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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Labour Up 3%

The tide has turned - again.

Mori poll today: CON 42%: (+1), LAB 35% (+3), LD 14% (-3)

Fourth term here we come.


Blogger Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

You could have read that here yesterday. I highlighted the underlying issues about the relationship between our Labour government and the people we proport to represent. Can Labour rebuild trust and win a 4th term?


11:23 am, December 12, 2007

Anonymous John B said...

Luke, at the last election we only got a million more votes than in 1983 - despite considerable population growth in the intervening 22 years; we got less than we did on a progressive platform in 1992. At that stage, the british people were still used to radical ideas and still open to them - New Labour, despite much good work, never speaks about progressive values or ideas so they have collapsed. That's a very sad legacy. Of course Labour must be a coalition, but we have lost so many people through declining turnout, and young people are cying out for something progressive and think they have it in the liberals instead. There is no long-term sustainability in our current strategy - we need to be vocal about our values and change our policies to favour our traditional supporters, as well as changing the electoral system to AV (so as to rid us of the dominance of the centre/floating voters) and introducing compulsory voting. We simply do not need the voters on more than £100k, or those in the inheritance tax bracket, or those with private edcuation - they are tiny minorities, yet we pander to these people cravenly. How you can revel in a 7 point tory lead is beyond me..

11:29 am, December 12, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

John b

I guess I don't support the same policies as you. I don't want and I don't think our traditional supporters want a more leftwing government. Therefore I don't back the change of direction you want.

I've got the government I want pusuing the policies I want (mostly). I think this is a progressive, radical government. We should be proud of it.

It isn't the lead I'm revelling in, it's the direction of travel. I think for mid term, particularly given the media pounding of the last month, we are in a good position.

That reflects the underlying strength of the economy, the progress we are making improving public services and the fundamental alignment of our politics and ideology with those of ordinary voters which has been sustained since 1994. These are the fundamentals that will win the next election - all the rest are temporary ephemera.

2:32 pm, December 12, 2007

Anonymous john b said...

Are yuo seriously saying that in an ideal world, without any electoral concerns, these are exactly the policies you would be enacting?? I find that impossible to believe. I have always been under the impression that even the more hardline Blairites only adopted these policies due a perceived necessity to do so - surely you don't actually believe this is the best we can do, that this is an adequate response to the challenges we face? A few weeks ago you agreed with me that we needed to tackle inequality, so why do you now not want a more leftwing govt? I don't believe the failure to meet child poverty targets and reduce inequality is 'ephemera', and I'd be surprised if you really believed that either. And your implication that we wouldn't have won without Blair in 1994 is breathtaking. I remember helping my parents deliver leaflets in the 1994 election (aged 6!) - that was a better result than ever since, with Beckett in charge. At that time, then, we still vocally espoused Labour values and social democratic policies - there was a huge progressive vote in this country. We should have capitalised on that, pressed the moral case, but instead we bizzarely chose to surrender our morality, accept Thatcherite individualism and ditch our commitment to social democracy (which means, if anything, greater equality). OK, so I wasn't politically awake at the time, but a simple look at the polls suggests that this is true. The fact is that New labour squandered the chance to put our principles into action - it's had to do good by stealth instead of openly, which is totally unsustainable and will never produce the gains we need.

5:29 pm, December 12, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Sorry to shock you but yes I actually BELIEVE in all this stuff. I don't just support it because it's popular - but because it's right. In fact it's popularity is because it is right.

I think Gordon will do more to tackle inequality.

By ephemera I didn't mean the rest of our agenda - which in fact I think reducing inequality is central to - I meant the temporary bad news stories the media has focussed on.

I simply do not accept your premise that we have had "to surrender our morality, accept Thatcherite individualism and ditch our commitment to social democracy". I believe that we have had 10 years of good, moral social democratic government that has introduced measures like combatting unemployment, inner city regeneration, massive extra cash for schools and hospitals and nursery education and police, massive investment in Decent Homes, fighting genocide in Kosovo and bringing peace to Sierra Leone, Tax Credits, Minimum Wage, more workplace rights, green measures, disability discrimination act, Lords reform, devolution, that any Labour, any socialist government would be extremely proud of.

We have moved at the right pace to sustain ourselves in power. We are where we should be ten years in. Now we need to move on with our agenda but always in an electorally sustainable way.

Like you I agree tackling poverty and inequality is a major part of that.

Like the Swedish social democrats say "Proud, but not satisfied".

5:52 pm, December 12, 2007

Anonymous john b said...

I quite agree that we've had huge achievements - but we have utterly failed to convert the population to the morality of these achievements - as the huge popularity of the Tory inheritance tax changes showed. We cannot create zeal for redistribution if we are afraid to speak its name. I want to hear - for the first time in my life - Labour MPs talking passionately about our values, defending them and evangelising them. Couple that with practical social policy (which we're good at), and the sky's the limit; instead, we allow the Tories to set the agenda, and talk like technocrats. It's very sad.

6:45 pm, December 12, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

Hung parliament, here we come, according to that result...

I'm not entirely certain that either group of our traditional supporters want a 'more left-wing' government either, at least not in the sense that some critics might see it.

As I have said before, though, there are two main groups who we need to win back .
First, the working-class voters who just haven't bothered to vote for the past two elections. Plenty of them up here: and I think that we have some work to do with regard to application of policies leading to greater financial equality, and ensuring that the investment made in public services is reflected in outcomes. This really hasn't been felt in some of the estates up here. Frankly, it won't matter as people in Liverpool despise the Tories, but we are hardly representative when even safely middle class seats return Labour MP's.

The other group are the middle-class progressives: less of them but they all vote. For that group, I think that its foreign policy and perhaps some issues relating to civil liberties which need some attention.

Yes, it isn't a bad position all told, mid-term, but I think we need to avoid the danger of building up votes where they are not needed. relatively few votes need to shift Tory-wards in marginals to lose a majority. I can't bear Cameron but he does appear to have more appeal down South.

I think, Luke, that there is a general feeling that Labour have run out of steam. Its not uncommon for this period in the third term. But if you want populism - a couple of suggestions.
First, lets really do something about the paperwork the police have to fill in. Its simply daft and everyone knows it. I've been involved in policing issues for many years and if there's one issue which causes frustration, its that.
Second, lets sort out NHS dentistry. The current system hasn't and cannot increase capacity. Giving control to local PCT's was a mistake - we need a nationally organised service which doesn't rely on those dentists who stay within the NHS working at breakneck speed to reach ridiculous targets.

11:33 pm, December 12, 2007

Anonymous Neil Foster said...

John B said: 'New Labour, despite much good work, never speaks about progressive values or ideas so they have collapsed.'

Only in the last week we've heard the Government reaffirm it's commitment to reaching it's child poverty targets and challenging the commercialisation of childhood. Perhaps not reported as headline news, but quite explicit progressive values there all the same.

9:55 am, December 13, 2007

Anonymous john b said...

But Neil, they just annouced 'there'll be more money', without justifying it morally - it's not good enough.

11:10 am, December 13, 2007

Anonymous ???? said...

What has happened to your post on Tower Court estate? Have you removed it?

12:46 pm, December 13, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

3 posts below

1:18 pm, December 13, 2007

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I think John B and Mike have made some really good points. New Labour to me was a grand experiment which in a small way represented a socialism we should be proud of. A mass movement of people from within the party and beyond that tried to make a better society and in some ways it has . However I, with John, always assumed New Labour doctrine was something formed out of necessity rather an ideology you believe in.
I mean how can you accept a finacial model made by Mrs Thatcher and claim we want equality is beyond me. Capitalism, by its very nature thrives on inequity. Our (by that I include yourself) values are that we strive for a better fairer society, that is why we are better then the Tories as they feel being selfish, greedy and generally nasty are key unshakable human traits.
Whilst I strongly respect you putting yourself forward for election every four years (who knows I might stomach myself up for that honour myself one day) I don't think your voters in Hackney would mind a more left wing labour administration, afterall is'nt Dianne Abbott one of you MPs? As much as I personally would want to see us stand on a hard left platform I think what the SNP are doing in Scotland is an acceptable compromise to both wings of the party. Their branch of socialism my not go as far as my personal preference, but it is recognisable as progressive.
By the way chief, popularity is not always right, look at Ant and Dec.

1:35 pm, December 13, 2007

Anonymous Neil Foster said...

Yes John but if socialism is the language of priorities, then the Government putting money where it's mouth is vital.

Sure the party needs to always explain why we're doing what we're doing and why. Naturally some ministers are better on TV at this than others.

At times during the first couple of terms we occasionally relied on managerial terminology. I always saw this about reassuring voters about our core competence after 18 years out of Government.

More recently I think we've been even clearer about what drives us and why. I think the next generation of politicians are more relaxed at this too. Gordon Brown was as clear as you can get of his moral purpose during the leadership process.

I'm sure you agree members have a role to play too! The best thing about campaigning is often our chance to join the dots for people in language they understand.

8:03 pm, December 13, 2007


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