Recent Labour party Articles
by Mike Giles
Tomorrow the Tory-led government’s fourth Queens Speech is being formally announced, and it appears they are adopting a more right-wing approach.
Out are policies on helping the world’s poorest (commitment to spend 0.7% of government income on overseas aid), on reducing the number of deaths from drinking (minimum alcohol pricing), on cutting the number of new young smokers (cigarette packet branding) and on ensuring safety in the workplace (new exemptions for employers from health and safety rules).
Instead, expect policies to ‘toughen up’ on social security and immigration, in addition to appeals to traditional Tory voters such as the elderly with increases to social care and pensions spending.
Labour must not stand on the sidelines while this Coalition circus continues. A major part of this involves developing new ideas which will feed into Jon Cruddas’ policy review and form part of the next manifesto.
An alternative Queens Speech focussed on the economy has already been trailed by Ed Miliband, and much of this is positive – such as introducing a Mansion Tax on homes over £2 million; giving communities the power to reject certain shops from their high streets; and greater help to households with their energy bills.
Our new pamphlet ‘One Nation, One World’, which has been launched today offers some ideas. Here are five of the recommendations:
1) The Council Tax regime is becoming increasingly discredited and often hits the poorest hardest (particularly following the 10% funding cut from the Coalition government). Henry Law of the Land Value Taxation Campaign argues that introducing a Land Value Tax can reduce costs for average families and improve the economy.
2) Prisoner re-offending is far too high and the system itself plays a part in this. While the Justice Secretary focuses on gimmicks such as restricting television in prison, Dave Nicholson of Ex-Cell argues that we need a system of ‘prisoner-led cooperatives’ which encourage work behind bars. Such an approach has already proved successful in rehabilitating offenders in Italy.
3) The criminal justice system is costly and ineffective and a different approach is required to tackle low-level crime. Roma Hooper of Make Justice Work says that an approach where the default punishment is work in the community, rather than jail, can significantly cut costs, improve local communities and effectively punish those committing crime.
4) Social mobility is worsening as the gap between richest and poorest continues to widen. Labour activist Daniel Blythe says that a social security system which improves the life chances of disadvantaged children by paying one of their parents the minimum wage to stay at home to care for them can achieve greater social mobility.
5) The costs of using trains and buses are incredibly high and prices continue to rise above inflation every year. Martin Mayer of Unite believes that a genuine move to renationalisation of public transport can reduce the government subsidy of private transport companies and cut costs for consumers.
The pamphlet contains 14 policy proposals, including from Pamela Nash MP. The recommendations include ideas to reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs, to genuinely help the world’s poorest, and to give British people a decisive say in how the country is run.
Please see www.revolutionise.it for more details.
22nd November 2026
Ed Miliband’s resignation as Prime Minister, following the rejection of his controversial land value tax reforms to replace the council tax, brings to an end the ‘Miliband era’. It was greeted with jubilation in many parts of southern England, with chants of ‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, out, out, out!’ echoing round the wine bars, luxury car dealerships and estate agents of Surrey.
In assessing Miliband’s time as leader, it is important to remember the situation eleven and a half years ago when he first came to power. Having won a narrow majority in 2015 against an exhausted and discredited Conservative/Liberal coalition, he took over a country in seemingly permanent economic decline, and with few allies for his radical vision even amongst his own Cabinet.
Indeed the first three years of the Miliband government saw Labour slump into third place in the polls, behind both the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party. His early economic reforms led to a higher level of inflation that Britain had experienced in decades, and he was forced to scale back many of his plans after threats of an ‘investor strike’ from the powerful financial sector. Some in his Cabinet even urged him to step aside in favour of former leader Tony Blair.
Miliband’s decision to oppose the war on Iran is often cited as a turning point in his first term. Skilfully taking advantage of the diplomatic opportunity to broker a peace deal, he drew a sharp contrast with the pro-war right wing parties, which badly misjudged the public mood with their bloodthirsty rhetoric. The decision of James Murdoch to close the loss-making Sun and Times newspapers later that year, and the curbs on the Daily Mail imposed by the 2016 Press Freedom Act drastically weakened the right wing press’ criticisms of Miliband’s government, and the split between the Tories and UKIP proved catastrophic for the electoral fortunes of the Right.
But it was not just the weakness of his opponents which led to the Miliband landslide of 2020. With unemployment falling sharply, many workers benefiting from higher real wages due to the expansion of the living wage, the building boom of new council and co-operative homes cutting the cost of housing, and new local banks supporting the development of small businesses, many in the ‘squeezed middle’ felt less squeezed by the end of the decade.
It was in his second term that Miliband gained a reputation for the ruthless way that he went about destroying the pillars of the right wing establishment. The number of buy to let landlords had already started to fall, as more people were able to buy, rent from the council or join a co-operative to get their home. Landlords complained about tough new regulations and falling levels of housing benefit payments. In the ground-breaking Budget of 2021, punitive new taxes on multiple home ownership effectively made buy to let economically unviable.
With billions flowing to the Treasury from the renewable energy boom, vindicating Miliband’s investment in green industries, he was able to turn his attention to the ‘Enemy Within’ of the City of London. His Financial Transactions Tax, new regulatory regime and work with other governments to crack down on tax havens and speculation were bitterly opposed by the financial sector and their remaining allies.
Overall, the collapse of the City of London caused by Miliband’s war on predatory capitalism affected very few people. Most people, particularly in the Midlands and North, benefited from the rising share of national income that went to wages rather than profits, and the explicit focus on full employment as the main goal of economic policy.
It is important to remember, however, that the PM who came to power promising ‘One Nation’ presided over decline of towns in the Home Counties dependent on the City of London. The brutal police response to the notorious ‘stockbroker riots’ of 2023 in Beaconsfield and Haslemere reinforced the notion of a divided Britain with a prosperous North and impoverished South.
As Miliband approached his tenth anniversary in power, he became increasingly dogmatic and unwilling to compromise. The mutualisation of the railways failed to improve the quality of service from the old days of Virgin Trains, and he was embroiled in scandal after the arrest of several members of the ‘Primrose Hill set’ over price fixing in the solar power industry.
Despite the return of Nick Clegg from the European Commission to lead the new ‘Progressive Conservative’ party and the decline of UKIP, Miliband was easily re-elected for a third term in office in 2025. At that time, little attention was paid to the section in the Labour manifesto about the need to reform the council tax system. How ironic that, just like another long serving Prime Minister, it would be local government finance that brought an end to his career.
Labour has just announced what they are calling a ‘radical shift’ to welfare payments. They want ‘a return to the contributory principles of Beveridge’, where what you get out of the welfare state should be based on what you put in. This is possibly not what lefties had in mind when urging Labour to rediscover the ‘Spirit of 45′, but let’s explore further what this might mean.
Labour haven’t yet explained what ‘the contributory principle’ would mean in practice, though the IPPR think tank have previously suggested ‘National Salary Insurance’, where people who have paid taxes before becoming unemployed would be entitled to receive interest free loans from the government, which they pay back when they get a job.
The idea behind ‘the contributory principle’ where ‘you get out what you put in’ sees the welfare state as a kind of insurance system. It is intended to appeal to people who, in Labour minister Liam Byrne’s words, ‘feel like they put an awful lot more in than they get back’. It appears that by ‘contribution’, Labour means ‘pay national insurance’. In practice, this means a welfare system which provides greater financial support for men, older people and able bodied people, and less support for women, young people and disabled people (as the former are all much more likely to have paid national insurance before needing support from the welfare state).
This seems to me to be a very limited view of what it means to ‘contribute’ to society. It doesn’t recognise parents who work hard to give their children the best start in life, people who spend their time caring for others rather than in paid employment, or the person who is too sick or disabled to hold down a job. It is not obviously ‘fair’, for example, that a millionaire ex-banker who loses their job should be deemed to have contributed more and receive more help from the state than someone who doesn’t work because they are caring for their severely disabled children.
Even on the narrow measure of ‘contribution to government revenues’, it is hard to see why the only measure should be national insurance payments. To take just one example from one of the best parts of the modern welfare state, someone with severe mental health problems who attends a peer support group and helps others to manage their condition might end up saving the taxpayer tens of thousands in reduced social care costs through their contribution to the wellbeing of others, even if they’ve never paid a penny in national insurance.
So as Labour develops their ideas about ‘contributory welfare’, rather than being transactional and focused on one particular measure, it should recognise all the different ways in which people contribute.
Another concern about ‘the contributory principle’ as it is currently described is that it aims to answer the question ‘how can we identify who the contributors are, so as to be able to pay them more in welfare payments than the non-contributors?’ Instead, I think that ‘contributory welfare’ should be about making changes to the system so as to answer the question ‘how do we enable people to contribute more to society, and to live with dignity?’
Answering that question necessarily goes beyond the issue of welfare payments and helps to shape decisions about spending priorities across a much wider range of areas, from support for childcare, primary and secondary education, job creation and so on. Rather than dividing people into those who contribute and those who do not, it recognises that we all have the potential, with help at the right times, to contribute more and help each other. For some, that support comes from universal services such as primary and secondary education. For others, it might mean financial help when out of work, alongside advice to help get a job. For others still, it might involve prompt, targeted interventions such as reducing domestic abuse by working with perpetrators.
Rather than looking back to try to recreate an insurance system from the 1940s, I think there is a real opportunity here. The definition of what ‘contribution to society’ should mean is, to paraphrase Ed Miliband, too important to be left to politicians and people who work for think tanks. Labour could bring together people from all walks of life to discuss and come up with proposals about the different ways in which people in modern Britain contribute to society, and come up with a report what kinds of support they need in order to be able to contribute more.
Rising house prices used to make cheery headlines in the papers. It was associated with economic success. We were all getting richer. If people can afford to pay more and more for houses, then the economy must be getting bigger and bigger.
In truth, the rise in house prices had just as much to do with the easy availability of mortgages, which created an “effective demand”.
As a youngster, I remember how people’s excitement of buying their own council flat infected everyone else. Aspiration amongst the working population must be one of the most important factors to a thriving economy, and it was very much instilled in the east enders in the ‘80s. This is how Thatcher won.
Today we hear commentators speak of the “lack of animal spirits”, referring to an economy which is moribund. Few people are investing lavishly. Few new enterprises are born from a sketch on the back of a beer mat. There’s a general lack of excitement, of inspiration.
The problem is that if we want to fix the problem of over-valued houses, then we would need to supply enough new homes to cause house prices to fall. However, deflation would stop developers buying land for fear of losses through falling prices. House price deflation would effect consumer spending. If people believe they are getting poorer in their assets they will avoid splashing out. How many politicians would choose policies that would have such an effect?
George Osborne must have considered these issues, when he chose to support the buyers, rather than the builders, of new homes. Such is his largesse that his subsidy will include houses up to a value of £600,000. So much for first time buyers.
The problem for the Tories is that they will only look at one section of the housing stock. When considering the solution, it helps to see housing as two separate stocks, with two separate economies. Private housing with it’s market economy, and social housing with it’s demand economy. They are both effected by supply and demand but in different ways. A lack of supply increases prices in the private stock, and waiting lists in the social stock.
The solution is to greatly expand the social because this can increase the amount of available housing without effecting the value of private homes, as social housing doesn’t compete with owner occupation. It would likely bring down private rents but we’re not so concerned about that, because falling rent puts money directly into the pockets of tenants, so the economic effect of rent deflation is more than mitigated.
A dramatic increase in the stock of social housing is an existing policy of Labour. Ed Balls proposes to build 100,000 new homes by providing 20% deposits to Housing Associations, who would raise the rest on the capital markets, using a business plan that combines homes for sale with not-for-profit rent. However, he should probably consider a figure closer to 300,000+ if he really wants to make an impact.
He should also make it his business to sell the economic argument for a greater expansion of social housing to the wider electorate, with a particular emphasis on the likely lower rents, as this provides a benefit to those who haven’t had the good fortune to get a social home themselves.
So it’s not just units that Mr Balls must contend with. He should also turn around the sorry reputation that social housing has developed from past mistakes. That makes a whole other challenge.
Ed Miliband says that British politics will be a “poorer place” now that his brother David is stepping down as an MP to run the International Rescue Committee.
This is likely to be a contentious point for many on the Labour left who will be keen to see the party cleansed of Blairite clones like David Miliband. But Ed himself also has reason to celebrate in private – his brother’s departure is the surest sign yet that he is on course to become the next Prime Minister.
When David refused a place in Ed’s cabinet, many saw him as the leader in waiting, silently biding his time until his brother inevitably slipped up and he could slip into his shoes before the next election.
And Miliband certainly made slips in his early days. But David’s departure shows just how much has changed. He surely recognises that Ed will be leading Labour into the next election and he is quietly confident, as many in the party now must be, that Ed will be the next Prime Minister.
Ed’s widely praised One Nation Labour speech was certainly a turning point. Sure, he was never going to be the next Martin Luther King, but he displayed his ability to lead his party and communicate an alternative. Though he was met with boos when he told the anti-cuts rally on October 20th that a Labour government would still have to make cuts, he showed his willingness to engage with a vital movement instead of ignoring its existence.
Ed’s success, of course, has much to do with declining Conservative fortunes as the government’s failure to return the economy to growth leaves voters unwilling to stomach punishing cuts for the greater good. But with the largest poll lead in a decade, the election is Labour’s to lose.
Nevertheless, there will be plenty of arguments and divisions ahead.
His decision to have Labour MPs abstain on the workfare bill has infuriated the left. There will be many who will say this proves Labour has learned little from the Blair years. A significant number of traditional Labour voters still believe that Labour is not the right vehicle to defend the welfare state which was its greatest achievement.
“The shadow cabinet should re-read [Labour’s 1945] manifesto to capture a whiff of the sheer nerve and daring of 1945,” writes Polly Toynbee. “Instead, they behave as Roy Jenkins said of Tony Blair before 1997, as if they were carrying a Ming vase across a polished floor, afraid of dropping it before election day. But they have no Ming vase, the election is not won and their caution holds them back, as too many disaffected voters reject the old parties.”
Ed Miliband must listen to these voices. The departure of his Blairite brother should mark the dawning of a new era for a Labour party that has learned from its mistakes.
In what was billed as one of his greatest speeches, Jon Cruddas said this a few years ago:
Yet even now there are many who refuse to face up to what has happened; people who feel that the result wasn’t so bad. That not much needs to change; we wait for the coalition to implode and sweep back into office. The politics of safety first, one more heave and business as usual.
It is a route map into the wilderness. This New Orthodoxy appears willing to camp out on the right flank of the coalition- witness the hits on the vulnerable.
An ex minister wrote last week of how we needed to ‘crack down on the welfare underclass’. Others argue for us to become the ‘anti immigration party’. A new kiss up, kick down politics that blames the victim.
There lies political death for labour.
No language, no warmth no kindness; no generosity, vitality nor optimism. No compassion. If you seek to outflank the coalition from the right, you will turn Labour into a byword for intolerance. But worse, you will fly in the face of what the public well knows – about who needs to pick up the tab for the crisis.
There’s something absurd – there’s no other word – about coming out of the crash and picking not on Bob Diamond, or Fred The Shred, or Philip Green, but people on welfare and struggling migrants.
Well Mr Cruddas, you are leading the Labour policy review now, and that Liam Byrne problem is staring you in the face.
I’ve had countless tweets over the last few days from Labour party members disgusted (and livid) at Liam Byrne’s stance this Tuesday in enabling IDS to pass his Workfare sanctions through. Byrne’s excuse that he only did it to protect the DWP’s right to sanction job-seekers is absolute rubbish – the court case and the Bill only related to a specific programme not the DWP’s overall powers.
Mark Ferguson writes today that many Labour MPs (outside the usual suspects) were also furious at Liam Byrne’s stance and rebelled against the front-bench line.
This is significant but not enough. The broader issue for the Labour leadership is to decide whether they want to go back to New Labour’s old triangulating ways or forge a new path on welfare. As Emma Burnell says, it a failed strategy that has never worked.
In other words it is a question and a challenge for Jon Cruddas: will he take on Liam Byrne’s failed policies of the past, or let him continue and take Labour into the ditch… again. The hope of many Labour party members (and lives of many others) depend on it.
Today, the Dept of Work& Pensions is planning to rush through emergency legislation to ensure that job-seekers unfairly sanctioned by their policies can’t claim compensation.
As I said yesterday, the DWP deliberately pushed through vaguely-written rules that the judges overruled as inadequate. The DWP now hope to kill compensation claims by passing through legislation that will retroactively cover previous mistakes.
So what is Liam Byrne’s role in all this? I said yesterday that the shadow work and pensions secretary was effectively endorsing IDS’s plans. His team disputed this quite strongly with me.
For a start, I’m told that Labour will not vote for the DWP’s plans under any circumstances, contrary to the Guardian report last week. They don’t want to be seen as endorsing the plans even if their vote makes little difference (it will pass with Lib Dem support).
But they say they have one bargaining chip: they are willing to abstain on the vote if Iain Duncan Smith’s team offer some concessions. Liam Byrne says these are:
… to introduce a Real Jobs Guarantee for young people; a job for six months, with job search and training thrown in.
What’s more I’ll be insisting on crucial concessions to the Bill. Ministers must guarantee that appeal rights are protected for JSA claimants who have been wrongly sanctioned. Ministers must launch an independent review of the sanctions regime with an urgent report to parliament.
But why not just vote against these proposals anyway? Liam Byrne’s office told me that by offering to abstain they could at least get some concessions, as IDS will get what he wants anyway.
But is it true IDS could get what he wants anyway?
Byrne’s critics within Labour (and outside) say this isn’t strictly true. IDS managed to get this emergency legislation on the timetable only because Byrne agreed to it. If he really wanted he could have blocked it and waited until the Supreme Court ruled on the DWP case.
Furthermore, the concessions won’t stop those wronged by the DWP’s blunder to get compensation. Stopping them from getting compensation is the sole purpose of this emergency bill. Liam Byrne counters that if the DWP was forced to pay out these fines then it would have to make more benefit cuts elsewhere. But that still betrays the job-seekers who have been exploited by the system thus far.
Yesterday, Unite the Union also released a statement slamming the government’s rushed attempts to shore up unworkable Workfare schemes.
It’s time the unions also pressed Labour to take a stronger line against IDS’s Workfare schemes.
If Phil Woolas was Labour’s unprincipled hard-man on immigration, Liam Byrne is their equivalent on welfare.
According to the Guardian, the shadow welfare secretary is planning to tacitly support Iain Duncan Smith on his workfare reforms this Tuesday.
It’s worth emphasising why this is such a ludicrous proposition. The DWP plans to rush through a change the law so it doesn’t have to accept culpability for the way it treated job-seekers (i.e. like shit).
The DWP deliberately didn’t make the rules for these job-seekers clear, so many of them ended up working for free and not knowing their rights. The DWP thought they would get away with it, but now they have been caught – Iain Duncan Smith is trying to cover his arse.
This is a programme that does not work, and is less successful than if these job-seekers were not asked to do anything at all.
This is a programme whose sole purpose is to massage down unemployment figures; simply to subsidises private companies with free labour who would otherwise have to pay those people a full time wage.
We are living in a state where the government thinks these youths are so worthless that it will happily defy the judiciary to retroactively change the law. The judiciary is meant to be a check on state power and to enforce the rule of law, and anyone who gives even a shred for the rule of law or constitutional matters should worry about IDS’ willingness to treat it as irrelevant. He is nothing less than a megalomaniac.
It is more galling that Liam Byrne is
endorsing this (by either voting for it, or abstaining – it’s not clear) allowing this to happen. At least Labour’s Future Jobs Fund was more targeted, much more successful in placing people in paying jobs, and did not subsidise the private sector.
Byrne is endorsing a travesty of a programme that goes against everything the Labour party stands for. He is endorsing IDS’s “strivers vs scroungers” rhetoric.
Furthermore, there is a good chance that this act of retroactively changing the law could also be challenged and struck down in court.
It basically says our youth aren’t even worth protecting from abuse when a Conservative govenment breaks the law to exploit them. How can this possibly fit in with Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ agenda? Why legitimise a programme that does not work and only exists for exploitation?
A few weeks ago Labour youth groups said they would not support or canvas for Labour MPs who did not support same sex marriage. I would hope, for the future of our youth, they could consider doing the same with Liam Byrne.
This article has been updated. See this for an update on Labour’s position.
Dan Hodges attacks “the ideologues of Left and Right” who are “doing their damnedest to pull defeat from the jaws of victory”, by insisting on pure dogma instead of thinking about what the electorate may want.
Reading his piece, I was reminded of one particular group of ideologues.
These people have set out what they call, with all due modesty, “a programme for national renewal”. Like Liam Fox, they think that we currently spend too much money on the NHS. In particular, they have identified that we have far too many hospitals and ought to close some.
They are also keen to tackle the pressing issue of old people keeping their home warm in winter, and the problem of too many pensioners leaving their homes and travelling around on public transport. They therefore plan to means test the winter fuel allowance and remove free bus passes from most pensioners. They’ve also noticed that the government is doing too much to protect pensioners from rising inflation, and that there are too many incentives for people to save money rather than getting into debt. So they’ll end the ‘triple lock’ which guarantees that the state pension won’t wither away, cap ISAs and tax savers more heavily.
They think that the government is spending too much on fighting crime, and too much on educating our children, and so propose to ‘hold down overall public services programme budgets’.
They plan ‘a large-scale broad tax increase’ to squeeze the incomes of people who are struggling to get by, and to keep every single welfare cut implemented by the Tories and reduce the welfare budget still further.
Who are these ideologues? Our old fiscally conservative friends from ‘In the Black Labour’.
Two years on from their original pamphlet, they’ve managed to come up with a policy platform which makes Labour’s 1983 ‘suicide note’ manifesto look like the Beveridge Report.
They refer to this approach as ‘hard realism’, taking ‘tough choices’ and so on. They also worry that opposition from ‘vested interests’, ranging from pensioners’ groups to the Labour Party, would prevent them from being able to take this message to the British people.
It’s easy to take pot shots, and they deserve credit for setting out their stall. But there is nothing particularly ‘hard’ or ‘realistic’ about putting together a wishlist of policy priorities, entirely unconnected from any sense of what is remotely politically feasible. And while it is indeed ‘tough’ to advocate sharp reductions to the living standards of elderly people, I’m not sure that many people would regard being ‘tough on grannies’ as something to boast about.
In opposition, it is all the more important to avoid sweeping pledges which threaten the services which people support most strongly. Promises from politicians are treated with extreme skepticism, and fears are magnified. Far from securing Labour’s credentials as a party prepared to take tough decisions, cutting the NHS and squeezing pensioners would reinforce the notion of a bunch of politicians who are out of touch and who don’t get how tough it is in the real world.
The problem with ‘In the Black Labour’ is not that it will antagonise vested interests who are unprepared to take the hard decisions needed for national renewal. It’s that they’ve fallen into the trap of believing that ideological radicalism is the route to disaster for their opponents, but the route to success for themselves. This is a trap which catches centrist technocrats just as easily as socialist revolutionaries or right-wing Thatcherites.
My former boss Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, often spoke about the importance of good local campaigning. The aim of this, he argued, was to build strong relationships with the electorate, so that whatever was happening at Westminster or in the newspapers didn’t influence how people chose to vote. Rather than remote politicians having their views filtered through the media to the electorate, this is about local politicians and people working together, while the remote media chatter away in the background.
This isn’t a particularly new insight, but the value of this approach can be seen by the success of the Liberal Democrats in winning the by-election in Eastleigh. While the hundreds of volunteers, thousands of contacts and hundreds of thousands of leaflets over the past three weeks played their part; they actually won the election months ago, when they built their local organisation, made sure that people had a positive view of their local work, gathered the data and set up their delivery networks.
I think the key lessons for Labour from this by-election are not about whether “One Nation Labour” is reaching “southern voters”, or whether Labour needs to adopt policy x, y or z. Instead, the Eastleigh result poses two questions which Labour need to consider:
1. Why did Labour fail, in so many of the seats that we held between 1997 and 2010, to build the kind of local organisation which the Lib Dems have in Eastleigh?
2. How can Labour ensure by the time of the next election they have this level of local organisation in at least, say, 340 constituencies?
Over the past few years, as trust in politicians and politics has fallen, the added value of local campaigning and effective incumbency has risen. Parties which campaign all year round and mobilise volunteers well before an election beat those which wait until the last minute, whatever the national political context.
The value of ‘early intervention’, identifying and sorting out problems early and enabling people to develop their skills and talents, is just as evident in political campaigning as it is in public services. The Tories matched the Lib Dems leaflet for leaflet, door knock for door knock during the short campaign period. But six months, 1 year, 2 years ago, the Lib Dems were active and the other parties weren’t.
Arguably, Labour should have asked its volunteers not to head to Eastleigh, where the impact of their valiant efforts was always going to be minimal, but to Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Kent and other areas which have county council elections in a couple of months.
There’s a key challenge for local councillors here, as well. Voters in Eastleigh generally agreed that the local council was doing a good job, and that the credit for this should go to the Lib Dems. I wonder how many Labour-run authorities are places where people would spontaneously say that their council was doing a good job, let alone attribute this to the Labour Party? That should be a key goal for every Labour councillor.
Getting as many county councillors elected as possible in May is much more important for Labour than their share of the vote in Eastleigh, especially if those councillors are signed up and committed to talking to voters once they are elected, organising locally and building support well ahead of the next General Election. As Eastleigh shows, it is never too early to start getting ready for the next election.
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