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 26, 2010

Why Labour can win

There is some wishful thinking going on from the "we love Liberals more than we love our own party" wing of Labour, such as Compass/the Guardian's John Harris who in the article I've linked to charmingly calls people like me "knuckle-head tribalists".

Personally I'd rather be a loyal "knuckle-head tribalist" than be someone undermining their own party and delusional about the politics of their wished-for coalition partner.

Labour's internal fifth column of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" half want us to lose our majority because they are stuck in a 2005 paradigm where the Lib Dems under Charlie Kennedy were cuddly anti-war, anti-tuition fees lefties who would never have propped up a Tory government and who the fifth columnists believe would drag a Lab/Lib government to the left.

They need to wake up and smell the coffee. Not once has a senior Lib Dem talked up partnership with Labour. All of Clegg's recent comments have been heavy hints about a deal with Cameron, which makes more sense on every basis for him - policy (he's an Orange Book rightwinger), personality (he hates Gordon and gets on OK with Cameron), and political calculation (what gain would the LDs get from helping a defeated government stay in office?). The idea of a “progressive anti-Tory alliance” is a Guardian-writer/reader fantasy that died with Ming Campbell's social-democratic leadership of the Lib Dems.

We shouldn’t talk about hung parliaments until we know the election result. It’s defeatist and demoralises our voters and activists. Once we know the result I’m open to working with the Lib Dems in a hung parliament – anything would be better than a Tory-led government. But this is more in hope than expectation. The bottom line is nothing suggests they are open to working with us.

In any case the current polls only put a 6% gap between us and the Tories so we could still win a majority. Last night's You Gov result was Con 34%, Lab 28%, LD 30%. A tiny 3% movement from this position would put us and the Tories both on 31%, which would leave Labour just 17 seats short of a majority. A further 2% clawed back from the LDs (Con 31%, Lab 33%, LD 28%), which is a highly plausible final result, would produce a Labour majority government.

Do Harris et al really believe Labour can't get from 28% to 33%? I believe we can.

YouGov's Peter Kellner explains here another factor that could yet win this for Labour: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7107265.ece:

"The Lib Dem surge is hurting Tory prospects in Labour-Conservative marginals. Individual nationwide polls cannot detect this; but because YouGov is questioning different samples of about 1,500 people daily, we can combine a week’s polls into a total sample of more than 10,000 and see what is happening in different kinds of seat.

YouGov has compared the results from BC (before Clegg) and AD (after debate) in the 115 Labour-Conservative marginals that would fall to the Tories on a swing of 8%. In 2005 Labour’s overall lead in these seats was 9%.

In this election, during the BC days, the Tory lead in these seats was 4%. Compared with 2005, that represented a swing to the Tories of 6.5% in these target seats, compared with a swing of 5% nationally.

In other words, the Tories were doing better where they needed to win than in the rest of Britain, and stood to capture 94 Labour seats. Add in, say, 10 gains from the Lib Dems and the Tories would be just 12 short of an overall majority.

The AD pattern is different. Our sample of 2,220 in these target seats now puts Labour one point ahead. The swing since 2005 is down to 4% in the Labour marginals — the same as the national swing. Not only is the prospect of big Conservative gains from the Lib Dems slipping away; the bonus swing the Tories had been enjoying in the Labour marginals has also disappeared.

The Lib Dem surge has hurt the Tories with special force in Labour-Conservative marginals. The 10-point gain in Lib Dem support in these seats has been overwhelmingly at the Tories’ expense."

It is all still to play for and the defeatists in our own ranks need to shut up before they create a self-fulfilling prophesy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post - this should be widely circulated

2:52 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous John said...

So under proportional representation, which you support, would Labour be in permanent opposition?

3:48 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post, but clutching at straws. We all are.

5:22 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

But what are odds of labour winning now, I think it's very slim. Even the tories chances of securing a majority are slim with a ten point lead. The polls can be wrong but not this wrong.

8:18 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I came to your blog via John Harris on the Guardian website. Are you the real face of Labour in 2010? God, now I know I need to vote Liberal Democrat!

Former Labour member (worked for the Party in 83, 87, 92 and 97, but no more....)

9:23 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what you're saying here about the need to maximise the Labour vote but if the Tories have set their face against PR and Clegg has said it's a deal-breaker for them, how will a Tory-LD alliance work??

9:50 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous Geraint said...

Luke, it is New "Labour" Blairites-Brownites such as yourself, that have left Labour in third place in most polls, and struggling in this election. It is people like you that is why Labour is loosing left-leaning voters to the Lib Dems.

After the election, we need someone like Alan Johnson, or Jon Cruddas to restore the Labour Party back to the social democratic/democratic socialist party that it was and still is at it's very core. They are needed to rebuild the progressive consensus that we had, and smashed.

It is more pragmatic to talk about what to do in the most likely outcome of a hung parliament.

9:56 pm, April 26, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never one to forget who the real enemy is, in the midst of the election campaign Luke turns his fire on Compass, as usual.

10:19 pm, April 26, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...

If there's one thing I like about your blog it's your relentless optimism. I want to believe we can win but I don't and haven't for some time. And I thought we'd won on election night 92. Clegg is indeed a tory lite not to mention a smug face in search of a good slap, but the progressives are still there. There's an element that still hate the tories and will make life very difficult for Clegg. In all honesty if some a year ago had offered me a Lib-Lab coalition under a new leader I'd have taken their hand off.

1:42 am, April 27, 2010

Blogger james said...

Here's my balanced view:

On the one hand, twice as many hung councils have Tory-Liberal coalitions than Labour-Liberal coalitions. But on the other hand, Labour has shared power with the Lib-dems in the devolved Scottish parliament.

On the one hand, many Lib-Dems were SDP splitters. But on the other, many Lib-dems are ex-Labour the party would lose support if it backed the Tories.

Me, I'm hoping for a 4th term with a Labour majority. And it would be great if that could be achieved with a lower share of the vote than 1983.

4:56 am, April 27, 2010

Anonymous gwenhwyfaer said...

Knuckle-headed tribalist is as knuckle-headed tribalist does, I'm afraid. Both Labour and the Tories are suffering from the disease that all too often strikes at entrenched columns of the Establishment - the unshiftable belief that you somehow deserve to be in government, and that the will of the populace is merely a roadblock you have to overcome once every few years. Stop it. We, the people, are sick of the pair of you; and more seriously, between the "moderate" Labour and "moderate" Tory voices (neither of whom conform to any definition of moderation I've ever encountered), those of us who are outside the tribes really can't tell the pigs from the men any more.

You both need to be humbled. You both need to know what it feels like to be truly moderated. And this country that you are so desperate to control sorely needs a rest from being thrashed around by a pair of egoless egocentrics whose only remaining definition of "good" is "not as bad as that guy in the mirror".

Maybe the Lib Dems will prove to be as bad as you are. Maybe they don't have a clue what matters. Maybe they aren't the answer. But god knows, they might be the rod with which we can give the two of you a little of the same punishment you've been meting out to us over the last thirty years. So shut up and take your medicine - we don't really care whether it's good for you; if it leaves you weak and helpless, it's good for us. And you do remember that you're supposed to be our servants, right?

4:58 am, April 27, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

Largely agree with what Geraint said. I'm not voting Labour this time because of my MP's homophobic voting record, but none of the main three parties have anything particular to offer.

10:39 am, April 27, 2010

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

After the election, we need someone like Alan Johnson, or Jon Cruddas to restore the Labour Party back to the social democratic/democratic socialist party that it was and still is at it's very core.


I mean, Cruddas is vaguely 'social democratic/democratic socialist' even if I don't think much of him, but Johnson is on the far right of the New Labour wing and a dyed-in-the-wool Blairite.

10:41 am, April 27, 2010

Anonymous Kier Hardie RIP said...

Haha not now with foot in mouth Gordon is gaffe super mode

Labour are totally finished

1:52 pm, April 28, 2010

Anonymous Kier Hardie RIP said...

Haha not now with foot in mouth Gordon is gaffe super mode

Labour are totally finished

1:52 pm, April 28, 2010

Blogger jailhouselawyer said...

I like the way you support Labour's totalitarian state!

Labour are wrong to deny convicted prisoners their human right to vote.

The election result will be declared null and void in Europe.

Do you intend to take your share of the blame?

2:41 pm, April 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke: Really looking forward to your take on Bigotgate!

5:16 pm, April 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did some canvassing for a Lib Dem candidate in a Labour seat. The Lib Dem candidate is an excellent one a cardiologist.. I have been involved in elections since the 70s. I was a Labour Party member for 30 years and worked in many elections and I have a good sense of how things are going and I think that the Labour vote is very flaky.

10:58 pm, April 28, 2010

Anonymous Dirty Euro said...

Jail House lawyer
Prisoners should not have the vote. Why should someone who robbed or murdered someone still have the vote? It is part of the punishment they they lose their freedoms, and rights of free people.
What next the right to shop, own a house.
Would you support child abusers having the vote?

11:43 pm, April 28, 2010

Anonymous Ben said...

Jailhouse lawyer pops up to represent the sneery, patronising, holier-than-thou authentic voice of Lib Dem-ery.

Excellent piece. Can't say I agree with you on PR - this sort of boost for the ghastly yellow shower would become a permanent feature of our politics, but you rightly call out the defeatism, disloyalty and ill-discipline of parts of the left of the party in alliance with the liberal chatterati. They need to pull themselves together and get out on the doorstep. Compass has a lot to answer for.

12:52 am, April 29, 2010

Anonymous Duncan said...

I suspect the reason compass looks set to abandon you is that you're out of ideas, you're hopelessly tarred with your record of corruptions and it's no longer clear your policies offer the best deal for the worst off. Take your lumps like men and try to get your party back on track (away from its obsession with authoritarianism, bureaucracy, Tory attitudes towards crime and 'yobs' and appealing to 'middle class voters').

As to your claim that the LibDem surge is drawing primarily from the Conservatives in marginals you might be right in certain marginals (namely those where the protest vote is attempting to shift entrenched Labour MPs involved in expenses scandals) but overall you're just wrong; current estimates have the surge coming from Labour '05 voters at 20% and only 10% from the Tories. We'll know better when the marginal polling comes out tomorrow.

1:26 am, April 29, 2010

Anonymous Duncan said...

"Why should someone who robbed or murdered someone still have the vote?" - It might be cheap to point out that lots of those who've robbed people are running for re-election with red rosettes or are currently in the shadow cabinet (Andrew Lansley and Ken Clarke both profited from the sale of 2nd homes after flipping their designations).

More to the point however why shouldn't prisoners RETAIN their vote? If I rob someone and am caught my punishment is whatever I'm sentenced. I should not in addition lose my citizenship. The right to vote is sacred and should not be suffered to be infringed. I'm absolutely /amazed/ to find this kind of sentiment on a 'labour' blog; it only shows how far the party has sunk under Blair. Do people no longer read Foot's The Vote? Do they no longer remember that poverty is a major source of crime and yet poverty is at least as much the government's fault as it is the fault of the impoverished. Shame on you for thinking yourself 'left wing' yet being so quick to condemn those given custodial sentences as somehow being so alien to you as to be unworthy of the most essential rights of a democracy.

1:31 am, April 29, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

What has voting got to do with crime. The right to vote is a human right and what you are suggesting is very dangerous and would not prevent crime.

9:22 am, April 29, 2010


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