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What now for Labour? (Part 1)

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What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Fri May 08, 2015 11:43 pm

A post mortem

We lost. I feared the worst a few days ago when walking my dog. I met a left-wing man I’ve known for years who said that he was voting for the Peace Party. Someone of his persuasion was going to throw his vote down the drain instead of opting for the only party which could replace the Tories. That made me apprehensive about whether millions of anti-Tory voters would use their votes effectively. (The Peace Party came seventh in my constituency.) Worse was to follow when I logged in here. To read that a serious Tory hater couldn’t “become enthused by any party on offer” and chose not to vote for the only viable alternative to Cameron’s evil regime, was further evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the Labour campaign, despite having so many troops on the ground, was failing to motivate enough people to secure a victory.

About eleven million people in the UK (about 37% of those who voted) chose the Tories, and it resulted in them winning 331 of the 650 seats in Parliament, 12 more than all the other parties combined. In our so-called democracy, we have to respect their choice, even if it’s difficult to understand it. I’ve never come to terms with how anyone of modest means, or anyone with a social conscience, could ever vote Tory. I have a brief encounter with OCD whenever I go into a polling booth, checking what I’ve done on the ballot paper several times before I put it in the box.

What makes it even more difficult to understand now is that many people believed Cameron in 2010, he lied to them and has since broken a string of promises (which have been recorded elsewhere on this forum any number of times). He’s presided over the cruellest government in living memory, and yet so many people don’t seem to care. He’s stuffed the House of Lords with cronies, often after the Tories have received generous donations from them, and he's sold off state assets at knockdown prices, in the case of the Royal Mail enabling Osborne’s best man to make a fortune. He and his government have even been reprimanded several times for falsifying statistics.

The Tories often complain that the BBC is ‘left-wing’, which it isn’t, as a thread on this forum fully demonstrates; if anything it leans to the right these days, and it has always fawned over so-called ‘royalty’. But the Tories never complain about the rabid right-wing nature of most of the press, with even ‘The Independent’ giving them a tepid endorsement this week. That press, and programmes such as ‘HIGN4Y’ and ‘News Quiz’, have participated in the character assassination of Ed Miliband over a long period of time, gradually corroding his credibility, and dismissing him as “not being prime ministerial”. Whether he is we will never find out now, but does Cameron fit the bill? So often he’s shown himself to be an arrogant, bad-tempered, out-of-touch bully with a sense of entitlement. His behaviour on the day after the Scottish independence referendum incited the Scots and drove many of them from Labour into the arms of the SNP. In this campaign, he created fear of the SNP to scare many English voters towards the Tories. Had he been alive today, Machiavelli could have learned lessons from Cameron.

Ed Miliband sometimes looks awkward on television and isn’t very good at eating a bacon sandwich (who is?). But what does it say when the issue of choosing a potential prime minister is reduced to the level of a vote for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ or ‘The X Factor’? Would Clement Attlee - in my opinion the greatest PM we’ve ever had - have won many votes for his celebrity status? Shouldn’t it be more important to choose between the bedroom tax and a mansion tax, and between democratically managed public services or private ones controlled by unaccountable corporations? Did those who voted Tory really want the ultimate destruction of the welfare state? Are they really so blasé about the possibility of becoming sick, unemployed or disabled one day? Instead of thinking about such issues, so many were distracted by the Tory charge that Miliband was ‘weak’, even though Cameron was too scared to debate head-to-head with him.

So it was rather like 1992 after all. No triumphalist Sheffield rally this time, just a silly stone monument, but the polls telling us that it was neck-and-neck and then the Tories winning easily. Three party leaders have resigned, but so should the pollsters. Electoral Calculus was claiming only yesterday that the chance of a Tory majority was just 4%. I don’t think I’ll ever bother to look at an opinion poll again; studying tea leaves is probably a more reliable guide to election outcomes.

Maybe the similarities with 1992 (which turned out to be a good election to lose) won’t end there. Five months after John Major lied his way back into office with scaremongering and promises of “tax cuts year on year”, Tory economic incompetence was there for all to see on ‘Black Wednesday’. His hapless government, riddled with sleaze and tearing itself apart over Europe, limped through five unhappy years, and we all know what happened next. So maybe 2020 will be like 1997, but five years is a long while to wait to find out, and sadly a lot of vulnerable people are going to suffer in the meantime.


Last edited by Ivan on Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by LWS on Sat May 09, 2015 7:55 am

Completely agree Ivan. I know a decent enough working guy, on low pay and his eldest daughter who lives in an housing association property is subject to the bedroom tax. He said the other day that he was voting Tory because Labour will side with the SNP. Then complains about the bedroom tax, I told him that the very party that he intends to vote for introduced it and probably plans to make it even more severe. I also told him that Labour would get rid of this tax. He just would not accept that. I think we are fighting a war based on common misconception and lies by the Tories. What can we do about that? I give up, I really do!
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by boatlady on Sat May 09, 2015 9:44 am

I begin to think maybe Tory is the default setting for England
We are educated, from a very early age, to an unreasonable respect for our 'betters' who are usually just prominent by virtue of an accident of birth.
The constant fawning interest in the royal family reinforces this, and we are encouraged to believe that our 'rulers' will always act in our best interest and will always know better than we do.
The effect of all this is to infantilise voters - to encourage a mindset that argues that politics is something that other people do and it's not for 'the likes of us' to question the decisions of our rulers.

So if Cameron tells us that it is safer to vote Tory because to do otherwise will open the door to the Scots, or some other such nonsense, very many people will believe him and be afraid to do otherwise.

What Ed Miliband has achieved and what maybe we need to build on in the months and years to come, is the huge army of activists who have tirelessly been out in our towns and cities, having political conversations on doorsteps and on the phone - to my knowledge, I've never seen the like in my lifetime.

Those people today are feeling demoralised and disappointed - they need to start channelling their passion into community activism so as to continue to spread the word that we could indeed have a very different social order.
For now, the voters have spoken and the new government is in place. Over the next 5 years they will no doubt impose even more cruel policies and even more people will suffer deprivation and indignity. I'm going to be as busy as I can manage doing all I can to cushion the effects of government policy and protesting gross breaches of justice - it would have been better to do it with a Labour MP in my corner, but I can still write to the Tory who holds the seat; I can still mobilise local elected members; I can still advocate for people who are not getting fair treatment - and I can still contribute to my local food bank and other local good causes, either by giving money or giving my time.
I can also remind everyone I meet that we could, if we chose, elect a government that would be for the people and not just for the economy.
I will be quite an old lady by the time of the next election - maybe some will think I am wise sunny
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Sat May 09, 2015 10:06 am

oftenwrong wrote (on another thread):-
The Labour Party have five years in which to re-group. There's no rush to appoint a new Leader. First they need to decide how they are going to attract VOTERS. Though Tristram Hunt may be the man to watch.
You can’t lead the Labour Party with a name like Tristram! Besides, although he may have the looks to win a talent show, I’m not sure that a university history lecturer would be seen as someone who’s in touch with most working people. At this stage, I expect the candidates to be Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna. I’d also like to see this man put himself forward as a candidate; we’ve tried the nice guy, now let’s try the tough one:-

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Last time the process of choosing a new leader took four months - far too long - and the resulting vacuum enabled the Tories to embed the “Labour crashed the economy” lie in the nation’s psyche. I agree that rushing into a leadership election after a traumatic defeat doesn’t seem like a good idea, and I suppose Harriet Harman could stand in as a caretaker for a while now that Ed has resigned. However, the process of choosing a new leader does involve discussions about which direction the party should take, and those seem to have started already. For some reason, it’s assumed to be ‘bad’ if Labour moves to the left, but nobody seems to complain when the Tories move further and further right.

My own views are well to the left, but I believe that the Labour Party should always be a broad coalition of Old Labour, New Labour, social democrats, Marxists, trade unionists and Christians who give prominence to the “love your neighbour” commandment. As for a leader, in my opinion the most important thing is to pick a winner, since without power you can achieve very little. For the next five years, we’ve got to watch the Tories dismantling the rest of the welfare state, turning the NHS into a supermarket and selling off any remaining state assets, and we can’t do very much to stop them because we lost. If you want a winner and a strong leader (a concept which seems to go down well with much of the public), I think it could be Dan Jarvis.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Sat May 09, 2015 12:44 pm

How Dan Jarvis and left-wing patriotic populism could revive Labour

Extracts from an article by Iain Martin:-

The strongest element of Mr Jarvis’s potential appeal is not ideological. It is that the standard critique, from disaffected voters who hate the out-of-touch Westminster elite, simply would not work against him. Here is a possible leader who can never be accused of lacking experience of the real world or of never having had a proper job. If he wins the Labour leadership, that pitch might win over voters who have tuned out.

Jarvis is, according to his friends, very much to the left on taxation. That rules him out, surely? Not if he gets his message right, which I expect to run as follows: “Let’s have a little more fairness, and a proper contribution to defend the public realm – in all its manifestations – from those who can afford it.” Imagine him saying that the troops he led as platoon commander in the Paras, and the people he served alongside in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, did not earn very much. They made sacrifices because they believed in their country and the notion of public service. While they were off fighting and trying to keep the peace, a minority of people back home were paying themselves many millions and blowing up the economy in alliance with a discredited class of politicians and regulators.

This line of attack should worry anyone who is pro-market and it would give the Tories massive problems. A left-wing populist approach on economics, imbued with robust patriotism, and presented by a genuinely fresh face not from the political adviser class, could appeal to large numbers of voters.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Penderyn on Sat May 09, 2015 1:23 pm

We all understand the argument about beating the tories, but if it is right, why did we ever break with the Liberals in the first place? I think that the problem is that the Labour Party has ignored working people for so long that they've got out of the habit of supporting it, and just a few tactical 'left' moves won't easily bring them back: for that we need proper party democracy, not bloody focus groups. Let's for a start, insist that no-one enters parliament unless he/she has worked in a proper (i.e. non-political) job for ten years, and go all out to reform the voting system. People understand those proposals. And from then on, let's stick to socialism and the elimination of the Murdoch-mates, replacing them with a free press.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Claudine on Sat May 09, 2015 1:24 pm

I posted the following on Twitter:
Status:
1.Was completely distraught
2. Became briefly distressed
3. I got angry
4. Now I'm calm, clear-minded, determined & focused

What a ride the last few days have been! On polling day, I met my neighbour outside the polling station and we got talking. She's a single mother on benefits. I asked her who she had voted for and boy, was I surprised! She voted for the odious & unbearable Stewart Jackson (because he had sorted out her money from her ex) and the Greens (because she didn't know who else to vote for & she didn't like Labour.

I gently told her of the Tory's plans to cut child benefit and working tax credit, benefits she survives on and she said "I don't want that - how am I supposed to live?"

This is what we have to fight against. The complete lack of awareness about policies which affect people. She also said "I was thinking about voting for UPIK's but they're a little bit racist, aren't they?" At which point I said that I wished her a good day and escaped the ignorance.

On the leadership question, I'm veering towards Dan Jarvis from a purely practical point of view. Ed was decimated by a right-wing press who focused on his geekiness (which I loved). They wouldn't be able to do that with Dan. Making fun of a veteran and someone from the paras won't do them any favours.

Also, it's time for Labour to play by Tory rules. We tried being decent and civil, we didn't shout too loudly when the Tories said that we crashed the economy and that ours was bad as Greece's. We need someone who can roar back at them. We need to be willing to get dirty. We need people who will snap back when we're snapped at. We need people who will not allow the Tory lies to settle on the ground.

I'm seriously thinking of starting a blog although I'm not too sure how that all works but I'll get there. On Twitter, I've seen encouraging signs from people who are mobilising. Labour needs to be seen to working for people like my idiot neighbour.

Labour might be reeling at the moment but there are signs of life. It's not dead yet.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Penderyn on Sat May 09, 2015 1:40 pm

If we don't have an understood view - as we always had - the kiddiewinkies will vote for the actors they fancy, as they did with Blair, who could do 'sincerity' so brilliantly. Once everyone knew we stood for working people, socialism and decency. What have we been standing for since Kinnock?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Sat May 09, 2015 2:28 pm

Claudine wrote:I posted the following on Twitter:
Status:
1.Was completely distraught
2. Became briefly distressed
3. I got angry
4. Now I'm calm, clear-minded, determined & focused

On the leadership question, I'm veering towards Dan Jarvis from a purely practical point of view. Ed was decimated by a right-wing press who focused on his geekiness (which I loved). They wouldn't be able to do that with Dan. Making fun of a veteran and someone from the paras won't do them any favours.

Also, it's time for Labour to play by Tory rules. We tried being decent and civil, we didn't shout too loudly when the Tories said that we crashed the economy and that ours was bad as Greece's. We need someone who can roar back at them. We need to be willing to get dirty. We need people who will snap back when we're snapped at. We need people who will not allow the Tory lies to settle on the ground.

Labour might be reeling at the moment but there are signs of life. It's not dead yet.

Good post Claudine at the moment I am not very calm at all,

I want to punch a Tory's lights out but I know my RAGE will turn to fight the BACKSTUDS. What do you think of Alan Johnston as a leader or Dan Jarvis, what you have said in your post is spot on, I tried in 2010 to tell the Labour (by e-mail) what allowing the Tories to go unchecked about  "Labour's Mess" would have on the people of the UK : Drip Drip effect that would make the people of the UK believe it I never got a reply to the e-mail.

At the moment I am Red Raw with no feelings at all, which worries me because the first person upsets me will get all of that rage that should be directed at the Tories & Lib-Dems, I think the ib-dems that are left may cross the floor to the Labour party which would sicken the happiness of Clegg, the SNP intend to cause trouble or intend to help out the Tories I am not sure of which but we will soon know the truth about the SNP, because on the doorstep they were telling people that this was a stepping stone to another Referendum.

I have a theory that the Tories are in this together to try and get rid of the Labour party leaving them to rule Scotland & leave England with a pemanant Tory gov't (God forbid).
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Sat May 09, 2015 3:12 pm

What do you think of Alan Johnston as a leader or Dan Jarvis?
Alan Johnson – no. Nice man, but not intelligent enough, too closely identified with Blair and too old.

Dan Jarvis – yes, maybe with Stella Creasy as deputy. Good contrast; Dan is a Yorkshire MP, Stella is a London MP.

Talking of Alan Johnson, he’s written this criticism of the recent election campaign:-

The biggest damage was done on the economy. We seemed to have no effective riposte to Cameron’s successful distortion of our economic record in government. Thus a succession of Tory ministers were allowed to describe the global banking crisis as “Labour’s recession” and to refer (as Jeremy Hunt did) to the economy contracting. There was no rebuttal from Labour pointing out the decent levels of growth being recorded before George Osborne choked off the recovery through his vainglorious emergency budget in June 2010. Nick Clegg’s ludicrous comparison between the bankrupt Greek economy and our own also seemed to pass without question.

Even the entirely false statement that Gordon Brown had sold off the Britain’s gold reserves at knock-down prices to fund public spending went unchallenged, sacrificed to the strategy of fighting the 2015 election, not the 2010 one all over again. As a result it was open season on Labour’s record in office with the economy front and centre.

Even more perplexing was the fact that we did have a sound economic policy for this election, which we seemed determined to disguise. Our commitment to borrow for capital investment at a time when the cost of borrowing is zero and the economy is still underperforming was a huge and important dividing line between us and the Conservatives that we seemed to want to obscure.


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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by bobby on Sat May 09, 2015 3:33 pm

Alan Johnson is dead right, Labour should have taken on the Tory led Coalition from day One, not wait until 4 weeks to the election and still allowed Herr Cameron to set the agenda.
As things stand the Tories are going to do what they want without any opposition, that given, I don't think Labour need to rush into any early decisions re the next Leader, they need to set the battlefield then find who's best for the fight, also not to waste 5 years of Prime Ministers Question time asking the same questions over and over, they need to use the time questioning all the lies, broken promises and damage they have created. All we need do now is wait for the next VAT rise, The full privatisation of the NHS and the highest inflation ever/
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by oftenwrong on Sat May 09, 2015 4:56 pm

What should we do now?

Five more years. Continuing Tory attacks on the vulnerable. How did that happen? Well it can't be changed in the short term, but that's no reason to roll up into a ball and play dead.

The Labour Party should not be in a rush to select a new Leader. Harriet Harman is a reliable caretaker, and (leaving aside the dubious pleasure of PMQs) there is plenty of time in which to make a reasoned choice. Custom suggests that by-election opportunities will arise for the reinstatement of stalwarts such as Ed Balls, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander.

Sean O'Grady comments in The Independent, "The truth is that both the progressive parties in national politics, Labour and the Lib-Dems, should now ask themselves if they might not after all have more in common than they thought, not just the humiliating experience of defeat this week."

How much might Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition gain from the addition of people with recent experience in Government if circumstances were different?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Sat May 09, 2015 5:37 pm

Alan Johnsons criticism is spot on Ivan I e-mailed the Labour party to tell them what would be the effect of the "Drip Drip Effect" on the voting public but reply did I get NONE. Most of the people on this forum have been saying so since Thursday and have every right to do so because its true, I think while they are deciding who takes over as leader they should be getting their heads together to work out on how we go forward I do not think voting papers will go out until around about September -October for a new leader which will allow the dust to settle and see how all Labour MPs preform.

Did you see I claimed one Tory scalp Fester McVey I am sad it was only one out of three tho Clegg would not had won if the Tories not told there voters to vote Lib-dem.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by LWS on Sat May 09, 2015 7:38 pm

Ivan wrote:Talking of Alan Johnson, he’s written this criticism of the recent election campaign:-

The biggest damage was done on the economy. We seemed to have no effective riposte to Cameron’s successful distortion of our economic record in government. Thus a succession of Tory ministers were allowed to describe the global banking crisis as “Labour’s recession” and to refer (as Jeremy Hunt did) to the economy contracting. There was no rebuttal from Labour pointing out the decent levels of growth being recorded before George Osborne choked off the recovery through his vainglorious emergency budget in June 2010. Nick Clegg’s ludicrous comparison between the bankrupt Greek economy and our own also seemed to pass without question.

Couldn't agree more. I had someone call me a couple of weeks ago from Labour's fundraising office (yes I did donate to them as a member) and they asked me what I thought of the campaign so far. My main criticism was that Labour were too tame in countering the Tory lies about them, especially on the economy and with regard to SNP. We should have been more aggressive towards the Tories. They got away with too much in that respect. I liked and admired Ed Miliband but he lacked the ability to fight his corner in the face of the onslaught from the Tory incompetents and their lackeys, namely the right wing Murdoch press and rags like the Mail.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by LWS on Sat May 09, 2015 7:40 pm

Redflag wrote:Did you see I claimed one Tory scalp Fester McVey I am sad it was only one out of three tho Clegg would not had won if the Tories not told there voters to vote Lib-dem.

Hi Red,

Nice to read your post and in a rare bit of good news McVey did get ousted. A great pity we couldn't get rid of our tory MP.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Sat May 09, 2015 9:55 pm

Before the election LWS I went to Hallam Sheffield then Carlisle to help Lee Sherriff then to Wirral West to give Margaret Greenwood  to help her get rid of Fester McVey that is the only Tory scalp I claimed sorry to say it was only one, if the Tory voters had not helped Clegg I would have claimed his scalp too.

It is nice to see you on the forum LWS how are you doing I am still in touch with Scarecrow, but not heard from Stox or Emma after thurdays results I am ready to do a Tory damage me and millions of others I think.



Private conversations via the personal messaging system, please.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by TriMonk3y on Sun May 10, 2015 10:12 am

Have been reflecting on this all weekend.

Direction
The media narrative would have us believe that Labour proposed a radically left wing economic program.  Nothing is further from the truth, what was proposed was still austere.  What would be true to say was that there were a few left wing headline policies in there that had the vested interests running very scared. The danger in not dealing with this of course is that the party gets pulled further right.  There is no point to a Labour Party trying to out Tory the Tories, or to out UKIP UKIP.  A democracy without meaningful opposition is no better than a one party state.

Urgency
There is some urgency to this.  Yes, the next election is 5 years away, but the lesson from 2010 should be that a paralysed, leaderless and directionless Labour Party allowed the Coalition to get its feet under the table and set the economic narrative still espoused as gospel in the media today.

Labour needs to pick its leader, choose a direction, get organised, engage with potential progressive allies whether it likes them or not, and get to work fulfilling its constitutional duty to oppose.  The Tories have a tiny majority that it will be difficult to govern with in any case.  The left can work together to make it far harder.  I wrote similar on the-Newshub on Friday.

Even by its own targets this last government failed heavily on the economy and is left needing to cut more in the next than it did in the last.  We cannot allow the incoming government to simply rewrite the narrative in this area as the last did.

Policy
It's not as simple as that though.  There are some key policy areas where Labour has conceded ground to its opponents in the last parliament - on immigration to UKIP, and on the economy to the Tories.  It needs to determine, in conjunction with its members, the direction that it wants to take in these areas, and fight for them without compromise - even if it loses votes.  There is no point to having power for the sake of power alone.

Media
One of the lessons Labour should have learned from the SNP in the independence referendum, because it benefited from it, was that you can have the best and most active campaign in the world but if you are only talking to yourselves, you don't convert others.

There is a media balance in the UK that will not organically address itself.  Again Labour benefited from this during the independence referendum, but fell victim to it almost immediately afterwards.  I have't followed this issue too closely from Norway, but I'm guessing at best Guardian and the Mirror came out for Labour, the BBC continued to regurgitate everything espoused by the right wing press, and in doing so legitimising it and providing an air of gravitas.   I was shocked and surprised especially by the Independent's position.

The point is that if the market cannot fix this imbalance, which it cannot because of the vested interests that own most of it, then we have to have to give our opponents the same disadvantage.  We deny them their voice by not buying their rags or watching their drivel, by creating quality alternative sources of media to take their place, and driving them into every living room in the land.  This isn't a quantity game, its a quality one.  If we build it they will come.

I would much rather have a disciplined and committed labour (small l) party fighting socially democratic principles that loses elections, than a watered down Tory - light neoliberal New Labour one that wins.  If thats the best that we can do, we might as well go home.  So I'm not tribal about this, I would like to see the Labour party refind itself, I'm not sure that it will, but I'm prepared to support, work with and vote for any progressive party laying out visions of social and economic justice.

Edit: Oh, and I agree with the Dan Jarvis comment. The next leader has to be the right one, and it cannot be a Blairite, and ideally will be someone not associated with Labour governments 1997-2010. Clear air is needed


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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by TriMonk3y on Sun May 10, 2015 10:44 am

I also agree with much of what Neil Findlay MSP says here:

BBC

Radical solutions are needed and can only be implemented following a full, frank, open and democratic debate led by our loyal and hard working, committed party members - a centralised fix just won't do.

Its as relevant to the whole party as it is the Scotland branch. The party must always be the product of its members.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Penderyn on Sun May 10, 2015 12:16 pm

Since the defeat of the miners, organised labour has grown enormously weaker, and the politicians are more and more dependent on Murdoch and the other liars. In many ways we are already back to a mid-Nineteenth-Century society, with redeeming features created by the Labour Movement, especially in 1945-50, features the tories plan to eliminate, and which few forces other than 'public opinion' (whatever that may be) support - a mere 90% ,of the population and few of the people who matter. The question is whether we are to follow the Blair path of grovelling to Murdoch and staging wars, so that the careerists get on, or preparing ourselves for a long, hard struggle against the liars. It has been done before, but the current social conditions are unpropitious, so it becomes a question of whether we are worth anything. I still think we are!
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by oftenwrong on Sun May 10, 2015 12:24 pm

TriMonk3y wrote:Have been reflecting on this all weekend....

....There is no point to having power for the sake of power alone....


....The next leader has to be the right one, and it cannot be a Blairite, and ideally will be someone not associated with Labour governments 1997-2010.  Clear air is needed

"There is no point to having power for the sake of power alone."

No, of course not, TriMonk3y. What pure-minded Socialist would accept power for its own sake? Much better leave that to the Party of the Rich and have a stainless conscience in an ivory tower.

All the excesses of Tory dogma which have beset the disadvantaged for the past five years and will continue for another five were only possible because they were IN POWER. The traditional class enemies know full well how vital is that small detail.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by TriMonk3y on Sun May 10, 2015 12:38 pm

My point is and remains, that in heading right you concede the argument.

Nothing is achieved by parking a bus outside number 10 and not letting anyone else through the door. Only by advancing and winning the argument, and getting elected on it, do you improve anything.

I'll work towards the type of government that I want to live under, not the least bad option. Only that way do you have any chance of actually achieving what you hope for. If Labour can be that party, great, if not, in time others will fill the void.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Sun May 10, 2015 12:50 pm

HI Trimonk3y good post and very apt to what has happened and what will happen within the Labour party & do believe the Labour party membership should have a say in what happens next after all it is our party.

One other I really agree with you is that people should BOYCOTT BBC & Sky TV and stop buying the right wing rags hit them in the pocket were it really hurts, what do you think of Dan Jarvis as the next Labour leader ?

As for the SNP there activists where telling the people on the doorstep the G.E was a stepping stone to another #IndyRef but it is only 8 months since Scots said NO to Independence so what does that say about the SNP IMHO its not about the people of Scotland want but purely down too the SNP IDEOLOGY.

I did hear during the coalition gov't that some Tories wanted to sell off the BBC to Murdoch who has always wanted it out of the way to help his hold on SKY, would like your opinion on what I have had to say.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Sun May 10, 2015 1:20 pm

You can’t do anything without power to stop such retrograde steps as the full-blown privatisation of the NHS and the total destruction of the welfare state. On the other hand, there has to be a better reason to be in power than just to prevent the Tories from doing any more damage for a few years.

Tony Blair is the only Labour leader to have won a general election (and he won three) since Harold Wilson in 1974. He did a lot of good things - from the minimum wage to making a serious investment in hospitals and schools, not to mention brokering peace in Northern Ireland – but he did little to change the neo-liberal agenda which Thatcher had set and its resulting inequality. Now we have Peter Mandelson saying that Labour must occupy the centre ground (which has moved a long way to the right in the last 40 years) to be successful. Why? The Tories have just shown how successful they can be by moving further to the right, so why is it assumed that Labour can’t have at least a few left-wing policies? I don’t believe that we’ve become a nation of quasi-Nazis, and I’m sure most people still want good public services; a majority would like the railways renationalised.

I thought Ed Miliband’s campaign was balanced, and maybe that was its downfall. It was more socialist than anything Labour has offered since 1992, which may have helped to motivate such a wonderful army of foot soldiers, but it provided the Tories and their media reptiles with ammunition. However, it still pandered to austerity to try to counter the myth of Labour fiscal incontinence, and that probably encouraged many left-inclined people to vote for the SNP or the Greens.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by TriMonk3y on Sun May 10, 2015 1:44 pm

Hi Red Flag,

Hope you are well.  We agree mostly, I think its about bringing the party back closer to its founding values, and hopefully not about having to create a vehicle to replace it.  Ultimately the party is the sum total of its members, and the careerists who are employed to get it elected must reflect that. Eoin does some good work with LabourLeft, but I'm not sure it gets much traction at HQ.

I've been in Norway throughout the campaign, but it shouldn't surprise that many SNP activists and newer members saw the election as a step on that journey.  It doesn't appear in their manifesto, and the party itself has stated it is not campaigning on that basis. Despite this though, the SNP had an anti-austerity agenda that Labour could have worked with had the numbers been there, and that had the rabid right wing press running really scared.  You must be doing something right when the Daily Mail is demonising you!

Irrespective of tribal party politics though, Labour needs to work with allies from wherever it can get them. This government has a far smaller majority than the last, and it's ability to destruct can be more easily disrupted through effective and cooperative opposition, making it necessary for Cameron to hold his entire party together - a thankless task.

I disagreed with you (silently) on independence, but my view is that it takes a significant change in circumstance to seek mandate to ask for another referendum.  That said, it is easy to consider a few scenarios where this government could make that possible - constitutional encroachment and a Brexit spring to mind. Save that discussion for an appropriate thread/time though.

Dan Jarvis would be an excellent choice.  Although I don't know much about his politics he comes with a clean slate and a strength and background that would make it very difficult to attack his character in the way that the two Eds were victim to.

BBC - The Tories would sell the doormats at number 10 to their mates and hire them back if they could get away with it.  It's the Ridsdale / Leeds United mentality to running a country, and we all saw how that ended (Feel similarly about PFI).  I feel that BBC holds a centre-right(ish) bias, but the Murdoch press would have you believe it was the surrogate child of Trotsky and Gramsci.  All part of media propaganda to convince us that what's really quite moderate is radically left and beyond the pale.  I think you are likely to see a concerted attack upon its funding base by this government when the charter is up for renew.  They won't get rid of it in this parliament, but they will be setting it up to fail so they have an excuse to flog it to their mates and pay them to produce public service content - just like they've been doing with the NHS for the past 5 years.

The media is our biggest obstacle.  Most of it now is reduced to being little more than the well funded mouthpieces of the oligarchs that own them - something they are hideously good at doing and disguising.  If we cannot change that then we must create or take the alternatives that are out there and try to give them mainstream appeal.  In doing so we can level up the playing field a bit. You'll have seen some of the alternative media sources that arose in the lead up to the referendum, and while you won't agree with much of their content, I'm sure that you'll agree that they have started to balance out the overall media in Scotland. Does England have any similar such movements on the rise as Common Space, Bella National Collective etc? - haven't seen much. What are your thoughts on this topic?

I'm still in shock at the independent's position. Vote Tory? Really?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by TriMonk3y on Sun May 10, 2015 1:54 pm

We agree Ivan.

The only thing that I would add, is that I think we underestimate how much vote Labour lost to UKIP. I think it hurt the Tories, but that it hurt Labour more.

Purely subjective of course, but I think that fits in with my feelings after talking to traditional labour voters back in the UK, and fitted in with some long lost polling data that I was discussing with Sean Duffy over on the twittersphere some time ago.

L
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by sickchip on Sun May 10, 2015 5:31 pm

I suggested Labour would lose about 3-4yrs ago on these pages and was not really taken seriously.

However, having read numerous post mortems asking where Labour went wrong, I would suggest Labour didn't go wrong the electorate went wrong.

The majority of the UK population wanted the tories out, and the only real way to do that was to vote Labour..........unfortunately we now have the SNP, libdems, UKIP, and the Greens and people foolishly, and self-indulgently, vote for these no hopers in the vain belief it makes a difference. You really only need choose between Labour or Tory because the others mean nothing......except the Tory party being put back in government.

A vote for the SNP, LIBDEMS, UKIP, or the GREENS is really just a vote for the Tory party.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by boatlady on Sun May 10, 2015 6:31 pm

Nice to see you Sickchip - I think you're right.

The Labour party, in my view, had a reasonable strategy - the #labourdoorstep thing got activists really fired up and putting out there a message that had the potential to turn things around. In the end, the electorate didn't buy it - and we now have another 5 years of Tory policies (now we'll see if the LibDems really did tone it down)

With luck, next time the result will be better - unless the Tories have managed completely destroy democracy, which might be their next project. Hopefully, the next government will be proper left wing - and likely called Labour
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Sun May 10, 2015 6:37 pm

Trimonk3y Alec Salmond was been interiewed before he gets on the train heading for the HOC and he said this would lead to another Independence Referendum he said the people of Scotland had given him the mandate to seek a section 30, it is only about one year since he said this was a once in a life time for a referendum now 8months later he has went back on his word so why should Westminister keep its promise for more power. Salmond does not know who he is playing big boys games with and if he thinks Davy boy will be a walk over I would suggest he thinks again, because he will come off worse and that would be easy to land himself in the brown stuff up to his neck with the Scots so angry with him they would lose the SNP out of all gov't for a long time.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by boatlady on Sun May 10, 2015 7:21 pm

see, I knew the minute the election was over Sturgeon would be put back in her box - what's it to do with Salmond? Thought he wasn't SNP leader any more?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by TriMonk3y on Sun May 10, 2015 8:52 pm

Redflag, I don't expect there to be a rerun anytime soon. Two points - no mandate was asked for, and so none was granted, it's bluster. Secondly, the promise in the Edinburgh agreement on both sides flew in the face of the constitutional principle of parliamentary sovereignty - neither party was able to bind the next parliament, let alone a generations worth.

The key point is this though. The SNP have 56 very useful votes in the house. Labour should disagree with them where they conflict, but work with them were they can to create effective opposition, and to make this next government's life as difficult as possible. It's just a numbers game, some pragmatism will be needed, or we all roll over in front of the Tory juggernaught.

I don't accept @sickchip's wasted vote point above. No two parties have the unconditional right to support from all who disagree with the other side. If Labour, or any other parties for that matter, want to garner support from other parties then they need to go out and earn it, and the outcome speaks for itself. You don't achieve the government that you want by not voting for it. What is wrong of course is an electoral system that can permit c15% of the vote to be worth c0.15%of the seats and give 37% a working majority.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by ghost whistler on Sun May 10, 2015 9:22 pm

Labour failed to present an alternative and didn't stand up to the right wing media.

A week before the election Labour capitulated to teh Tories by saying they'd rather a Tory government than ally with the SNP.

If allying with the SNP, who are not aliens bent on our destruction, is what is required to defeat the austerity then what's the problem? Instead Ed fell under Murdoch's boot. He may be a nice guy, he was a shit leader with no message and despite being labelled a dangerous socialist was regressive and capitalist.

I despair.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Sun May 10, 2015 10:30 pm

Can we please concentrate on the Labour Party and its future direction? There is another thread for discussing Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and what might happen to the UK:-

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It appears that UKIP initially attracted support from Tories, then began to seem attractive to working class Labour voters who fell for the myth that immigrants (not employers) were keeping their wages down or taking their jobs. As the election approached, I suspect that many of the Tory defectors, realising that UKIP wasn’t going to achieve anything, returned home, but that most of the Labour defectors didn’t.

However, I think we’re on dangerous ground if we start saying “the electorate went wrong”. Yes, tactical voting may be too sophisticated, or just an unacceptable idea, to many voters; it’s up to Labour to make itself appealing enough to be worth supporting as a first choice. But maybe that’s an impossible task when the Scots found Labour too right-wing and so many in the south of England thought it was too left-wing. How do you make a party attractive to all parts of Britain? The Tories can’t do it, but they can gain power because they have so much support in the heavily populated south.

I do think people on the left have a tendency to be more extravagant with their votes and less focused than those on the right. We hear of this phenomenon known as ‘shy Tories’, but I also think there are ‘reluctant Tories’, people who have serious reservations but still think they ought to vote for the nasty party as the least worst option. By contrast, there is my acquaintance who voted for the Peace Party and the relentlessly anti-Tory member of this forum who couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. Maybe the US presidential system and the second round in French presidential elections have something to commend them; with a stark choice of just two candidates, people have to vote with their heads.

I’m not advocating that our campaigns should be more presidential, but that seems to be what the voters want – a sort of political ‘X Factor’. Maybe we should have seen last Thursday coming, but the pollsters (who were way out on the result, of course) kept telling us the Bullingdon bully was seen as more ‘prime ministerial’ than Ed Miliband, and the towel folder was more trusted to run the economy than a Harvard economist. So, if winning is the aim – and as our resident sage has reminded us, without power very little can be achieved – maybe choosing the most appealing leader is at least as important as the policies put forward. In a so-called democracy, should we just give the punters what they want, or do we try to lead, and change, public opinion through raising awareness of issues? A bit of each, I guess.

Which brings me back to Dan Jarvis. I think he stands out as the most obvious ‘winner’ for Labour. He can’t be accused of “not ever having had a proper job”, I doubt if even the filthy Tory tabloids would stoop as low as to malign a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and apparently he terrifies the Tories:-

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P.S. Just heard that Dan Jarvis has decided not to stand for leader. No
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Claudine on Sun May 10, 2015 11:03 pm

I understand the reasons why Dan has decided not to stand but man, I'm so disappointed.

He would have been pure kryptonite for the Tories and the right-wing press. Denigrating, mocking and humiliating a vet & former widower would have been suicide.

I just want the right person and I don't think that's Chuka.
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Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun May 10, 2015 11:27 pm

Ivan wrote:Can we please concentrate on the Labour Party and its future direction?
.... if winning is the aim – maybe choosing the most appealing leader is at least as important as the policies put forward....

Dan Jarvis.... stands out as the most obvious ‘winner’ for Labour.... apparently he terrifies the Tories.

A good enough reason for choosing a Labour Leader, and there haven't been too many of whom that was true. Gaitskell, Blair, Robin Cooke, Ed Balls, and err, err, fill in the rest yourselves.

The advent of Television-elections favours film-star good looks but there has to be some intellect behind the façade. Labour have until the Autumn round of party conferences to think about what has just occurred and to elect a student of human nature who can divine what attracts voters. (and, just as importantly - what doesn't!)



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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by ghost whistler on Mon May 11, 2015 8:56 am

Labour seem to want to carry on trailing in the Tories' shadow.

Their time has passed. They are done. Unless they adopt a radical shift leftwards, which they won't, it's over. Find something new. The only answer now is to look to someone like TUSC and get the unions behind them and get a general strike happening. Direct action and civil disobedience is the only answer at this point. Labour won't recvover by 2020 and by then the Tories will have changed the rules and the electoral system to completely lock them out.

Miliband was a hopeless leader and a dreadful choice. They should choose John McDonnell but last time he put his name forward they shut him down. Says it all really.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Mon May 11, 2015 9:55 am

GW if you take a good look at Eds policies you will see he went to the left, and that did nothing what did win the G.E. was the policies of FEAR coming from Tory HQ about SNP plus all those that will benefit from a Tory gov't ie big business right wing rags bankers & hedge fund managers, you will see there profits soar while the sick disabled will pay the price.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Penderyn on Mon May 11, 2015 3:52 pm

But that lie will, of course, be followed up with the further lie that the election was all about 'socialism', which was rejected.  Once upon a time some of us in the Labour Party were arguing that unless we established a Free Press we might as well not bother fighting elections.  After thirty-odd years I can't see that we were wrong.  I think we should have Chairpersons and leave fuhrers to those who believe in such things.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Ivan on Mon May 11, 2015 5:11 pm

When Harriet Harman was asked on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ why she thought Labour had lost the election, she as good as said that she didn’t know, which was refreshingly honest and extremely unusual for a politician. And she’s right. Only five days ago most polls had Labour and the Tories neck-and-neck, all predicted a hung parliament (Electoral Calculus said there was only a 4% chance of a Tory majority) and one claimed to have a detected a late surge to Labour. From all the ‘evidence’ available, I thought that Labour (with more foot soldiers to get the vote out) would end up with about 290 seats and the Tories about 270. Had that happened, the political commentators would now be trying to work out why the Tories had lost.

On the same programme, Tim Farron was asked why he thought the Tories had won, and he said it was because they had generated fear, principally of the SNP. I think he’s right. Add to that the fact that enough people bought the line that the economy is recovering, even if it was growing at the rate of 1.4% in May 2010 but only 0.3% now, having fallen for the fifth successive quarter. I don’t think that whether Labour was too right-wing or too left-wing was the issue; they are concepts with which most people - those who don’t eat, drink or sleep politics – are not really that familiar. I don’t see the point in trying to apportion blame to anyone for Labour’s defeat, other than to say that the “it’s all Labour’s fault” lie should have been rebutted fiercely in 2010 when the party took so long navel gazing over a new leader. It might also have helped if Liam Byrne had written, explained and circulated this in 2010 rather than now:-

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by Redflag on Mon May 11, 2015 5:44 pm

Ivan all your post says to me the Tories bought the geneeral election, someone messed with the polls to wrong foot the Labour party, maybe HH does not want to come and say what she really thinks and being accused of Sour Grapes. There was truth on what Tim Fatton said here in Scotland SNP doorsteppers WHERE telling the people this G.E was a stepping stone for another IndyRef which spoke to those that wanted Independence last September but did not get it.

As for "its all Labours Fault" I sent the Labour party an e-mail telling them of what the "Drip Drip" effect would have on the people of the UK but nothing was done I also brought it up at one of my CLP meetings with my MP & MSP I was not listen too as you will know my Labour MP lost his seat.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

Post by LWS on Mon May 11, 2015 7:23 pm

Completely agree. I chatted to a number of people during the week or so before the election. Not one really liked what was on offer by the Tories, however they had go sucked in by all the lies especially about the economy and the SNP. The campaign by them was sneaky to state the least and as you state Red, the drip, drip process came into effect. We need a really hard hitter this time round. Also Cameron won't be leader at the next election, but Boris Jonhnson. Like Tony Blair that guy has Teflon coated underwear, nothing sticks.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 1)

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