Tuesday 28 July 2015

Relax, There Is No Labour Meltdown

Another day, another bout of mischief making. In today's Indy we learn that things aren't looking too rosy for Labour. In a specially commissioned poll, it "shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband. Blimey, that doesn't bode well for 2020. They go on:
... voters think Labour has gone backwards since its crushing defeat under Ed Miliband. Only 24 per cent of people believe the party is more electable than it was in May, while 76 per cent say it is less electable.
The article also pours scorn on the idea of a core vote strategy as the route to electoral success. Drawing on Fabian research, adding up all the Green and LibDem voters to Labour's total still leaves the party trailing the Tories in the marginals.

Two points are worthwhile noting. Firstly, who is arguing for a targeting of Green and LibDem voters? True, some - but by no means all - in Camp Corbyn think Labour can win an election without having to bend over to attract Tory-leaning swing voters. Yet their analysis is more complex than the simplistic guff regurgitated here. They observe that to win back in Scotland, where the SNP are posing as an anti-austerity party; to see off UKIP - who ate into Labour's vote in 'safe' and swing seats; to win back Greens whose vote disproportionately hit Labour's and allowed the Tories to sneak through in a number of places; and to mobilise the missing millions who sat the election out, Labour has to offer something other than a colourless, technocratic pitch. Where it comes to Tory voters, some can be won on the merits of a platform offering a fairer, more secure capitalism and an end to austerity's dog-eat-dogism. A point made by Matthew d'Ancona, and emphasised in a missive from CCHQ last week telling Tory MPs and officials to knock off promoting Corbyn as it could shift politics to the left.

As it happens, I think pinning your electoral hopes on a coalition involving large numbers of abstaining voters. They are no more on the left than people who do vote, and their reasons for not particpating are - again - quite complex. The unavoidable road back to power takes us through lands populated by Tory voters who can be persuaded to vote Labour again. This however is not captured in the Fabian research because the question it's trying to answer is based on a false premise. Again, so there is no uncertainty, no one thinks we can win by cobbling together a coalition of Green and LibDem voters.

A lesson that the Indy could do with learning when it next commissions a poll. So 76% of people think Labour are less electable now than three months ago. Colour me shocked. In case their editorial office hadn't noticed, Labour doesn't have a leader and therefore the results uncovered are utterly meaningless. Most party members I know would conclude, right now, that Labour is unelectable on this measure alone. That's before you factor in the almighty row caused by the caretaker stepping outside of her remit, and the leadership debate's forays into the gutter. Meanwhile, in actual elections taking place every week in local authority by-elections, the results can hardly be described as a meltdown.

Once again, it needs reiterating that the press - even The Indy - don't have Labour's best interests at heart. Some are overtly striving for a Die Linke/SPD-style split, ensuring the permanent marginalisation of the centre left; and others will contribute to the narrative because it generates clicks and coverage at an otherwise dull and sedate time of year. And some are prepared to make themselves look quite stupid in the process.


Phil said...

missive from CCHQ last week telling Tory MPs and officials to knock off promoting Corbyn


Robert said...

The press doesn't have Labour's best interests at heart.

And bears defecate in forested areas.

Phil said...

I cannot furnish the link, Phil. But I have it on very good authority that it did the rounds.