Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour’s coalition


2:58 pm - September 6th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Of the two Miliband brothers in the race, the common charge made against Ed Miliband is that he appeals to the “heart” versus the “brain” choice that is his brother David. In other words, while Ed is happy to tell Labour members what they want to hear, it’s David who will win the election by sticking resolutely centrist.

It’s a simple narrative David’s campaign is happy to propagate – pushed in past weeks by luminaries such as Peter Mandelson who masterminded a stonking 28% vote share.

But this narrative doesn’t stack up to the electoral math, which is now loaded against Labour.

Below is a chart of how turnout has declined, especially since 1992.

Most of the decline is of voters with below-average wages and employment; voters who would traditionally vote Labour.

This is matched by falling affiliation. Around 44% of voters identified themselves as Labour in 2005, falling to 34% five years later. An even lower percentage bothered to vote for the party – which contradicts the view on the Labour right that the base has nowhere else to go.

But the base do go somewhere: they go home instead of polling stations.

There’s a reason why so many Tory commentators are embracing David Miliband and warning him not to follow in the footsteps of “red Ed” (if only) – they would prefer Labour accept the Conservative ideological agenda and stay on their territory than challenge the consensus.

As Labour loses an increasing segment of its base to apathy, the party has to keep shifting right-wards to stay in the centre. This effectively means spending more time listening to the Daily Mail’s concerns to address the swing voters.

Inevitably, it will become a vicious cycle: the more Labour spends just listening to centrist voters, the more its own base feels neglected and will abandon the party.

A good leader has to find a way that appeals to all parts of their broad tent, as Tony Blair did in 1997. But the relentless triangulation meant many people started abandoning the party in droves while Labour spent more time burnishing its business-friendly credentials and getting chummy with the super-rich.

Of the two front-runners, only Ed Miliband is making any serious attempt to address why Labour lost so many votes since 1997. Labour lost 5 million voters, only 1m of which went to the Tories. Who will address those other four million?

Without those lost voters Labour would find it increasingly difficult to win elections. And even if it does, party leaders will be forced on to ever right-wards territory. This isn’t sustainable – which is why so much of the right want David Miliband in power.

Labour can win the next election: but it has to rebuild the coalition Tony Blair did, by admitting it got some things wrong in government.

It’s David Miliband who is pandering to the base by claiming Labour can get back into power without accepting culpability for its second-lowest vote share ever.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Can we not just make voting mandatory, and add “none of the above” to the ballot paper?

The idea that David Miliband has no interest in winning back the votes of lower income and poor working people is often repeated by the supporters of his brother, but rarely explained. Remind yourself of Don’s list. In what way are the following – all DM policies – not tailored to win the votes of precisely the people you are talking about?

- an economic strategy which aims to halve unemployment
- a living wage
- doubling the bank levy
- a mansion tax on the wealthiest homeowners to reverse housing benefit cuts
- withdrawing charitable status from private schools to pay for an expansion of free school meals
- defending universal benefits
- building more affordable homes and creating more green jobs as part of an industrial strategy to reduce Britain’s dependency on the City of London

(Leaving out these, which some may think to be more Guardian-reader type issues:

- marriage equality for same sex couples
- a comprehensive strategy to rid the world of nuclear weapons
- training 1,000 future leaders to campaign in their communities)

” who masterminded a stonking 28% vote share”

29.0% (UK) or 29.7% (GB). A pedantic point, perhaps, but you’ve a bad habit of playing fast and loose with electoral statistics.

Spot on.

What the class of 97 don’t seem to grasp is that the centre ground has moved to the left on a whole range of issues – on civil liberties, on gay rights, on the need to regulate markets and curb corporate excesses, on equality, etc.

(The jury is still out on public spending – I hope that once the cuts start to bite, people will begin to recognise that Labour weren’t just wasting money all those years but investing in vital public services that we ought to be defending. But the Tory narrative on unsustainable spending seems to be in the ascendency at the minute.)

The echoes with ’97 are quite striking really. You have a party that has suffered a terrible election result (in the Tories’ case it was their worst result since 1945, in Labour’s their scond worst since 1918), and decide that their next leader ought to be a bright young thing with a background in wonkery and an unfortunate manner.

Then you have associated punditry concentrating on the ‘lost votes’ from previous elections. “14 million people voted for John Major, and the ones we lost haven’t voted Labour, they’ve just stopped voting. If we could get them back…” We only stopped this line of thinking in 2005 (and Hitchens, Heffer et al still haven’t dropped it).

The past is an imperfect guide to the future, but I have to tell you the omens aren’t good.

@5

Not really. The reds are in no way as much trouble as the blues were post-97 – otherwise the blues would have a landslide majority gov, whereas in fact they can only govern at all thanks to the yellows.

If Labour under David is going to go for the delusional Blair tactic of trying to win back the lost tory votes then the party is doomed. What Labour needs to do is look out for the 4 million who either voted Lie Dem, green, or stayed at home.

Quick q – which policies or strategies that Ed M supports and David M doesn’t are likely to increase turnout amongst low income voters?

My experience of increasing turnout amongst low income voters is that the key is around local campaigning work – David M’s future leaders are likely to be more effective than Ed M’s High Pay Commission.

I think Ed M is a more appealing candidate to win over more affluent liberal voters, who are a vital and growing section of the population. But just because he says that it is important to increase turnout amongst low income voters doesn’t mean that there is any evidence that he would be the most effective at doing so.

I’m getting more and more fed up with Ed Miliband’s campaign over the course of this election. I’ve read nothing particularly agressive or toxic from any of the other three campaigns. (Not including Dianne’s early campaigning here)

Ed’s campaign started out being an appeal to Liberals, which was no bad thing. Sadly more recently it has become a constant argument against David. David doesn’t appeal to liberals. David is just like Blair. David can’t beat the tories. David is tainted by…etc.

I was already put out at Liberal Conspiracy taking such a biassed position in a matter concerning the left more widely than one or two candidates for a party leadership.

But worse than that I really get the impression Ed’s supporters on here doen’t seem to hold dear that we are all in this together and we are all on the same side. Maybe it is because it is a campaign of very new labour members like Sunny – but there is no camaradery in the sinister association of other candidates and campaigns with the right, the Mail and with the tories – and the use of terms like “propogate” and “pandering” are way out of order when talking about people on the same side.

Now I’m on neither side between the milibands. But increasingly I feel a little bit “anyone but Ed”. Articles like this indicate an awful opinion of some people on the same side and the same party and that worries me as the left cannot afford to become more devided now.

@9 Sort of agree with you here, the civil discourse that the Left/Labour Party should be having is in danger of being derailed by sniping and arguing. I hope that whoever becomes leader it doesn’t end up splitting Labour as before…the last thing we need with the ConDems in power is a divided opposition.

11. Alisdair Cameron

Sunny, in the UK math is plural.
More pointedly, the trouble with lost voters i.e. ones you once had onside, in basic psychological terms, is that they’re harder to win over than perennial floaters: there has to be more effort expended, and greater evidence provided that labour really has changed, than for swing voters.

And yet milid is happy to be represented by Phil woolas at hustings in the north west. This is a man who has certainly produced leaflets which have attracted accusations of racism including on this site. He is also going before the courts over allegations of corrupt practices next week. Why is David allowing woolas to contaminate his brand? Is this what we should expect from a David miliband leadership?

Both Milibands agree with Purnells assessment of welfare reforms, so did Balls and Burnham, all of a sudden they are backing universal benefits. Funny how easy people change their minds, and of course how many people believe them.

“You have a party that has suffered a terrible election result (in the Tories’ case it was their worst result since 1945, in Labour’s their scond worst since 1918)”

National vote percentages before 1974 can’t be usefully compared with national vote percentages after 1974. Before 1974 it was common for constituencies to have two candidates*, after 1974 three or more candidates have been not just the norm, but the rule. Actually, before 1945 it’s even harder because uncontested elections were still quite common; in the disaster year of 1931 sixty one National candidates were returned unopposed**, making popular vote statistics absolutely useless.

*With the exception of 1950 when the Liberals contested three quarters of seats and then wished to God that they hadn’t.

**More than the total number of successful Labour candidates.

14 – I think the point still stands though. In 1997 the Tories did disastrously and achieved a mere 30% of the vote. In 2010 Labour did disastrously and achieved even less than that. Both parties comforted themselves by thinking of the huge numbers of ‘natural supporters’ who didn’t turn out for them.

The Tories tried to run campaigns to attract these lost voters back in 2001 and 2005, and elected leaders best placed to re-energise base support. I don’t think, in retrospect, that this was a terribly good strategy.

OFF TOPIC

NEWSHEADLINES

Tories u turn on police. suddenly they want to leave operational matters to the police. Funny how they squealed like little pigs when Green was frog marched down the cop shop.

No leaving it to the police then…..

A few responses to this (sorry, been a bit distracted today)

- an economic strategy which aims to halve unemployment
- a living wage
- doubling the bank levy
- a mansion tax on the wealthiest homeowners to reverse housing benefit cuts
- withdrawing charitable status from private schools to pay for an expansion of free school meals
- defending universal benefits
- building more affordable homes and creating more green jobs as part of an industrial strategy to reduce Britain’s dependency on the City of London

(Leaving out these, which some may think to be more Guardian-reader type issues:

I don’t buy that economic strategy AT ALL. It’s Alistair Darling’s plan – and basically it says we must accept the Tories are right on the deficit and we should also cut quickly.

In effect if the Tories are cutting ten schools tomorrow, DM would cut 7 schools tomorrow. This is why Ed Balls has rightly called it too quick and too far a deficit reduction plan.

I haven’t seen much on Living Wage – that’s an issue Ed Miliband has pushed hardest.

The bank levy is only part of the issue – EM has said he wants to keep top rate of tax at 50% permanently while DM doesn’t, (neither does Darling). They wouldn’t have the bankers bonuses either.

And what has DM said about reforming the financial system? Anything?

The homes policy and green policy is across the board, though on green issues Ed M is ahead. He was against Third Runway while DM wants to see airports expand.

I’m sorry guys but these are middle-ofthe-road policies dressed up to sound left-wing. They are still very centrist.

As for the Movement for Change – Erm, Don you yourself raised the best point about this: that DM can perfectly happily have these local campaigners and yet ignore them at a national level. How long willl people stick around for if they keep getting ignored.

It’s also not being said who will maintain M4C after Sept. It’s not like DM is the only person interested in local organising – but he’s said nothing on how the idea lasts beyond the leadership election. Naturally, I’m sceptical it will last.

Lastly – there is a point being above about coalitions.

David Miliband believes elections can *only* be won from the centre… and so has stayed resolutely centrist. He’s not criticised the News of the World on the recent controversy other than to answer ‘yes’ in an obligatory Skynews debate question.

If you want a fighter who is proud of their party and willing to stand up to the right – then David Miliband is not your man. Ed Balls is the closest and then Ed Miliband (I’m voting for those two).

A future Labour leader has to re-build a relationship with the people the party lost. They lost those ppl because of Iraq (where DM’s admittsance he made a mistake?); they left because of Alistair Darling’s unwilligness to distance himself from the bankers (not advising DM); they left over Civil Liberties (DM is endorsed by Alan Johnson and Jack Straw).

You know what DM said the other day? That the case for ED cards wasn’t presented coherently enough. I’m sorry but the idea that DM is a vaguely leftwing candidate is pure hogwash. He’s highly intelligent and all the rest – but he’s not on the left.

I am of the opinion that the voters who failed to vote are mainly made-up of the old core labour voters. But it’s too simplistic to imagine that it is a mass demonstration against the LP, in fact, since Bliarism, there is little difference between the main parties.
14
In 1997, the nulab won with a massive majority, in 2010, the tories had to go into a coalition in order to form a small majority as @6 has already pointed-out, and this is after 13 years of the dreadful nulab and Gordon Brown’s unpopularity.

I’m now thoroughly sick of this particular account of electoral mathematics. The way it is being repeated and repeated despite its implausibility suggests an incredible degree of wishful thinking.

It is so wrong on so many levels.

1) It is a comparison with one year (1997) chosen to prove a point. This is the same tactic as climate change deniers who compare everything with 1998. If you compare the 2010 result with 2001 and 2005 it doesn’t fit this analysis.

2) It is a call to base future tactics on the distant past. Labour cannot recreate the 1997 electorate. If the coalition has a full term then there will be voters at the next general election who weren’t even born in 1997.

3) It assumes that working class voters are a left-wing consitituency disillusioned by right-wing policies. A few conversations on the doorstep about immigration or crime should cure you of this misapprehension. As would a willingness to accept that turn-out is not simply a function of ideological disappointment.

4) It ignores the realities of change within Labour. New Labour did not appear immediately after the 1997 election and remain fundamentally the same for 13 years, gradually driving voters away due to maintaining a position on the right. The 1997 election result was a consequence of Labour’s repositioning. By 2010 Labour was seen as noticeably to the left of its position in 1997, particularly on issues such as immigration, crime and education. Combine this with the LibDem’s move to the right and it is fairly obvious that 2010 showed Labour losing votes to the right not the left.

isn’t Eds lost working class vote strategy ignoring the elephant in the room – he’s about as working class as a Cambridge May Ball (or was it Oxford? I forget). class solidarity is real and while it might be 80 percent policy that determines it, I cant help but think w-c votes would be easier won over by a Burnham, Johnson or Cruddas – Brown’s relatively humble background vis a vis Clegg and Cam was lost in his Scottishness, he didn’t sound like the most hard to reach voters to Labour, the English wc, whether poor or “made good” . not helped by Labs + wider establishment’s aversion to acknowledging “England”. Cameron and the Milibands are two sides to a silver coin.

19
There’s no ‘ideological disappointment’ within the majority of the working-class, that’s reserved for people who debate on LC, the luvie duvies, the advant-garde and the pseudo liberals/socialists, we are talking about people who were disposessed by Thatcherism and who continued to vote labour believing that it was the party of the working-class. We are talking about large areas of this country within which, large numbers of people had their economic survival, together with a shared culture, taken away.
Of course there’s no going back to 1997, Blair destroyed socialism within the LP and became more Thatcher than Thatcher. And all Fabianism did was wallow in a corporatist hole when it appeared that enough had been done to console the masses.
20
I don’t know whether a new LP leader with a working-class background would be enough to attract the old vote back, I doubt it.

Sunny

I think the attitude of your response sums up exactly what I was lammenting.

You’ve gone through attacking one of your opponents as not being a fighter, for not saying whatever you think he’s not said about banking and coulson, and attacked his policies by characterising them in terms of a victory for the right.

Do you not see that the left attacking the left is damaging, labour attacking labour is damaging, and that appears increasinly only to be the EMiliband campaign that is doing it?

Perhaps I should have been more pro-active and offered to act as a defacto DMiliband and Andy Burnham supporter for LibCon from the start. I actually support Andy’s campaign about getting more working class people into politics at all levels a lot – as well as his strong case against Tory NHS reforms. (I also am impressed with Ed Balls on the economic side).

Still – too late for that now. Also too late to switch my votes to David Miliband fortunately, as another week of Ed’s campaign direction really might have made me vote for his brother.

steveb

you are right about working class support not being dissapointed with the ideology. Mostly, from the campaigns I was involved in in East London, they were dissapointed at practical issues like lack of housing for their kids, lack of action to punish bankers, and an increasing sense that their jobs or prospects of a job were becoming less and less secure.

Though that said – in East London the closeness of the election drove up turnout dramatically among Labour’s core working class support amid fear of how bad things would be under the tories. And sure enough, despite the defeat, they have not been proved wrong.

24. Chaise Guevara

Even in the context of this thread, I’m getting depressed by the conversation around the Labour leadership contests becoming reduced to a Milliband vs Milliband showdown. Shallow as this sounds, I’d prefer any of the other three based on sheer likeability. From my POV, Balls is looking more and more like the man for the job. It would also be nice to have, y’know, a leftwing leader of Britain’s leftwing party.

My opinion: Labour will only really gain credibillity when a new generation who arent tainted by the New Labour years, or scarred by the 1970s/80s takes over.

The present bunch (Dianne Abbott excepted) are too strongly implicated in the Blair/Brown years to repudiate them with any credibillity.

Whoever wins this contest will merely be a stopgap.

@19

If you look at longer term trends. It is perhaps interesting to note that Labour won more votes numerically under Neil Kinnock at the 1992 election than they did in 2001. And more votes at the 1987 election then they did in 2005.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Party_(UK)#Electoral_performance

Labour appears (with the exception of 1983) to have shed voters en-masse only since 1997.

Do you not see that the left attacking the left is damaging, labour attacking labour is damaging, and that appears increasinly only to be the EMiliband campaign that is doing it?

This is patently untrue, especially with the way Ed Miliband is painted as “red Ed” or apparently only chasing the “core vote strategy”.

That said – it is the job of the left to criticise right-wing candidates regardless of who is in power. Even if Ed Balls or Ed Miliband were to be elected leader (and I’ve praised the former, esp on economic policy when he’s said good things) – we would criticise them when necessary.

Ed Miliband didn’t escape criticism in the way he danced around gay marriage for example.

These debates are important while an election is taking place. Once it’s over – it’s clearly obvious that the real enemy is still the Conservatives.

And lastly – for all the talk of unity, it was always the Labour right, especially Tony Blair, who kept on attacking the Labour left.

And lastly – the poll hasn’t been deliberately chosen from 1997. It goes back all the way to 1945 and the huge drop in voting is patently obvious.

Who is going to reach out to those voters?

Chaise

Agreed. The fact is I think Balls is an excellent attack dog and actually also very very clever and knows his economic brief very well. A traditional keynsian could be really valuable as a counter-point to the hack ‘n’ slash small-statism in vogue on the right.

And Andy Burnham has a better understanding than anyone of exactly why the proposed NHS reforms are devestating and how we have to oppose them while also seeming to actually know how it feels to be a working class labour member surrounded by growing numbers of middle class young activists following the political career path through the right degrees, unpaid internships and then working within the westminster village until their growing list of contacts pays off and finds them a seat or a position of signficance on a think tank.

But right now I’d settle for people not sniping at fellow left-wingers for having slightly different views of how the left moves forward on policy and how it gets the tories and lib dems back where their awful world outlook belongs – the opposition benches.

Sunny

Do you really not see how expressing dissapointment at a lack of support for gay marriage is somewhat different from (and I’m going back to my original comment) deliberate sinister association of other candidates and campaigns with the right, the Mail and with the tories – and that the use of terms like “propogate” and “pandering” are way out of order when talking about people on the same side? (Note, you seem to be suggesting again that non-ed candidates, or maybe just David, is right wing)

Also are you really saying that Blair being devisive is a reason why Ed and his campaign should be? I

Or are you, as I suspect, allowing aggression and hostility to lead you to lash out by throwing Blair at anyone (Me in this case perhaps? Or more obscurely David Miliband again?) not onside with Ed Miliband?

Because again, that is the kind of thinking and tension the left and the labour party in particular could well do without for a change.

Ed Miliband’s campaign is starting to sound like a broken whining record – - everything new labour has done is wrong. He is against everything now, but no one seems to have heard him oppose Iraq war – oppose CCTV’s and ASBO – oppose the manifesto he wrote. But he is now against everything the crowd is against.

Living wage campaign – after pretty much living in treasury for how many years? Now he has found out that living wage is an important thing – Boris Johnson realised it before him.

As far as winning elections – most of the left is good at organising protest and pushing away people who could be persuaded with their arrogance – much of the right suffers from the same stupid arrogance reinforced by groupthink.

Blair – Cameron kinda think alike. The demographics and thinking and wealth distribution have changed and more importantly so has the mind set of the vast majority of the people. So, vote shares won’t change much – especially if people are consumed with apathy due to the tribal back and forth that goes on.

If you want a true fighter as the leader – then Ed Balls is your man – if you want a future PM as the leader – then David Miliband is the Man. If you want someone who denigrates everything the Labour government has achieved you have two choices – your first preference should be Ms. Abbot and the second preference should be Mr. Miliband junior. Even here Mr. Miliband junior lacks consistency – and every day yet another stalwart on the left comes up with another article saying Ed Miliband is the hope.

The swift boating against D MIliband was on from day one. Just go through the blogs and the commentators here, New Statesman, Guardian etc etc.

when I said Blair and Cameron think alike – I mean they both know how elections are won on the centre ground and how they persuaded voters who are soft right to vote for labour in case of blair and those who are centre left to vote for cameron.

People thats how elections are won. But what do I know.

Swiftboating? haha!

Here is David Blunkett in today’s Guardian:

David Blunkett, the former Labour cabinet minister, has strongly questioned Ed Miliband’s leadership credentials, saying he cannot recall a single thing the younger Miliband has said in the past three months that has represented a “challenge” to the party or the country.

Now THAT’S what I call swift-boating.

And he goes on to say:

In an interview with the Guardian Blunkett also criticised the 2010 Labour election manifesto for which Miliband junior had responsibility, saying it looked as if it had been written on Sunday morning and was “deeply uninspiring … it is a bit rich for those that were in what they amusingly call the Brown bunker to claim it was nothing to do with them, and it would be nice if we suddenly became radicals”.

Funny that – I’m sure David Miliband just said he was campaigning on the same manifesto.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/06/david-blunkett-miliband-labour-leadership

There’s only one group of people smearing their opponents here – and it’s DM supporters in the political world.

Margin4error: and that the use of terms like “propogate” and “pandering” are way out of order when talking about people on the same side?

Errm, you’re not answering my point.

If a Labour MP says the poor are feckless and lazy and should be forced to get jobs, are you saying we shouldn’t attack them for the sake of party unity?

If a Labour MP says that Conservative policies on deficit reduction and cutting frontline services massively is right – you don’t think the left should criticise that?

Do you not see that the left attacking the left is damaging, labour attacking labour is damaging, and that appears increasinly only to be the EMiliband campaign that is doing it?

Two words “Fuck off!”

E’Mil, though far, far from perfect is looking toward a left(ish) way. Yet, still has a long way to go, but the guy is giving it a chance. I trust him as much as I would a copper at Iain Tomlinson memorial. This isn’t left Vs left – it is Tory within the Labour Party Vs someone who is getting his head around the fact that Labour IS a left Party. D’Mil is a Blairite – hence he is a Tory at heart. Ralph would spit in his own son’s eye!

we are talking about people who were disposessed by Thatcherism and who continued to vote labour believing that it was the party of the working-class.

To be graphic – though not a wish, those who don’t understand the working-class should have their faces smashed into a pub table until they understood what they were talking about.

Working-class people have few, few aspirational goals. They do not want their own business, they do not want a million pound house (unless they win the lottery and can then buy one ‘outright and owe no one nothing’). They DO want decent schools for their kids to go to – so they can have a better education than they did. We DO want jobs to go to – it is amazing that those who throw out stats don’t get it – it is truly. Living wage, holiday in Spain, Greece – special holiday to DisneyWorld etc. That isn’t putting the working-class down, that is how realistic the working-class are. They are not the middle-class – and do, often, laugh at the middle-class because they want to be the “upper-class”.

Re: 1997 – what done it guv; was ‘Education, education, education!’ It was the minimum wage. It was that the NHS was going to be funded correctly. Where if you work hard you get rewarded. Where if you were a victim of crime then those who did it would be punished/rehabilitated and that the person who committed the crime punished to a degree that they have respect for their own community. That central government would look toward local community as the basis of policy.

It wasn’t ID cards, breaking into homes “legally” because someone was a bailiff. Centralising government more and more, year after year.

The ‘core’ 4 million votes will not return to The Labour Party until after the next election when it is proven that The Labour Party has returned to what it should be, a party of and for the people.

Mandleson and Blair have, really, fucked up Labour more than you can imagine. If D’Mil becomes leader, he will go more to the right with the Party thinking that is the centre ground. When he does, because he will win, and that does confirm their is no place in politics for the majority of the working-class – you will have problems on your hands.

Diane, though fundamentally the right policies, seen as a sell out.

Burnham, an idiot.

Balls, a fighter; yet not a leader, has a lot to do to begin to apologise. (Possible Dep Leader or high end minister)

D’Mil, a tory in sunbed clothing.

E’Mil, a possible, yet, still, too much to do – possibly. Apologise for the fuck up in Iraq, distance himself with US foreign policy (even under Obama, surprisingly Afghanistan is still on the above 50 percentile)). Commit to ridding UK of ATOS and other ignoramus privatisation policies. Commit to manufacturing – no, no Red Robbo, working-class people didn’t like him, nor Scargill (though he saw what was coming with Thatcherism), working-class people like to work! And are proud doing so – have a say in their work places not the “Americanisation” where an employer can simply hire and sack as they so wish. Lose your job then there will be a cushion that you have paid into. Not seeing your job go to out-contracted people because they will work for less. Homes that are homes and not assets, affordable. A living-fucking-wage!

It isn’t much to ask for. Working-class people, like everyone else, want stability in their lives. A stability that, as has been proven over 30+ years cannot be given by deregulation. Thatcher/Reagan can be seen as the seeds, Major, limply Clinton, can be seen as the roots, Blair/Bush can be seen as the manifestation.

If E’Mil wants the trust to begin, he has to, in no uncertain terms, point out that he has put neo-liberalism/neo-conservatism in the rubbish bin of history.

Cameron/Clegg and their Libertarian views are seen as nuts! The Wild West in Berkshire. The UK is, always has been, always will be a social democratic nation – not an apology of the Mail or Murdoch. Once Labour politicians grow some and realise that, then The Party will be back in power with some substantial support behind them. Not only that they will be able to move the political debate back to the real centre and not the centre of Mandleson and Blair.

A simple fact, a country is not a matter of business; it is a matter of society, and society is its people.

TL;DR

Sunny

Are you really claiming that you don’t see what I’m saying here? I mean are you really offering up a ludicrous strawman case like “should we fall in line with bad policy for the sake of unity?”

Can you not see that a debate between friends is not meant to be the same as fighting the enemy? When friends disagree that don’t use snide remarks and treat eachother as an enemy. They treat eachother with respect and recognise some common bind.

I don’t think I can discuss this further as I’m just so weary of the left’s beligerant willingness to fracture, and the more it gets discussed the more people like will rhodes displays that so utterly.

Maybe some one should start a blog somewhere to serve as a home for all views of the left, where a degree of respect is maintained for all on the left, however centrist or radical. Until recently I thought this was one.

If a Labour MP says the poor are feckless and lazy and should be forced to get jobs, are you saying we shouldn’t attack them for the sake of party unity?

I hope you mean attack the MP not the poor…

But of course you would have to attack all the candidates for this because except for Abbott everyone of these male candidates have said the poorest should work, for benefits.

38. margin4error

Robert

With respect, I’m with Tony Benn on this one. I genuinely believe most people without work want to work and just need the opportunity, training and at often confidence support to join the workplace.

As such I tend to think most don’t mind having training and other work-related activities tied into the benefits system. Indeed many welcome it. Certainly the unemployed people in my family are desperate to get back to work, even where their unemployment is caused by ill-health and so requires them to re-train for a different type of job.

margin4error:
I don’t think I can discuss this further as I’m just so weary of the left’s beligerant willingness to fracture, and the more it gets discussed the more people like will rhodes displays that so utterly.

you’re welcome to start a Labour blog that will echo centrist views (as LabourList does) but I think it’s important you recognise the difference between a Labour and a left-wing blog.

The former bats for a party, the latter for a set of broad ideologies.

I’m all in favour of left unity – in fact I’ve been talking about it from day one. But if some people on the left sound like those on the right – then I fail to see why the left should not call them out on it… even if they are Labour party MPs.

I’m asking you straight out – should we not criticise Phil Woolas when he puts out leaflefts like this? Honest answer:
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/08/13/how-phil-woolas-sang-from-bnp-hymn-sheet-during-election/

If you think we were wrong to attack Phil Woolas, then I’m afraid you misunderstand the point of this site, and aren’t very clear on what left-wing values are…

and lastly – I’m not in the same place that Will Rhodes is. He think Diane Abott is a ‘sell-out’, which I think is absurd.

Just a view from outside the ranks of the Left. It is often argued that the war in Iraq has been a major factor in Labour’s loss of support. But this is an argument that is entirely baseless. The stats demonstrate its falsity.

For a start, Labour won the 2005 election.

According to ICM polls the proportion of Muslims who supported the Sept 11 attack or similar organisations attacking America was 15 per cent in 2001, 11 per cent in 2002 and 13 per cent in 2004. There is in fact a decline in support in the aftermath of the Iraq war, compared with the war in Afghanistan, for attacks on America. That suggests there is no causal link between the war in Iraq and an increase in anger against the US.

More importantly, an ICM poll in November 2001, 80 per cent of British Muslims thought the war in Afghanistan was unjustified. In an ICM poll in March 2004, 80 per cent of British Muslims thought that the Iraq war was unjustified.

If the Iraq war fuelled anger and extremism, then why is there no increase in the number of people who thought that the war there was wrong, compared to those who thought the war in Afghanistan, a war of self-defence, was wrong? This argument just doesn’t stand up. It suggests that most British Muslims, who one assumes are the group most angered by the war in Iraq, were already angry about Afghanistan, and thought that war wrong. And are we suggesting that when someone attacks us, and kills several thousand innocent people, we do nothing? I think the fault lies with those who believe taking action is wrong, not the party who decided to take that action.

@40
May I be the first to point out the rather glaring flaws in your argument.
First Labour won the 2005 election with only 35% of the vote, with four million fewer votes than they won in 1997.
As the economy was still doing well in 2005 and the conservatives were still unpopular. What other factors do you suppose could have accounted for those lost voters?
Also I’m not sure what opinion polls of muslims are supposed to prove. There are only about one million muslims in the UK, and thus they comprise only a small minority of the overall electorate.

Sunny

I don’t understand how you don’t get this.I mean literally I don’t understand how some one who until recently wasn’t even a party member, can’t see that what I’m saying has nothing to do with party affiliation.

This isn’t about party unity – or even unity of the left in terms of everyone agreeing. It is about respect within the left for the left. It is about recognising that the left, for all its different priorities and degrees of ambition, are on the same side.

And those divergent priorities and ambitions are a good thing. They ensure strong debate and well thought out policy proposals. Unity where it means everyone agrees simply results in the styfling of new ideas.

Which is why I’m fed up at some parts of the left insinuating some pretty terrible things about other parts of the left. In this instance it is most apparent in Ed Miliband’s campaign on LC which characterises DM as a tory, a propogandist, and enthrall to the Daily Mail. That hardly demonstrates common cause, respect, or a willingness to accept divergent ideas and priorities – things the left needs.

So argue he is wrong to back the Darling budget plans for whatever reason. Don’t however, label him as you would the enemy.

Oh – and be clear – As a Green supporter as well as Labour spporter I would struggle to write a single party blog. (I have written on LC before – though not about party politics as it happens)

As for Woolas – his leaflet was awful not least for its lack of ambition or connection to the people it was aimed at. As I say, having knocked on thousands of doors in East London during the election – complaints about immgrants were hardly uncommon. But five minutes of conversation usually resulted in recognition that the real problem was lack of jobs, access to schools, and social housing. The immigration focus was simply a misdirection of frustration at Labour not being ambitious enough for the normal working people of this country. (Or at the results of their efforts not living up to their billing, though I tend to think it is a matter of ambition more than anything else.)

DG and Graham

Actually you have both missed a rather significant factor – ie who it was that turned against Labour over Iraq.

British Muslims continue to be strong supporters of Labour, with only a relatively small decrease in support in 2005, but one that has largely reversed again since then.

But British muslims are not very numerous.

I suspect Iraq lost Labour far more votes among the centre-ground and left-leaning wings of the middle classes (political or chattering classes) who Tony Blair had won over to Labour for the first time in a generation in 1997.

Certainly no one mentioned Iraq to me while knocking on doors in East London, where huge numbers of white working class and asian populations voted labour with huge increases in local majorities. (I believe Stephen Timms has the biggest majority of any MP in the country now – following big swings to Labour in both East and West Ham in 2010.)


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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    Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  2. sunny hundal

    This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  3. Jenni Jackson

    RT @libcon: Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  4. John Dixon

    @iwannasandwich hopefully this will reassure you http://bit.ly/cliGtI

  5. Richard Johnson

    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  6. Jake Anders

    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  7. Michael Park

    Excellent piece. RT @libcon: Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  8. sunny hundal

    In other words, idea that Ed tells members what they want to hear & David will win by staying centrist is crap: http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  9. DarrellGoodliffe

    Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour’s coalition | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Swwms4C via @libcon

  10. DarrellGoodliffe

    Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour’s coalition | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Swwms4C via @libcon

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    RT @sunny_hundal: In other words, idea that Ed tells members what they want to hear & David will win by staying centrist is crap: http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  12. Chris Paul

    RT @sunny_hundal: In other words, idea that Ed tells members what they want to hear & David will win by staying centrist is crap: http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  13. catherine buca

    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  14. Lucy Rigby

    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    http://tiny.cc/smxol – ok DM policies are quite decent, you can see them in a comment below the article…

  16. Sean Dolat

    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

  17. Ali

    Hmm. http://tinyurl.com/2vhpz3e http://tinyurl.com/3yc7aev

  18. Alex Perkins

    RT @libcon: Ed Miliband is the only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    Excellent piece RT @libcon Ed M is only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE <– if i had a vote, it'd be Ed

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    RT @Sunny_Hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    RT @alexsmith1982: RT @Sunny_Hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    RT @Sunny_Hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    RT @Sunny_Hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    RT @SamTarry: RT @Sunny_Hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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    RT @sunny_hundal: This is why I'm supporting @Ed_Miliband – he's only candidate looking to expand Labour's coalition http://bit.ly/9Is3DE

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