Lemmings for Labour
Straight out of the box, with their single-transferable election analysis, comes Compass, pointing their supporters straight towards the electoral cliff and shouting "charge!".
It's difficult to know which bit of sublime idiocy to look at first, so confused and out-of-touch-with-reality is their analysis.
Let's start at the beginning. People have just voted 44% for the Tories who even in their Cameron incarnation are to the right of us, 24% for Labour. Hardly evidence that they want a more leftwing Labour Party. One of their major - and completely legitimate - complaints is that we increased a tax band from 10p to 20p. I think they'd rather we got back to what New Labour was meant to be about - keeping taxes low. They also think we aren't dealing with food and fuel price inflation and that we are increasing the impact of the latter by imposing punitive green taxes. They think we are soft on crime and immigration. And that we aren't doing enough to help homeowners deal with rising mortgage costs. Emblematic of this anger is that the suburbs of London vote Boris, and that we lose control of southern citadel Reading.
Neal Lawson of Compass looks at all this and concludes: "New Labour is now dead. The strategy that saw the Party continually triangulate interests and concerns, tacking endlessly to the right, doing what the Tories would do only doing it first, fixating on a mythical middle England and denying that free market policies are having a damaging effect on society is now finished."
Pardon me Neal? Isn't the problem that "middle England", far from being mythical, went to the polling stations on Thursday and gave us a massive punch in the nose for not listening to them enough?
Lawson manages to correctly go on to say that "The issue is not whether Labour is a party of the middle class or the working class. It has to be both. That was the genius of the 1997 voting bloc." but proposes a move to the left that would delight a tiny demographic of students and Guardian readers but have zero resonance with either our working class base or middle class swing voters, both of whom want practical policies focused on making them prosperous, safe and able to access decent public services, not pie in the sky about "changing the world".
Lawson's policy solution to Labour's troubles has some bits about tax and child poverty and housing that I don't disagree with, but also throws in "Drop detention for 42 days as well as ID cards and reverse the decision on Trident" none of which were remotely relevant to Thursday's defeats. He says that "commercialisation of public services should be halted - modernisation and efficiency should be secured via greater democracy and co-production" - again I doubt many of Thursday's protest voters were motivated by wanting to run their local hospital as a patient co-op. I've got a politics degree and I don't even know what the "co-production" that he advocates is - I think it might be a word he's made up for the occasion. I'm as must an electoral and constitutional reformer as Neal is but I really doubt that the burghers of Bexley and Bury thought that their ballots on Thursday were a call that "Constitutional reform must be fast tracked." Lawson also doesn't seem to have clocked that his admirable call that "real devolution to local government should be quickly embraced" means after Thursday giving more powers to the Tory Party as it is the party actually running local government in most places. And he thinks "concerns over immigration can be eased by proper rights for agency workers." I kid you not.
I wish Neal would go and talk to voters in the places that voted against us on Thursday and ask them what they wanted before dreaming up his recipes for another 18 year stretch in opposition.