A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Guardian prints something sensible shocker

Was away from all forms of email and internet yesterday so unable to report the news to all those Labour people that have given up reading the Guardian in despair that they actually printed something sensible: this analysis of Labour's electoral strategy by MPs Liam Byrne and Bill Rammell.


Anonymous HenryG said...

I generally like Bill Rammell, he's a good pro-European, but to argue that nothing should get in the way of 'the politics of aspiration' rings hollow in light of his role of championing top-up fees. If ever there was a policy to shatter the coalition formed around 97 has been the policy of abolishing the means-tested maintenance grant and introducing huge higher education fees.

On the central point of Bryne and Rammell's article around election strategy, if losing more than half our members, a tonne of councillors and around several million voters since 97 is a recipe for a fourth term outright victor, then I'm seriously worried.

The long-term challenge to us as a movement and as a party is not simply to find ever more sophisticated ways of staying in power, its actually about finding ways in which we can move the electorate more to the left to secure a progressive majority in the country. I think we successfully made the case for higher expenditure in public services (particularly health) for example, though I now fear that's unravelling a little.

Of course we shouldn't ignore the marginals. We must win the next election, our people are relying on it. But lets not kid ourselves that disgruntled Labour voters have nowhere else to go. Too many Blairites are still fighting the last war of us vs the Tories, when in many areas it's also us vs Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid or plain apathy.

10:44 am, January 12, 2007

Anonymous Angela said...

I'll think you'll find that Mr Cruddas will have a very good response.

5:51 pm, January 12, 2007

Anonymous james said...

I actually think they've rather misunderstood (or deliberately misinterpreted) what Jon Cruddas is actually saying.

And the rest of it pretty much amounts to "we need to hold together a coalition of voters to win the election...and hold on to our marginal seats". Wow! I hadn't thought of that.

With strategists as brilliant as that, David Cameron must be quaking in his boots...

7:32 pm, January 12, 2007

Anonymous ed said...

I can't believe that anyone actually wrote "it's the votes of four or five groups that will decide the outcome. These voters might be younger workers in the service sector - IT, sales or marketing - often reasonably prosperous and living in relatively small terraces."

It's even more extraordinary that they chose to do so in the Guardian. Not only does it sound very silly, it's also like two fingers to every other voter. How does that help us?!

9:09 am, January 13, 2007

Anonymous HenryG said...

They were the words of Liam Byrne, nice guy, is as a management consultant by profession. I think that shone through a little in the article Ed.

11:07 am, January 13, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think they've really thought about what Cruddas is saying.

No Labour MP is going to say that we don't need to win marginal seats. It's the concentration on precision bombing that's the problem, because it means that parties wither in more solid areas. The worst example I have seen of this was in Burnely, where our voter ID forms were 11 years out of date in a BNP ward.

To her great credit, Kitty Ussher has been a trooper turning it around.

Butthe point is exaclty what Rammell and Byrne actually said in their article: there is no dichotomy in building a broad coalition of support, or between middle and working class voters.

They then go on to set one up by talking about how Labour has to push the agenda of a a small percentage of the population, when actually, we should be concentrating on everyone in the bottom two third of our income structure.

Labour is not just about the middle 5%, it is about the many, not the few. Rammell and Byrne are on the verge of understanding that... but not quite there!

8:42 pm, January 13, 2007

Anonymous Nick said...

I am deeply alarmed by Byrne's implication that we need to start banging on about immigration.

I went up for a weekend to campaign for him in the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election and though I'm not sorry to have helped defeat a particularly appalling Lib Dem, I was pretty taken aback by Byrne's vicious leaflet campaign against "failed asylum seekers".

In my book, playing politics with asylum is just plain wrong, and as it happens I also think it's a pretty stupid electoral strategy, at a national level at least.

Byrne may choose to sell his soul to Satan, but I for one don't want him doing the same with the Labour Party.

8:14 pm, January 14, 2007


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