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.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It could be worse...

Any Labourites feeling miserable about the polls can cheer themselves up by comparing where we are now to where we were exactly 16 years ago on 14 April 1992 when Kinnock resigned.

If my memory is correct of 14 April 1992, as a 20 year old Labour Student I expressed the view we were completely stuffed, nothing would ever be the same now Kinnock was gone, and we Kinnockites had bet the house on moving the party to the centre and still lost the General Election so the left were about to come after us with the political equivalent of chainsaws. I'd spent a thoroughly unpleasant General Election night watching a pretty nasty Tory beat Labour's Doug Naysmith by 45 votes in Bristol North West after several recounts. A month later I was at an even more unpleasant City Council election count where we lost all our safe seats to the Tories. In between I went to a little conclave of LCC activists at the TGWU South West HQ with Neal Lawson, where Roger Berry addressed the subject of "can Labour ever win?"

The newspapers were full of articles asking if Labour was doomed to perpetual opposition. The economy made today's credit crunch look like a tea party, there were 3 million unemployed, public services were underfunded and rubbish, and the PM was John Major who was a national joke whose main policy idea was a "cones hotline" - but he had still beaten us.

Things may be tough but looking back, I'd rather be a Labour activist on 14 April 2008 than on 14 April 1992.

And at least the British political situation isn't as infinitely depressing as this.

16 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

Labour is really in not all that bad a position for a party 11 years in government and up to two years from the next general election. It just seems so awful because of where we were nine months ago and because we've grown used to being ahead in the polls for most of the time. There's still all to play for, the job is to remind voters of what life was like in 1997 Britain and to unmask the empty promises that our opponents make.

The wisest advice of all the good advice in your earlier post was "don't panic". Corporal Jones, who was about as fond of that phrase as Douglas Adams was, might also usefully remind us that "they don't like it up 'em"...

11:12 pm, April 14, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "don' panic" imperative doesn't apply.

You just don't get it.

You are sitting on a shit pile and the chickens are on their way home.

No excuses. Events, dear boy. The revelation is breaking through the crap.

Labour is up shit creek. The only issue is the scale of attribution.

12:19 am, April 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Zokko said...

Polls are not to be trusted. I'll believe them only when the Tories take a safe seat from Labour at a by-election. In the meantime, Cameron should still be regarded as a loser.

9:51 am, April 15, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

I'm still not convinced that the Tories are particularly liked or trusted either - particularly in the North.

However, that doesn't mean that Labour do not have to do some serious thinking and acting.

10:00 am, April 15, 2008

 
Anonymous Eric in Clapton said...

A monkey could have run the country for the last 11 years in the economic climate we had. You were just lukcy. No the chips are down we'll see if Labour can really govern

10:05 am, April 15, 2008

 
Anonymous the history man said...

So eric in clapton believes that the last (let's hope in both senses of the word) Tory PM would have been out performed by a monkey? It was Mrs T who was the really lucky PM, all that lovely north sea oil money and those privatisation proceeds to squander to say nothing of a good war to regain her popular appeal with. History is written by the victors dear boy...

10:19 am, April 15, 2008

 
Anonymous John said...

Now that economic times are hard, we'll come to regret so many wasted opportunities to redistribute. Remember, the re-linkning of pensions to earnings is conditional on 'favourable economic conditions' - could that be in jeopardy?

11:58 am, April 15, 2008

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Shame we don't still ahve that Blair. He got on with Berlusconi like a holiday home on fire.

1:01 pm, April 15, 2008

 
Anonymous somewo said...

"I'm still not convinced that the Tories are particularly liked or trusted either - particularly in the North."

Worth pointing out here that one reason for the sort of poll leads the Tories have right now is turnout. The Labour vote is demoralised and even more Labour supporters than usual are telling pollsters that they won't vote or (and this is probably more common) that they aren't sure that they will. And polls these days factor in turnout (a relatively recent change).

2:01 pm, April 15, 2008

 
Blogger Steve Horgan said...

Gordon Brown is the problem in that he conveys no impression of actually understanding the situation that ordinary people find themselves in, and hence no impression of being able to do anything about it. What killed the Conservatives in the 90s was arguments about Europe while ordinary people cared a great deal more about being out of work or losing their homes. Brown talks about the economy in ways that simply are not relevant to people who are not financial journalists, and even they don't seem too impressed. The ending of the 10p tax rate is an extreme example of this. Millions of people, many of them the poorest, are worse off and the government's line is to talk about 'long-term economic stability'. This is of no comfort to people who are worried about what they are going to do when their shoes wear out. I had no great love for Tony Blair, but at least he made speeches and gave interviews that suggested that he was still in contact with the British people. Brown is disconnected, and a little weird. That having been said, Labour rules make any leadership challenge virtually impossible, unless he were to lose a vote of confidence in the Commons. Unless such a thing occurs then Brown will lead Labour into the next election, and he will almost certainly lose. His personal poll numbers are way past the point of where they have a realistic chance of recovery and no party will prosper at an election led by a leader in which most of the electorate do not have confidence.

11:24 pm, April 15, 2008

 
Anonymous valentin vasilescu said...

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I was in jail because I declasified the doccuments. May be it worth.
Best regards,
Valentin Vasilescu
http://www.cdep.ro/pls/parlam/structura.mp?idm=315&cam=2&leg=2000&pag=0&idl=2

7:15 am, April 16, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

Steve: an interesting perspective from an elected Conservative councillor.

I do agree, however, that there appears to be a certain level of 'disconnection'. However, I think that the Conservatives are going to have to come up with policies which are substantially different - in all the recent discussions, what is apparent is the continuation of convergence.

So it may well be nothing more than a personality contest, and undoubtedly on that score, Cameron will do better in the south than the north.

11:11 am, April 16, 2008

 
Blogger Shamik said...

April 14th: A great day! ;)

3:48 pm, April 16, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Not as great as the 12th!!

5:48 pm, April 16, 2008

 
Blogger susan said...

Given that a Junior Minister has now reportedly resigned over the 10pence tax issue presumably she does not share your view. Real Labour people are in despair. The fact you are not suggests that, as usual, life on Planet new labour continues to ignore the dep fault lines in this Government which are leading us, inexorably, to electoral disaster.Even Kinnock would never have countenanced most of the right-wing rubbish we have seen from Brown in the last 12 months.

7:45 pm, April 17, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian: Not that bad a position! What planet are you on? It's that kind of smug nonsense that makes Labour seem even more out of touch.

Don't think looking back to pre-1997 is going to work; whatever Labour does it needs to look forward.

Sadly this bunch seem incapable of doing that and even if they were, they've lost the confidence of large parts of the country.

9:40 am, April 18, 2008

 

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