Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Tories are within 4 points of Scottish Labour. What a time to try to outflank the SNP from the left

The UK's national media, not to mention Labour Uncut and this bloghave not spoken much about Scotland recently but, as the gaze of Britain’s political machine turns briefly northwards, as it does every four years, that will change.

It is right that it will, and this time it should not be brief. This is not just because the Holyrood elections are almost upon us. It is because Labour’s short-to-medium-term success, and perhaps its very survival, depends on a Scottish turnaround.

Why? Let’s just look at the basic electoral arithmetic. As Lewis Baston pointed out in an outstanding analysis at LabourList, because of its wipeout in Scotland, Labour needs a bigger swing than it had in the 1997 general election to win in 2020.

That is, a bigger swing even than its best-ever post-war result.

It would be a tall order for a party even at the height of its popularity and which had not for the last five years neglected swing seats in the South East which it had won in 1997 and needed to win again.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Seven rubbish defences for Labour’s defence policy review

While the party membership has been convulsed by the burgeoning civil war over the Corbyn leadership phenomenon, policy has – understandably – taken something of a back seat.

However, in recent weeks it has been in the news over one area. Surely, you say, it must be how to rework Labour’s economic policy to make it more electable? After all, aside from the public’s lack of personal engagement with Ed Miliband, that’s the factor generally accepted (including in Labour’s own post-mortem, the Beckett report) to have essentially lost it the last election?

Oh, how naïve. It’s defence, of course. Not because it was an election-loser for Labour, you understand, or even figured highly in doorstep conversations, but because it is a personal hobby horse of Our Beloved Leader and his entourage (prominent kitchen Cabinet members Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne, for example, being long-time Stop the War Coalition stalwarts).

The original brief for the defence review thus considered everything the Stoppers hold dear, from dumping Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent to leaving NATO. That said, last week the leadership rowed back from the latter and sidelined Ken Livingstone from the defence review, realising that leaving NATO was really a step too far for most.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The best of 2015

And so we come to the traditional year-end round-up of the Centre Left's most popular posts:

5. Five dangers for Labour as the finish line approaches - In those heady days when we had merely slightly-hopeless Ed Miliband rather than disastrous Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, there was actually a time when many felt that Miliband was on track to become Prime Minister. Yes, thanks to some fairly serious differences between pre-election polling and the final result, many languished under that comfortable delusion. The Centre Left did not, even though even this blog did not fully appreciate the scale of defeat which awaited us.

4. The Muslim Manifesto and Labour's useful idiots - In March, a few signs of the madness currently gripping the national party started to make themselves evident. Here we had a (thankfully small) group of MPs inviting a hate-preacher to speak in Parliament, a clear indication of The Madness. With well-known Hamas sympathisers Andy Slaughter and Yasmin Qureshi leading the charge - thanks, guys.

3. Why backbenchers talking to terrorists is not the same as senior politicians talking to terrorists: a primer Later, during the leadership election, many attempted to defend Corbyn's association with terrorists by comparing it to the UK government talking to the IRA. This piece looked to gently explain why that argument is rubbish.

2. Tory fumbles put Labour back in the race - A few weeks before the general election saw the Tories wobble with a few serious gaffes. It put Labour back in the race in everyone's minds, only to have our hopes cruelly dashed on election night itself.

And, at Number One:

1. "Unite is proud to associate itself with Lutfur Rahman" - Or thus spake Andrew Murray, right-hand man to Len McCluskey and the leader's Chief of Staff at the Unite union. Only he turned out to be wrong when McCluskey changed his mind. Rahman, of course, was stripped of his office as Mayor of Tower Hamlets in April, after an electoral court convicted him of electoral fraud. What a sweet, sweet day was that for some of us (well, he did once try to have me arrested).

That's it - a very happy New Year to all Centre Left readers, after a year when we actually broke into the top 40 of UK political blogs for the first time. Thanks for all your support, we'll be here as long as you keep reading.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Twas the night before Christmas (with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Twas the night before Christmas, and in Labour’s house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Jeremy soon would be there.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Labour has reached peak groupthink

groupthink, n., [grüp-ˌthiŋk]: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics
- Merriam-Webster online dictionary
The saddest thing about party conference this year, as commentator Iain Martin remarked, was “otherwise nice/sensible people trying to persuade themselves it will be ok”.

If there were a fortnight to convince the world otherwise, this must surely have been it.

Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Labour’s position on bombing Isil, the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the rebellion on an actual vote for renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, have all been an unmitigated shambles.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...