Why Isn’t Labour Working?

Labour Party - General Election 2015 - Ed Miliband Resignation

Why isn’t Labour working? Or more specifically, why did Ed Miliband so utterly and completely fail to make any inroads against what was at best a minimally popular coalition government and Conservative Party after five years of austerity policies?

Everyone seems to have woken up brandishing their own explanation  in the wake of David Cameron’s remarkable victory. Unlike this blog, many of these captains of hindsight could typically found cheering Ed Miliband and eagerly anticipating his victory in the preceding months and years – but some of their arguments are still worth considering.

Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, comes late to the party in his realisation that Ed Miliband’s messianic view of himself as a transformative future leader of Britain masked a gaping chasm where his vision for Britain should have been:

He lost the election and the argument. If Labour doesn’t understand this, and adapt accordingly, it is in deeper trouble than even I believed.

Driven by a kind of messianic self-belief, Miliband was Labour’s most unashamedly Left-wing leader since Michael Foot, whose 1983 election defeat condemned the party to a long, painful period in the wilderness as Margaret Thatcher accelerated her transformation of Britain.

On the occasions when we met, he told me again and again that the financial crisis and the consequent Great Recession had created what he called a moment of great opportunity for the Left.

Absorbed by the work of Left-wing economists and philosophers, Miliband was convinced that the British people yearned for a more egalitarian society and a return to socialism.

Perhaps they did in Scotland, but certainly not in the seats in the Midlands, Home Counties and southern England that Labour must win if it is ever to return to power.

‘Under Miliband, we had nothing to say to the faraway towns of England,’ one senior Labour figure told me.

By which he meant, Miliband’s cerebral socialism might have been popular among metropolitan liberals but it emphatically did not resonate with the skilled working and lower middle classes in small towns in places such as Essex, Bedfordshire, Kent, Hertfordshire …

This is all true. There was a degree of intellectual superiority surround Ed Miliband’s rarefied vision of a post financial crisis Britain. And multiple journalists who have interviewed Miliband attest to this singleness of purpose and vision – albeit a purpose he never successfully explained to the British people.

But it is the misplaced stench of moral superiority, not intellectual superiority, which stands out as the most offensive of Labour’s characteristics as they fought the 2015 general election campaign.

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General Election 2015: The Morning After The Night Before

David Cameron - Conservative Party - General Election 2015 - Tories Win

On the eve of the 2015 general election, this blog complained:

David Cameron, the Prime Minister I supported for much of these past five years – and for whose party I voted in 2010 – spent the last day of the election campaign not making a powerful case for real conservative stewardship of the country, but by indulging in petty scaremongering about a Labour victory and pre-emptive expectation setting around the “legitimacy” of rival claims to power in the certain event of a hung parliament.

Well, inspiring or not, the Prime Minister’s strategy worked magnificently. David Cameron may have failed to inspire the British people with a burning, urgent vision for conservative government, but at least he managed (through endless repetition) to remind us that the economy is growing again under the Tories, and that a Labour-SNP coalition could put it all at risk.

And now, where only hours ago we expected the political parties to be commencing the first of many fraught rounds of coalition negotiations, instead we see David Cameron being driven to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen, while the other parties (save the astonishing SNP) quickly and mercilessly dispatch their failed leaders.

First and foremost, this election result is a resounding defeat for Labour, and the confused non-values it stood for during the 2015 campaign. Having both repudiated the centrism of New Labour and failed to return the party to its ideological roots, putting himself in the ludicrous position of being against the Tories but not for a tangible vision of his own, Ed Miliband has brought Labour to complete and utter electoral ruin.

Ed Miliband went to his political Armageddon today flatly refusing to accept that Labour had made any mistakes during their last thirteen year spell in government, at least as far as the economy and public spending were concerned. The electorate took one look at this outright denial of reality and determined that the Son of Brown could not be trusted to take stewardship of the finances again.

But almost nobody expected the Labour Party to perform this badly against the Conservatives – poll after poll showed the Tories and Labour in a virtual dead heat. So when the exit poll results were announced at ten o’clock last night, people scarcely believed them. Paddy Ashdown confidently remarked that he would eat his hat if the Liberal Democrats were reduced to ten MPs. They currently have just eight. UKIP supporters (including yours truly) were convinced that UKIP would win more than two seats, picking up at least Thanet South or Thurrock. But only Douglas Carswell now remains, cutting a lonely figure.

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The Fiscal Profligacy Of The Labour Party Is Not A Myth

Tony Blair Gordon Brown - Labour Party

 

By Ben Kelly, blogger and editor of The Sceptic Isle.

The Labour Party did not cause the economic crash or the recession, this is undeniable. Still, it is becoming a great diversion technique for those who are attempting to abdicate the previous government of all responsibility to focus entirely on this simple fact, and to exaggerate the extent to which people actually believe that they directly caused the crash.

Often those who deny that Labour were at fault at all for their economic policies then, in turn, completely oversimplify the actual causes by saying “it was the bankers”.  Clearly the global crisis was multi-layered and had may root causes including irresponsible and amoral behaviour from the financiers themselves, the central bankers and regulators who allowed them to behave in such a way and poor government policy and supervision of the whole debacle. It may make it easier to understand to simply blame one entity, but that does not make it true, or reasonable.

Still, Ed Miliband continues to deny that the previous government over spent and makes no apologies for its economic policy. This is deeply concerning because he and Ed Balls worked in the treasury and now want to run the country. The recent Question Time audience were not impressed by Miliband’s refusal to accept that Labour overspent, it may transpire that the wider electorate are equally unimpressed. I used to think it was spin, pure politics, but now I think he genuinely believes that the debt and deficit crisis we are now suffering has absolutely no connection to his own actions, or those of his chancellor Gordon Brown.

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A Vote For Ed Miliband’s Labour Party Is A Shallow Exercise In Virtue Signalling

Labour Party - Why I'm Voting Labour - Virtue Signalling - General Election 2015

 

Labour’s latest pre-election gimmick, fired out to everyone on their mailing list this morning, is a customisable, fill-in-the-blanks placard, designed to be shared on social media so that the recipient can quickly and conveniently boast to their friends about just how morally superior they are for voting Team Red.

Click the link and you are taken to a page where you are invited to pick your top reasons for supporting Ed Miliband – “I’m an NHS-loving, inequality-rejecting, fair tax-demanding, Lib Dem-distrusting, Bedroom Tax-scrapping kinda guy” – in order to generate your own personalised pro-Labour profile, like some kind of ghastly political dating app.

You couldn’t ask for a better example of the vacuousness and ideological bankruptcy of the modern Labour Party.

For many activists – the regular folk who chip in small donations, put up posters and share bilge like this on social media – it’s no longer really about helping the poor and disadvantaged, and wanting to improve their lot. That worthy aim has been supplanted by a far more pressing goal: being seen (on social media, most importantly) and recognised by others as a “compassionate” and generous person – albeit generous with other peoples money.

It’s no longer about finding real lasting solutions to the housing crisis or inequality or the education gap or healthcare. It’s about being seen to be saying the “right” thing, whether  it represents a coherent, workable policy or not.

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Russell Brand: The Endorsement

 

So it’s official: Russell Brand has been duped by Ed Miliband into endorsing the Labour Party for the coming general election.

Here’s the Guardian’s excited announcement:

Russell Brand has urged people in England to vote Labour, saying Ed Miliband has convinced him that “this bloke will listen to us”, days after the party leader visited him for an interview.

The comedian, who previously dismissed the idea of voting, said he had changed his mind because he believed it was important to get rid of the Conservatives from government.

In a newly released video on his The Trews YouTube channel, Brand said: “What I heard Ed Miliband say is that if we speak, he will listen. So on that basis, I think we’ve got no choice but to take decisive action to end the danger of the Conservative party.

“David Cameron might think I’m a joke but I don’t think there’s anything funny about what the Conservative party have been doing to this country and we have to stop them.”

When new first broke of Ed Miliband’s secret midnight visit to pay homage to the comedian/activist, this blog offered the following detailed commentary:

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