Whose votes have we lost? And why?

24th January, 2012 9:39 am

It has undeniably been a rubbish couple of months for Labour in the national polls – though not in the London polling where Ken has now taken a lead neither in two polls, nor in real elections where we gained council seats from the Lib Dems in Redcar and St Albans last week.

Initially the decline in Labour’s poll lead was because of the populist appeal of Cameron’s EU “veto”. This then caused us to get wobbly and speculate about our woes, which created a downward spiral. More recently the greater emphasis placed on deficit reduction by the two Eds has seen a further dip but there is no evidence to tell us whether we lost support because people don’t like the more austere (or more realistic, depending on your view) policy, or don’t like Len McCluskey and his reaction to it.

Rather than the causes, I wanted to try to understand whose votes we have lost, as that seems a basic requirement of winning them back.

So I took a look at the dataset of both this Sunday’s YouGov poll which represents a low point for us, and the same company’s poll of December 2nd which represented a high point.

On December 2nd Labour was on 43%, and is now on 36% (-7%). The Tories were on 35% and are now on 41% (+6%). The Lib Dems are flat lining: 9% now and then. Other parties are on 14% (up 1% from 13%).

A partial explanation is some churn from Labour to minor parties and then from them to the Tories. UKIP are down 1% from 6% to 5%,
presumably going to the Tories. The Greens are up 1% from 2% to 3%. The SNP and Plaid Cymru are also up 1% from 3% to 4%. So 5% of the Tory lift doesn’t come from UKIP it looks like it comes from us. And 5% of our drop hasn’t gone to the Greens or SNP or Plaid Cymru it has gone to the Tories. Unless there has been some massive change in relative propensity to vote, it looks like there has been a straight swap from Labour to Tory of 5%. This loss of votes to our right suggests that being too firm on economic prudence is not the problem.

Where has the loss occurred? Let’s look first of all at the way the sample voted in 2010. The Tories are now retaining 91% of their 2010
voters, compared to 82% in December. So their European hardline has hardened up their core vote. We have only managed to attract 2% of Tory General Election voters.

The Lib Dems are also holding onto a bit more of their 2010 vote (though still only 40% of it, compared to 32% in December). Labour’s
share of 2010 Lib Dems has dropped from 43% to 31%. I don’t fully understand the maths of that, as the overall Lib Dem vote is static,
but it suggests to me we need to renew our message to 2010 Lib Dems that their party has betrayed them, otherwise the Lib Dem vote might drift up at our expense – other pollsters suggest this is already slowly happening.

Labour is now retaining 85% of its 2010 voters, down from 90% in December. Virtually no Labour voters have switched to Lib Dem (1%) but 5% have gone Tory (up from 2%), and 8% have gone to other parties (up from 6%). It’s extraordinary that at a time when we are still scoring 7% higher than in the last General Election we have lost 5% of our General Election voters to the Tories. It’s also very dangerous – those people are more likely to live in marginal seats than defectors to the Greens, SNP and Plaid, and a lost vote to the Tories has a double impact in a Lab vs Con marginal seat, boosting their vote as well as decreasing ours. Since December we seem to have lost more of our 2010 voters, who were “core” enough to back us in our hour of need, to the Tories than to the small parties to our left. This effect has been masked in the headline figures by the continued large slice of the Lib Dem 2010 vote that we are attracting.

In terms of gender we are down 4% amongst women but 8% amongst men, so we are suffering a differential hit amongst male voters.

On age, we have taken a massive 18% drop amongst the volatile and non-tribal18-24 age group. There the Tories are up 12%, the Lib Dems down 8% and the minor parties up 14%.

With 25-39 year olds we are down 8%, the Tories are only up 2%, the Lib Dems are up 4% and the minor parties are up 1%.

With 40-59 year olds we are down just 2%, the Tories are up 6%, the Lib Dems are down 1% and the minor parties are down 2%.

Amongst the over 60s, with their very high propensity to vote, we are down 5%, the Tories are up 7%, the Lib Dems are up 1% and the minor parties are down 2% (presumably UKIP pensioners going back to the Tories).

Historically Labour’s vote by age has looked like a ski slope – the younger you are the more Labour. Now it looks like a bell curve, with
weakness at the youngest and oldest ends (though it is important to note there are lots fewer 18-24 year olds than over 60s, and they have an incredibly low turnout rate).

By social class unfortunately YouGov only does a crude spilt into ABC1s and C2DEs whereas other pollsters show you the splits for AB,
C1, C2 and DE.

Amongst middle class ABC1s (well over half the electorate) Labour has dropped 7% from 40 to 33%. The Tories are up 5% to 44% and the Lib Dems are down 1% to 10%.

Amongst working class C2DE voters Labour has dropped Labour 6% to 41%. The Tories are up 8% to 37% and the Lib Dems are up 1% to 7%. In this segment there has been a big drop in UKIP support from 9% to 5%.

By region, YouGov has Labour actually up 2% to 44% in London, down 4% to 28% in the rest of the South (where we were already unpopular), down 4% to 37% in the Midlands and Wales, down 13% to 47% in the North, and down 13% to 24% in Scotland.

These splits all come with the health warning that small sample size once you get to subsets of the main poll could cause dodgy results.
If they are accurate though it looks like we have lost votes everywhere except London (a coattails effect from the intensive fares
campaigning the Ken campaign are doing?), but particularly amongst men, young people and northerners. I’m off to try to figure out how we get them back.

Ideas gratefully received in the comments section.

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  • Anonymous

    My idea Luke would be for Labour to start getting some real bold policies of their own, not meekly agree with the Coalition, but dress that support up with mealy mouthed caveats. If they agree with them, have the guts to say so but they should stop making  silly remarks about “emphasis” and “presentation” it is a distinction without difference

    This bold policy making would need to be able to be undertaken by a man who as leader dosn’t have  to keep looking over his shoulder so as not to upset Blairite boat-rockers, and Labour needs to appeal more to it’s core supporters, not just to mollify the Daily Mail/Daily Express/Sun readership.

    The big problem is that Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservatives are all trying to the same audience, taking their core support for granted. In Labour’s case they fall betgween too stools – not Tory enough for the real Tories, but too right wing for the avaerage Labour supporters.

    • Daniel Speight

      Alan I’m sure that’s right. We need new policies and we need some courage from the leadership. It’s no good trying to close the gap in perceived differences between Labour and the Tories to the width of a cigarette paper.

      • This does come down to one’s personal viewpoint, and for me, while I applaud your vision, I strongly suspect you would find that fewer people would vote for such a bold position in 2015 than voted Labour in 1983.

  • If we’re losing votes everywhere except in London, where Ken is promising to reverse Boris’s fare increases, then perhaps Ken’s policies, or similar, point the way toward winning lost votes back.

    I accept that a promise of reversing all cuts may not be viable but a coherent and optimistic alternative should be presented rather than the gnomic shadow cabinet muddlings that seem only to cause bafflement and division.

    • Anonymous

      Lets wait and see first, I never take Polls seriously  we will see if the people who bother to vote come out in big numbers if they do then it will be a close call for Ken

  • Kernow Castellan

    You are trying to get back the votes you have lost since the 2010 election.

    But you lost that election.

    Surely you should be trying to get back the votes you lost since the 2005 election, or even the 2001 or 1997 elections? They may not overlap, and the latter pool is much larger than the former.

  • Anonymous

    This is not just about policy, it’s about the movers and shakers of the Labour Party.  Oxford and Cambridge University, PPE, authors, professional bloggers, professional political commentators, career politicians, the other day it was someone studying for a `Doctorate in Society Change’, and sorry Luke, `Director of public affairs company’.  Is Anthony Painter a Painter and Decorator?  No, and that’s the problem with the elite of the Labour Party – the people who drive it in no way resemble the people it seeks to represent.  

    I just don’t think you realise how alien to the public the Labour Party has become.  And one of the problems with Milliband is that he is alien in spades.  The man and woman in the street no longer look at the Labour Party and think `that’s me fighting for justice and society’.  

    • Anonymous

      Well said again it depends  which person you speak to on the street if they are upper middle class they would say  OK we are Tory, Blair was Tory we like Blair. You ask the middle class who in the main are professional earning in the range of £35,000 teachers nurses Police officers, then you will hear we are being squeezed but we will decide who offers us the best deal.

      The of course the working class the council workers the builders the street cleaners the porters in hospitals, they will say to you, why bother they are all the same.

      labour is again off on a journey god know where it will land or sink

  • Anonymous

    The reality of losing elections after a LONG period in office suggests you need between 10-20 years to:
    get an electable leader
    ditch all your failed front benchers and get some semi competent ones
    get some distinctive and voter friendly policies.

    After some 15 years on and off power in the 60-70s, it took Labour 19 years to win again
    After 19 years in power, it took the Tories 13 years to win again..

    In all cases, the new  – and ultimately successful – new leaders radically changed all policies by setting up policy think tanks and radically changing their parties.
    (Think Clause 4 for Labour, the ditching of the Tories moire right wing ideas in the 20o0s under Cameron).

    Labour has started none of these key points:
    1. With the best will in the world, its current Leader does not fill one with confidence he would be capable as a PM.
    2. The front bench is full of well known failures in key posts.
    3. There has been zero  effective thought given to new policies. This is largely as a result of an ineffective leader, a lack of thinkers and the current front bench who are committed to the (failed) past. Any change will basically say they were wrong.. so it is not going to happen.

    As for Scotland where Labour’s vote is in meltdown (down 13% to 24% in Scotland)…  I listen to Scots Labour leaders.. shrill and noisy and parochial.

    • Anonymous

      Who do you vote for the Party which is making the going and the policies or the party which says we would have done that, yes we agree with that, ah now then we will think about that, which is Newer labour.

      Newer labour has yet to decide on it’s forth way.

    • derek

      As for Scotland where Labour’s vote is in meltdown (down 13% to 24% in Scotland)…  I listen to Scots Labour leaders.. shrill and noisy and parochial.”

      200 Scots are losing their jobs every day? do you think people are voting for job loses?

      • Anonymous

        Mostly from British firms, but Scotland has always lost jobs  they are use to it, once  you say your going to hit welfare , where you have mainly a socialist population then sadly you can see the result Labour is out.

  • 13% down in the North? Where is the evidence for that in terms of real votes? Its certainly not reflected on the doorstep here

  • Anonymous

    13% down in the north sounds very possible.  The people I work with are mainly skilled, semi skilled manual workers and it doesn’t sound to me as if they are impressed with Milliband and have no idea about Labour policies.   I’m in a northern Labour heartland.  Our new Labour MP is a career politician who got himself a nice safe seat and has since disappeared from the local scene, whilst climbing the greasy career pole towards the shadow cabinet.  He is not popular at all.  Taking the north for granted as voting fodder, would be stupid.  

  • Anonymous

    Simple Labour has to find it’s roots again, it has to take a long hard look at it’s self decide if it wants to be the party of the people, or if it wants to carry on trying to destroy the Tories to become the Tories.

    Labour does not accept the people have rejected it, and all these numbers are trying to find a reason the reason is simple, labour no longer matter,  and to be honest what the Tories are doing today to the people Labour would have done, hence you have the Labour party following and agreeing with the Tories.

    The simple thing labour has to do look at it’s self decide which way it wants to go whether carry on with a New Labour plan and try to out do the Tories, or to become not the party of the workers, but the party which makes the poorest in society better, it has to become a party of the working class.

    My guess is your going to have to fight the Tories to get those swing voters back and hope and pray enough of the middle class backs you.

    Now then I will vote labour at the next Assembly election.

    I will vote for my labour council

    I will vote perhaps at the moment Tory at the next election, which Tory party is the question will be the one in power now or the one which is New labour.

  • Anonymous

    Stop trying to out tory the tories! – for instance, you will annoy voters when you support a benefit cap – what Labour should be saying is, ‘we want to see a private rent cap’. You support welfare reforms at a time when there are no jobs and no plans or liklihood of many being created in the near future  – You admit you have lost support ” particularly amongst men, young people and northerners. I’m off to try to figure out how we get them back.” – Well stand up for them, be their voice, if you don’t you effectively say, we agree with the tories, you may as well vote for them, cos they are right.
    Then you need to be more representative stance and we know it more than ever, you just don’t speak the language of ordinary people anymore, you speak a language of business and private landlords – Labour voters are wondering what it is you stand for, as the message is always confused and hard to understand lately.
    The worry is you have forgotten those the party was created to represent and now chase middle class votes as a priority.

    • Anonymous

      yes I will back that….you of course are labour sadly the party is not sure yet which way it swings, it may be blue, it may decide Purple, or Black, sadly the red flag is in tatters.

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t agree more – you put it better than I did.

    • Anonymous

      They have forgotten them because they’re not of them, don’t understand them, and increasingly behave as if they don’t want to know them.  We have a whole crop of new Labour MPs here.  They were all over the local paper pre election, posing in the  falling to pieces town centre.  They must have a tick list – university PPE tick, researcher to MP tick, candidate for unsafe seat tick, candidate for safe seat tick, bag carrier to shadow minister tick, shadow cabinet tick.   Local people – who?  

      They remind me of Edward VIII as Prince of Wales when he toured the Welsh valleys and getting popularity on the back of `something must be done’.  Did he ever do anything?  No. 

      Labour’s elite is peculiarly less in touch with the electorate than Cameron.  It needs a Cromwellian turfing out.

      • England85

        How very true sadly. Anyone from the Labour Elite meeting me would most likely either get me moved on. It’s not been the People’s Party for a very lng time

    • Anonymous

      On the benefit cap I’d say the opposite is the case.

      To most people £26k a year, largely tax free is a lot of money – it’s a equivalent to a job paying £35k. The majority of UK workers take home less than that and have to support themselves and their families on that income.

      I cannot think of a better way of alienating people on low and average incomes, than arguing they should pay taxes to support families receiving more in benefits than they earn in income.

      • Anonymous

        No quiet sceptic – you blame the wrong people, those stuck in the benefit trap – governments have consistently failed to provide more affordable housing and at the same time fail to regulate the private housing market. It is the private landlord who is profiting, not the benefit recipient who only benefits from the basic need of and right to a roof over their heads. Your solution is akin to social cleansing in areas which has seen the value of property and rents rocket. Business too is to blame for paying poor wages which families don’t find sustains them and again the taxpayer has picked up the bill through working families tax credits etc. If you really are concerned for the ‘taxpayer’ these are the issues you should address. Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone

        • Anonymous

          Social cleansing – so what do you say to all those people, supporting themselves, who would like to live in a certain area but don’t because the cannot afford to or know they would struggle financially.

          The millions up and down the country who endure a long commute because they can’t afford to live closer to work. The people who live in less desirable areas because they cannot afford to live where they’d like to. Perhaps they should all move to a nice borough of London and get the state to subsidise their housing?

          • Anonymous

            I am one of those people, if you haven’t guessed that yet. The thing you fail to realise is many of those you just mentioned are still being subsidised by the tax payer, having their wages topped up by WFTC and CTC. So your suggestion is that those born in Central London should now vacate it and leave it to the rich, elite and bankers? I have agreed there is a problem which needs to be addressed but I do not agree the person needing a roof over their head is the problem. I’ve made it quite clear who is! If you think spouting tory policy and ideals will change that you’re sadly mistaken! Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone

          • Anonymous

            I think most people would quite happily pay taxes to ensure that people had a roof over their head, food, and warmth but to expect such a disproportionate level of support, more than £26k/year, some of which comes from people worse off than yourself is unreasonable and at root, unfair.

            Shelter is a need.

            Living in a expensive borough of Inner London is a choice.

          • happy.fish

            So your solution would be rehouse everyone in some kind of reservation of cheap houses? Such places exist and are called sink estates and most are disasters in terms of overwhelming social issues and joblessness. Still we could just fence them off and throw food over the fence every couple of days.

          • Anonymous

            There’s a huge reservation of cheaper housing – it is the other side of the M25, often known as the UK.

            The majority of the population live there, it’s actually quite nice, you should visit sometime!

          • Except, of course, that HB changes will mean you need to move on ever-more.

            And of course, never mind those pesky “job” things people will have to give up.

          • Working people get housing benefit as well.
            Thanks for the straw man, though.

            And yes, social cleansing.

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t distinguish between employed or unemployed.

            My point was that many people compromise on where they live because they live within their means and it isn’t unreasonable to expect those living with the assistance of state benefits to have some ultimate limit on the amount of support they can expect and have to do the same.

          • derek

            Most people are born and raised in an area, some may move on for pastures new but the majority stay in the community of their birth and their forefathers.

            I would expect someone born in the Eastend of London to describe themselves as an Eastender.   

          • Anonymous

            The key question, is how much support is it reasonable for someone to expect from the state to allow them to live in the area they chose.

            Given that money is finite and every other form of state benefit and service is capped in capped in some form or another, I don’t see why the welfare benefit and housing support should be any different.

            Also, the focus on immobility is something of an exaggeration. The key component of UK housing policy of the 1950s, 60s and 70 was actively shifting people out of London into the New Towns.

            A lot of Eastenders left London for the New Towns.

            As an aside, what is the response to someone wanting to live in London,
            requiring significant state support, who has no ties to the area?

          • You don’t see the problem with writing millions off and ghettos, when there are other answers?

            I see.

            It’s not just London which is affected by the HB changes, it’s EVERY claimant.

            People will keep having to move.

            But no, it’s great and better than any possible alternative! (Rent Caps…)

          • Anonymous

            First off, this article was about why Labour has lost votes – I think arguing against the £26k/year benefit cap is a vote loser with many voters.

            I never said there were no other alternatives.

            I don’t think rent caps are viable in the long term, ultimately rents reflect the conditions in the market.

            These evil private landlords and house builders manage to deliver cheaper housing in some parts of the country – mostly those areas where there’s plenty of space to build new houses, funnily enough!

            Housing is expensive in London because the population of London has grown and continues to grow. Housing supply is limited because of land availability and planning regulations.

            Previous governments managed the London housing problem by building outside of the capital and encouraging people to leave – not into ghettos as you so melodramatically put it, but into successful new communities in the various New Towns which were built.

            This is a problem of population growth and housing supply and needs policies which consider both.

          • derek

            No- it’s privately rented homes and huge rent increases that’s the problem. 26,000, say the average rents are 400 per week, 20800, leaving 5200 or 100 pounds per week living costs for a family. Bit daft for local authorities to raise the rents so high and then complain about their own pricing or it’s that social cleansing?  

          • derek

            These evil private landlords and house builders manage to deliver cheaper housing in some parts of the country – mostly those areas where there’s plenty of space to build new houses, funnily enough!”

            Er! builders pay the rate per cubic meter on material costs are pretty much the same, seems a bit odd to suggest that a brick in London is 10 tens the amount of a brick cost in say Stafford?

          • Only because Labour REFUSE to propose alternatives.

            A rent cap would make it entirely unnecessary, for example.

            Rent caps don’t need to be viable long-term, but they DO need to get rents back down in sanity range.

            And it’s THIS government’s plan to create ghettos, with it’s deliberately ever-smaller pool of available houses affordable on housing benefit….

          • derek

            Bleeding Eck! belonging! it’s like being part of the furniture, init! immobility? more like pulling down the slums and forceful removal wan-it!!!!

          • So you want to rip apart communities, leading to far higher bills for social services, the NHS and so on.

            Wonderful plan!

            Not to mention higher crime and so on…people without a sense of belonging demonstrably…

            Never mind there are answers, no, there has to be good old fashioned social cleansing (on an ongoing basis, as the value of HB plummets relative to rents, as it’s not designed to do). And fine, so you don’t care that it’ll rip people away from jobs too. Well, time to start cleaning your own lavatory!

            A small sacrifice, I’m sure, for losing a family the dad’s job and then making them move to poorer areas with smaller, more squalid and remote accommodation every few years.

          • Anonymous

            Just out of interest are you asserting that a section of the unemployed are “unemployed by choice” because they are able to live better on benefits than on wages supplemented by benefits, e.g., tax credits? Assuming you answer in the affirmative roughly what percentage of the benefit claimants would you say were active malingerers? A minority ( 50%)? I’m genuinely curious.

          • Anonymous

            I never mentioned employment at all  – are you referring to my post?

            My point was that people have a choice about where they live – most people choose the area in which they live with some consideration of the cost.

            I think that if you chose to live in a very expensive part of London it is not unreasonable for the state to impose some limit on how much support you can expect to receive. Both through the housing benefits caps and the welfare caps.

            All other state services have some form of cap – the NHS restricts some treatments because of cost, Labour capped the amount of support to higher education and imposed tuition fees to compensate, funding for other welfare services – elderly care etc is limited.

            I don’t understand why, when it comes to benefits and housing benefit in particular, some of the Left regard it as a fundamental right for someone or a family to live anywhere they chose, with no regard for cost whatsoever – personally I don’t think that is fair.

          • happy.fish

            Could it be its where they were born and where they consider home? In such cases is it there fault that this area experiences an influx of waelthier people seeking to make their home there and pushing up house prices? Otherwise surely all these people would bemarching on the most affluent areas and demand accommodation there. I don’t honestly know how this works but I’m guessing you don;t just waltz into a nice area and decide that the state will have to house you in that location, or that they even have much choice where they get to live.

          • So I take it you’d be happy with no cap on the state support for Mrs Windsor then?  After all, she can hardly be blamed for considering Buckingham Palace home…

          • Anonymous

            And the other hangers on who we keep

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t know that the Queen claimed Housing Benefit to help pay the rents on her several  homes, castles, and palaces! Make her move to Hastings B & B I say as a cost cutting measure.

          • Of course the Queen doesn’t claim Housing Benefit, but she does receive benefit for her housing.

            However, if you are also happy the government making Mr and Mrs Jones on Housing Benefit in London move to Newcastle as a “cost cutting measure”, then I applaud your consistency.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t know if my post or your post should be considered the more ironic, David.

          • Anonymous

            Well there you are then,  Jeff – she only had 4 kids so she could claim child allowance on the last three 🙂 (you didn’t get it for the first one back then). I like the idea of H.M in Hastings – there isn’;t even a pier to walk ones corgi’s on now – it burned down a few years ago.

          • Anonymous

            Let’s get a few facts in here: if you live in a London borough in council housing it is very difficult to transfer to another borough’s housing waiting list, because every London borough has severe shortages thanks to the RTB scheme which has decimated the stock over the past 30 years.

            If you are of working age, you are not able to transfer to another part of the country unless you have family members in that area.

            There are of course “mutual exchange” scehems, but these are hit and miss – also of course if you can’t afford to live in London, chances are somebody in Liverpool couldn’t afford to either.

            And, of course, there is fashion: at one time property in Hackney, for example was cheap, but once it is discovered by poncy TV personalities and artists, prices rocket.

            A very good recent example is Stratford in the London Borough of Newham – due to the Olympics property prices have rocketted in the past couple of years – prior to that, there was very cheap homes to be had.

            And of course, if you are lucky enough to find somewhere – moving costs are not exactly negligable.

            Back to the drawing board…

          • Anonymous

            I singled out the unemployed because they will be worst affected by the proposed changes. Put the case of a man with a family who has lived and worked in London, on a good salary, in rented accommodation diligently “doing the right thing” for thirty years, say. In his late fifties he is then made redundant from some public sector job and because of his age finds it difficult to secure alternative employment offering comparable wages. 

            Suppose that this individual previously always paid his way from monies earned without need of assistance from the state but now finds himself forced to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit literally in order to survive. 

            Should such a model citizen be driven from his home (and very probably out of the city of his birth) because Housing Benefit is insufficient to meet an exorbitant rent demanded by his private landlord?

            Most likely such an individual’s family and friends all live in the capital. Perhaps he has elderly parents he helps to care for part-time on an unpaid basis? Or grown up children in the vicinity who are bringing up his grand children? Whatever. This person is enmeshed in a vast skein of threads – connections and interconnections – with other people, places, institutions, histories and countless things that created and defined him as a human being.  

            To my way of thinking it would be very wrong and possibly very, very cruel to dispossess such an individual of his home – his roots and natural habitat – casting him adrift at a time of life when starting over is difficult at best and impossible at worst, driving him to unfamiliar regions with even fewer opportunities to restart and rekindle his life. It would be like marooning someone on a desert island, rowing away, abandoning him, forgetting about him and leaving him to rot.

            I think that is wrong.

            I fear that the Housing Benefit cuts may well displace people to areas offering them little or no hope of improvement. Like the event horizon of a black hole they will disappear forever, swallowed up darkness from which they will never be able to escape. I sincerely believe that most of the welfare caps and cuts will eventually prove to be disastrous. But by the time that this is realised it will be too late to redeem the many who have been needlessly lost. 

          • Anonymous

            Where are these Savage Reservations?

            These places of hopelessness, black holes of despair?

            I’m curious because with the caps as proposed, it would appear possible to afford to live in quite a few areas of outer London and the surrounding towns.

            You seem to paint a picture of the world ending on the outside of the North Circular Road.

          • Anonymous

            I was speaking allegorically although I have to say that despite Brave New World being set in 2540, I don’t reckon we’ll have to wait 529 years to see the stratification of society and ghettoisation of individuals it predicted in 1932.

            Do you really believe that involuntary unemployment should be allowed to wreck individual lives and break-up families by driving helpless citizens out of long-standing family homes into the cheapest possible accommodation before they even have a proper opportunity to get back on their feet again?

            When families end up having to live in cramped overcrowded conditions, possibly sleeping several in a room or on landings or in kitchens etc., because insufficient bedrooms are available, or have to move into accommodation with other tenants with shared facilities, e.g., bathrooms, I would consider a life like that in 21st century Britain pretty primitive,  savage and singularity-like to be completely honest.

            The cap is going to happen and one or other of us is wrong as per what is most likely to happen. My own prediction is increased homelessness; more insecurity; higher welfare spending; very high levels of unemployment; unaffordable rents; more poverty in general with very much more child poverty in particular; more ill health; more social discord and breakdown; a much more fractious and divided society accompanied by much more pinched and miserable lives for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of completely innocent citizens.

            That’s the England I think we’re all going to see born over the next several years. 

            Time will tell.

          • If the cap is to be reduced, or even not increased with reasonable measures of inflation you may be right, but let’s put this in some context: the flat finding website “findaproperty” has found me some 1,500 properties within the cap budget (I used £2000 pcm to ensure compliance) currently for let within 10 miles of finchley, including a rather delightful 6 bed house in that “savage reservation” of Harrow-on-the-Hill.

          • Anonymous

            If so much cheap available accommodation exists in and around London why doesn’t the Coalition quell all fears by guaranteeing that every family displaced by the cap will be helped into decent  alternative accommodation which is appropriate to their needs and will not under any circumstances end up evicted,  on the streets, or homeless?

            This should be an easy-peasy pledge to make if what they claim is true.

            Sadly this won’t happen and I envisage a huge number of problems associated with an arbitrary cap where dogma trumps need and the requirements of families are inflexibly rather than individually considered.

            For example suppose a working tenant is forced by the cap to move from one area to another and can no longer commute to and from his new home to his former workplace? Will he be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance because the move has cost him his job? Or considered to have given up his job voluntarily and so be ineligible to receive support from the state?

            In the case of some social tenants and all of the poorest tenants who are forced to move into cheaper properties, will they actually have the wherewithal to offer deposits to private landlords or pay removal fees to a private firm to transport their furniture and and possessions from one place to another? 

            And what happens if a tenant simply cannot find a cheaper private landlord willing to offer him/her a tenancy for whatever reason?

            I could go on and on and on in a similar vein stating the blindingly obvious. The cap sounds reasonable but as far as I can see its effects are counter-intuitive and could end up doing far more harm than good. I doubt if it will even save any money in the final analysis.

            Things could get very bad indeed and I would be saying the same things and challenging the same idiocy in the same way whoever was in power.  I am not being partisan.

          • …and I agree with all your points: the devil is in the detail, and as yet I have yet to see the necessary details debated and dealt with.

            I hope they will be, for everyone’s sake.

          • Anonymous

            Most people who “endure a long commute to work”, typically from Kent or Sussex to London do so  because their jobs are extremely well paid – they have to be otherwise they couldn’t afford the train season ticket or petrol/diesel

          • Anonymous

            Come on for god sake a large group of people living in London get housing benefits and they will not be moved on, what  both parties are arguing about is the people who do not work, many middle class people in London who work in the public and private sector getting these allowances but work.

            Who’s fault is it that prices for rents have gone through the roof

    • Luke Akehurst

      The problem is, lisef, that the men, young people and northerners I am talking about have switched to support the Tories. This suggests the problem is not that we are not leftwing enough.

      • Anonymous

        Luke, please refer to my first reply.

        I fear for Labour I really do. You look at polls for policy?! Incredible! Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone

      • Can you provide links to the data, please.

      • Anonymous

        Your not fighting to get the left or the socialist or the working class. your fighting to try and keep those beloved Swing voters who have in the main gone home.

        Now that the grass roots have walked away, the middle class who are really undecided if they are labour or Tory, and the swing voters are all you have left, and I suspect a lot of those people are watching to see which way labour will swing and I suspect in the end Miliband will decide Blair and New labour was and is the only way to go, to fight the Tories to become the Tories.

        Labour is already accepting that following the Tory cuts is the only way to go, so why the hell should voters vote for a party which would follow and not lead

      • Duncan

        I think your reading of the poll is fairly questionable.  Taking into account “churn” and usual polling margin of error, I would question that there had been anything significant in terms of either Tory to Labour or Labour to Tory swing.  I accept it happens, but I don’t think it happens on a significant level, and particularly not in the north.

        It would help you, ideologically, if we were losing votes to parties to our right, just as it would help me, ideologically, if we were losing votes to parties “to our left” or on “left” issues, but I suspect we are mostly losing “votes” (and we ought to remember that these don’t actually represent votes…) to not voting at all.  That is based on qualitative evidence and anecdotal evidence rather than a reading of the polls, but polls are very easily misinterpreted on the issue of swing.

        It’s also worth bearing in mind that most people do not necessarily categorise their views into “left” and “right” in the way that we might do.  People might have “left” views on some issues and “right” views on others – which particular policy area will drive their vote will change over time, partly depending on which issues are being pored over in the media.  At the moment, it is all benefit “cheats” and a false public v private sector division and this too has an impact.

  • Labour voters are generally complaining about the likeness to the Tories & the meek agreement with their policies ie. welfare bill – Liam Byrne on Newsnight yesterday announced to the world that Labour support the welfare bill ie. cuts to you & me. How does he think that translates to voters whose jobs are being lost, depending on JSA, Income Support etc & the party that should be fighting for them….agrees with Dave!!!
    The message is not getting out because of the way it is being presented & the media are so right-wing that they almost seek to humiliate the MP by forcing twists & turns that,frankly, make Labour look ridiculous.
    Get back to sending out clear, unambiguous messages that the Labour party is the one looking out for Joe Public – or is it not any more?

    • Given that Labour are in general support of the Bill I still haven’t worked out if the Government’s defeat in the Lords yesterday was also a defeat for Labour.

      And if the Unions take action against the pay freeze and win concessions will this also be a defeat for Labour, as Labour now support/accept the pay freeze?

      Meanwhile there’s no sign of the policies that are supposed to deliver social justice at time when capitalism is in crisis. Are we waiting for Cameron to take the lead on this, then see how the polls react before deciding whether or not to back him?

      I’m a Labour member with a good deal of enthusiasm for Ed Mili (the best/most electable option) but, for the life of me, I can’t see that there’s anything on offer (except in London) that’ll persuade people to vote Labour.

      Goodness knows how this is going to play out on the doorstep.

      • Anonymous

        I cannot remember the last time labour knocked on my door, the BNP have and had a chat with them nice lad bit deluded, then the Liberals who came and were undecided if they should be even knocking on doors nice lady.

        Labour had a round of golf and I’m not kidding they went down to the golf course to meet people , it said are you a member of the local golf club labour will be holding meeting to discuss the situation in the country.

        It was a council golf club paid for out of tax payers money, £500 to join, it opened on a Monday Tuesday it was decided the wrong types were trying to join so the Labour council put a committee in charge mainly of the councils  top table who put the price up to £3000 and you could only become a member if your invited.

        So labour holds meeting with the members of the golf club sums up labour in my area perfectly

  • Damn – it’s taken me ages to say what you have already said. Lol

  • Pingback: A failure by every measure… «()

  • A Blampied

    Milliband given the tories carte blanche now. Unless Labour can clearly demonstrate that there are clear cut alternatives to what this government are doing, then they are lost. This government is persistent in its malice toward those with the least, making them pick up the tab
    for the rampant avarice of those with the most.

    There’s your constituency Milliband. It’s waiting and suffering and deserves more than the recent spineless capitulation on the cuts agenda. Umunna’s performance on tv this weekend encapsulates the current leaderships policy vacuum. Myopic. Scared. Confused. Leaderless.

    If this is the best Milliband can offer, then he should go now before he cause more damage

    As a LabourParty member, I would fight hard for a leader I could believe in. Miliband has proved to me now that he is not that man

  • Looking at the sub-samples from one poll isn’t going to help much. There’s far too much volatility and it won’t have been weighted to be representative – only the whole poll will have been so the northern sample, for example, may just have more Tories than usual.

    Try looking at the sub-samples for an entire week or two of polls and then we might have enough data points to draw firm conclusions. Snapshots like this mostly just exacerbate our tendency to panic at any opportunity.

  • Cassandra_charles24

    I’m not sure what the problem it is.  It could be for multiple reasons.  In my view, it was right for them to take their new position on the deficit, but, of course, this will alienate many voters who took their other line seriously, the line that they have repeated for 18 months non stop.  Perhaps, people are unsure what they stand for, or concerned that if they do put their trust into the Party that they will change their minds again whenever it suits.
    Polls, in my view, don’t matter too much because when Labour were in the lead in most of the polls, people still ridiculed Ed Miliband and didn’t take him very seriously.  Nothing has changed now that they are lower in the polls, perhaps, the ridicule has intensified but nothing else has.

  • Dave

    We don’t need rehashed New Labour, we don’t need Blue Labour what we need is NeXT labour, a working class, socially connected, responsive group of people in touch with ordinary folk who have the wit and the brains to scupper the new feudalism that is emerging in this country. Why not start by agreeing on our overarching fundamental principles and declaring them boldly !

  • Stuart

    Not so sure whether it’s this policy or that policy (or what policy, perhaps?), so much as people don’t really know what the point of Labour is – if we had strong personalities that people liked this might obscure that gap, and if we had good, concrete policies that people liked that might fill the gap, but we have neither at the moment. Perhaps the rise for Labour in London is because Ken has set out concrete Labour positions on transport and housing? So my advice, for what it’s worth, is that we wait and see if and how Labour flesh out Ed Mili’s ‘direction of travel’. So I wonder if analysing the small print of the voting intentions is a good idea – as David Marquand says of Blair, he stopped laying out a vision for the country and started targeting specific policies at specific abstract (specific abstract?!) groups of people

    That policy tweak on the deficit the other week was daft – it just confused people. I don’t see what’s wrong with the ‘too far, too fast’ line while we work out what’s really important, which is what we do should we get in in 2015. I don’t see the need for an opposition to have a fully costed deficit reduction plan for a parliament where they’re not in power.

    I’ve got a feeling enough sensible people know this, though, for it not to need saying.

  • R Cross

    Luke – Although you display a good knowledge of statistics, you are in danger of letting the tail wag the dog. We need to re-establish our Labour Party principles not work out the principles of the floating vote. There is no ‘Labour story’. The people I talk to want a radical alternative and we need the shadow cabinet to get out of the Westminster village, get back on the doorstep and talk to working people. There is consistant message out there which is we want an alternative. If we start representing normal working people again, all those fancy statistics will start to rise for Labour. Finally, I didn’t vote for Ed, but where have all those priomises of re-uniting the Labour movement (Party and unions), and ‘not being afraid of radical ideas’ gone. Instead we get disasterous anouncements about £6,000 tuition fees and no reversal of the cuts. People see us as trying to be just less right wing than the Tories. If you don’t have any good ideas just say nothing.

  • Anonymous

    You should have waited for today’s  YouGov poll. The figures you have quoted are now out of date. Have a look at the latest figures and you’ll come to some different conclusions

  • “I wanted to try to understand whose votes we have lost, as that seems a basic requirement of winning them back.”

    The remainder of the left. There’s well over 5 million votes out there who you’ve lost over the New Labour years to now. “I will not vote” is where the Labour core went.

    You CAN’T say squat to the LibDems – in many ways you’re closer to the Government than the Liberal part of the LibDem vote, and you’ve taken pressure OFF the LibDems lately.

  • I would be wary of taking You Gov’s daily polls at face value.  They
    can throw up some interesting anomalies. For example their survey
    conducted 19th – 20th January http://bit.ly/zDleOo showed the following voting intention among 18-24 year olds – Con 42%, Lab 27%, Lib Dem 8%, Green 14%! (possibly the result of Caroline Lucas’ appearance on Question Time). By the next survey (22nd – 23rd Jan) http://bit.ly/AcW1Yw the figures were Con 37%, Lab 42%, Lib Dem 11%, Green 0%! Where did all those Green voters go?!

    • Anonymous

      Out looking at the stars  because the street lights are off.

    • Absolutely. But what they can tell us is *trends*.

      And those don’t look good for Labour.

    • Anonymous

      Possibly the result of Caroline Lucas’ appearance.

      I used to vote green, I was chuffed when they got their first MP. Then I saw her in action on question time.

      Never again.

  • Tomo Hull

    We are a party of I want to Out Do the others when we should be THE PARTY of the people who Vote Labour Not Blue Labour real Labour and we must show our Trade Union credentials after all in my Council in Hull it was the Unions who helped save this City and get a Labour administration Elected.
    Milliband has lost ground and unless we see passion  and a change in direction  he will loose us more support, our  real issues  need a spotlight such as e we don’t support the Coalition cuts but we do support cuts to Bankers the Bonus culture the monetary codswallop of Business that  makes every man woman child responsible for the bankers greed.When are our policy lightbulbs going to gather the information that arms Milliband and co with Bullets and not Coalition blanks. Move the battle ground Milliband and move it now

  • Anonymous

    Luke, thanks for the article. There seems to be a sense of frustration from a lot of Labour supporters and activists, seeing the lack of gains made by the party, at least partially due to its current approach. What I’ve heard, speaking to non-party members, is that we still haven’t won back any ground on the economy, with voters unlikely to be inspired by policy that grudgingly admits it’s close to what the government is doing. When an undecided voter looks at two parties advocating very similar strategies, they wont be drawn to the one that was in government at the start of the financial crisis, regardless of how much or how little blame that you or I think is to be laid at Labour’s feet.

    Given that the economy is flatlining, we’ve got to provide an alternative that actually resonates with the public if we want to make ourselves electable. Both parties have talked about rebalancing the economy, often in unclear ambiguous terms, so I believe we need a positive strategy that gives people a vision of what can be achieved by getting through the tough times, not just debating relatively small change here and there to a hefty defecit reduction. Young people are almost always looking to build a case for optimism for the future, and whilst we don’t present that case, the youth vote will continue to depart.

    From most of the polls I’ve seen, the electorate in former Labour heartlands aren’t particularly leaving us as much as leaving political engagement. Perhaps a focus on manufacturing output, technologies, and skilled labour, produced from targeted education and government spending, would both give us a credible, positively focused strategy, as well as appealing to Labour’s disengaged former core. Most importantly, jobs outside of London would be good for the UK, and good for the people in it, which is what we want after all, not just re-election.

  • Anonymous

    Luke, thanks for the article. There seems to be a sense of frustration from a lot of Labour supporters and activists, seeing the lack of gains made by the party, at least partially due to its current approach. What I’ve heard, speaking to non-party members, is that we still haven’t won back any ground on the economy, with voters unlikely to be inspired by policy that grudgingly admits it’s close to what the government is doing. When an undecided voter looks at two parties advocating very similar strategies, they wont be drawn to the one that was in government at the start of the financial crisis, regardless of how much or how little blame that you or I think is to be laid at Labour’s feet.

    Given that the economy is flatlining, we’ve got to provide an alternative that actually resonates with the public if we want to make ourselves electable. Both parties have talked about rebalancing the economy, often in unclear ambiguous terms, so I believe we need a positive strategy that gives people a vision of what can be achieved by getting through the tough times, not just debating relatively small change here and there to a hefty defecit reduction. Young people are almost always looking to build a case for optimism for the future, and whilst we don’t present that case, the youth vote will continue to depart.

    From most of the polls I’ve seen, the electorate in former Labour heartlands aren’t particularly leaving us as much as leaving political engagement. Perhaps a focus on manufacturing output, technologies, and skilled labour, produced from targeted education and government spending, would both give us a credible, positively focused strategy, as well as appealing to Labour’s disengaged former core. Most importantly, jobs outside of London would be good for the UK, and good for the people in it, which is what we want after all, not just re-election.

    • Marcus Tankus

      I think what may have been significant was during the faff of “camerons veto” Ed actually came out and made the first real discernible policy difference between the political suits  of either party and stated his pro euro stance , even going as far in stating that the UK (whats left of it) will still join the euro eventually (then some proviso about lifetime etc), this , in the face of an economic slow motion implosion , bleeding obvious to most people, has only just started to get into gear …..
      When the greeks get kicked (they have to be , even if there is a 100% debt right off they are still running a €20bn per month deficit , and increasing ) The eurobanks take a hit and inflation runs rampant throughout the euroland due to the €10 TRILLION print run last nov ,There will a trigger , and it will rapidly come apart .

      This is when the ammunition that he provided for free …will be used . Its not just a sovereignty issue….its fiscal common sense , .
      His reaction and position accelerated loss of confidence in him …and there is far more to come on this issue …..a vote loser.

  • Colinchallen

    I wouldn’y decry any realistic analysis of the polls, but we haven’t actually ‘lost votes.’ What do local by-elections tell us about real votes?

  • Mr Chippy

    This reminds me of a lecture by Tony King or Ivor Crewe when I was at Essex Uni. For very bright academics they could never offer an explanation why.  The Party has enough political weather forecasters we need some political meteorologists.

  • Mike Barnes

    Yes, I’m young, male and northern, a 2010 Labour voter, who currently ticks ‘don’t know/would not vote’ when I get asked in a yougov survey.

    How could you get me back? Sacking Liam Byrne would be a great start. I already have to listen to IDS in power bashing the poor. The party really doesn’t need an IDS tribute act like Byrne. Oh and make a bit more noise on the NHS. Andy Burnham is one of the few politicians I actually like and respect right now. Wheel him out everywhere, whenever possible.

  • Jeremy Preece

    Labour is the party that did not join the coalition and did not betray its voters. That would be the LibDems. I joined the Labour party in 2010 having voted LibDem at the general election. I have principles and absolutely voted to avoid cutting too fast and too quickly. I voted to see the young have the same educational opportunities that we had, and I voted for fairness i.e. for the view that governemnt is about everyone and not the rich few.
    I stood for Labour at the local elections and I know that I took a huge slice out of the LibDem vote in my ward.
    Of course, living in such a strong Tory area meant that it could only have ended one way, but we made our point.
    The point is that the current Labour strategy under Ed Milliband is very badly wrong, and this is why we loose votes.
    1. When real issues such as the NHS, selling off our forests, cutting our defence to dangerous levels and so on are causing non-party “people power” groups to force this government into backing down on some of its outragous policies, Labour was holding meetings to “refound itself” i.e. looking inwards and not outwards. And being pretty irrelevant.
    2. The new leadership distances itself from the Labour government of 13 years. The message sent out is that we are somehow ashamed of winning elections and feel that we did nothing of note. This is not true, and worse it has allowed the public to accept the Tory line that the economy, the global downturn and almost every ill in Britain is our fault. This is not true, but is widely accepted and is politically fatal. This issue has to be confronted and defeated if Labour is to win the next election.
    3. Ed (and Ed) decide to back government cuts. To the majority of the electorate this says that even the Labour leadership believe that the Tories are superior and want to quarry some of their agenda.
    4. Right now the small percentage swings that go between the parties and between Labour and Conservative, are just that. The majority of those elegable to vote do not vote. We need to tap into this majority. We will never tap in by following the same policies as other parties and particulalry the Tories. If people want the Tories they will vote for them. If they want Labour values but the Labour party decides to follow Tory ideas, then the electorate will either not bother to vote, or vote for the real Tories.

    When I knocked on doors last April and May, the negative message that I got was not about how great the Tories are, in fact no one had a good word to say for them (and the PM’s rating are regularly about -21). What people were saying was that there was no point voting because basically all parties are the same.

    In the end, most pople didn’t vote.

    In order to win voters back we must:
    1. Be ourselves -i.e a distinct party with clear principles.
    2. Have clear ideas/policies
    3. Communicate our ideas with the public (not transmit a fog)
    4. Put in place a better leader, i.e. someone who has leadership charisma, drive, clarity of thought, and the ability to clearly communicate.
    5. Speak of the many achivements of New Labour and not appear ashamed.
    6. Stand up for ourselves and explain the reality of the global downturn – the one which began in the USA and which no government or opposition party saw, the one which the Tories in opposition didn’t see. And to remind Cameron and Osbourne that they supported Labour’s spending and promissed tomatch it, and that they opposed any regulation of the banks. In other words stop Cameron et al from pretending it was Labour’s fault and to take his share of responsibility.
    7. Really demonstrate our core values of supporting all, including the disadvantaged, the lower and middle, and stop trying to just aim for the top 1% of the wealthy.
    8. Stand up for those who are on low income or unemployed. Most of these have lost their jobs and most have a miserable time trying to find purpose. Instead of demonising this group and making out that those on social security cause the deficit, tell the truth about the billions lost in tax evasions and scams by super rich people and companies who do not pay their fair share.
    9. While still in opposition, Labur must really challenge this unpopular governemnt in a firm and much more agressive manner.

  • Anonymous

    Most polls show the parties neck and neck, so why concentrate on the two polls that show a big Labour or Tory lead?  They were probably rogue polls even if they were within the three per cent margin of error.

    I am surprised that Labour has recovered so quickly from 2010.  This recovery means that it is difficult to see how the Tories can get a majority in 2015 unless Labour alienates everybody vaguely left of centre with a lot of Blairite rubbish. 

  • No matter how much you say the Lib Dems have “betrayed” their voters I will NEVER go to Labour. Never will I go to a party that took us to an illegal war in Iraq, a party that eroded civil liberties, a party that spent and spent at the expense of future generation and a party that fucked over students (moreso than the Lib Dems, Labour broke their tuition fees manifesto promise TWICE with a bloody majority). How dare you expect our votes. You dont deserve them.

    • Anonymous

      I think your right and I love Labour moaning about the Tories and the liberal  putting up tuition fee’s as if Labour only did it out of pure love for students.

  • Lusina

    The problem with labour, as I see it, is twofold.  First it is still languishing in the after-effects of more than 10 years in government.  The effect of being blamed for everything that is negative is still potent.  However, this will not last.  By election time it will be less effective, but by then if the economy revives, or even  starts to revive, the Tories will be on top.  If not, Labour has a good chance.  The second reason for the negative polls is the labour leadership.  First is the perception of Ed Milliban as not  of prime-ministerial caliber.   Secondly, the shadow cabinet is not having a positive effect on public opinion.    True the press is not helping, but then this is expected.  But people like Ed Balls bring to the public mind unhappy memories of Gordon Brown and the rest.  Does this mean that we need a clean sweep of the front-bench?  I think so, most of them at least.   In 1997 Tony Blair and his young team provided this impression against an entrenched battle-scarred government.   

    • Anonymous

      yes but Tony Blair’s  young team were not in any shape or form Labour, Blair idea was get in change labour to replace the Tories leave make his millions and hey ho he’s  going to go down in history as the hero of the new labour brigade.

      never works like it’s supposed to because of course wars and having to back an idiot in Bush, then  buying loans and peerages and then of course greed of  labour old and new brigade.

      New labour turned in to what we voted against with Thatcher  and Major  greed and lies and total break down with sleaze. I suspect labour chances of getting back in at the next election is poor at best with sleaze and greed resounding round most MPs

      • Anonymous

        Yes when you think of some of that shower – John Hutton, former Tory, Shaun Woodward, former Tory (who cleverly jumped ship just as the Tories lost the 1997 election) pompous Pat Hewitt, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers,  the dreadful Blunkett. They could quite happily have sat on the Tory benches along with Mandy and Lord Irvine and his £500 a roll wallpaper

        • Anonymous

          Yes and  had to smile to see Freud talking this week about welfare, a Banker who labour would have loved as an MP.

  • Anonymous

    Where is labour going I suspect in a few months time we will see the New labour  MP’s saying it’s time,  we need to strike now and will Miliband respond, yes he will  he’ll leave.

    But David will not win the next election within Labour and I think people will look for a gimmick and we will see somebody say the leadership contest will be an all women contest, unless David comes in wearing a dress, equality now, Never Know brown might come in wearing a mini dress and earnings, we cannot say to much we do not know his feelings

  • a marsden

    labour is losing voters because, quite simply, it is seen as an ineffective party under an exceptionally ineffective leader. 
    this image started with the megalomaniac blair, continued and quickened under brown and has reached its present level under millibrand.
    blair alienated many labour voters in order to get elected – for his own interests not those of britain, but at least he was of this world.
    brown sold off our gold reserves at bargain low prices, alienated the remaining voters, and ultimately destroyed labour’s image with the public.
    millibrand has the appearence of a hampstead intellectual, without any principles of his own, who can only react to events and is always ready to follow the latest band-waggon (generally some days after the rest of us).
    all three were elected from within the party, without any thought as to the impressions this gave to the outside world.
    labour comes across as a party so desperate to regain power as to elect any leader, regardless of what the electorate think of them, and regardless of their capabilities.
    read the diaries relating to blair and brown to see the machinations and heart-searching that went on – and in most cases the writers still voted for their own self interests.
    the only way labour will get back into power, in the short term, is to elect a leader that the voters can respect – not one to suit the party machine.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry you had me smiling because I knew what was coming, New Labour, no thanks mate.

    • Jeremy Preece

      Sorry but I have been at counselling trying to get out my head the disturbing images of cross-dressing that you set out in one of your previous comments!
      Not sure what you are getting at here – but are you saying that we need to scrap “New” Labour and go back to eating chips at the Blackpool sea front, drinking NewCy Brown and saying “ee-bye-gum”?  I am saying that in the modern world we need Labour and its core vaues of fairness to all in our society and not a government that is run only for the benefit of shreholders, in which the rest are supposed to take the hit so that the share holders can grow fatter. 
      I am saying that we need to fight for the NHS, stop using the unemployed as a smoke screen to hide the greed of some of the richest 1% of the population. A civilised country needs to ensure a safety net below which no one is allowed to fall. I am also saying that the way to get unemployment down is not to beat up the unemployed, but to stop cutting and making people unemployed but to grow by getting more jobs in the public and private sectors. We need a strong public and private sector.

  • Nick

    we just don’t hate marketisation enough


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