Labour: What went wrong?

ToryLite - Ed Balls

ToryLite – Ed Balls

Last week, a disastrous result for Labour.

If the exit polls were bad, the result when the votes counted even worse.

  • Tories 331
  • Labour 232
  • SNP 56
  • LibDems 8
  • Plaid Cymru 3
  • Green Party 1
  • UKIP 1
  • others 18

Tories are 99 seats ahead of Labour.

For Labour, this is an even worse result than when Gordon Brown lost the General Election five years ago following the banking crisis. It is an even worse crisis than when labour lost seats under Neil Kinnock.

What went wrong?

Probably the best analysis from Mark Steel:

Maybe there was another problem with Labour’s campaign, which is it’s almost impossible to win an election by opposing corporate greed, against a hostile media, unless you have a social movement behind you. For example the leaders of Syriza in Greece were known for running massive food banks, leading marches of youth against the closure of services and organising protests against the fascists of Golden Dawn.

Obama is hardly a radical, but his first election revolved around the thousands of students who travelled across America to campaign for him, the vast rallies of tens of thousands and the fundraising from the poorest corners. The SNP vote was clearly more than an election, it was a movement, with thousands mobbing towns such as Inverness, just in order to see Nicola Sturgeon walk up the road. Even Blair in 1997 had a Labour Party that had recruited 80,000 members.

With forces like that, the insults from the press have less impact. There’s an army of people enthused with hope, ready to counter the arguments peddled by the press, and take up the cause of the campaign in every workplace, bar or launderette.

Ed Miliband managed to infuriate Murdoch and the wealthy, but he had no movement to back him up. So for enough people, the fear ate into them, and  they were left distant from a carefully managed sterile campaign, leaving them vulnerable, to a last-minute panic and a vote for the Tories.

When Russell Brand endorsed Labour, albeit a heavily qualified endorsement, he had a lot of stick from his supporters, and understandably so, it was Tweedledee v Tweedledum, barely any difference between Tories and Labour, and at  best, Labour lesser of two evils. As Russell Brand was later to agree, but the radical alternative was not on the table, we had to make the best of of what was on offer.

Nor was it helped that in Ed Miliband Labour had a disastrous leader, who should have resigned at least a year ago to give Labour at least a fighting chance, rather than wait until he lost the election, then resign.

Unlike Syriza in Greece or Podemos in Spain, Labour was not a party working with activists and civil society. This was another boring political party saying vote for us, so we can ruin your lives for the next five years.

Labour was not even opposing austerity.

Labour was offering ToryLite, nothing more.

Same discredited Tory policies, but watered down a little to make them a little more palatable.

Today Tony Blair and Peter Mandleson entered the fray, offering their two peneth worth. They want to return to the discredited Blair years.

Remember Blair, over a million people took to the streets to oppose the illegal war against Iraq, Parliament was lied to, but still we went to war. Now we have ISIS. But lest we forget, it has proved a nice little earner for Blair and his cronies.

No, Labour must not return to the Blair years nor must it return to the beer and sandwiches with the Trade Unions at Downing Street.

Blair showed contempt for the opponents of the Iraq war. But Ed Miliband showed the same contempt for the British people by refusing to grant an EU referendum.

Labour failed to listen on immigration. If you flood a country with unskilled labour willing to work for low wages, you are going to force down wages, force people out of work. If you flood a country with immigrants, you are going to create social disharmony, housing shortages, pressure on infrastructure, schools and hospitals.

If Labour is to have any meaning, it must become a radical party like Syriza and Podemos, they must be working with activists.

When the protests kick off against Welfare Cuts, as soon they will, Labour must be there on the front line.

They must be there resisting bailiffs kicking people out of their homes when they cannot pay their rent due to Bedroom Tax and Welfare Cuts.

They must clean out their entire front bench.

Any leader wannabe who says Labour too far to the left should be advised that they are in the wrong party and pointed in the direction of Tories or LibDems.

Yes, labour should be supporting enterprise, the enterprise of hard working people, small business, open coops, social enterprise, but not Big Business.

It goes without saying :Labour should scrap the Bedroom Tax, increase tax for the wealthiest, increase minimum wage, in the long term bring in a Basic Income, oppose TTIP, HS2 gravy train and airport expansion, support deep cuts in carbon emissions, change the planning rules that any development that increases carbon emissions will not be permitted development, that any new development has to lead to a decrease in carbon emissions, that any change of use of a pub has to be subject to obtaining planning consent, support the establishment of local, community owned and controlled electricity grids.

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One Response to “Labour: What went wrong?”

  1. keithpp Says:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/08/labour-leadership

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