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, May 12, 2010

I told you so

During the campaign I warned against tactical voting and talking up a deal with the Lib Dems that just wasn't going to happen.

Commenters on those posts accused me of tribalism and sectarianism and not understanding the new politics.

Turns out I was right. The Guardian, Observer and Compass have been dupes of the highest order.

The Lib Dem leadership are quite happy working with the Tories. They see their place on the political spectrum as like those of their sister parties, the German FDP or the Swedish liberals - a bourgeois party allied to the right.

The first cabinet meeting will be like the scene in Animal Farm when you suddenly realise you can't tell the difference between the humans and the pigs.

I accept that a Lab/LD coalition was not viable because it did not command 326 seats. But there was nothing forcing Clegg to work with either party. He could have allowed a minority Tory government to be formed then voted on legislation on an issue by issue basis, working with Labour to block bad laws. As it is he has committed to a joint programme with a common whip. This is more like a merger than a coalition.

Lib Dem councillors and members and voters (43% of LD voters identify as on the left) who disagree with this sordid deal which will ram through cuts just as savage as the 1931 National Government have choices. They can join the only remaining major anti-Tory party: Labour (http://www.labour.org.uk/join/), or they can set up a radical or social Liberal party on the Nordic model which would be a potential coalition partner for the left in future elections.

They could join the Greens - Greens I was talking to at Hackney's count expect this - but Green MP Caroline Lucas refused to join negotiations on a non-Tory coalition this week, announcing she would vote on an issue-by-issue basis.

There are a large number of Labour supporters who have voted tactically for the Lib Dems over the course of many elections, particularly in rural areas. These people have been absolutely conned out of their votes. If recall of MPs comes in they should petition to have Lib Dems they helped elect recalled. Meantime they could have a look at the Trades Descriptions Act.

The opportunity here for Labour is huge. Research by the Fabians shows that:

  • 19 Lib Dem seats - a third of their total - would fall to Labour if just one-in-four Lib Dem voters switches to Labour in those constituencies
  • 30 Conservative seats would fall to Labour if just one-in-four Lib Dem voters switches to Labour in those constituencies
  • 55 Conservative seats would fall to Labour if half of Lib Dem voters switch to Labour in those constituencies. Together with seats taken off the Lib Dems, this could be enough for Labour to regain its majority at the next election.

On the centre-left Labour is now the only show in town.

We need to elect a new leader fast. I'm relaxed about all the current runners and riders as long as none of them say anything silly against Trident replacement. And we need to rebuild our membership base and organisation and get out of a bureaucratic, cautious, government mentality and into a bold, campaigning one.


Anonymous even older marxist said...

"They see their place on the political spectrum as like those of their sister parties, the German FDP or the Swedish liberals - a bourgeois party allied to the right."

Luke, you old Marxist!

12:37 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Hughes Views said...

Amen to getting "out of a bureaucratic, cautious, government mentality and into a bold, campaigning one."

An overly bureaucratic mentality may even have affected our campaign. With the emphasis on contact targets set in purely quantitative terms rather than qualitative ones, we seemed to spend far too much time preaching to the converted...

PS Is there any way of stopping the Big Society clip soundtrack playing every time I look at your blog?

12:43 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Yes I just deleted it!

12:47 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Arnold said...

Can I be the first to say it? Okay, here goes:

"Don't blame me, I voted Labour!".

There, I feel better now!

1:04 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Steve Horgan said...

Of course the other view is that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat alliance now commands a very large slice of the political spectrum and that Labour risks being crowded into the very small space that it left. I saw one Labour MP being interviewed yesterday talking about ditching the middle-class and getting back to the working-class and trade unionism for example. Well, as a Conservative that works for me.

Congratulations on your re-election by the way.

1:15 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Spot on Luke.

Amusingly, the line from some of the more well known London Lib Dems (Ece, Fryer) seems to be that it's somehow Labour's fault that there's no coalition.

This is classic Lib Demmery - run away from the responsibility of decisions you take. After 4 years of that in camden, people made their mind up on a Tory/Lib dem coalition.

Looking at the Tory and Lib dem manifestos, I am concenred about what is in store for schools, transport and housing espeically in London - as there is some clear distance to make up here.

I hope (but wouldnt be surprised) if these issues are avoided in the name of compromise.

1:19 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the coalition agreement, Luke, before you start mouthing off.

The cuts are bang in line with what Labour would have been forced to do.

The tax regime is LibDem and therefore to the left of Labour.

The green bit is greener than the Greens.

And civil liberties. They're ripping up all of Hattie's surveillance apparatus.

This is substance.

Good riddens to the charmless, talentless bully who put his underpants on his head and dragged his kids into his last photoshoot -- just as he said he wouldn't - in a final hurrah.

It's Darling or Milliband. Hattie's going back in the kitchen.

2:57 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Matt Sellwood said...

"the green bit is greener than the Greens". No it isn't.

Just on the point about Caroline Lucas' stance this week - she was prepared to offer Confidence & Supply support to any Lab/Lib coalition. She just wasn't prepared to join the coalition itself, due to the differences between our parties - differences that both Luke and I are well aware of. :)


3:09 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I have looked at the agreement, and invite all others to read it too !

It confirms every progresives fears, and as a bonus seeks legislation to make it as near as possible imposible to remove this unprincipled shower from office by a vote of no confidence.

Don't belive me ? Read it for yourself.


So much for democracy !

There is a website in existance from the Tories detailing how devious and unprincipled
the Liberal Democraps are, here


I suggest you read and save to hard disc before the Conservatives remember about it and send it down Orwells "Memory Hole".

Come to think of it save the "agreement", reading it in the months to come should give us much enjoyment and amunition.

GW (An aging Tankie)

3:18 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an ex-Labour activist turned Green Party activist, I'm beginning to think you might be right about Labour being the 'only show in town' on the centre-left.

3:43 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger kris said...

Hope you are enjoying the latest edition of Private Eye.

It never ends with you people, does it?


3:45 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post Luke - you are totally correct on this. Sam, Norwich

4:42 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree entirely about the about the opportunity this has presented for the Labour Party and about the inclinations of the Libdem leadership.

However, I think the argument against tactical voting is unsustainable given the Libdems' failure to win the majority of their Lib/Con marginals.

People like Caroline Flint are already talking up the prospect of a coronation. This must be avoided at all costs. Any future leader should have to go through a sporting, principled, and democratic process to earn the title.

Those on the left of the party can stomach David Miliband if that is the will of our members but we should at least have the opportunity to decide. Unity and not the perception of unity should be the goal.

5:48 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree entirely about about the opportunity the Lib-Con coalition presents to Labour and about the innate political inclinations of the the Libdems' leadership.

The argument on tactical voting, however, is harder to maintain given how poorly the Libdems performed in the majority of Lib/Con marginals.

Also, I'm not convinced of the need to rush the leadership contest and, in fact, think it was a little unseemly of Miliband to launch his bid today.

Whatever happens, a coronation - which non-entity Caroline Flint appears to be talking up - is utterly out of the question and would only damage the high spirits that seem to be prevailing amongst activists. Any contest needs to be sporting, dignified, and transparent for members to accept its legitimacy.

5:57 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the two posts. Thought I'd lost the first one.

5:58 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Here we go... said...

It’ll be interesting to see who replaces Brown. It is likely that the new leader will be from the next generation, which will mean an almost total generational shift in leadership in Britain, with baby Boomers out and Generation Jones (the formerly “lost” generation between the Boomers and Xers) taking over in Parliament and party leadership (Cameron and Clegg also come from this generation). This has also been happening abroad and has promoted a lot of media interest, particularly in the U.S. Here’s an interesting piece from last week’s Independent about the significance this transition to Generation Jones:
Also, I thought this was a pretty decent overview about GenJones in the UK:
Finally for some light, post-election relief see this clip about Generation Jones on Jonathan Ross:

6:24 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it was always going to go wrong when 'lefties' like Billy ‘I like to’ Bragg signed on?

Whilst the Labour Government barely deserves the support of the Labour Party, the Party barely deserves the support of the unions and none of us deserve the support of those people who despite all came and voted for us this time. But push comes to shove in politics sometimes and these are the defining moments for anyone involved. People rallied to Labour when it became clear we were fighting in part for the very idea of a party of ordinary people not bought by millionaires or sold to the media agenda. When it became clear that this was a fight against the hectoring middle class who want a Tory government to protect them from the likes of us with private health and private schools in their gated housing estates. When it became clear that the Tories stand not for the Big Society but for the Two Societies: the haves and the have nots. As they always did.

Push came to shove last Thursday and Billy Bragg didn’t stand with those of us trying to build a better world. He stood with the Tangerine Tories instead. The guys who are falling over themselves this weekend to sell out the manifesto Billy loved so much in return for a space for their own snouts in the Tory trough. Many people Billy has inspired and influenced over the years stand to lose once the Liberals open the doors to power for the Tories. We will pay the debts of the city bankers sunning themselevs on the beaches of Belize with our jobs, our wages, our tax credits, our paid holidays and the futures of our children.

Its right and proper that Billy is remembered by Labour supporters and union members now for this betrayal more than his past songs and solidarity.

“Which side are you on?” I think Billy has decided.

7:18 pm, May 12, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

Blame billy brag it's all his fault. No it's the fault of the labour party for abandoning the working people.

Power is not a given right and this is why we let people choose. Right or wrong this is the choice of the people and we have to accept this.

If you want power then deal with the issues, immigration unemployment and fair taxation.

9:47 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...

I don't blame then for doing it. You can't advocate coalition government and then refuse to participate and this was the only one available. I do blame them for being bought so cheaply.

10:17 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Luke - I agree with your article in its entirety (apart from the bit about Trident). Of course, I'm assuming you're including John McDonnell in the runners and riders you're relaxed about ;-)

Actually - just a serious point about that; I think everybody wants to get on with the job of opposing this government, whichever leader might be chosen, but it is essential no section of the party feels that they have been frozen out of the debate. Lots of new members are joining the Labour Party and we need to keep our big tent together in the coming years, so I hope MPs remember that when nominating that there are lots of members outside Parliament who want to be involved and should not be sent a signal that they are "semi-detached".

11:08 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Dave said...

It's a bit remiss to write the Greens off as a left of centre alternative because Caroline Lucas said she'd not join a coalition. her only comment on the matter was on an interview with Paxman at around 6.40am on Friday morning, where she said she would look at it on an issue-by-issue basis, but that she had a lot more in common with Labour. S

he then went off to sleep and spend time with her young family, and that was that. No-one called her, and she wasn't going to insert herself into negotiations in a self-aggrandising way.

All of which is to say that if your only reason to discount the Greens is her statement at 6.40am on Friday morning, that's a bit bobbins.

11:25 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

Largely agree with that. I have said that Clegg is a liberal Tory for a long time. Not so sure about all the parliamentary LibDems, but the call of power is a loud one

I don't think Trident will be an issue at the time of the next election, though I'm still against its replacement and always will be

This does offer some clear red water for us to occupy. I would say that we have to keep our head, refrain from public bickering, focus on the core issues which we KNOW this coalition will disagree about.

And elect a leader after a proper election - and like it or not, it will have to be someone who is good on the telly and who can bring the different parts of the party together

Its obvious to me that person is Ed Miliband

11:48 pm, May 12, 2010

Blogger Benjamin said...

The new politics is still the correct way to go: PR, greater pluralism.

Lib Dems joining with the Tories is bad enough, but a return to Labour tribalism (already evident in the latter years of the Labour govt) would be a mistake too.

5:43 am, May 13, 2010

Blogger Benjamin said...

By the way, the scrapping of ID cards, and the other liberal measures that I hope the new government implements, are a good thing.

Moreover, that fact that it will be a Conservative government that will implement a lukewarm Labour proposal on electoral reform (referendum on AV) should, I hope, embarrass the Labour Party. Labour has been too slow regarding democratic reform - again being held back by the tribalists.

5:48 am, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a brilliant piece the anonymous comment that began "Perhaps it was always going to go wrong when..." was.

That man/woman should be blogging.

If we can learn anything from Conservative activists in opposition it's that a 'new media' guerrilla war can be very effective indeed. This means we need many more people blogging, more people tweeting and more people setting up websites.

11:27 am, May 13, 2010

Blogger Wilfred said...

Communist Coalition

I am very disappointed by this Tory and Liberal Coalition they are now going to tax shares portfolios at the rate of 40%, this is an attack on hard working people who have found ways of investing their money in a low interest savers economy and failing pension schemes, even the Labour party never did this to our shares. This will stunt any stimulus at a difficult time. I paid bloody tax on my earnings all my bloody life and now they are after my share portfolio these Communists should be deported back to Russia?

11:54 am, May 13, 2010

Anonymous T_i_B said...

"The first cabinet meeting will be like the scene in Animal Farm when you suddenly realise you can't tell the difference between the humans and the pigs."

That's a bit rich coming from a Blairite!

12:27 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous HatsOffForHattie said...

Now Labour's thoughts should turn to the leadership. I think Harriet Harman should definitely take it. She could be the new Thatcher - a female party leader who creates a Conservative landslide!

1:38 pm, May 13, 2010

Blogger snowflake5 said...

Part of the problem is that Labour has tacitly allowed our voters to "lend" their vote to the LibDems over the last decade and a half, by simply not canvassing in these areas.

We've concentrated on the key marginals and not really bothered with the semi-rural areas such as the New Forrest, Romsey and North-Southampton etc. No canvassing has been done there for years. But there are Labour supporters in all those areas, and all they receive is leaflets from the LibDems saying "only we can win here". They are brainwashed into thinking that the LibDems are the only option, so guess which way they vote?

Labour needs to start reclaiming these territories, and that means working them on the ground. We can't just rely on image of the Cons and Dems merging to do the job for us.

3:25 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Lib Dem leadership are quite happy working with the Tories" says Luke.

Just, of course, as Tony Blair was on various votes including Luke's
beloved Trident nuclear missiles.

5:24 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Julian Ware-Lane said...

I could not agree more, snowflake5. This is one of my core arguments for electoral reform - it suddenly makes much more of the country attractive to vote seekers.

9:44 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So naive, if not stupid. Allowing the 'Tories to run a minority govt' - just how long before they called a general election in few months, and came back with big majority? Then we'd all be stuffed with full blown Tory policies! Grow up!

10:03 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous hislop said...


OFFICERS at the London borough of Hackney clearly haven’t heard the adage about when you’re in a hole, stop digging.
Prior to the borough’s mayoral election on 6 May, in which Labour mayor Jules Pipe was defending a comfortable 15,500 majority over his Tory rival Andrew Boff, a booklet containing the election addresses of all candidates was delivered to every voter. Every candidate except Mr Boff, that is.

His spiel was left out because of a series of cock-ups by Hackney’s electoral officers, who had given him conflicting advice on whether a point he wished to make – about the cost to the taxpayer of the mayor and cabinet – was legally admissible or not. By the time it was sorted out Boff was told it was too late for his address to be included. Confused voters who phoned the council to check whether Boff was standing were then told, wrongly, that he wasn’t.

A pompous letter
Boff called the council himself, without giving his name, and recorded the conversation with an unnamed council worker who clearly said – after checking with the council’s elections office – that “He’s not [a candidate] because he didn’t submit valid paperwork on time”. Local community newspaper the Hackney Citizen got hold of the story and put the recording of Boff’s conversation with the council officer on its website.

On election day Keith Magnum, the Citizen’s editor, received a pompous letter from Hackney’s legal chief Graham White demanding that the embarrassing audioclip be removed because “this recording was made without the knowledge or consent of the person he spoke to or of the London borough of Hackney. In the council’s view it was unlawful for Mr Boff to disclose the recording to a third party without consent”. Failure to remove the clip would, said White, lead to Hackney seeking an injunction and “recovery of its legal costs in full”. Were Hackney to carry out White’s threat it would be a grave threat to the Citizen, which is run on a shoestring and does a great job with zero resources.

White’s privacy argument is nonsense because a) the council officer was unidentifiable and b) she was speaking in a public capacity on behalf of the council. The fact that she was issuing false information about something as important as an election is a clear matter of public interest. Which is why, in solidarity with the Hackney Citizen, the Eye is enabling readers to listen to the Boff tape here.

10:26 pm, May 13, 2010

Blogger Tarquin said...

umm, what has this got to do with tactical voting?

The lib dems lost seats, and Labour voters shifting to the Lid Dems certainly did not lose you the election by splitting the vote, the tories came out in force

as for your 'if one in four switched blah-blah-blah' - you could say exactly the same for the LDs as they are the second party across most of England, the fact that a labour supporter can dare to whinge about the electoral system when it only works in your party's favour is downright outrageous

10:34 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ONLY one-in-four? You realise what a colossal swing this would represent, right? Almost unprecedented - and it would depend on the public seeing the Lib-Tory coalition as being demonstrably more sleazy, corrupt, authoritarian and incompetent than Labour's last administration.

It's not going to happen.

11:30 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Jaded63 said...

Con-Lib coalition represents over 60% of all votes at the election. I would guess that most Lib Dems are either straight Liberal or left-wing Tory. The socialist tendency is small, for those that way inclined never had any reason not to be Labour.

So, you think it's going to be easy for old/new Labour (make your mind up, by the way)to turn over this fresh, reinvigorating, very optimistic new alignment in British politics? Dream on, baby. I reckon you'll be out of power for a generation, and, let's face it, that's a more realistic scenario.

11:44 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Ben said...


So you regretting yet all those Lib Dem defences you were so keen on over the years?

It's pretty mealy-mouthed to suggest that one of the biggest threats on the left is now Labour tribalism. I think that horse well and truly bolted when the Lib Dem hierarchy decided to shaft half the people who vote for them and get into bed with the Tories.

11:46 pm, May 13, 2010

Anonymous Conservative Liberal party HQ said...

The tories and Lib Dems might unite to form the Conservative Liberal party after all the most well known two leaders of each party Gladstone and Churchill defected between each party.
Maybe we will see a new party the Conservative Liberal Party. If so maybe

11:46 pm, May 13, 2010

Blogger Tarquin said...


It seems to be received wisdom that a) Lib Dems are natural bedfellows of Labour

and b) LD voters feel shafted

I think that type of thinking belongs in the 80s, the number of LD voters has been growing and growing for decades and it's pretty clear it's driven by younger less-tribal, centrist voters, not some sort of pissed-off Labour voter, which is incredible arrogance from the red lot, it's true the old school 'wierdie beardie' image is left wing, but they're becoming a minority nowadays as the Lib Dems have effectively become the main opposition to the Tories in most of England, Labour didn't even get out of the starting blocks in the south (bar london)

has anyone asked the LD voters if they're happy? I've heard a lot of Labour types mouthing off about 'betrayal' because of some sort of perceived left-wing loyalty, but I have yet to meet an actual LD voter who feels that way, and the response in QT tonight was pretty clearly positive towards the coalition

What's to lose? The LDs could never win an election, and now their supporters get several of their ideals introduced - would they seriously rather keep to their principles and get nothing, or drop a few issues and get something for winning less seats than they had before! Nobody wanted to see Labour propped up and they've got no less from the Tories than they would've from Labour, frankly it's win-win for the LDs, anybody who was hoping they could get all their plans into government is barking

12:42 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

The majority of 'LibDem voters' are not strongly committed to the LD's. A good few of them opted for the LD's to keep the Tories out. Many vote one way locally and another way nationally

On top of that. either this coalition is going to be centrist and appeal to the LD's and the Tory left, or its really going to be full-on Tory with the LD's going along with it for the sake of power. The former will inevitably lead to rebellions amongst the Tory right, the latter will give plenty of scope for Labour because there will be room for policies to its left.

In any case, if the LibDems are what they claim to be - a centre-left party - why would they choose to opt for a permanent coalition with a right of centre party? The logic would be to become one party, and I think that may well be the outcome as the LD right is drawn more and more towards full unity with the Tories. Its happened twice before, after all.

The remainder of the LD's would be something of an irrelevance effectively, two party politics would return, rather than permanent pluralism

1:16 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger Duncan said...

"The Lib Dem leadership are quite happy working with the Tories. They see their place on the political spectrum as like those of their sister parties, the German FDP or the Swedish liberals - a bourgeois party allied to the right."

A remark entirely divorced from both any understanding either of the views of the Liberal Democrat MPs or members but also of the days-old history of the negotiation process. WE wanted a Lib-Lab pact; LABOUR (or a significant faction of the Parliamentary party) wanted to retreat to the opposition benches to either run for leadership, prepare for 2015 or keep FPTP.

The Labour parliamentary party, especially Ed Balls, Diane Abbot, Tom Harris, David Blunket and Andy Burnham betrayed every left-of-centre person in this country out of tribalism. Shame on you.

4:09 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your numbers become meaningless since the pro-labour bias of small inner city constituencies is going to be removed. Simultaneously reducing the number of MPs will make it even less relevant. No doubt Labour will find some way of arguing this makes society less fair !

4:46 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger dizzy said...

Common whip? I think not Luke.

6:23 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger tapestry said...

Your voting figures assume that an electoral pact between Lib Dem and Conservative would be unlikely or impossible.

Yet if Lib Dem votes are as vulnerable as you suggest, they will almost have to form a single party at some point - 'The Liberators'.

6:54 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

tarquin asks if anyone has asked the LD voters if they are happy.

Well, I'm an LD voter. I lent my vote to Labour in 1997 because they promised a return to fairness, an new, ethical foreign policy and a commitment to social justice... and I've regretted it ever since.

This time round the LD manifesto was a bit of a problem for me. Amnesty for illegal immigrants did not sit well for example. I made my choice in a Con/Lab marginal in the East Midlands. I've never played at tactical voting so the idea of voting Lab to keep the Tory out (or v.v) was never an option. Toyed with voting Green, but came back to the LDs.

The seat - predictably - went from Lab to Con. So in the view of those who triangulate and advocate tactical voting, my vote was "wasted", wasn't it?

Well, no. I voted for the candidate I wanted to win. Anyone who does anything else and then moans about the outcome cannot really claim they have been "betrayed".

As it turns out, I'm delighted by the way it has fallen out. A new government with LDs in positions of significant influence. A coalition agreement which ditches the loopier parts of the LD manifesto, ties the Tories hands on their more ridiculous ideas like inheritance tax cuts. The priority will be to raise the threshold on income tax to £10k. Rolling back the encroachments into civil liberties nailed on (v. imp for me and absolutely ruled out Lab as an option).

Effectively, it's my dream manifesto. It comes with a "Tory government" label attached so I might not be wearing the T-shirt in public, but hey.

Of course I'm concerned about whether it can be made to work - given the likely contents of the first two or three budgets. I particularly worry that the poorest and most vulnerable will suffer the nastiest effects of whatever cuts are made in services. But during the election campaign *nobody* was coming clean about what cuts there would have to be and I'm hopeful the most vulnerable will suffer less than would have been the case if the Tories had won a majority.

So, tarquin, that's the view of this LD voter. I don't imagine it will be untypical.

8:17 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

57% of LD voters identify themselves as centrist or on the right, 32% more than identify themselves as on the left. (57/43)

If you play this sort of game, Luke, you risk those voters going right and if they did, then the number of Labour seats which fall to the Tories is over 100.

Cameron and Clegg have recognised the massive weakness of the Labour party outside its core vote areas. The plan to equalise seat sizes could cost you 50 seats across Scotland and Wales and the major cities.

Personally, I can't wait for the Labour party to go the way of the Socialist Party of America.

The SP stopped running Presidential candidates after 1956, when its nominee Darlington Hoopes won fewer than 3,000 votes.

From wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Party_of_America

8:25 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Winston (deceased) said...

It's disappointing to see references to the charmless discredited Fabian Society on this blog. If you really admire these people I'd suggest you keep it to yourself, they are as enticing as the BNP.

See here...

As for the Green party, they are Labour without Nuclear anything which makes them more Brown than green and as we all know, Brown is out at the moment.

8:28 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger Karl said...

Let's face facts. Gordon "no more boom, no more bust" Brown was the most incompentent Chancellor/PM in recent history. The last 13 years of Labour rule has brought politics and politicians to a whole new low. The antics of the unelected politicos (an area that NuLab has excelled in) in and around No. 10 has done more to alienate the average voter than the unecessary wars that Blair/Brown have dragged us into.

NuLab's cynical manipulation of boundaries, wholesale immigration and the massive increase in public sector jobs very nearly meant they would have been given another 5 years to completely destroy this country. Thank God they've gone.....

9:02 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let's face facts. Gordon "no more boom, no more bust" Brown was the most incompentent Chancellor/PM in recent history. "

Methinks the poster Karl, has a very short memory. Or is all history prior to 1887 rewritten ?


9:08 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Karl,

Good bye to the Loony Left! they are history...

9:10 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God that at last unapologetic "bourgeois" liberals are running the country rather than a bunch of bourgeois lefties who are embarrassed about who they are. You're Lillipution pantyline is showing, Luke.

9:13 am, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that all the prospective leadership candidates should have their mental health throughly investigated before their names are allowed to go forward.

9:29 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger Jess The Dog said...

Is this perhaps the end of political ideology?

The main characteristic I associate with Labour has been a pathological need to fight the Tories, through gaining and holding power at nearly any cost. I can't quite understand this.

Now the Lib Dems and the Tories have come together in a coalition, making the most of common ground and agreeing to differ on aspects of their political philosophies which clash.

This seems to offer the potential for a new kind of politics, ditching the partisan black and white approach of the last couple of decades.

For Labour's sake, they (you?) need to ditch Mandelson and Campbell immediately and publicly. Campbell will be badly burned over Iraq anyway, when Chilcot concludes.

A two pronged approach of statesmanlike co-operation on economic measures and ruthless defence of core voter interests is probably what you need.

And I suggest starting in Scotland, aiming to wrest back Holyrood next year. Incidentally, Con-Lib boundary reform will almost certainly result in a bloodbath of Scots Labour MPs (rightly so - they are over-represented by nearly double in terms of vote share) which may well make it even harder in 2015.

10:08 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Might be of some interest


11:31 am, May 14, 2010

Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

"bourgeois party".

Dear me, stuck in an era of politics which dies decades ago.

I am so enjoying the total distress of the Labouristas at the country turning on them. And I say that as a former Labour voter of over 30 years.

What we need most of all from this coalition is to ensure that never again can Scottish MPs vote on English matters - that done, Labour can be sidelined forever in England, and will just have to live in she corrupt swamp of Scottish Labour politics. We've had enough of it down here.

12:25 pm, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are a large number of Labour supporters who have voted tactically for the Lib Dems over the course of many elections, particularly in rural areas. These people have been absolutely conned out of their votes. If recall of MPs comes in they should petition to have Lib Dems they helped elect recalled. Meantime they could have a look at the Trades Descriptions Act."

If Labout is represented by people deluded enough to come out with this rubbish they will get trounced at the next election"

Facts... Tories had the same percentage of votes as Labour had in the last election....over a million more of the electorate voted for them than did for the last Labour government... and its only thanks to boundary changes in Labour's favour that a Tory majority was avoided.

Labour need to wake up and smell the coffee... they need to accept what's happened and move on, not try and grab crumbs of victory from the loaf of defeat.

For a start....recognise how insulting it is to lump the working class...those who work, want to work or genuinely are unable to work...in with the shirking class... those who regard benefits as a a god-given right and pursue and accrue them with almost professional zeal.

Help the working class...deal with the shirking class. There are two different animals out there and Labour's revival will only begin when this is recognised.

12:49 pm, May 14, 2010

Anonymous photo ex machina said...

Labour are knackered and deserve to be in opposition. Maybe next election...

1:13 pm, May 14, 2010

Anonymous peezedtee said...

This is typically tribalist, blinkered thinking from Luke Akehurst. Like many other Labour people he seems to be mentally wedded to an organisation, the Party, whatever it does and says, rather than to the ideas and policies that are needed. "My party right or wrong" is increasingly not how real people think. This is why I am not a member of any party. I have voted both Labour and LibDem in the past. I am happy to have voted LibDem on this occasion because the Labour government has been a disgrace on many progressive issues.

Akehurst says: "He (Clegg) could have allowed a minority Tory government to be formed then voted on legislation on an issue by issue basis, working with Labour to block bad laws."

He could have, but instead of merely blocking bad laws (a purely negative activity) we now have a programme which includes things that leftish liberals like me positively want. No airport expansion, no ID cards, an elected House of Lords, the chance of a better voting system, inheritance tax threshold stays where it is, low earners to be taken out of the tax system altogether, fixed-term parliaments, increased targets for renewable energy, an end to the detention of children in immigration centres, aviation tax on the plane not the passenger, no new coal-fired power stations, and more. These are all radical things that any decent Labour government should already have done, but they didn't.

Of course there are some nasty Tory policies but they are not as nasty as they would have been otherwise. The wings of the far right have been clipped. It seems odd that so many people are having difficulty understanding the simple point that no party got a majority, so no party gets all its own way.

3:50 pm, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Worried, of Hackney said...

Hey Cllr Akehurst! please stop calling it Lib/Con. It is clearly a ConDem alliance.

Also the Parliamentary Labour Party has a very serious and responsible job ahead, which it should not take lightly, which is being Her Majesty's Opposition and scrutinizing the Government of the day.

Sadly and perhaps you may agree - there is no one serious, intelligent or competent to scrutinize Jules Pipe and his Cabinet in Hackney.

5:09 pm, May 14, 2010

Anonymous Ed said...

"They see their place on the political spectrum as like those of their sister parties, the German FDP or the Swedish liberals - a bourgeois party allied to the right.

Scratch a Labourite and find a Trot or Marxist!

If the Tories and co. can do the following things they can consign Labour to irrelevance:

1) Update constituency boundaries which at present give small constituencies in Labour-dominated inner cities of as few as fifty-thousand voters while there are consituencies of more than eighty-thousand in more normal areas.

2) Stem the tide of mass immigration that Labour encouraged, knowing around 80% are vote Labour.

3) Prevent Scottish MPs voting on England-only issues. If the Scots want to indulge in socialism, let them fund it themselves.

As for the supposed influx of Labour members, I predict that what is happening is all the Loony Left rabble that couldn't stomach Labour in government because of Iraq, Trident, PFI etc are swarming back out of a viceral hatred of the Tories.

Labour are welcome to them - it'll just make them more unelectable ;-)

12:55 pm, May 15, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for the supposed influx of Labour members, I predict that what is happening is all the Loony Left rabble that couldn't stomach Labour in government because of Iraq, Trident, PFI etc are swarming back out of a viceral hatred of the Tories".

Ed, whilst some of those joining are re-joininers, I think you'll find, to your disappointment, that most are young people who've never been a member of any political party before - and a few ex-members of the tangerine Tories.

I personally know of seven such people.

If the best you can hope for is for the Condem alliance to gerrymander the electoral process, then the Libdems really are, as the Americans say, 'in the pooper'.

You're clearly one of those people who keeps whittling down the electorate, gradually knocking out 'undesirables' until you get the result you want. 'If we only get rid of the Scots, the Welsh, the North, Central London, the immigrants, the left.....Where have I heard that before?

10:59 am, May 16, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who believe that it is because Labour's seats have a smaller electorate is the reason for the imbalance between the relative seat returns between Labour and Tory should have a closer look at the figures. In fact the smallest constituencies are SNP, Plaid, Tory and LibDem held.
The average size of Tory and Labour constituencies was just over 1000 on the basis of the 2000 electorates used by the Boundary Commission, but subsequent migration has increased this to about 4000.
There is probably a bigger effect due to differential turnout (possibly affected by the greater churn in the inner cities). This probably also affects the level of registration in these areas.
It should also be noted that many immigrants boast the G flag on their register entries.

11:52 am, May 16, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The banks' 'CP debt' catastrophe could make the sub-prime collapse look like a tea party
Never heard of CP Debt? Nor have most people. But in order to earn more huge bonuses, the Tory bankers have been using CP Debt to take a much, much bigger risk than sub-prime... a risk that’s about to blow up and potentially wipe BILLIONS off the FTSE and the Dow!

12:10 am, May 17, 2010

Blogger Wilfred said...

Labour needs a complete reformation or the alternative will be 20 years out in the wilderness.

It should be a radical party and a real alternative to the other parties.

The deficit is massive and must be tackled.

Can we continue wasting money on Nuclear weapons that will never be used?

The illegal wars in Iran and Iraq is this really our problem and how much money could be saved by withdrawing troops?

A complete renationalisation of Energy , Utilities, Railways and banks could be a good revenue earner for the government?

Reopen the coal mines under public ownership and invest in clean coal and integrate with green and renewable energies so we have our own power and no other country can hold us to ransom.

|The industrial base must be rebuilt and imports reduced.

The housing market must be sustained and BTL's abolished so every one can have fair opportunities to strive for.

1:15 pm, May 17, 2010

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Wilfred said,

"The illegal wars in Iran and Iraq is this really our problem and how much money could be saved by withdrawing troops?"

Eh? I had no idea we were at war with Iran! And while I agree the agressive pre emptive war in Iraq was illegal (a point I have argued ad nauseam on this and other blogs....) we have pulled out a substansive number of troops out of that country.

From what I have read about this deficit, we might be looking at 20% departmental cuts, so although I support a policy of renationalisation do we have the money for it?
Frankly I think Labour needs to rediscover it's social democratic (or if you prefer democratic socialist) roots, and make it relevent to today's problems, to coin a phrase "21st century socialism". We need to listen to people who have abandoned us the ballot box and understand why we are where we are. We need a debate on immigration, and express quite clearly to the public why the tories stance on this is disingenuous.
Do people care about electorial reform? My guess, probably not, although I would like to see a fully elected upper chamber.
A leadership election bringing together the wide family that is the Labour party is cathartic and will help us define who we are and who we represent.

5:14 pm, May 17, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nationalisation would be a way to wipe out the deficits by cutting out the Privateers and the government collecting the profits not the losses?

Come on Labour boot out all that right wing clutter its time for change and this coalition is not going to last so we could end up with another chance or a stronger Tory government?

7:55 pm, May 17, 2010

Blogger Lynne@Bradford said...

Let's remember we had an unprecedented three terms - did we really feel we could govern forever? not healthy for democracy whatever we feel about the marriage made in hell! Rejoice that Cameron didn't get a working majority and we need to still remind folk of the good stuff Labour accomplished in office. A period of renewal will be good for us, and like Arnie, we'll be back.

11:26 pm, May 17, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

What Lynne said. And I'm one of the people who has rejoined the party

1:46 am, May 18, 2010

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Luke, you are absolutely bang on. The position that the liberal wing of our own movement has taken on this has been childish and naive. I think you are absolutely right to condemn them, and for absolutely the right reasons.

2:08 pm, May 21, 2010

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Duncan above is talking such abject nonsense I hardly know where to start.

He seems to think there is some kind of obligation to go into coalition with the Tories.

It was a CHOICE on the part of the Lib Dems, and nothing else.

2:49 pm, May 21, 2010


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