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, July 15, 2010

Winning back the South

This article by Ed Miliband about how Labour might address winning back the South is in the Times today. I'm assuming like me that most of you can no longer read the Times online as it is behind a paywall. Fortunately Ed has reproduced it on his website: http://edmiliband.org/2010/07/15/change-to-win-in-the-south/

As someone who grew up in Kent and has fought parliamentary seats in Hampshire and Essex I am glad to see Ed is doing some thinking about winning back voters in these areas.


Blogger Merseymike said...

All sensible suggestions. But the seats won on 1997 weren't really an advantage. Keeping Castle Point voters on side won't necessarily mean the sort of policies to enthuse those who vote for us more readily. We ended up with too many MP's scared of losing their seats and the policies were trimmed in consequence.

I think that if we are honest, there are votes to be won in the south, but the south is essentially Tory-minded. We may win Reading again, or Swindon, but we're never going to win Maidenhead.

What is true about the south is that there are basically quite ordinary towns where we hardly exist, but where we once had safe council wards.
They include places like Chesham, Aylesbury, and Bath. In each case the LibDems have moved into what was our territory

Incidentally, despite the nickname, I'm an adopted scouser - born and brought up on the Bucks/Berks border in what is now the Beaconsfield constituency

12:30 pm, July 15, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

see relaunch of Country Standard
radical paper of rural coomunities

11:58 pm, July 15, 2010

Blogger Edward Carlsson Browne said...

I agree with some of what you say, Merseymike. We don't need to win as much of the south as we do of the midlands, the north, Scotland or Wales. And we'll never win Maidenhead.

But I don't think you can blame MPs for seats like Castle Point for trimming in the period 1997-2001. The only way to hold those seats would have been to swing hard-right in an Enoch Powell way.

They may have voted more conservatively than you'd have liked, but that's how they got elected. Castle Point will not elect a Campaign Group member, even in a wave year. Moreover, they knew they were there on borrowed time. If they were trying to save their seats, they'd have revolted a lot more.

No, there was a degree of trimming because the government wanted a degree of trimming. It's that simple.

And it's not a question of whether or not we 'may' win Swindon or Reading. We NEED to win Swindon and Reading. The seats just aren't there to form an effective majority without southern seats like them. We don't need shire seats, but we need southern cities, we need midland towns, we need the occasional commuter suburb. We can't make up the extra seats from Merseywide.

5:54 pm, July 16, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

Its not just the south that you have to win back Luke. The midlands, the east and west is nearly all tory.

With electoral reform on its way I can't see Labour making many gains in the South at all.

All you can hope for is that the lib dem voter moves to Labour in 4 years time.

11:26 pm, July 17, 2010


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