Scot Keir Hardie Labour Party founder & first leader 1906
Oh yes, there is not one reason why Labour failed miserably to win the last General Election, is there? No, there are a multiple of reasons – but perhaps ten of them come to mind first?
- Was it the Leader Ed Miliband then? Well no not really, but it may well have been the leadership battle five years previous. In that contest the Miliband brothers battled it out and Ed won narrowly over the more experienced and fancied David. Did they proceed like adults and work together for the benefit of the Party, then? Of course not, David like a spoilt child made his excuses, refused to support his brother and take on a shadow ministerial role and launch the necessary attacks on a weakened Conservative Party forced into a coalition with the LibDems; moreover he showed how uncommitted Labour was to Britain and politics by abandoning Labour and then p’ing off to America to earn mega bucks – not a good socialist message to the electorate was it? That all allowed the Tories to cast Ed Miliband into the role of a reprehensable assassin and labour as despicable. Moreover Labour wasted four years and left it until the last four weeks to successfully promote Ed Miliband as a credible leader – what a disaster, eh?
- There can be little doubt in anyone’s mind can there that Scotland lost it for Labour? Not only was Labour annihilated north of the border, so lost the forty seats they were depending upon to beat the Conservatives, but the Tories were able in addition to spook the voters and exploit their fear of a Scottish nationalist invasion at Westminster so trounce Labour in England. How the heck did Labour manage to throw away such a dominant presence of MPs in Scotland and hand power to so many SNP nobodies (including a kid of twenty who expunged the Labour MP of nearly the same number of years and to boot shadow foreign secretary)? Well, one ex-Chancellor Alistair Darling certainly played a pivotal role, didn’t he? No, not just because he carried the can for screwing up the economy, but because he led Labour’s campaign against Scottish independence. He made the unbelievable inexcusable mistake of joining forces with the ‘hated by all Scots’ Tories in the referendum debate and he shared a platform with them on countless occasions. The nationalists were soundly beaten of course when the votes were counted, but there is a well known saying “If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas”. For the Scots, from that moment to time immemorial, Labour is Tory and Tory is Labour, so in Scotland all red flags are now worthless, aren’t they?
- As President Clinton pointed out nearly twenty-five years ago “It’s the economy, stupid”. Unbelievably, Labour watched five years drift by before they tried, and failed, to castoff the yoke of blame for the economic crash and recession that the Bankers had invoked widespread on the World. They even carried the scars into the election campaign of their government overspending, when the Conservatives had just borrowed unbelievably in their five years and had doubled the national debt. The Conservatives, despite the utter failure of plan A, were allowed to come out smelling of roses, while Labour were deemed by the electorate to be ‘not economically competent’. It was nothing less than a massive mistake to appoint loudmouth spiv lookalike Ed Balls as shadow chancellor, when his wife Yvette Copper would have intellectually overpowered Tory Chancellor George Osborne.
- As might have been feared, Labour failed to get the vote out. Why was that, you might wonder? Well, Labour supporters are much less likely to vote for many reasons, including non-incentivisation (while the rich need to go there to the polls to protect their wealth), reduced opportunity to get to the poll through work & responsibilities (no nanny cover you see), lack of transport, poor health, bad weather, and other factors no doubt. But has Labour as an organisation done anything whatsoever at the last election to overcome such problems? No they concentrated on winning irrelevant TV debates and pulling clever policies out of the hat to impress the media, didn’t they?
- Then of course there is the issue of the NHS. It was to be Labour’s plan apparently to ‘weaponise’ the NHS. It was to be Labour’s killer punch on the Conservatives, wasn’t it? But it didn’t happen. It went off like a damp squib, didn’t it? Well, the front runner to be Labour’s new Leader, Andy Burnham shadow health secretary can hardly avoid blame can he? A mere week after the election the true shocking traumatic financial state of the NHS was published – the Trusts’ in the red to the unprecedented tune of £822m (a seven fold increase no less in twelve months). Even to us casual observers the writing was on the cards beforehand, so predicted it, and wrote about it – but it was never exposed to the electorate in time by Labour, was it?
- What about Labour’s ostrich’s head in the sand approach to immigration? This was particular damaging when Labour’s core vote feared, rightly or wrongly, that their jobs were being stolen and their future was in jeopardy. That issue was umbilical cord tied to Europe and our continuing EU membership, so Labour’s absurd refusal to support an in-out referendum alienated millions of potential voters not least in Labour’s heartlands. A simple acceptance that the population wanted a democratic say in who runs Britain would have sufficed, but Labour’s attitude that they knew best did not gender the Party any support or friends, did it?
- Unbelievably, Labour abandoned the successful the ‘New Labour’ brand provided for them by Peter Mandelson, mediarised by Alistair Campbell, and enacted by Tony Blair – an image undermined by jealous-clogs Gordon Brown, who compounded matters by losing the 2010 Election and banished his Party to the wilderness by pig-headily making a coalition with the LibDems impossible.
- It is a disturbing fact that Labour somehow alienated business, both big and small, so the Tories were able to unfairly tag Labour as the anti-business party. How in heavens name was that allowed to happen, when everyone knows that without the support or confidence of the money guys no government can ever get elected or succeed
- Now, let us not forget the Unions though here shall we? What recognisable visible effort did any of them put into getting their Labour comrades elected into power? No, they will just spend the next five years moaning about being under the Government’s cosh, as the Tories bring in even more restrictive legislation to coral them (laws that Labour will oppose, but never get round to repealing, eh?) . Certainly the Conservatives had been able to exploit Labour’s links with the Unions and turn it into an unseemly toxic association. Indeed Labour emerged as the political wing of the Unions over a hundred years ago, and the positive contribution of both the Unions and Labour to UK workers and society should have been lauded – not denigrated and deemed a source of embarrassment by Labour as seems to have been progressively happening over the past half decade, surely?
- Finally, the Conservatives fought a better campaign, albeit a dirty one. Oh yes, they had a shed load more money to throw at it and they certainly did. They also had the benefits of the predominately Tory press. Sadly, Labour chose a pussycat American election strategist to head things up, while the Tories employed a Rottweiler proven dirty tricktist Australian – any wonder who won that one, eh?
[When the dust settles and Labour analyses why the Election was lost, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will never identify the true reasons – too painful, too obvious, too emphasising, too close to home?]