Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Does the left have a winning argument?

That is one of the questions we're asking at Saturday's "Causes to fight for" Fabian new year conference, with a panel including Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, top elections analyst John Curtice, ex-Downing Street adviser Peter Hyman, and journalists Mary Riddell and Jackie Ashley.

In a piece for the New Statesman's Staggers blog today, I look at the particular challenges for Labour in reconnecting to disillusioned liberal-left voters as part of the task of rebuilding the broad electoral coalition which won it three election victories.

Here's a snippet:

The focus of Labour's campaign has been on ensuring the Conservatives face the scrutiny of a would-be government in waiting. That the Conservatives are ahead in framing the election year can be seen in how often Ministers seem forced to contest Tory narratives - a debt crisis, the broken society, or the (ludicrous) idea that Labour has declared 'class war'.

The related charge that Labour has a 'core vote' strategy does not stack up: the party was rather more vocal in its condemnation of 'fat cat' support for a windfall tax over 'rewards for failure' under Blair in 1997 as it has been over banker bonuses now.

The intention is to intimidate Labour into muting its positive argument. This should be framed around the idea that "fairness doesn't happen by chance", and is a question of policy choices not political language, with substantive tests - in who we tax, and where we spend - of what a politics of fair chances and fair rewards means as distributional choices get tougher.
More ...

Keep up with The Staggers here. Launched not long before Christmas, the new rolling blog has quickly established itself as an essential bookmark for the thinking left.


Silent Hunter said...

If they have; they're keeping very quiet about it.

Sunder Katwala said...

very good. touche

Silent Hunter said...

You're too kind Sunder.

But seriously, I for one, would be delighted to see some left of centre political party rising up once the aberration that is New Stassi is eliminated at the General Election.

I would have thought most left leaning (as opposed to rabid Trots & Marxists) would like to have somewhere to put their vote.

I know I would.

I don't relish another Tory Government but if that's what it takes to destroy the appallingly corrupt, war mongering Labour Party - then so be it.

Newmania said...

I look at the particular challenges for Labour in reconnecting to disillusioned liberal-left voters as part of the task of rebuilding the broad electoral coalition which won it three election victories.

Is this seriously what you think is required . Its the working class private sector homeowner that hates you. If you think tackiong left is what required then sink with the Harman ship and good luck

Newmania said...

BTW- The left now has no argument at all its polices have clearly failed the Nation . Mr. Purnell`s departure was based on that point , with the continued spend spend spend ,he saw the obvious fact we overspent could not be gainsaid .

Until the left recognises its mistakes it cannot construct an argument at all and the problem is , that as so often , it is so deeply conservative.

People who keep saying the same thing when circumstances change are comic Sunder.It is the sight of man in mid air still in the attitude of someone walking . There is obviously a deep seated instinct to distrust the inflexible

Robert said...

No dentist.
No after hour doctor who are good enough see news Night, and boy I've had massive problems with this.

No job,
Cuts in benefits to real disabled people, I'm paraplegic and i will be getting ESA this year, which will be £12 a week lower.

DLA AA for the over sixty Fives.

Council house building, my council has applied and been given five council houses, the waiting list in my area is 3,800.

Hospital are going back wards, waiting times are going up, we had car parking charges and prescription charges, now before an election labour tells us they will get rid of them.

War In Iraq Campbell made me so angry I was fuming with this idiot.

bankers laughing at tax payers and I might be disabled but I actually pay tax.

Labour making jokes about how or what or which school people went to or was he air brushed, nothing about the real problems no policies.

Will labour get it's message over, well you'd better tell me what the messages are first because I'm dammed if i know.

I could go on and on and I have to say this labour party which I've been a member of for a long long time, looks like it's lost all focus.