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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Labour and the South

Three excellent articles about why and how Labour needs to win in the South from the latest edition of Progress:





Anonymous Rich said...

So with the new boundaries Labour, less than 2 years to an election, flagging economy and 11 poinst behind; Labour doesn't stand a chance really.

9:51 am, February 28, 2008

Blogger Bill said...

Not a professional psephologist are you Rich? Theoretically, because of clunmpy support, teh Tories may well get more votes and still lose the election (that will be fun!).

BTW, how's the illegal employment pracises going, you old criminal you. Do you think you should be deported?

10:28 am, February 28, 2008

Anonymous :0( said...

How about starting here! shamefull after 10 years in power

Half of all children in inner London live below the poverty line, the London Child Poverty Commission (LCPC) found.
It revealed 41% of the 650,000 children in Greater London also live in a household with an income of less than 60% of the national average.

10:48 am, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Bill, please deport me. Do I get a choice where I can live. Cayman Islands sounds nice, will Labour provide a council house and tax free benefits.

10:49 am, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Please what is a psephologist? Don't use big words around me....makes my brain hurt.

10:52 am, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tories may well get more votes and still lose the election (that will be fun!)."

And our proud govt invaded Iraq to promote democracy. God help us.

11:44 am, February 28, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

No, Rich, we deport you to whatever country will take you (whether or not you have any connection to that country yourself).

Repeating the myth that asylum seekers or "illegal" migrants get council houses doesn't make it true, either.

12:15 pm, February 28, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Most of the South votes Tory because it represents their values and beliefs. 97 was a blip, and was based not on any liking for Labour but a totally rational desire to get rid of major's government.
Many of those seats were kept in 2001 because of Tory unelectability.

That doesn't mean that Labour will lose all their Southern seats, but there are some which are still held which are Tory in an even year.

The problem is that if winning them means taking an entirely Tory line on many issues, then why bother to have the Labour party at all?

Unless Labour start to abandon some of the many mistakes of the Blair years, I won't be voting for them next time - if there was a General election tomorrow, then I would not vote Labour.

12:57 pm, February 28, 2008

Blogger Bill said...

A psephologist, criminal Rich, is a student of voting mechanics and patterns.

Now, Labour has massive votes in the SOuth, there's the rub, Tories will win a seat with 24,000 votes as against labour with 20,000 - but Labour will win in central liverpool with just 9,000, the Tories don't even register.

So, wait for it, Single Transferable Vote would give Labour seats in the south, and quid pro quo, let some Tories in in the North (but I doubt as many). Might as well slap it down pre-election, could win Labour another ten years of keeping the Tories out.

1:09 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Screw principles, screw building a movement - lets just shill ourselves out to whoever the hell for their votes, tories you say? Then tories we'll be, imperialist wars, sucking up to the rich, murdoch, privatisation, whipped ass MP's, - but hey at least we're not the Tories! Clearly the minimum wage and paternal holiday leave = socialism! If a few million dead and a party full of careerist hacks in the pay of multinationals arent worth it then I dont know what is!

1:14 pm, February 28, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Mike's analysis is pretty near the mark in my book.
We risk losing support from tradtional labour areas by sounding like the Tories. We will "lose our soul" if we don't learn the mistakes of the Blair government. Bear in mind Scotland elected a social democratic SNP compared to our near "wett Tory" Scottish Labour party. Also consider the loss of support in Wales, that former Labour heartland.

1:35 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Tim F, my trade means that I can pretty much go and live anywhere I want to. I do however, choose to live in this country where I was born...why?...I ask myself that on a daily basis. It might be something to do with the fact that as well as working I still partly run the family farm and I don't want to be the person who gives up on 400 years of tradition. It's called loyalty something that is very lacking these days.

Back to Bill, no I'm not one for reading the dictionary. So what you saying is that the voting system is rigged. Is that a good thing? Surely it is time to change the voting system completely if this is the case.

Merseymike, NuLabour isn't the government I was expecting to get. I was at least expecting them to nationalise a power company or the railways but what has evolved is very worrying. Yesterday I read about a new idea that they are planning to remove the benefits for drug addicts. I was shocked, to read it was a Labour idea. Such a policy would result in more crime and is immoral.

I'm not going to vote Labour, my aim is to try and punish this phoney government. What's the point of supporting Labour just because of the label.

1:37 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't really be necessary to suck up to floating voters if we had electoral reform though, would it? I really don't understand why we're not introducing AV and compulsory voting - I can only conclude that New Labour doesn't even want a more left-oriented political system. What a shame...

1:44 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Grrrrrr said...

Repeating the myth that asylum seekers or "illegal" migrants get council houses doesn't make it true, either

Where do they live then? On the moon?

2:37 pm, February 28, 2008

Blogger Bill said...


not rigged, just structurally detrimental to eitehr highly dispersed voting groups, or highly concentrated ones. AV would not address this - basically, the constituency link *is* the problem, it cannot be part of the solution (Single member constituencies mean significant remainers of voters per constituency being ineffective, with AV this is 49%, which would recreate the problem of dispersed/concentrated voters.)

3:15 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous jdc said...

"Repeating the myth that asylum seekers or "illegal" migrants get council houses doesn't make it true, either

Where do they live then? On the moon?"

Mostly in private housing which is paid for by Councils / NASS via a direct Asylum Support Grant from the Government. I think the distinction's a bit specious, but there we are, they don't get council houses.

Alternatively in deportation centres if they've been turned down and are awaiting deportation (and in some other cases), Children's Homes and Foster care if they're under 18 (or claim to be, quite a bit of this appears to go on).

Oddly, the Council will have to pay to house failed asylum-seekers if they are turned down and have young children, because they will have 'no recourse to public funds' so will lose their Government support, but the Children Act duty on the Council to provide for vulnerable children will trump the public funds rule.

It's all a bit of a mess.

That's asylum seekers. Illegal immigrants probably live in houses owned by the people who smuggled them in, paid for by a deduction straight from their black market wages, and the government none the wiser.

3:23 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Luke I agree you raise a critical core issue for the future survival of Labour as a Governing party. I surmise it as ‘you can win the South or win the rest, but you cannot win it all’.

After living in London for several years in the 70s and then back to Scotland I was acutely aware of how unelectable in South East England Labour had been made out. Note that I say ‘made out’, and not that it was actually unelectable… and for that thank-you Murdoch et al.

Back in Scotland I found that even politically savvy people had no comprehension of just how much the tectonic plates in electoral perceptions had changed down South. Thatcher came as a brutal shock.

I don’t think that ‘Old’ Labour in Scotland ever really recovered – instead they covered themselves in a comfort blanket of ‘it will all come right one day if we just meantime keep Scotland Labour’.

It did sort of ‘come right’, we hoped, when the Blair Government came in. However, since then I have seen how the steadfast core of Labour in Scotland and much of North of England and Wales been hollowed out. This was because of a disproportionate subservience to the need to ‘win the South’ at all costs’. There was no compromise - if something didn't win votes in the South it was dumpred, whatever it was.

In a perverse reverse, I now find when I visit down South, that many supposed Labour people have no comprehension about how detached the once-traditional-Labour-supporter has become in Scotland (and I suspect the English ‘regions’).

There is a, literally, widespread revulsion in Scotland of what much of Labour under Blair became. For example, the spoutings of Housing Minister Flint on her surprise at levels of unemployment among social housing tenants and her reactionary ‘tied cottage’ proposals, received broad coverage here.

But what makes it a perfect storm this time around, is that meantime in its Scottish once-stronghold Labour’s performance has been abysmal – and this is way beyond anything to do with the failings of individuals like Douglas Alexander (now escaped back to Westminster), or Wendy or indeed disgraced come-back kid Henry McLeish (just what in heaven’s name does Scottish Labour comprehend about what the electorate thinks of the return of the likes of that individual? - propbably almost about as much as retaining convicted arsonist Watson on in the Lords).

The inability of the Brown regime to continue to ‘manage’ Scotland is evidenced by the likes of the ineptness of Douglas-no-blame- Alexander over the Scottish election and the inane nonsense of supposedly ‘Scottish’ Labour Ministers like David Cairns (he’s just labeled us the ‘McChattering classes' to widespread disdain and irritation).

As I surmise, it seems it’s the South or the rest, but not all of it… well done Mr Blair, you did achieve your objective of dismantling the national left-of-centre coalition and moving UK politics significantly rightwards.

4:55 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Having family in Milngavie they all now vote for the SNP, so I completely agree. I can honestly see Labour support vanishing in Scotland which will make life a lot harder for Labour.

Labour need the North as much as they need support in the South. The problem is that Scotland want something entirely different from those people living in the South East....so how does Labour please both sides of the country.

I really can't see how Labour are going to remain intact as a political party. I

6:21 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

"Mostly in private housing which is paid for by Councils / NASS via a direct Asylum Support Grant from the Government. I think the distinction's a bit specious, but there we are, they don't get council houses."

The distinction isn't specious because council houses have minimum standards that don't apply with the housing that asylum seekers get. Some of the horror stories would make your flesh creep. Plus because it's hived off and because most of the housing asylum seekers get put in wouldn't meet council housing standards, it doesn't make any impact on waiting lists for council houses.

Going back to the actual post, winning seats in the South doesn't mean we have to behave like Tories. It's not like the majority of people in the South are company directors. They're working class people, but working class people who have a different life experience to ex-miners in Barnsley or steel workers in Sheffield. It is possible to have a narrative that works for these people and is still Labour, we just need to use our imaginations a bit.

I'm a Yorkshireman and proud of it, but if we don't win in the South then the North will suffer under a Tory government and suffer badly.

11:49 pm, February 28, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Immigrants too take a large proportion of housing, the figure show this very clearly. The problem with Britain is that we are the only country in Europe that gives immigrants equal access to our welfare system.

Under our law anyone with a family has the right to housing and because of this immigrant families use civil right lawyers to obtain council / housing association housing when the arrive.

In all the other European states, people who have not paid in are not entitled to a penny or any of the welfare benefits including health care. We need to change our system and stop people who have not lived in the UK for less than 5 years getting access to healhcare, welfare or housing.

A recent survey now shows 80% of people want welfare, housing and healthcare denied to all immigrants.

3:34 pm, March 02, 2008


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