Ed Miliband: It is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters


9:40 am - May 21st 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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In a speech today at the annual Progress conference, Ed Miliband will declare that the Labour party cannot make an ‘either/or’ choice between Libdem and Conservative voters.

He will say that for Labour win the next election, the party has to build a big tent that will have to include both people who voted Conservative and people who voted Libdem in the past.

It will not be a false choice between the two, he will say. Some commentators within Labour have said in the past that Labour should stop chasing Libdem voters and focus on Conservative voters. Ed Miliband will reject the false dichotomy.

A source close to Ed Miliband said:

The Libdem votes we got in the local elections were necessary but not sufficient.

What we are seeing is a coalescence of the anti-Tory vote. Now we need to firm that up. Those votes are definitely necessary for the future but not yet banked.

Labour strategists have also been pouring over recent polling by Lord Ashcroft.

They say that Lord Ashcroft found that Tory messaging was still seen as too negative by many voters. It was associated with ‘austerity Britain’ and a vision that focused on belt-tightening, reduced public services, falling real incomes and a harsher vision for the future.

Sources close to Ed Miliband said the Labour leader will focus on a “more optimistic view of the future”.

In an article for the Guardian today he says:

We need a different kind of economy, fairer to the lowest paid and demanding greater responsibility from the higher paid; broader-based, less reliant on financial services. A better capitalism.

We need change too because our planet is being exploited, the next generation is being burdened with too many costs and shut out of affordable housing. The strains on family and community – from the high street overrun by unaccountable market forces to the hours people work – represent a further set of issues, beyond the bottom line, which must be at the core of Labour’s future.

At the next general election, we must be the optimists, the party with a positive, patriotic mission for our country.

In addition to a focus on inequality and worries of “national decline”, he will also say Labour should focus on “the ties that bind people”, in a nod to ‘Blue Labour’.

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


How about going for the former labour voters who now simply don’t vote because there’s no one for them to vote for?

2. David Moss

I was thinking exactly the same thing as #1. The real potential source of votes is the millions of Labour voters who have been sufficiently alienated that they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for any-one.

The Lib Dem/Tory vote dichotomy is obviously pretty stupid (as unnecessary). The idea that we might pursue only Tory voters rather than Lib Dem’s, however, is beyond absurd. I should have thought the results from the recent local elections: where the Tory vote held steady, Labour might have recognised that Tory voters are largely just going to vote Tory come what may.

Ahhh, FPTP, where an anti-Tory vote means a vote for Labour. *despair*

4. Margin4error

Winning the ex-libdems to Labour was a massive boon and was well worth focusing on for the last year.

After 13 years in government, with an abysmal campaign, and with the enormous drag factor of Gordon Brown – Labour’s 30%(ish) was probably something of a floor the party can’t go below unless something massive happens in politics. Lib Dems shifting across can raise that floor for a generation. (voting Lib Dem turned out to be voting for the tories after all, re-asserting the old view that lefties have to vote labour as the only left-party who can win)

With labour over 10% up on a year ago – the low hanging fruit is now all picked. And that means winning round more tories. That in turn means offering an alternative vision for government.

Attacking won’t do it. Offering an alternative will.

5. Margin4error

cloakable

despair indeed – but in the end it would have been thus with AV too. We’d all have had Labour as our second or thrd vote as a “keep the tories out” safety card. (and worse, the tories and lib dems could have become a powerful “keep the left out” block now the social democrats among lib dem supporters have all quit)

PR on the other hand – well, I guess that’s a pipe dream since Clegg sold reform (among other things) down the river.

6. Edward Carlsson Browne

#1 + 2 – To some extent, you target those voters in the same way you target Lib Dems – you put forward a left-of-centre program attacking the Tories, owning up to the mistakes of the Blair government and promising to call a halt to the marketisation of public services. That gets you inroads with those who won’t vote now, but aren’t anti-politics in general.

The other group of former Labour non-voters, working class voters who feel their concerns were ignored by the last government, are more difficult. You can make a strong case they were ignored (although that’s not to say we did nothing for them, just that constantly aiming at ‘Middle Britain’ – which by the end seemed to mean north Hampshire/south Surrey, rather than just median voters – meant we stopped talking to our base). But you can’t re-energise them by paying attention again, because they’ve stopped paying attention to politics (and started actively avoiding it) and have a million different and often imperfectly articulated concerns.

To get them back, there are only two methods with a chance of success. The first is dedicated and sustained casework from Labour councillors. The second is to win the next general election, govern in the interests of those voters and THEN go back and ask if they’ll start voting for us again.

But Blair (and to a lesser extent Brown) killed turnout in the Labour base so badly that we’ll be lucky if we get half of those disappeared voters turning out again, and even that’ll take a decade or more.

7. Mr Eugenides

Still reposting Labour Party press releases, then. Wouldn’t it save a lot of typing to just post a link to the Labour website every time?

8. Mr S. Pill

I really really wish Ed Miliband had pledged his support for workers up and down the country fighting cuts and/or worsening contract terms every day. Rather than this rather PR-speak big tent thing.

@7 You could go read another website if you prefer I suppose…

10. Praguetory

I think Ed will find that it’s voters making the choice not him. Wake me up when Miliband says something that isn’t condescending.

Here is my story on this

http://leemassey.wordpress.com/

I was a photographer at the conference.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 7

“Still reposting Labour Party press releases, then”

The OP is reporting on an announcement by a political figure. It’s called “news”. Look it up.

Mr E – you’re getting boring and repetitive. Can we see the old, intelligent self again?

Edward @ #6 – spot on.

They say that Lord Ashcroft found that Tory messaging was still seen as too negative by many voters. It was associated with ‘austerity Britain’ and a vision that focused on belt-tightening, reduced public services, falling real incomes and a harsher vision for the future.

Something in this, but I’m not convinved it’s unintentional. The Government want the mood music for the first couple of years to be about austerity and belt-tightening. That way, when (it’s actually an if, but if the economy doesn’t recover the Govt are probably doomed in any event) the economy recovers they can focus on the old “Life’s better under the Conservatives – don’t let Labour ruin it.”

Worked for Uncle Harold.

Oh, and I’m reasonably sure it’s ‘poring over’ Lord Ashcroft’s research. Too damp otherwise.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Ed Miliband: It is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters http://bit.ly/lePpCN

  2. Sunder Katwala

    RT @libcon: Ed Miliband: It is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters http://bit.ly/lePpCN

  3. sunny hundal

    In a speech to Progress conference today, @Ed_Miliband will say it is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters http://bit.ly/lePpCN #PAC11

  4. DaveHill

    Labour strategists have also been reading Lord Ashcroft's polling & think party needs an optimistic message http://bit.ly/lePpCN #PAC11

  5. Anthony Painter

    Who is advocating that Labour chooses between Lib Dem and Tory votes? And how silly to so define any voter. http://t.co/cSr1pdr

  6. Sean Gittins

    Labour strategists have also been reading Lord Ashcroft's polling & think party needs an optimistic message http://bit.ly/lePpCN #PAC11

  7. Katherine Mitchell

    In a speech to Progress conference today, @Ed_Miliband will say it is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters http://bit.ly/lePpCN #PAC11

  8. Tom Skinner

    In a speech to Progress conference today, @Ed_Miliband will say it is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters http://bit.ly/lePpCN #PAC11

  9. Naadir Jeewa

    Reading: Ed Miliband: It is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters: In a speech today at the annual Progress… http://bit.ly/igghQY

  10. Lindsay Ciani

    Ed Miliband: It is not a choice between Libdem OR Tory voters … http://bit.ly/kj23aq

  11. Growing tensions over the NHS, Obama’s in town, and the Big Society re-launches (again): round up of political blogs for 21 – 27 May | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    […] Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy previews Ed Miliband’s speech to the annual Progress conference, where he will say that Labour cannot no longer chase either Liberal Democrat or Conservative voters; they must look for both. […]





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