Remedial Maths for the Labour Left
Exam Question 1:
The latest ICM poll puts Labour on 31%, Tories on 40% and the Lib Dems on 22%.
Let's assume all the Lib Dems are to the left of Labour (even though we actually know the majority of them are tweed-wearing West Country farmers or the kind of lumpen proletarians who could just as easily vote BNP (think the charming politically correct platform Simon Hughes won the Bermondsey by-election on).
Let's also assume all the Tories are to the right of Labour.
Let's also assume that any change of political orientation can only win votes (even though we know that the 14% of voters who came back to Labour between 1983 and 1997 might be alienated by a move back to the left).
If your objective is to regain a Labour poll lead, which is easier, targeting Lib Dem voters or targeting Tories? (assuming you can't do a bit of both)
To regain a poll lead Labour could try to win back 4.5% of the electorate from the Tories, most of whom actually voted Labour as recently as May 2005. This would give Lab 34.5%, Con 34.5%. These people predominantly live in the marginal seats that decide the outcomes of General Elections.
Or it could try to convert 9% of the electorate from the Lib Dems, most of whom did not vote Labour in 2005 and some of whom have never voted Labour, implying that we could somehow win over nearly 4 in 10 current Lib Dem supporters. This would give Lab 40%, Con 40%. These people predominantly live in safe Labour seats that we will win anyway, or in seats where Labour is so far behind in 3rd place that it is unlikely to ever win.
Now explain the political strategy advocated by people from Compass leftwards.