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.
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.