What went catastrophically wrong in the electionBased on the things I've read, my own experience of life and my exasperation at some nonsense I've been reading of late about Labour's terrible performance in the election I am going to try to set down some home truths on the debacle.
Home Truth - the First
For the first home truth, we must rewind to the Miliband election.
The first thing to note is that the wrong Miliband was chosen. The Labour Party members didn't get it wrong and neither did the MPs. The majority voted for David Miliband. Ed took advantage of the electoral college system of voting to become leader with added union support.
The unions got their people out to make sure they got their man in.
Now while the choosing the wrong Miliband mistake might be obvious to ordinary people as a primary (not prime) cause of Labour's defeat I have to mention it here because I heard Len McCluskey a few days ago on a podcast say that they got the right Miliband as David Miliband would have 'split the party' or something. Like many of his fellow activists he is positioning himself for years of righteous and outraged indignation in opposition. You will hear the Left arguing time and time again that Labour didn't win because they weren't left-wing enough. It is usually couched so;
"Labour didn't win because they didn't offer a real alternative."
This shadow boxing will go on for years as the Labour party remains in the political wilderness, which, by the way, I think it will.
Home Truth - the Second
In metropolitan London with its culturally diverse population (about 50% non-natives rising in some boroughs to 90%) and from where Labour rules (or rather doesn't rule) all it surveys, the Labour Party grandees don't get what the immigration fuss is all about. They are genuinely and not just politically or affectedly perplexed. The idea of a British Obama went down well in London but the UK is not London. Chuka Umunna, who has now pulled out, has not got the same appeal out in the sticks where mostly natives are much in the majority. Outside London and some metropolitan areas of the UK voters are tired of "cultural diversity" or its many lexical cousins.
UKIP had a cheap and easy appeal to prejudiced voters. Labour can shout hatred at UKIP or at racial prejudice in general for as long as they like but you are not going to woo the voters by shouting at them or telling them off.
The economic argument in favour of mass immigration is very strong indeed.
Look at this
It's from The Daily Telegraph.
The Daily Telegraph!
O Labour people.
The multicultural argument in favour of the rapid and deliberate mass immigration Britain has seen is very weak indeed but the Tories are at least making the best of things.
In contrast, your fondness for multiculturalism/cultural and ethnic diversity is a way to show off how wonderfully unprejudiced you are if you are a Labour supporter. Immediately you sense someone expressing anything but unbounded affection for mass immigration mount your high horse and be ready.
Home Truth - the Third
56 SNP MPs are sitting in Westminster. Everyone knew that they would be, even the pollsters knew. The electorate certainly knew they would be there.
Sort of leftie, sort of horribly nationalist with every issue approached by asking a single question, "What's in it for Scotland?"
The electorate knew the Scottish wreckers would be there in numbers and voted for a party who might just might be able to resist them - the Tory party.
Home Truth - the Fourth
Labour allowed a segregated party meeting in Birmingham. Instead of condemning this repellent practice Labour tutted mildly before bizarrely going on the attack.
Harriet Harman commented on Twitter that segregated meetings were better than men-only meetings and said she would have sat the visitors around in a circle. Well, yes, good, but - no. No one was suggesting men-only political meetings, were they Harriet?
Condemnation of segregation carried out according to religious (Islamic) or gender rules was needed and it was nowhere to be seen. The electorate noticed the segregated meeting. They could hardly fail to notice it. It was splashed over most of the newspapers.
Home Truth - the Fifth
Tellingly, I think it was on Pienaar's Politics or Carolyn Quinn's Sunday morning outing, an old couple were asked what the parties stood for. Their answer was without affectation this; the Tories were 'the party of the working class'. The presenter was surprised by this and asked what the Labour Party stood for. Ah, they said, 'Labour are for people who are down on their luck.'
Their answer could have been carved into the Edstone. In a way it sort of was.
Most people believe in the safety net of a welfare system but not in the UK being run with the sole aim of providing for those down on their luck.
Currently the leadership debate in the Labour Party is about the right vs. the left. The terms are coded though. Blairites or those in favour of "aspiration" are on one side (right) and those wishing to appeal to traditional Labour values on the other (left).
Who becomes leader is being played down in importance against this Left-Right clash backdrop. The leadership contest is being played about something intangible like 'the future direction of the party' or reconnecting with the electorate.
Sorry but this is wrong.
The next Labour leader, if it isn't a woman, will wait 3 terms in the wilderness before being elected PM. A woman, and it doesn't really matter much who it is (with the obvious exceptions of Harriet Harman and Diane Abbott), will spend one or two terms out of power.
One more thing. I don't often find myself agreeing with Ken Livingstone but there is one thing he said about the reasons for the defeat I do agree with. He said that Labour in power did not build enough houses for their voters' children.