What voters really think of Labour

10:17 am - November 21st 2012

by Don Paskini    

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Lord Ashcroft has published some new polling research about public perceptions of the Labour Party. He argues that to win the next election, Ed Miliband needs to make clear to his supporters that there will be no return to the days of lavish spending, or fight an election knowing that most voters do not believe Labour have learned their lessons, and that many of his potential voters fear Labour would once again borrow and spend more than the country can afford.

I think the most interesting bit of the research, though, is about what people in focus groups say about recent political developments.

Firstly, a few focus group participants had registered Miliband’s conference speech. His being the son of immigrants was the fact that had made the most impact, and was not always regarded in an entirely positive light.

One ‘Labour considerer’ in Nuneaton noted, ‘He said recently he was over here because his parents were immigrants, and I wasn’t sure about that’, while another was reassured that ‘at least [his family] weren’t gypsies. Or one of those people who make bombs’.

In contrast, only a handful of participants had noted that Miliband had announced that Labour was a ‘One Nation’ party, and they had no idea what he meant by this, except that it might be about keeping the UK together rather than letting Scotland become independent.

Apart from Ed Miliband, the only other Labour politicians who were mentioned by more than one focus group member were Ed Balls (mixed views) and Andy Burnham (popular in the North West).

Best of all, though, was the response by someone in Thurrock who had switched to Labour since 2010, when asked to name some prominent Labour politicians:

“Michael Foot. No, I’m thinking of Heseltine. And there’s Galloway”.

Now that really is One Nation Labour – the party of Michael Heseltine and George Galloway.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Labour party ,Libdems

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Reader comments

1. ex-Labour voter

It only goes to show how careful you need to be with opinion polls and focus groups. New Labour often managed to pass off its policies as ‘public opinion’.

Here’s Tony Blair on the subject:

“Then there was Philip Gould and his focus groups…but I used to laugh at how extraordinary the confluence was between his own views and what the (focus) groups seemed to be saying.”

Tony Blair, “A Journey” p298.

Lord Ashcroft,a Tory Donor commissions a Poll.A bit like saying IDS loves the Poor.

The reason the LibDems did so badly in Corby,is because people see only a cigarette paper width difference with the Tory Party.

If,has some have suggested,it was all about Europe.Why did Ukip not do even better.Labour romped home because people know,that Clegg,IDS,Cameron et al are no more than Propagandists.

The bigger the lie,the more its believed. By Joseph Goebbels

It wouldn’t do them any harm if they were to ‘focus’ on their core vote and the millions who have deserted them since Blair.
Whilst ruminating on such policies as might actually improve their lives instead of those of bankers, perhaps they could have a wee look at introducing democracy into the UK – just a thought?
Perhaps, by controlling the egotism and self absorption of their M.P.s they might just improve voters’ trust in them, then again there’s the damage that corporate lobbying has done and the vested interests that seem to accompany a political career.

These responses to be featured in Private Eye’s “Dumb Britain”.

The interesting thing in this study is of course looking at those people who didn’t vote Labour in 2010 but say the would if there was an election tomorrow. (“Labour Joiners”)

This is the bit that matters most in terms of a study right now for two reasons. One is that they make up one in six of all voters, which is lots. The other is that these people have changed to labour in the real world.

That second bit is important when compared to “considerers” who would “consider” voting labgour under an unspecified condition in future. That condition might thus range from the entirely plausible (Ed Miliband proves his leadership credentials – Labour reasure them they won’t over spend – etc) to the entirely implausible (the Tories start goose-stepping and rounding up jews – Labour promise to join the Euro – Ed Miliband is replaced as leader by Jessica Ennis).

So what did the “Joiners” say made them think Labour were the choice for them now?

According to the report three things were prevelent.

1 – Labour seemed to be on the side of people like them (them, being the person being surveyed).
2 – Labour are better at generating growth and jobs than the Tories and Lib Dems
3 – They were reasured Labour would not over-spend if they won.

Those three messages are thus probably a good place for Labour to stick with. That is especially so given that “joiners” report that they feel Labour has learned lessons from their mistakes in office (labour loyalists largely reported that they were not to blame for the economic problems we face now – joiners see it differently).

If Labour takes that on board, then the three key essages above, emphasised through policy proposals and repetition may see the party win around more “joiners” to their cause.

Might it not be an idea, were they to attempt to reconnect with their core voters, those who have deserted them in their millions?
Perhaps the opportunity to formulate policy that could enhance their lives instead of such that has enriched the bankers, the City and the privatised fat cats?
Whilst ruminating on that, could someone spare a thought to introducing meaningful democracy into the UK?
Perhaps we could make a start by shoe-horning the Labour old lags like the Kinnocks, Prestcott and Reid etc out of their comfortable sinecures?
OK – that’s a crazy thought I know.
Maybe a small step then, how about ending the corruption of corporate lobbying, re-directing M.Ps away from the trough of taxpayer largesse and re-introducing them to the world their constituents occupy?
OK – that’s not going to happen either is it?

Ah well I suppose we will just have to put up with the same old moribund merry-go-round of buggins’turn next.

Our family’s love affair with the Labour Party lasted from Keir Hardie in 1900 to Blair in ’98 and there is absolutely no sign that it’s going to be re-kindled any time soon.
Like the Tories and the Limp Damps they’re basically a waste of functioning organs.

Barrie J

What makes you think Tony Blair’s lost 5 million were “core” support?

Labour won a landlside in 1997 by winning around a lot of non-core suppport. As such it seems entirely plausible that this more mobile voter base was what Labour lost over subsequent elections – especially those who perhaps trusted Blair or felt reasured by his outlook at the head of a party they might otherwise not be inclined to vote for. His personal ratings slide around the Iraq war, and the passing of power to a thoroughly unlikeable Gordon Brown, presumably hit that part of Tony Blair’s voter base pretty hard.

Also – Labour didn’t lose many seats in which there is a strong traditional working class. As such it seemed to hold its core support fairly well. It lost lots of seats though, in areas where the voter base was broader and more middle class. Extra seats in East Ham or Manchester Central won’t much help win the next election. Extra votes in places like Harlow and Corby will. And that’s not going to be a big traditional labour vote that suddenly emerges from nowhere.

@4 Cherub

Is it possible to build an informative focus group out of “Dumb Britain” candidates? the biggest risk in focus groups as a methodology is sampling bias. Mr Ashcroft’s survey does not detail the quantity of people in the focus group survey, nor how the group were fairly selected.

@8 an exit poll at TKMaxx?

I’m pretty sure that people switched to Lib-dems in the last election, because they were sick of New Labour authoritarianism. Thats why i switched to Lib-dems. But they have been a huge disappointment.

At the next election, i think people will vote Labour to keep the Tories out, rather than because they like Labour polices. David Cameron seems to be disliked, even more than Thatcher. But at least she had a lot of loyal supporters.

A lot of Conservative voters have also gone over to UKIP. The EU has always been a big problem for the Tories.

Whatever, austerity should not fall on the shoulders of those least able to cope with it.

Also – Labour didn’t lose many seats in which there was a strong traditional working-class.

They probably didn’t but that’s because many in those seats are traditional Labour voters who would not vote for another party so they abstained, look around South and West Yorkshire, in fact, Ed Monly managed to attract about a thousand votes more than Galloway in the Bradford West by-election last year.

Labour have become complacent about the constituencies which hold their traditional core vote because they have relied upon the loyalty of voters.

I predict that the next general election will show a decrease in overall turnout compared to 2010, and that usually favours the tories.

Nothing about bringing back TB as leader? He has said that he is looking for another big job after that role as Middle East peace envoy went up the proverbial.

13. margin4error


2 things

1 – did turnout drop signifricantly in traditional Labour seats? That seems not to have been the case in traditional Labour areas of London where places like East and West Ham saw MPs like Lyn Brown increase their majority. Maybe it was in places like Manchester – but even if it was – that suggests that Labour doesn’t need those votes to win an election.

2 – why do you think turnout will fall? It has risen in the last two elections – and tends to rise when there is a real contest (hence the very low level in 2001). Are you sugesting the next election won’t be close?


Turnout in South and West Yorkshire has decreased and it appears to be by the number of votes that Labour have lost since 1997.

IMO, it is also significant that 2001 marked the lowest turnout since 1945 (59.4), and for me this represents the effect of Blairism, although the following elections marked a rise into the mid 60% which could or could not be the effect of the lib-dems.

The current coalition has shown that the lib-dems are no different to the tories, as did new labour before it, I would suggest that many British people feel that wherever they put their cross the results will be the same.

Unfortunately, your observation that labour doesn’t need those votes to win the election is symptomatic of the general position of new/newer labour, even after the results in Bradford West. The question is – how long will the loyal voters (both those who vote and those who abstain) continue to enable labour to win those seats?

Even with my biggest ear trumpet and tickest spectacles, I’ve not detected any clarion calls for the return of TB.

16. margin4error


So if it is true that Labour have seen turnouts fall in nothern heartlands, but not in london heartlands – that suggests that perhaps there is no general problem across the core support but a specific problem with part of it.

For now lets overlook that Labour can afford to be complacent about this as it chases floating voters to actually win the election. Instead lets ponder two possible illustrations of why this disparity in core support trends has happened.

One may be the classic central-exteria tension that happens in politics. Politics happens in London and the accents of the political establishment (press in particular) are probably more common in London than in places like South Yorkshire. So a sense that politics is “not for or about people like me” is probably stronger in South Yorkshire than in London. That is probably reinforced by parachute candidates. A place like doncaster has a specific identity and people life their lives there day after day. That’s not true of London constituencies, with people’s homes, jobs, hospitals, schools and shops being in different constituencies. So an “outsider” dropped in would disenchant more strongly in Doncaster than in East Ham.

Another though, may reflect real differences in policy opinions between working class London and working class yorkshire.

For example – the economist reported in June that 70% of White British-born Britons want less immigration to the UK – but in London fewer than half do. This is not surprising. Two thirds of all immigrants live in london, so us londoners are more likely to be married to immigrants, colleagues with immigrants and friends with immigrants than people in the rest of the country are, and so are more likely to have a personal positive experience of immigration than most of the country.

With Labour generally seen as more pro-immigrant than the Tories, this may play well to working class London but not to working class doncaster. (I’m illustrating here, I have no figures for Doncaster on views about foreigners, and I’m not attempting to labour the rest of England outside London anti-immigrant.)

If these factors are real, then Labour has a real problem ahead. It is unlikely to ever have the power to get more people from every local area into political punditry positions across the whole news media, or to make Doncaster (as an illustration) closer to London.

As such Labour’s core support is set to die away and it needs to reach out to other voters to remain relevent.

I’m naturally sceptical about any extrapolations from Yorkshire, especially South Yorkshire, because of unique political factors there.

There were likely to be very different political pressures relating to the parachuting into safe S Yorkshire seats of, say, Denis MacShane (Rotherham) or Ed Miliband (Doncaster) or Dan Javis (Barnsley) than for the adoption of Rachel Reeves by Leeds West.

There’s a long tradition in Leeds constituencies of selecting exceptional Labour candidates for safe seats – Hugh Gaitskell and Denis Healey both served as Leeds MPs. Note the common link of HM Treasury expertise among those Leeds MPs.

In Orwell’s reasearch diary for the book that became: The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), he refers to “internecine hatred between various Yorkshire towns”.

I doubt much has changed about that.


You may well have a good point about the cultural differences between South and West Yorkshire and the London constituencies, although both Tony Benn and Tony Blair were parachuted-in to Chesterfield and Sedgely and appeared to increase the labour vote.

But I am not comparing South and West Yorkshire with London, I am comparing the steady decrease in one area, and though parachuting in candidates might put-off a few, there is no chance that it would make such a big impact, people voted labour rather than for any individual because that is /was the culture of the area. In fact it’s jokingly said that in Barnsley, labour could put a monkey up for election and it would win.

I’m not that sure that canvassing a population which has a large number of immigrants is going to reflect an anti-immigration view. I’m certain that if we canvassed the people of South and West Yorkshire, they would be in favour of re-opening the coal mines.

I’ve just had a quick look at voting turn-out and note that in the last general election Barnsley 56.48, Doncaster 57.20 and 57.87 compared to (what I believe are poorer areas of London) Hackney South 58.84 and Tottenham 59.11, not that much difference. Areas such as Islington have a much greater turnout.

For labour to remain relevant it needs to have clear blue water between it and the other two main parties, at present, they all appear to be the same, and that’s what has lost labour their voters.

In nationwide county council elections in 1977, the Labour Party was almost wiped out except in one of the Glamorgan countries in South Wales and in South Yorkshire. The Conservatives even gained control of West Yorkshire.

Speaking with officials from West Yorkshire, the interesting internal contest in the council there was over whether Bradford Conservatives or the Leeds Conservatives would end up controlling the West Yorkshire Conservative group. This offers illuminating insights into Yorkshire politics – and should ring alarm bells as to what could happen with regional devolution in England. With tight party discipline, a regional government could end up being run by a small minority motivated by parochial loyalty.

Eric Pickles was leader of Bradford city council for many years so readers can gain some insight into the flavour of Bradford Conservatives.


I would imagine that Sheffield in the 1930s was a massive culture shock to an old Etonian such as Orwell/Blair, thankfully, Sheffield’s slum clearance programme after WW2, and the general redevelopment in the 60s and 70s, have changed it beyond recognition.


For me, Pickles is primarily a tory, Bradford or Brighton, they’re all the same.

21. margin4error


I think you may have misunderstood my comments about parachute candidates. I was just highlighting that it may be an example of something that makes politics seem remote and not “for people like us” in places with strong identities like Rotherham or Barnsley – but which would not much matter in London where people have little affiliation to the rather random and tightly packed constituency boundaries they happen to live within.

On the immigrant stat – I’m not sure what you mean. As I said, London’s British born population tends to be more pro immigrant than the country as a whole because London has a lot of immigrants, and so we are more likely to marry them or be friends with them and so on. Hence my point about Labour perhaps keeping up support in London because it is the less anti-immigrant of the two main partis – while that may lose them votes in other heartland places (South Yorkshire possibly, though I don’t know in any detail).

In terms of specific constituency turnouts – it can be pretty hard to generalise – but certainly in places like East ham and West Ham – labour heartland seats – turnouts rose dramatically in 2010. They also saw majorities of over 20,000. Tottenham saw a Labour majority of 17,000 even off a relatively low turnout compared to the national average. Barnsley Central and Doncaster on the other hand, had majorities of only 11,000 and Doncaster only 6,000. So perhaps Labour is losing Northern core votes but not London ones.

I agree that Labour do of course need to differentiate from the other parties. Trouble is, differentiate how? Differentiating with the aim of shoring up votes in Doncaster would be counter-productive if it cost votes in Harlow. Likewise it may be that policies that win core voters back in Barnsley would lose core voters in East Ham.

Fortunately the study this article is about offers some indication of the right path. Offer an alternative economic programme focused on delivering growth through investment – reassert fiscal rules on spending to ensure people trust the party with the public purse again – and channel some of the anger at banks or rich people getting tax cuts into something productive like policies to redress the balance.

22. margin4error


I know very little about Bradford, or about Pickles in any meaningful way. But I have to say I have dealt with Ms Reeves a little over the last year and I find her to be one of the most capable and conciencious people in politics.

22 M4E

I’m totally unsurprised by your assessment of Ms Reeves. Her elevation in the shadow Treasury ranks has been swift so we must conclude that her constituents in Leeds have made another wise choice.

For reasons of political pathology, I must urge you to pay more attention to the saying and doings of Eric Pickles. What I find so fascinating is all that stuff about more Localism while local government options are being ever more tightly constrained by central government and Cameron is now proposing to truncate irritating appeal procedures against central government planning decisions while saying that what we need is less government interference.

I’m reminded of Orwellian Doublethink in 1984: The intellectual capacity to hold two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accept both of them as true.

Does Conservative Central Office sponsor short instruction courses in Doublethink for ministers?

Fools. Why the hell should anyone with half a brain engage with a system that only listens to bigots, idiots and insiders?

By sucking up to the least of us, this system disenfranchises the intelligent and glorifies folly. We already know that spending cuts make the situation worse, because Osborne has tried it. We want someone who will do things differently, for instance cracking down on high level tax avoidance. That’ll raise a few bucks.


Although it is necessary to appeal to voters in all constituencies, neglecting core voters in safe seats is short sighted, every constituency is counted and labour have won because of the safe seats.

But as I have mentioned on more than one occasion, labour cannot rely on the loyal voters forever, Bradford West should have been a wake-up call. And I’m not that sure the working-class in London are that much different to those in South and West Yorkshire on the matter of economic survival.


Yep, white man speaks with fork tongue.

Two generalise an entire poll, based on the opinions of 2 people is folly to the most extreme. Ashcroft conducts very good polls widely respected by all parties and we should accept that. Labour needs to win the next election and that means winning in places like Nuneaton. I am surprised that somebody would attempt to suggest that the whole poll was a nonsense because of the views of 2 people out of thousands.

28. margin4error


The fun one with Pickles, and he’s not alone, has been his criticism of councils who invested a lot of money in new office buildings to bring all their staff under one roof and let go of old and costly-to-run buildings dotted around their boroughs.

These moves have typically saved several million pounds in each council that has done it. But he tends to attack the headline cost of the building anyway, so long as it isn’t a Tory council (Barnet, for example, did something similar but he never attacks them for it).

So I’ll try to pay a little more attention to the glutonous one at DCLG in future.

29. margin4error


But the thing about safe seats is that they are safe. Labour won’t lose Doncaster or East Ham at the next election. So it can ignore them both while it tries to win Harlow and kep Corby.

That isn’t to say it is morally right to ignore one’s base. Labour absolutely should break down its horrendous middle class nepotism and start hiring good working class MPs and central office staff who reflect the lives most of us live. Having the party run and staffed by people who have worked their entire adult lives in the political bubble is unhealthy – and their resulting centralised outlook means they don’t learn good policy lessons from innovative places like Merseyside or Cardiff.

However, Labour seems to have a different problem with one part of the core to a different part of the core. East Ham might be pro-immigrant while Doncaster anti-immigrant. Doncaster might want support for heavy industry while East Ham wants backing for small businesses.

Pretending Labour has a core vote, rather than several core votes, won’t help keep the core turning out or help labour win votes outside of its heartlands.

Labour had always been able to appeal to the working-class, whether it was supporting heavy industry in the north/London or those in the public sector including teachers and NHS workers. The north/south divide, from the ‘old labour’ perspective did not exist, only the working-class. And this is really why labour now have a conflict of interests, they have changed their direction and are/have attempted to embrace a class which sits in a different class position.

It isn’t so much about being morally wrong it’s about deciding who you are going to represent, running with the fox and chasing with the hounds will eventually be a race to nowhere.

Whether accepted or not, Orwell in his essay on: North and South, offers interesting insights from his perception of the differences

“There exists in England a curious cult of Northerness, sort of Northern snobbishness. A Yorkshireman in the South will always take care to let you know that he regards you as an inferior. If you ask him why, he will explain that it is only in the North that life is ‘real’ life, that the industrial work done in the North is the only ‘real’ work,
that the North is inhabited by ‘real’ people, the South merely by rentiers and their parasites. The Northerner has ‘grit’, he is grim, ‘dour’, plucky, warm-hearted, and democratic; the Southerner is snobbish, effeminate, and lazy–that at any rate is the theory. Hence the Southerner goes north, at any rate for the first time, with the vague inferiority-complex of a civilized man venturing among savages, while the Yorkshireman, like the Scotchman, comes to London in the spirit of a barbarian out for loot.”

With much, much more, as they say in the adverts.

One reason that turnout increased in 2010 was taht core labour voters who’d stayed at home since 1997 ,cam e out as as much as they disliked labour they didn’t want the tories to win, as seen by the low turnouts in 2001 and 2005,

Thurrock was a constituency where Labour had a worse result in 1987 than 83 (due to the so called Loony left of London labour councils) when the toires won with a majority of 500,and labour only lost to the tories in 2010 with a majority of 88,

33. margin4error


I like that line about the hounds and fox. I’m definately using that in future.

As I say, I think the working class is more split than it once was. And I suspect there is a geographical split too, though that’s unlikely to be the only split. So what is good representation of the working class in one place may be bad representation of the working class some where else. I suspect my London-immigration illustration is a fair example of this. But I don’t mean to suggest it would be the only one.

That being the case, Labour needs to be more diverse itself. It does have to appeal wider than the traditional labour vote. If it fails to it will lose elections and the Tories will dominate politics again. And no one wants that.

The issue of politics not looking or sounding like something for normal working people is a problem and needs addressing quite aside from that. Labour central office is staffed by people who are “good labour people” in that they are well trusted (well known by) Labour bigwigs. But that reflects a very centralised and increasingly middle class upper eschelon to Labour which takes university degrees and masters degrees as normal. Greater diversity among the working class requires Labour to be more diverse as a Parliamentary Party. And it is becoming less and less diverse.

So we need to seperate out the cause of winning an election from that of Labour better representing its heartlands. As I say, Harlow is more important than Manchester Central at any given election. Because it is presently not Labour but could reasonably become Labour. And as such people there impact on election success. People in Manchester Central don’t.

34. margin4error


An election that represents a real contest does indeed impact on turnout like that. Which in many ways serves as something of a mandate for a more proportional system. But until that changes it is hard to ignore that even with falling voter numbers, Labour will win its heartlands and so needs to focus on what wins elsehwere.

35. margin4error

Bob B

Love the passage you posted. Not sure my experience of the North matches it exactly, but there is definately a sense of northerness that the wider South doesn’t share. Oddly though, London is many places, and the mentality of those in the East is very different to those in the west.

This is Labour heartland here. The vote was in freefall. No Tory votes just abstentions.

It is a mistake to think there is no core Labour vote in non Labour heartlands.

This is part of the Milliband challenge even though the ConDems are doing their best to help.

37. margin4error


Where is “here?”

Not that I disagree. Plenty of working class people live all over the place. But their outlook varies from place to place and their numbers do too. Which makes winning in many places somewhat dependent on widening Labour’s appeal.


The problem is that not enough labour voters came out to vote in 2010 and that has become a recurring problem.

Labour are indeed ignoring seats such as Manchester Central in order to chase constituencies such as Harlow, but what happens when Manchester Central falls to another party, and believe me, it will happen.

I also wonder what you mean by asserting that some people (you have mentioned Doncaster in a previous post) don’t think politics is for them. You really need to look up the history of the areas you are making this comment about and, more importantly, the history of the labour party because its’ (labour party) position, as a political party, is owed in a great part to Bradford and Doncaster. My own view is that those areas where the labour vote is decreasing are well aware of politics, abstention is the only protest vote they are able to give in a representative democracy.

I would also like you to explain what issues the working-class of Harlow have which the working-class of Manchester do not.

39. Derek Hattons Tailor

I voted nulabour twice. I stopped voting nulabour for 3 main reasons

The smoking ban

A labour Minister on the radio claiming that government had a legitimate role in the family

Endless “reform” of the public services which translated into trashing some of our most effective institutions and irreversibly compromising democracy

I would not vote labour again as long as Balls, Cooper and Harman are in the party
For what it’s worth I think concepts such as heartlands, core supporters and class based voting are outdated. Everyone who votes (and that itself is a shrinking demographic) is a floating voter.

40. margin4error


I’ll refrain from pointing out the absurdity of non-labour voters counting as labour voters in your response to #32. Instead I’ll suggest only that in theory all people are labour voters if Labour does the right things to attract them. (As Blair once joked, he was confronted once by a Labour man for trying to convince Tory voters to vote for Labour – which is clearly nuts).

in your response to 33 – Labour are less likely to lose Manchester Central (which they never lose) than Harlow (which it lost in 2010).

And in terms of politics not being for “people like us” – it is a simple reference to falling turnouts and reported disenchantment with politics across the country among the working classes. A key factor in this is the constant message, subtle and unintended as it may be, that politics isn’t done by people like them. (a message not least resulting from the suited-and-booted upper-middle class nature of the Labour Party’s leadership)

And I don’t know much about Harlow. Been there once or twice in my life, but not as often or as recently as Manchester. I highlighted it as a valuable swing constituency because Sadiq Khan has tended to highlight it as the sort of place Labour needs to win back, since Labour took the council in the Spring.

But in terms of the differences, I can imagine a number of differences in outlook between a small comuter town and a large de-industrialising city. And my mention of London’s views on immigration was a useful demonstration of how Labour’s core may differ from place to place.

41. margin4error


You are just wrong. Heartlands, core supporters and class based voting are not outdated. Heartlands clearly exist (look at the never-changing map of constituency colours across the country). Class-based voting is weaker than it once was, and may weaken further, but remains right now the the single biggest correlation in voting trends. And core supporters are crucial as they are a party’s troops on the ground (delivering leaflets, paying subs, etc).


But you are failing to even acknowledge or even contemplate that disenchantment with politics might be that voters do not see any separation between the three main parties. Of course, I cannot absolutely classify non-votes in the way that actual votes can be analysed but, there is a correlation between the votes that labour have received over the last three elections and the diminishing turn-out in labour heartlands in most northern constituencies. This should flag-up warning signs. It appears to me that you are holding your hands to your ears.

You are also being drawn into looking at the differences (or perceived differences) between voters in different areas of the country. You need to remember that government policy has to address all, you need also to acknowledge that it has never been a problem for labour in the past. The real problem here is stereotyping and the imagined rather than real difference between voters of the north and south. If you are representative of current labour dogma, and imo, labour, have been captured by a focus on London and the home counties, then your notion that people in the north believe that ‘politics is not for us’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Since Blair, labour appear to have attempted to separate themselves from the old heavy industries such as mining, steel and the dockers, but it might surprise you to know that there is very little left of those industries in the north. Instead there has been an increase in the public sector workforce from highly qualified professionals to unskilled labour, all ‘old labour’ voters, and I would suspect that it is mainly this demographic who gave the lib-dems their support.

And as far as immigration goes, you will find that it is usually in times of high unemployment that focus is placed on immigration. And, imo, is fueled by the right-wing press, it’s a distraction to the real causes of economic depression.

there’s been 8 government’s lose by-elections and be re -elected since the war, there’s only been 7 governments lose by elections and then consequentially lose the next election ,and only 2 governments since the war not lose by elections, (Blair in 1997-2001 and Churchill in 1951-1951) and they both were re elected


And your point is?

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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    What voters really think of Labour http://t.co/2Xu0toZ8

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    Liberal Conspiracy – What voters really think of Labour http://t.co/VCXJ8qPE

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    What voters really think of Labour | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/zVpjjSDE via @libcon

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    Just in case you think voters are consistent or pay much attention to national politics… http://t.co/lOuCJH0H

  9. Gods & Monsters

    Focus group LOLs RT @sunny_hundal Just in case you think voters are consistent/pay much attention to national politics http://t.co/9vkr3pSV

  10. Lee Hyde

    Just in case you think voters are consistent or pay much attention to national politics… http://t.co/lOuCJH0H

  11. Dick Puddlecote

    Why politicians are pretty pointless and should probably shut the fuck up and go eat bugs in a jungle http://t.co/mrByf9Q9 #Irrelevant

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