Friday, 14 May 2010

Ed Balls: how Labour lost touch on fairness

Ed Balls has yet to decide whether and when to announce a bid for the Labour Party leadership. Saturday's Guardian has an interview in which he offers his assessment of why Labour lost.

He notes that immigration and welfare were issues where Labour lost touch, but stresses especially how Labour seemed to voters to fail to understand how views about fairness underpinned those grievances.


We had people saying 'we work hard, and pay our taxes, but there are people who live near us, and are not working, and get more, where is the fairness in that?'

"In marginal seats people have been saying 'you have lost touch with us, you are not our side, you are not in it for us' and we have to understand why they are saying that."


This leads Balls to note the importance of "progressive universalism" - particularly in linking those on middle incomes to redistribution strategies.


"We are now the progressive party of British politics. But you can't assume we maintain that mantle by default.

"It wasn't enough in the general election to say to people don't vote Conservative and it wasn't enough to say to people the Conservatives will put jobs at risk and take away your tax credits. We didn't in the end have enough answers to why we were the on-your-side party for lower and middle income Britain. In some areas that means recalibrating policy."


There are strong resonances in this argument with the Fabian Society's research in the Solidarity Society and research into public attitudes on fairness.

The Balls intervention perhaps highlights how there may be a range of different political responses to arguments about how and why part of Labour's electoral defeat was that it struggled with middle income, and particularly C2 voters, over issues like crime, welfare and immigration.

***
The Guardian report also has a final blow for the draft Yvette campaign, with the Junction 39 Costa Coffee pact:


"The couple had been discussing the matter in recent weeks, mainly in the queue for a double espresso at the Costa Coffee outlet at the motorway service station at Junction 39 on the M1 during trips between London and their Yorkshire constituencies. The Costa Coffee Agreement, as Balls is not calling his understanding with his wife, is a very pale version of the so-called Granita pact between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. "We didn't go to a restaurant, there wasn't some summit, we didn't have an agenda. I said this is what I thought and Yvette said this is what I think. That is the right way to do it."

2 comments:

Justin Credible said...

"The Balls intervention perhaps highlights how there may be a range of different political responses to arguments about how and why part of Labour's electoral defeat was that it struggled with middle income, and particularly C2 voters, over issues like crime, welfare and immigration."

"HELLO" What language are you speaking?? Don't you realise that, as long as you talk in market segments, you're doomed?

Robert said...

I'm disabled after an accident at work, it was a bit serious I fell over 45 ft rolled over and fell another 45ft, I was a bit knocked about, I had this accident on Monday I had an email Tuesday saying thank you for working for the company, we hope you have a speedy recovery, but the company feels it cannot keep your position open for a long period and have decided to make you redundant, I did not read it I was in so much pain.

I was re-employed on the Wednesday after my Union the GMB stated the company was in breach of the health and safety rules, and they would be taking the company to Court and a tribunal.

So perhaps to help the tax payers of the UK, mind you I paid tax for 30 years, perhaps if your going to be long termed unemployed you could shot us, or maybe give us an injection.

No wonder labour lost it's way when it attacks the people who cannot fight back, fuck it I'm off to the Tories.