul Richardson

      I would add that there were positive things that came from 13 years of Labour Govt. such as the minimum wage.

      Yes, there was the Iraq War which will forever be Blairs legacy. However, Labour did not get the country drunk and dupe it. They voted Labour 3 times in succession. This is not a call to move rightwards but stop accepting the Tory narrative that Labour was 13 years a calamity. It wasn’t!

      • salamisausage

        Paul,
        All aspects of the New Labour coalition foreign policy were calamitous. Add in the debt mountain, the budget deficit, the banking crisis and the deepest recession in peace time. They left a police force not fit for purpose, a chaotic immigration policy, an education system not ft for purpose, and an NHS on the point of collapse.
        OK, I’ll give them the minimum wage.

        • David Battley

          Much of that criticism is unfair, or at least not entirely fair.

          “New Labour coalition foreign policy” – I’m not sure if you mean coalition erroneously or facetiously – including completing the Irish peace talks, and some successes in paving the way for future successes with Chinese relationships. Yes Iraq was a disaster But Afghanistan wasn’t so bad.

          Debt mountain/budget deficit – yes there is some fairness in this: the “end of boom and bust” was spectacularly shown to be false, and while much of the debt mountain relates directly to the bank bail out, there is a strong suggestion that a better approach would have seen some years of surplus in the years leading up to the crunch (while that is helped by hindsight, Browns original “7 year cycle” should have worked, if only he hadn’t bent his own “golden rules” – for which he should be rightly lambasted)

          Police force not fit for purpose? Harsh I think. There is some suggestion of a politicisation of the police force that is not a good legacy, but having experienced policing in other countries, the UK service really isn’t so bad…

          Chaotic immigration – ok fair

          Education not fit for purpose – this is a funny one. In my view the biggest issue for education in the UK is that kids fundamentally don’t want to learn: it is “not cool” to study, and applying oneself to work will in many cases lead to bullying and labels such as “geek” or “nerd”, or worse. The difference between that and students from some other countries could not be more clear. In Kenya I recently found out that the bespectacled kid with braces who studied in the library at lunchtime is generally considered the “cool” kid who you most want to be be seen with – because their future success is something you recognise and want to associate with. Did New Labour cause that? I doubt it, except perhaps by their inaction, and we can certainly look to politicians to help deal with it now.

          “NHS on the point of collapse” – we all know that the demographics and rising cost of medicine mean that the current structure of the NHS is not going to work, but politicians have raised it up as this sacred cow that cannot be messed with. We can blame New Labour (partially) for the latter part, and argue that they should have taken the opportunity to deal with it while they could, but this is an ongoing problem for everyone.

        • Michael Murray

          Calamitous? Rubbish. From Kosovo to Northern Ireland to Sierra Leonne it was a great success. Debt was actually reduced. The global banking crisis was caused by greedy, grasping Bankers who all voted Tory. It was nothing to do with Labour. Labour’s education policies saw neglected, run down school buildings that were running with damp and where repairs had never been done transformed through massive programmes of repair and new build. The literacy and numeracy hours hugely increased standards. The NHS received 99% approval. Take your Tory lies back to your anti-Labour skunk hole you appalling anti-Labour troll.

          • David Battley

            “The global banking crisis was caused by greedy, grasping Bankers who all voted Tory”

            To round off my comment below I will point out that this response is not true either. It is difficult to be simplistic and point at a “single” point of failure, but it included the Clinton administration’s drive to increase house ownership to America’s poor, the realtor market who consequently found themselves able to offer “NINJA” loans to inappropriate borrowers on behalf of banks, who in turn believed they had found risk-free ways of packaging this debt into layers, the rating agencies who had signed off this approach, and the bank regulators who (alongside the banks) failed to note or take action to mitigate the massive build up of risk within the system, along with national treasuries and Banks who completely missed the interconnectedness of all of this.

          • Michael Murray

            The global banking crisis was the Bankers’ fault, ultimately, for atomising into smaller and smaller units the securities on the real estate that was being paid down by sub- prime borrowers. A classic ‘bet hedging’ exercise. These atomised securities were then resold and re-insured over and over. Result, when there were huge numbers of housing defaults nobody was able to recover the vast debts which then became toxic for the banks. It was the greedy, grasping bankers who conflated their high street activities and their investment activities that created the global crash. It is specious to blame Britain’s regulators. In virtually every country bank regulation was non-existent. In this country the Tories were complaining that there was too much bank regulation just before the great crash!

          • David Battley

            Those “smaller and smaller units” are called people’s mortgages.

            I don’t understand what you think you mean when you say a “bet hedging” exercise, but they were absolutely designed to be hedging exercise – and that is not a bad thing! Hedging means mitigating risk – something we all do all the time.

            NB The (non)performance of CDS insurance tools is irrelevant to this point – that was the insurance companies attempt to get into the business and had nothing to do with banks activities, apart from encourage it on the assumption that the risk had been defrayed (i.e. through buying insurance).

            It is absolutely not specious to blame Britain’s regulators. In Sweden, for example, if a loan was securitised and sold to a third party, it required the consent of every “atom” – in other words every mortgage holder had to be made aware of and consent to their mortgage debt owner changing hands. Result: far fewer securitisations, a clearer line of ownership when they were, and after the crash fall out many of the Scandinavian banks were practically unhurt.

            Finally: the Tories (erroneous) views are regularly brought up as an argument in this matter: these view are entirely irrelevant to this point, except to note that they were wrong too.

          • Michael Murray

            The mortgage debt was sub prime and toxic to start with. Hedging it into smaller and smaller units with re-insurances made it catastrophically toxic. That’s why bankers were so culpable. You seem to be in denial. Not a banker are you, by any chance?

          • David Battley

            No – I work in a charity thanks for asking.

          • Michael Murray

            I don’t believe in charity. Charities are the Right’s alternative to the state and are full of people drawing huge salaries and perks which under the state would go directly to front line services. Charities, in my view, are parasites and a drag on the poor.

          • David Battley

            Interesting. Life must be lonely up in that tower you live atop of.

          • Michael Murray

            Not at all. It’s full of socialists — past and present.

          • David Battley

            And do they all care so little for human life?

          • Michael Murray

            No. They believe that the state can do so much more for people than charity. People need homes and food, not charities attempting to fill the huge number of holes with weak palliatives that salve the consciences of the super rich Right.

          • David Battley

            They are wrong. There is a role for both.

          • Dave Postles

            King’s general intellectual failure rather than Greenspan’s flaw in the system – but it has been so easy for the Coalition – let’s not exonerate the LibDems – to define it as Labour’s fault. The reason the UK was so severely hit was because of the dependence on financial services, to which all parties subscribed, and which is still the dominating variable.

          • David Battley

            True, but without an alternative industry looking like it will be able to take up the slack we are left with the uncomfortable choice of cutting out nose off to spite our face, or leaving it there and hoping it doesn’t bleed some more.

          • Dave Postles

            Despite shares in Barclays rising by 3% and RBS by 2% after this latest batch of billions of £s in fines, assuming that the fines for malversation have ended (such ethics), it seems unlikely that there will not be more transgressions, since the remuneration system is still in place and at least some of the people (the mantra that if you are not cheating, you are not doing your job). The problem is that these banks simply regard these fines as small deductions from their profits. If there is a suggestion of more regulation, they throw a hissy fit. Remember the fine words of Mr Diamond Geezer of Barclays: ‘the time for remorse is over’. Barclays comes out as the worst offender, whilst also attempting to evade the UK regulator. A proper cost-benefit analysis is needed, including all the hidden costs of QE (UK and ECB), funding for lending, state guarantees and all other cheap funding. HSBC and Barclays have both intimated moves; show them a proper balance sheet.
            As to the regeneration of UK industry, we need an effective industrial bank as an ALM, and proper support for sectors with potential.

          • David Battley

            State run banks are effectively forbidden under eu la, and I reject your assertion that a mantra of seeking to break laws pervades banks’ employees, many of whom are not high earners and are just as honourable as individuals as you would find in any other profession.

          • Dave Postles

            1 Nowhere did I state that the banks should br managed by the state.
            2 Why isn’t it possible to have an investment bank as an arms-length managed bank.
            3 Have the people who engaged in Forex trading been sacked, one of whom opined that if you are not cheating, you are not performing your job?
            I feel that you need to read what I wrote more closely and in context.

          • David Battley

            Perhaps you need to write more clearly. Forex traders must account for 0.001% of the banking population…

            Yes it is: Lazard is such an example.

          • Dave Postles

            So what. They are incurring billions of pounds in fines.

          • Hugh

            3. “Have the people who engaged in Forex trading been sacked”

            http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2014/11/12/interactive-the-forex-inquiry-network/

            “In this interactive, the FT has compiled 33 foreign exchange traders and
            sales staff who so far have been suspended, placed on leave or fired
            amid regulatory investigations that started in 2013.”

            That was in November. Over the coming months and years we’re also likely to see individuals as well as banks being fined. The first individual fines for the Libor scandal, which broke earlier, were only in January.

          • El_Sid

            If by ” the Clinton administration’s drive to increase house ownership to America’s poor” you mean the Community Reinvestment Act then you’re wrong. Although the Republicans try to pin a lot of the crash on the CRA the best evidence is that it had a minimal effect. In general CRA loans had lower default rates than average, and one suspects that the banks would have made stupid lending decisions regardless of the legal environment. Northern Rock was doing 125% mortgages without any involvement from Bill Clinton, it still went bust.

            believed they had found risk-free ways of packaging this debt into layers…along with national treasuries and Banks who completely missed the interconnectedness of all of this.

            A critical factor in the UK was Gordon Brown taking away power from the BoE (who could see what was going on), and giving it to the FSA (who had power but no clue). The most tragic example of this was AIG Financial Products in Mayfair, whose financial derivatives were critical to the packaging of the debt but which wasn’t subject to any UK banking regulation.

          • David Battley

            Northern Rock’s mortgages were perfectly sound, thanks to the relative illiquidity of the UK housing market (default rates through the crisis remained relatively low) – it’s problem was fundamentally linked to the CMBS market shutting down due to contagion from the US market (which has very different characteristics due to foreclosure rules) and there insolvency due to its reliance on that market for providing cash to its investors.

            Anyway my point is I am not seeking to pin blame on any one body…

            You are right about the failure of the tri party arrangement not helping, though.

          • El_Sid

            Of course it was an inability to refinance that brought them down in 2007. I was just using them as an example of daft lending without Clinton’s involvement – and their relatively high level of arrears caused some of their subsequent problems in 2008-. By then even their standard loans had higher arrears than the industry average of <2%, and their 125% Together loans were running arrears of more than double the industry average.

          • David Battley

            I don’t understand your point though. I’m saying there were a range of reasons for the financial crisis. What are you saying?

          • Paul Richardson

            Now why wasnt the Labour leadership making speeches with the dynamism and verve of your comment for 5 years?!!!!

            Honestly …. Labour needs to have the courage of its convictions, defend its record with fervour, apologise for its mistakes and be passionate about politics!

            In the sprit of “Let Bartlet be Bartlet”, let Labour be Labour!!

          • Michael Murray

            Thank you. Yes. Why weren’t they making the case? Because none of the Tory half clones have any socialist fire in their bellies.

          • Dave Meredith

            Agree! We should be more proud of what we achieved in those 13 years not give way to Tory propaganda. That said, accepting the blame for the financial crises and not directing the blame where it should have gone was a gross error

          • Michael Murray

            Absolutely. It was a gross error.

          • bikerboy

            Labour – without warning, without consulting, without even asking our permission – allowed the biggest mass immigration into the United Kingdom in our nation’s history: three million people, possibly more…. drive down low-skilled wages, and to rub the noses of the Right in diversity

            Mid Staffs.

            Euro rebate handed back.

            Gold

            Kelly

            Dome

            World education rankings decline

            Largest manufacturing decline

            Cancer survival rates

            Bigotgate

            Worst govt ever. No one wanted that back. Hapless Mili. Balls.

          • Kev

            Are you responsible for compiling Now albums? Quite a few hits but sadly also quite a few misses. Dome. Clutching….at……straws….

          • bikerboy

            Cash for honours / Blair questioned by police
            Pension raids
            Hindujas and sleaze passim…

            Please don’t tempt me to go on.

          • Kev

            Ooooh you are awful.

          • althejazz

            The biggest mass immigration into the UK was under tory governments. They wanted to be able to exploit immigrants to the hilt in order to keep the rest of the workforce in line.

          • Michael Murray

            Er . . Just remind me, how many immigrants entered the UK on Cameron’s watch last year.? 318,000 I believe. You can’t blame that on Labour.

          • bikerboy

            It’s a quote from an article around 2010… referring to the EU expansion of 2004 and Lab not using the transitional arrangements on free movement.

            Water under the bridge now in some respects, but along with economic competence and general Lab hypocrisy, all part of the worst govt in modern times.

          • salamisausage

            Michael,

            You are so gullible. The story coming from Labour central office is that “a worldwide banking crisis dun it” and that the New Labour coalition was innocent. Let’s look at the facts.

            There was no worldwide banking crisis. The crisis affected the USA, Britain and many countries in Europe. It was precipitated by the collapse in property values in Britain and the US. The property boom in the UK was driven by reckless lending by banks and building societies, encouraged by Brown to offer up to 120% loan to property value ratios and wide-spread self-certification. The motive behind this was to boost government income to further boost Brown’s spending
            splurge. This toxic debt was combined, diced up, and repackaged by investment banks in the USA and Britain and sold on the world market. Its impact was huge because of the size of the US property market and the size of British investment banks. New Labour, of course, had
            removed Bank of England oversight of these activities. This crisis is still hanging over us. RBS is currently facing additional fines in the USA of more than £5 billion.

            That is the banking crisis. What about the UK debt mountain? We are now seeing the candidates for the leadership of the Labour party finally admitting that Labour overspent and are now blaming the defeat in the recent election partly on the fact that Miliband refused to admit
            this. Brown’s spending spree continued up to the last few days of the New Labour coalition. Much of this expenditure was completely wasted: IT project after project abandoned, two enormous aircraft carriers (but no planes), one of which will never be used, a string of fire-fighting command centres never used but still costing us billions in upkeep, etc, etc.

            What about the deficit? Brown and Balls bequeathed the incoming government a budget deficit in size second only to Greece among developed countries. Much of this excess spending over government income goes to the bloated public sector, inflated by New Labour, and to the social benefits industry. Add in all the PPI contracts signed by Brown and Blair which are costing us billions and will run for many years to come, under which the UK tax payers are charged £150
            to change a light bulb. This budget deficit ensures that the UK sovereign debt will rise each year until the deficit is eradicated.

            In addition to a banking crisis, a debt mountain and a crippling budget deficit, what else did the New Labour coalition bequeath to the nation? How about a triple recession, bigger than any other in peace time?

            I doubt that Labour will have any economic credibility until it admits its mistakes.

          • Michael Murray

            ‘There was no worldwide banking crisis’ and ‘the toxic debt was . . . sold on the world market’. Some cognitive dissonance there.

            ‘There was no world wide banking crisis’

            And on here here they tell me I’m delusional?

          • salamisausage

            Michael,

            The banking crisis was confined to the countries I identified. These are the countries with large investment banks who deal on the world market.

            Any other questions I can help you with?

          • Michael Murray

            There is no question an anti- Labour troll who thinks there wasn’t a global banking crisis could possibly help me with

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          Peace in Ireland?
          People were dying on trolleys in hospital corridors

          • driver56

            We simply did not get our message out, It was popular to blame Blair for everything bad. the gains labour made in 13 years were kept well away from the press.

          • Michael Murray

            Dead right Bill.

          • salamisausage

            Bill,

            Yes, and they paid for it during the next election.

            The question for Labour is: does it want to loss two elections on the bounce or many more?

        • althejazz

          You ain’t living in the same country that I am then. Blair could have done a lot more but was dancing to the tune of his big business cronies. Now it looks as if the dark days of the old cow thatcher will be with us forever.

          • salamisausage

            alt,
            You are wrong. I am not on the same planet as you.

          • Michael Murray

            Is that why you keep visiting this one? Because you are lonely out there on that rock full of the super-rich? Feel the need of a little socialist compassion?

          • salamisausage

            Michael,
            Not much compassion in the Labour party at the moment is there old son. You are all blaming each other for your collapse in support. Same old, same old. Looks like a re-run of history.
            Why is it that socialists, with few exceptions, are such nasty people?

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Correct.

    • Digger52

      The fact that the slogans are all true is of course irrelevant to those who think sounding like the Tories is more important than actually telling it like it is.

      • Michael Murray

        Well said!

      • girlguide

        Only 2.3% of workers are on zero hours contracts – is that an epidemic?

      • salamisausage

        Digger,

        Let’s examine the facts;
        1. “the Tories are planning to sell off the NHS” There is absolutely no evidence for this. In 2010, after the New Labour coalition, 5% of NHS contracts were in the hands of private companies. After five years of the Conservative-LibDem coalition, it has risen to 6%
        2. “we are the party of the many, not the few”. Among the many criticisms heaped by his erstwhile colleagues onto the head of Miliband is that his campaign was aimed solely at Labour-voting union members and benefit recipients.
        3. “There is an epidemic of zero-hours contracts”. The current “epidemic” is 2.2% of all contracts, marginally less than in the last three years of the Labour coalition. This equates to slightly less than 700, 000 contracts, a figure from a survey in April, mentioned widely by Miliband. What he did not highlight in this survey was that more people with zero-hours contracts were were satisfied than those with full-time contracts. I wonder why he forgot to mention this.
        4. “There is a cost of living crisis”. This is the absurd humdinger that damaged Labour the most.
        5. “Tory cuts will take us back to the 1930s”. This was a Balls comment which even Miliband disbelieved.

        This level of mendacity may bring a warm glow in your stomach but it is ridiculed and rejected by the electorate.

        A say again, the only hope for a come-back for Labour is to embrace honesty.

  • Monkey_Bach

    The Tories will always do Tory better than the Labour Party. If Tory is what a majority of the British people currently want Labour will not be able to win by trying to out-Tory the Conservatives. Moving Labour further to the right politically might woo a small but significant number of Labour defectors (to the Conservatives and UKIP) back into the fold but almost certainly ultimately lose more support than it gains as those somewhat to the left of that position finally and irrevocably abandon the Party in disgust.

    Don’t be stampeded into following the Liberal Democrats rightward into oblivion.

    Eeek.

    • Michael Murray

      The most sensible thing written on this thread, so far. (apart from my posts, of course) The thirty thousand new members we have gained have not joined up to turn us into an ersatz Tory party.

      • David Battley

        You personally interviewed every one of them did you?

        • Michael Murray

          No, but if that’s what they’d wanted they’d have joined the authentic Tories or the Lib Dems stooges. A priori reasoning.

          • David Battley

            I see where your assumptions come from, but I think they are flawed: the Lib Dems are, potentially at least, a spent force politically, and one can wish to see what you might call “right wing” economics combined with social democratic principles. For such people Labour remain a natural home.

  • Dave Meredith

    My experience canvassing in Labour areas of Gloucester was that immigration is causing great resentment
    amongst our supporters in these areas. I have some sympathy with their feelings.

    How can we improve living standards for ordinary people in this country when there is a bottomless
    pit of cheap labour available from the continent? Our voters see these people coming in, claiming benefits and
    putting pressure on our schools and health services. I would really like to know how we can give these disaffected
    Labour voters some hope that things will get better.

    We mustn’t assume that UKIP will conveniently fade away after the referendum. By bolting a few left wing
    policies onto their manifesto and making a plausible commitment to the NHS they could start winning seats
    in Labour heartlands
    We need to park our tank on the UKIP lawn before they do it to us

    • Digger52

      The official Government report on low pay pins it fairly and squarely on the absence of union power, failure to implement existing legislation on wages and other exploitative behaviour by employers which needs to be addressed. These are long standing and deliberate results of pressure by private sector employers to allow them to do what they like with employees. The immigration issue was a misdirection, deliberately distorted by the press and the Tories and echoed by too many ill informed and irresponsible Labour voices.

      • Dave Postles

        That’s what Carney concluded too.

      • Dave Meredith

        I agree with you about the pay issue and the lack of union power. It
        is now up to governments to look after the rights of workers and prosecute companies who don’t pay the minimum wage, not just ‘name
        and shame’.
        The problem still remains that if you raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour don’t you just encourage even more immigration from the
        continent?
        It not just a question of pay but that there is simply too much competition
        for unskilled jobs. We really need to address this issue not pretend it doesn’t exist.
        Surely we’ve all seen the Polish take-away’s and the number of immigrants in low paid jobs?
        I’m sorry but the Labour Party must be seen to put the needs of it’s own people ahead of those of other countries if it is to earn greater support.

        I notice that Cameron want to confiscate the pay earnt by illegals not prosecute the unscrupulous employer!

        • Dave Postles

          Low wages would exist without immigrant labour. The whole concept of shareholder value is constructed on cutting costs and low rates of pay – except for executives whose ‘consideration’ is correlated with dividend and share price. The idea of a ‘flexible labour market’ is to diminish employees’ conditions. Beecroft illustrated that.

          • disqus_EJmqmmuw9G

            Investment in job guarantees would place a floor under “flexibility” but Labour sold its guarantees (which didn’t go far enough) on its impact on individuals, via a stigmatising route. This suggests to me it doesn’t understand the gripe, or the people making it. Or it’s simply not ready, or able, to challenge prevailing neo-liberal norms.

    • Dave Postles

      Interesting support for your comment – there is obvious confusion as to what is your prescription. Do you intend to accede to the perception or challenge it?

      • Dave Meredith

        I spoke to many people who had previously voted Labour but who intended to vote for UKIP.
        They told me that legal immigrants were prepared to work for less than the minimum wage. I’m inclined to think for obvious reasons that there are no official figures for the number of people working for less than the minimum wage so whether this is an inaccurate perception or not I simply don’t know. I’m in the fortunate position of not having to compete for a job at this end of the market so I can only listen to what people tell me.When your livelihood is being threatened in this way there’s no point in someone like me turning up on your doorstep and appealing to altruism when you’re struggling to earn a living. I also stressed the economic issues (inward investment) in these situations without making much headway.

        I also spoke to a Tory voter about zero-hours contracts to be told ‘if that’s what the economy needs to function then so be it’ but that’s another story.

        Whether we like it or not a lot of potential Labour vote is very worried by this issue. We have to be seen to be tackling this issue head on if we are to win these people back

        • Dave Postles

          I get the sense that tackling the issue is accepting the perception, right or wrong.

          • bikerboy

            Classic Dave. It’s not only right it’s real.

          • Dave Postles

            Classic Carney, I think.

          • Patrick Nelson

            Mass perceptions win or loose elections, more so than realities. If realities won elections rather than perceptions, no one would have voted for the pirates that are now back in Downing street.

          • bikerboy

            Respect for the electorate. That’s what I like to see

          • Patrick Nelson

            Some people may think more objectively than others, but we are all limited by the subjectivity of our perceptions and most of us do not have time to digest all political issues, rather we read the headlines and make intuitive judgements. Unfortunate as it is, most people’s understanding of politics is pretty basic and as a nation we tend to be far to easily swayed by headlines, which may or may not have substance. This gives the editors of major newspapers a ridiculous level influence over our politics.

            As for respect, personally I have respect for everyone who voted in what they believed was right for the country, rather than which party they thought would best suit their bank balance.

          • bikerboy

            Nor Blair. Different issue.

          • Dave Postles

            No point in trying to inform them of the reality then?

          • Patrick Nelson

            If you can it is no bad thing.

        • Patrick Nelson

          “They told me that legal immigrants were prepared to work for less than the minimum wage.” This is true. I have met people in this boat in Sheffield.

    • Patrick Nelson

      Shortly before the election people were laughed at for saying the same thing, a while back plenty of people practically threw stones at Maurice Glasman when he said as much. If they want their support Labour needs to start to get in touch with both the worries of working class people and their aspirations and to understand them better than the Tories and the extremists like UKIP do.

      • Michael Murray

        Yes. There can be no doubt that they did not vote for us because we didn’t offer a referendum. We grossly over-estimated the size of the electorate that was pro-European.

    • I would say we need to tackle the immigration problem from a left perspective. We in no way should be anti-immigrant in the same way as UKIP is anti immigrant. We should show solidarity with workers in other countries by raising the issue of unemployment there. There is no sane economic reason why unemployment in the eurozone countries should be as high as it is.

      If there are equal job opportunities in the UK and the eurozone then free movement of labour is no problem. Workers in the UK can go off and work there if they want to. So, if we have to justify immigration controls, we do so on the basis of opposition to EU neo-liberal and reactionary economic policies. We insist these are only temporary measures to be imposed until the powers-that-be in EU mend their ways.

  • Doug Smith

    From Frances Grady’s introductory comment:

    ““Interestingly, voters are not greatly worried about Labour being against aspiration or anti-business, despite these emerging as themes in Labour’s post mortem.”

    Yet straight away Labour’s Westminster elite retreated into the Progress ‘aspiration’ and pro-business comfort zone.

    • bikerboy

      She might be mistaken, of course.

      • Doug Smith

        So the pollsters were mistaken and also the poll respondents?

        Alternatively, you’ve buried your head where the sun don’t shine.

        • bikerboy

          Ed certainly did

  • David Pickering

    “Untrusted on economy and competence”

    I was repeatedly attacked on LabourList for saying exactly the same thing, before the election. What a sweet day this is.

    • madasafish

      Don’t worry.

      Labour will pay notional attention to the report. And then forget it as it does not agree with their prejudices.. see all the posts below…

    • Michael Murray

      Yes, you were parroting exactly the same message as the Tory media lackeys instructed you to. Do you want us to congratulate you for staying on the Sun’s message, anti-Labour troll?

      • David Pickering

        Are you seriously suggesting I am, or was, in the pay of Murdoch? Are you that dogmatic that anyone who didn’t trust Ed Miliband and the Labour party was being paid for their opinions?

        Do you have any other conspiracy theories you think we should hear about?

        Funny how I was right about Labour losing, and you were wrong.

        • Michael Murray

          Labour may have lost a battle but the war continues.

      • bikerboy

        Oh Michael, I so wish I had a mind of my own, like you.

  • Tommo

    Pretty much what us ‘trolls’ were saying all along !

    • CrunchieTime

      Ooooh, I love what you’ve done with your bridge, such an intelligent use of space and so light and roomy…

      • Ian

        Fol-de-rol.

  • Andy Harvey

    Interesting read and accords with many of my impressions. But it enables us to tell a good story going forward in my opinion. Firstly, people are not opposed to public spending per se, but to profligacy. There is no doubt in my mind with all the mad IT schemes, target culture bureaucracy and even a £6 billion ID database that no-one apart from New Labour wanted, we gave an impression of being careless with money even if the big numbers on health, education and so on were welcomed. We need to establish ourselves as the party that can look after the pennies and not be wasteful while making sure the things that matter get the money they need.

    • Angela Sullivan

      Maybe we should talk more about Welfare Reform? That is a sorry tale of mad IT schemes, target culture bureaucracy, and millions wasted on a scheme that no-one thinks will work except Iain Duncan Smith. How have we managed to leave people under the impression that the Conservatives are the party of economic competence?

      • Andy Harvey

        Absolutely. For 5 years the Labour Party failed to do this. Worst of all worlds.

  • Dave Postles

    ‘with men and older people more likely to vote Conservative.’
    With honourable exceptions, I think that that is the kernel.

  • PATRICKNEWMAN

    Start now by exposing the myth of Tory economic competence. Apparently Osborne has discovered productivity and may be he will worry about the awful balance of payments. Labour should be at the Tory’s throat on these and the abject failure on the deficit. Time to rethink HS2 (but not HS3).

  • driver56

    Having read the comments on here there is a great deal for labour to rebuild with. we can retake lost voters.

    • David Battley

      You are absolutely right, though the question of whether of not the party wants to do that is at the heart of what I would classify a “luke-warm war (of words)” apparently raging through these forums and elsewhere.

  • David Callam

    The results of the TUC poll should be engraved on stone and displayed prominently at Labour HQ. The conclusions will come as a statement of the blindingly obvious to most voters. If politicians are surprised by them that simply shows how out of touch they still are with the views of those on whom they rely for election.

  • Mukkinese

    And yet we have almost all the leadership candidates, veering away from the policies that were popular and towards a Tory-lite agenda.

    I really feel this could see a split in the party. The leaders want to be seen as a kinder type of Tory and the rest of the party want a more radical leftwing agenda.

    What is it? Why is leadership contender after contender ignoring the facts we know, that it was not the 50p tax rate, the mansion tax or the threat to tackle big business that lost the election? All of these things were and are still popular, yet each contender for the leadership has, to some degree, declared that they will be abandoned in favour of “business friendly” policies and appeals to the “aspirational” middle classes.

    The middle classes we happy with what policies they saw, it was questionable competence that turned them off. Many workers also thought competence was lacking, but wanted more radical policies, as well as those announced.

    But the contenders are again lining up to try and draw a line under the competence question by these idiotic mixed messages of yes, but, no, but.

    I’m utterly flabbergasted by the parliamentary party and disappointed beyond words. The wannabe leaders seem want to consign Labour to perpetual opposition, with no regard to reality or common sense…

    • Michael Murray

      Yes, the circumstances remind me of those which pertained in the 80s. I believe the non socialist, Right in our party should defect to the Lib Dems and the Tories where they will find a more conducive home. Just like the Gang of Four did. We were well rid of them.

      • David Battley

        Here’s what I said on this matter 10 days ago:

        There are, in my analysis, two possible outcomes available to the current debate, and the effect on British politics is significant.

        One scenario sees the Labour Party move leftward, enabling the Liberal Democrats to reinvent themselves, possibly seeking an alliance with disaffected Blairites. With a strong and more assertive center ground position the only way is up for these LDs, from a staggeringly low base now. The centre ground becomes much harder for the Labour Party to re-take in the future.

        The other scenario sees the Labour Party move right, squeezing the Liberal Democrats into non existence, while likely losing some “Old Labour” types to parties like the Greens, but squatting hard on the centre ground and in so doing pushing the Tories out to their extremes (and consequently bringing out the “swivel eyed” element)

        In both cases, the party will fracture, but in my opinion the latter case is significantly more likely to achieve single party power.

        The question comes down to the age old question of ideals versus pragmatism: is it better to adopt a position that you could never implement, or a more pragmatic position that you can.

        I am, and always have been, a pragmatist.

        • Michael Murray

          On my membership card it states that the Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. Any one who isn’t happy with that should leave.

          • CrunchieTime

            It’s your party and you’ll cry if you want to?

          • Michael Murray

            It’ll be the businessmen crying when left and right unite and fight to leave Europe.

          • CrunchieTime

            Well it depends on the situation at the time. None of us know what Cameron will have been able to negotiate in advance of the referendum.

            Are you sure you belong in the Labour Party and not NO2EU or UKIP?

          • Michael Murray

            I am a member of the Labour Party who believes that we can only achieve moderate socialism in this country if we are freed from the constraints of Europe. I loathe UKIP and other right wing parties.

          • CrunchieTime

            Just not their language of hate, which you are happy to share. Because you are right and they are wrong.

            Funny, they think exactly the same.

          • David Battley

            Fortunately you don’t get to decide that.

          • Michael Murray

            Unfortunately.

      • Mukkinese

        I don’t want to see a radical leftwing agenda at all. I want to see a broadening of the party’s appeal, both left and centre…

    • David Battley

      I really feel this could see a split in the party. The leaders want to be seen as a kinder type of Tory and the rest of the party want a more radical leftwing agenda.

      I agree about the split, but I think you significantly overestimate the popularity of the radical left wing agenda you want to see amongst the party.

  • luckydipper

    It’s easy to take away from the polling some pointers towards what Labour should have done: it should have tried to nail the fiction of a causal connection between the Labour government’s spending and the crash in 2011, with some more zinging lines (‘nurses’ pay did not bring down Lehman Brothers’); and it should have provided more reassurance that it stood by working people over the erosion of their wages. It should have more vigorously opposed the sort of immigration and unregulated markets that (are understood) to see local labour undercut by that of immigrants.

    What’s harder is to work out what the Party should do now. It needs to marry its reputation for caring more about fairness with the appearance of economic competence–of being able to get the deficit down. I also think ‘a little would go a long way’ in terms of saying to people that the Party is their party, their aspirations are Labour’s aspirations, and that the Party stands by them in their triumphs and hardships.

    I do not think the electorate are incurably right-wing in their impulses. They tend if anything, and in an uninformed way, towards moderation–wanting to have a fair society but also one that works and is competently managed. Any line that sounds reasonable and centrist will likely appeal to swing voters.

  • Neuron Therapy

    What this survey mostly reflects is the power of the pro-Tory media, including the BBC. The truth had no chance.

  • EnosBurrows

    I completely disagree with Blairism and New Labour. More than that I reject the gospel of perpetual economic growth, at least for societies in which well distributed wealth could allow all to live decently prosperous lives. We should be using technology to reduce the amount of work people do and reinterpret “aspiration” from the goal of an ever greater number of material toys, new clothes, and naff holidays. If people can learn to be happy with the clothes they have and to appreciate a good book or the changing seasons in a daily walk in a park, I really believe that they will be happier than responding to the advertising-induced consumerism that makes happiness depend on owning the newest widget. As it is adult toys, which hardly existed in the past, such as smartphones, video games, “on demand” anything have drained the communal potential of earlier working class diversions.

    On one issue, though, the Blairites have it correct. Although a very small and self-knowing managerial and financial elite control modern societies such as the UK, the social consciousness and sometime pride in being “working class”, and the attitudes of solidarity that came with that consciousness, has more or less disappeared in the UK. Work patterns have become more individuating, and a huge number of people who perform low level administrative and service jobs (which by now constitute around 80% of the workforce) have been induced to think of themselves as “professionals”. The main power of the strike, which was to inflict economic damage on the employer (see Hobsbawm on this), has now been blunted in such a way that almost all strikes are conceived of and presented as attacks on consumer convenience, and they just do not work very well.

    There seems to be no party of British society were the cult of materialism consumerism is challenged other than some churches, some mosques, and perhaps some local green party meetings.

    So, without significant class consciousness and without an economic weapon, there is a serious issue about how the left can organise and be effective,

    We do need new ideas.

    • luckydipper

      It can be simpler, in terms of the Party presenting itself, than you make out in your analysis of class consciousness. People want better lives. They don’t necessarily see their getting a better life as a vehicle of the rise of their class. Labour just needs to say ‘you can have a better life in the context of a fair and functioning society’.

    • Dave Postles

      ‘a huge number of people who perform low level administrative and service
      jobs (which by now constitute around 80% of the workforce) have been
      induced to think of themselves as “professionals”.’

      I’m afraid that they are very rapidly finding out that they are disposable too.

      ‘South Tees NHS Foundation Hospital Trust, which ­manages eight hospitals
      in Teesside and North Yorkshire, has commissioned Manchester profiteer
      Prescribe to do the work at a rate of 13p per line.’ Prescribe allegedly transfers the work to the Philippines. Other NHS clerical work has been outsourced to India.

      • EnosBurrows

        I see on one in the UK discussing the increasing proletarianisation of so-called professional work as clearly as Robert Reich does in the US.

  • Angela Sullivan

    So the three top reasons for voting Conservative were entirely spurious.
    Stopping people voting for the Conservatives is going to be a bit like stopping turkeys voting for Christmas. It will have to be gently explained to them, without causing upset, that what they are voting for is not in their own best interests.
    The we’ll unveil our shiny new Leader, and try to convince the turkeys to vote for Thanksgiving….

  • tiredoflosing

    “Early years and childcare more of a priority than cutting university tuition fees”. Kendall

    Blindingly obvious, yet nobody said it.

    • Dave Postles

      Well, here’s the prospect for tuition fees. The RAB is becoming more impossible daily. The likelihood is (a combination of) the following:

      * tuition fees will be increased;
      * maintenance grant will be reduced;
      * the level for repayment will be reduced;
      * the interest rate will be raised;
      * the residual loan book will be sold off at cut-price.

      It’s no use giving people an early start if they cannot progress. EMA was diverted to early years by the LibDems, another damaging blow for young people from poor backgrounds.

      • tiredoflosing

        Resources in early years make a much bigger difference to poor children than spending the same on the ones who go through college and earn over £25k
        It was just Milibands personal stance that he was too stubborn to drop despite all the evidence.

        • bikerboy

          I agree. Anyway why pay people to stay on in education when they will do so themselves if they really want to.

          • Dave Postles

            Have you considered from where will come the next generation of lawyers, architects, doctors, and other professions? Poor kids encumbered with tuition fees of £11.5k repayable at a high percent of interest when they attain a salary of £18k, hounded by private companies which have all the loan books, will certainly not want to embark on postgraduate professional training – so these professions will be closed even further, dominated even more by the upper middle class. Anyone concerned about upward mobility would be concerned about this issue.

        • Dave Postles

          They are complementary. There’s no point in early years development to cut off progress in youth.

  • Mukkinese

    Clearly the biggest reasons for voters turning away were not about policy or being too left or too rightwing.

    Spending too much and economic competence, basically the same problem, and the influence of the SNP are the big problems that have to be tackled.

    So why is the discussion restricted to policy and left or right leaning?

    The Tories had a very simple and supremely consistent message from the start in 2010; “This is Labour’s economic mess and only the Tories can clear it up”. they hammered this home everytime they spoke again and again.

    Why are none of the leadership wannabes showing some balls and tackling the massive giant elephant in the room that they do not want to talk about? Economic competence.

    Unless Labour want the press and the Tories to write their story again, then they had better get their heads out of their collective backsides and start thinking seriously of the best way to tackle the charge of economic incompetence and possibly a little less urgently the silly idea that the SNP could control the commons along with a reasonable argument on immigration.

    I spent all of the last five years waiting and waiting, in vain, for Labour to start fighting the Tories lies. It seems that is the same route we are about to take again.

    Shame on you Labour, especially those leadership contenders who are too frit to face up to the biggest problem of all…

    • leslie48

      We lost in the last day as the undecided became ‘reluctant Tories’. Its time for the Blairites/ centre Left ( which is all the candidates on offer ) to regain control so we can appeal to all our voters across England and Wales. We betrayed our voters with a piecemeal Leftist offer and so those who worked hard on the doorstep met so many who really did not want the Tories back but worried about Ed who we should have removed months ago. Elections are always won on the centre ground especially in a country like ours where the media is dominantly right of centre. We must not let the Left lead us back into the wilderness, Foot, Ben, unfortunately Ed cannot deliver power for the people who needs us and for the rest of us who need the opportunities and life chances we offered to so many in the 2000s.

  • susieb1211

    Surely the Labour Party isn’t incapable of promoting welfare and rejecting the current river of socially constructed rubbish produced by the press to further a Tory ideological agenda? But maybe they are because every time the people hold these awful media seeded views Labour decides it needs to be seen to be as tough as the Tories on welfare?! Therefore condemning millions to be further scapegoated and not sufficiently supported in times of need.

  • Sylvia

    You also have to take into account that most of the media were anti Miliband & anti Labour & just kept pushing this message over & over again. We have to do something (no, I don’t know what) to make the media more impartial. Can’t we just get rid of Murdoch? He’s an immigrant so should be “sent back to where he came from”.

    • leslie48

      But we were soft on the media as we allowed the BBC to run the same news agenda as the Tory press. So its simple an overwhelmingly Right wing press establishes the day’s news agenda and the BBC uses that too as their agenda. This did not happen before as the BBC did not look to the Tabloids for their perspective.

      The links between the BBC and the Tory party is a network of former BBC news people working for Cameron’s team. So the D/Telegraph business letters were constructed by the Tory HQ team…they then became dominant on BBC news at Ten, the SNP scare became recurrent on the BBC long before any vote was cast, the BBC were uncritical on Austerity consensus , on the world financial crisis and on the EU debate. It was so important Cameron was able to control the debates so that the Tory control was not diminished.

      • tiredoflosing

        Moaning about the media is pointless, it won’t be any different next time, Benn and Kinnock used to moan, they lost.
        Livingstone had the media against him yet won twice.
        Ed was just a loser as most of us knew from talking to potential Labour voters, no point trying to find excuses

        • leslie48

          Disagree , a proper democracy needs a plurality of voices not just the Neo-Liberal/ rightwing one. Moreover the degree of savaging of Ed by the Mail and Sun was similar to 1930s Germany especially in the final days. Neither the BBC nor Ed made this a story but clearly it was very extreme propaganda.

          We are losing good people in the politics in UK because they do not want the extremes of the most right wing press in Europe where people’s privacy and families are invaded.

          In my previous years the BBC was seen as impartial and respected for being different to the Tabloids not now as they just ‘churn’ the Tabloid’s news agenda.

          New Labour did fight this Media barrage and had talent like Peter M. and A. Campbell etc., who ran a tight media rebut machine. If you want power you have to give it back. Turning the other cheek is seen as weak and there are those who absorb this bias as we saw by the swing towards the reluctant Tory voters on the last day.

          • taylor

            I don’t know you, but you express what I am thinking perfectly.

      • taylor

        Well said. The people around Cameron from the BBC, the press (Camilla Cavendish now) and Goldman Sachs is amazing.

  • Detailed figures do not appear ton include those of former Tory voters who voted differently this time.

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