“So listen to me well, Labour Party, because if you get this wrong again you will be done for, once and for all”

The below is a response from a lady called “Annette”, to an article by former Scottish Labour MSP Richard Baker entitled “Separation is not the answer” (to Labours woes).

The piece originally appeared on http://www.labourhame.com, and was brought to my attention by . The original article can be found here: http://www.labourhame.com/separation-is-still-not-the-answer/#comment-128724

Breathtaking.

I am so tired of the word “nationalism” being branded about by Labour. And, ooh, they inserted the word “patriotic” in their constitution, how quaint. Personally, I don’t give a toss about patriotism and nationalism. I am an EU citizen living in Scotland and I voted YES because it is my firm belief that every country has a right to political self-determination and should not be ruled by another country. This is something that I suspect most Labourites would in theory agree to, because it makes them sound noble, but when applied to Scotland, they suddenly get a hissy fit at the notion of someone “wanting to break up our country.” The only explanation I can find for this behaviour is that they believe Scotland is not a country.

I’m going to help you out here, Labour, because I have watched your decline for a long time and it seems clear that you have not the foggiest idea where you have gone wrong. That is why almost everything you did to improve your prospects has only made things worse. So let me try to explain, and let me tell you in advance that everyone I have spoken to over the last few days agrees with me. Not because I am so super-clever, but because it is blatantly obvious. Only Labour seem to be unable to see it.

Forget Blairism. The con Blair pulled off worked once, but it will not work again in our lifetime, because there are things people don’t forget. Blairism gained Labour the support of a certain number of swing voters and that helped you as long as your core supporters loyally stood by you. Whatever made you think, though, that you could give up the goals and values of your real clientele and that nevertheless they would keep voting for you indefinitely? Sure, many people feel loyal to a party and are patient with it, and there is a certain inertia that needs to be overcome before some voters desert their traditional party. But if that party continually fails to represent their supporter’s interests, these supporters will eventually walk away. The sentence I heard again and again and again these last few months was this: “I have not left Labour, Labour have left me.” That is the core of the problem.

So listen to me well, Labour Party, because if you get this wrong again you will be done for, once and for all: Don’t try to appeal to Tory voters. Tory-leaning voters might vote Labour as a one-off protest vote, but by pandering to them you alienate the people who are your natural clientele. For a few years that might work out, but eventually the Tory-leaning voters will return to the Tory fold and your own supporters will decide you’re just not worth it anymore. If they have any sense, they’ll move on to the Greens, and if not, there’s always UKIP. If they feel seriously conflicted, they might just stay at home and not vote at all. In Scotland, they have serious alternative now. In any case, you’re unlikely to gain back their trust as long as you present yourself as a paler copy of the Tories. Nicola Sturgeon did give you the heads-up in the leadership debate. She said that of course there is a difference between Tories and Labour, but the problem is that the difference is not big enough. It is nowhere near big enough.

There are several ways in which this failure to be properly Labour instead of Tory-lite has played out.

1. You have failed to be an effective opposition. Instead of challenging the Tories’ brutal austerity policies, their hair-raising incompetence with the economy, their blatant favouring of the rich elites, you have done little else than bicker about details. You have allowed the electorate in England and Wales to believe against all evidence to the contrary that the Tories are basically right. You voted with them for more austerity cuts. You voted with them for Trident renewal. You voted with them for more foolish military interventions in the Middle East, even though you must know by now how the Iraq War has damaged you. You abstained from the vote on the fracking moratorium which would have succeeded had you not been so cowardly. You have not been a counterweight to the nasty coalition, you have enabled them.

2. You have allowed the Tories to determine the political narrative. Instead of countering their agenda with your own agenda, you kept telling us you would do much the same as the Tories, only in a nicer way, and you deluded yourself that this would keep everyone happy. All this nonsense about cutting the deficit by slashing public services and restricting government spending, when it is standard textbook economy that in times of recession the government must increase spending to help the economy recover – you could have called the Tories out on this, you could have presented the figures of how the Tory approach had made the economy much, much worse. Why did it have to be Nigel Farage of all people who pointed out in the leaders’ debate that the Tories had doubled the national debt? That would have been your role, you should have hammered this message home relentlessly instead of letting them get away with their ludicrous claim that they had fixed the economy. You even allowed UKIP to set your agenda: Instead of making it clear, like Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon did, that immigration really, really isn’t a relevant problem, you went about printing “Controls on immigration” on mugs and even inscribing it on your ridiculous monolith.

3. Instead of fighting the Tories, you fought your potential allies. This wasn’t so disastrous in the case of the Greens and Plaid Cymru, given their small numbers, but I will say that having a big campaign to unseat Caroline was not only mean-spirited but stupid; those resources should have gone into targeting a Tory seat. However, it was your treatment of the SNP that might well have cost you the election. Again, you let the Tories determine the narrative. They crowed about a constitutional crisis, about a second referendum which neither the SNP nor the wider YES movement are seeking within the next few years anyway, about “breaking up our (sic!) country,” about chaos and nationalism and England being held to ransom. They and their compliant media outlets abused the SNP and the people of Scotland on a daily basis in the most despicable terms. And all you did was parrot them. Nicola Sturgeon could not have held out her hand any more sincerely, and yet you sneered at it.

What you could have done, should have done, was to challenge the Tory narrative. The SNP have been riding sky-high in the polls since September; and you had known for months that you could only form a government with their help. Plenty time to come up with a constructive strategy. You could have pointed out that the SNP are a moderate party of the centre left. You could have pointed out that they have a track record of eight years of competent and sensible and not-at-all-outrageous government in Holyrood. You could have pointed out that they stood for the kind of temperate progressive policies that many, many people in England would have been delighted to see. You could have pointed out that in no imaginable universe would even 59 SNP MPs be able to call the shots in a 650-strong parliament; that you would always be the boss in any kind of arrangement. You could have thrown all your might into convincing the English electorate that a Labour/SNP team effort would be good for the whole of the UK, as it undoubtedly would have been. Instead you declared a week before the election on national television that you would rather see the Tories return to power than work with the SNP. The stupidity of this is mind-blowing. And all under the banner of “not working with a party that seeks to break up the UK.” Tell me, what is your deal again with the SDLP, a party that seeks to unite Northern Ireland with the republic? You don’t even field candidates against them to give them a better chance? If you can work with them, why not with the SNP? But even today you still harp on about “nationalism” when in fact what the people of Scotland have opted for is the moderate social democratic policies which you should have offered but didn’t.

4. Having alienated your core supporters and turned your back on your potential allies, and with no progressive track record as an effective opposition to show to the electorate, you have based your election campaign on sound bites, PR stunts and silly gimmicks. Just after Nicola Sturgeon presented her gender-balanced cabinet and promised to work tirelessly on shattering the glass ceiling, you insulted the women of the UK by inviting them to talk “around the kitchen table” about “women’s issues,” proudly brought to us by a pink van. And you didn’t see it coming that people would call it the Barbie Bus and laugh it out-of-town? You allowed Jim Murphy to run amok in Scotland with one insane “policy announcement” after another – remember the “1000 more nurses than anything the SNP promises?” Why not promise weekend breaks on Jupiter for the over 65s? You wheeled out Gordon Brown at random intervals to make meaningless promises and you expected people to be swayed by the pledges of a retiring back bencher? You had some wishy-washy election promises carved in a massive gravestone and you thought that was a good idea?

Yours was a hopeless, hopeless campaign from beginning to end, without vision, without structure, without conviction. And yet I, like so many, clung to the hope that surely people in England must be so fed up with the Tories by now that they’d vote for you anyway and that surely once the election day dust had settled you’d see sense and head a progressive alliance with the SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cymru and the lovely Caroline Lucas who is worth her weight in diamonds. We could have turned things around for the good of the many rather than the few. Instead the Tories now have carte blanche to suck dry the people of the UK and grin smugly while they feast on our bones. All thanks to you, Labour Party. Now get your act together and make sure this will never happen again. I cannot spell it out any clearer.”

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94 comments

  1. jean7brodie · May 13, 2015

    Fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

    • bob mccracken · May 14, 2015

      BETTER THAN THAT, ITS FUNDIMUNDALY EXISTENTIALLY SUPERB

      Liked by 3 people

  2. doreenmilne · May 13, 2015

    Reblogged this on doreenmilne.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. maynon2013 · May 13, 2015

    let them die. join TUSC or other similar parties for coalition with greens etc

    Liked by 2 people

  4. anemoneofpromise · May 13, 2015

    Reblogged this on anemone of promise.

    Like

  5. Mark Catlin · May 13, 2015

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

    Like

    • Andrew Davies · May 16, 2015

      An EU citizen who doesn’t care for Nationalism or Patriotism and
      believes in self-determination is quite frankly deluded!

      Like

  6. A6er · May 13, 2015

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    Its a bloody shame this lady called Annette who wrote this reply wan’t standing as Party Leader.
    She is so on the money with that post, its beat anything that Labour have come up with these past few years.
    Well done Annette!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Pingback: stewilko's Blog
  8. Seamus D · May 14, 2015

    This is one of the best blogs I have read since the election. I too turned my back on Labour and voted S.N.P being I live in Scotland. Ever since I could vote it was Labour all the way for me, but when they stood shoulder to shoulder with THEM in the Indy ref and then had the audacity to hug each other when the result came in for no, that really was the beginning of the end for me as far as Labour were
    concerned. And the thing is I don’t feel guilty about voting S.N.P and I will continue to do so until the Labour party get their act together. I remember the thatcher ( her name doesn’t warrant a capital letter ) years in Scotland when she shut our country down nearly. I hope one day I can vote Labour again but until then it’s S.N.P

    Liked by 3 people

  9. fergusstokes · May 14, 2015

    This is excellent and insightful. I made similar points (from a slightly different perspective) a few days ago on my own blog https://fearghasbeag.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/open-letter-to-the-labour-party/

    Liked by 1 person

  10. nearlydead · May 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on nearlydead.

    Like

  11. Finn Jackson · May 14, 2015

    Thanks for this great piece, but please provide a link to the specific article or comment, rather than the entire website…

    Like

  12. sdbast · May 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

    Like

  13. Crooksy · May 14, 2015

    Excellent article. I am also an ex-Labour voter here in Scotland who has turned to the SNP. And like most I consider myself a socialist, not a nationalist. I think Labour’s arrogance and contempt for the Scottish electorate was summed up for me when an MP stated, after another disastrous poll, that “they are not listening to us”, failing, as the Labour party did as a whole, to remember that it is they who are supposed to do the listening.
    As the wonderful Jimmy Reid once said, ” I did not leave the Labour Party. The Labour Party left me.”

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Sara Mac · May 14, 2015

    I’m a Scot living in England for the past 30 years and have never voted labour in my life, until now, I lent my vote to labour at the election, only because I live in a marginal seat and wanted to do my bit to keep the tories out. It stuck in my throat big style as I put the cross in the box, because it was a vote for more austerity and needless to say, I won’t ever vote labour again. I had convinced myself that I was acting on conscience. What I know now, is that I should have gone with my gut feeling and put NO MORE AUSTERITY across my ballot paper.

    Annette has spoken so succinctly and labour need to listen. I questioned my mp many, many times over the past 5 years about labour having too many Blairites and being red tories, but got ignored until I said I was voting labour. In Scotland, I campaigned for the SNP and Margo MacDonald in the 70’s and have always wanted an independent Scotland, now that I’m older that hasn’t changed. The difference now for me, is that the North of England so needs to break away from Westminster too, whether that be through a devolved parliament or something else is up to the electorate, but big changes need to happen and soon.

    The Celts have a different history to the English and I’m sure the austerity being meted out by the establishment, is allowing the English, to maybe realise why the Scots have been banging on for years about Westminster being out of touch with the North, even resenting their very being. There is a saying in Scotland, ‘We are aw Jock Tamson’s bairns’ so let’s start coming together for the common good. The SNP will fight for all of us, this isn’t just about Scotland. We certainly don’t hate the English, only at football 🙂 and I have been married to a wonderful Englishman for the past 30 years.

    The Scots have proved to the world, that when people of all persuasion get together, mountains can be moved and out of date political parties can be thrown in the bin.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Lollysmum · May 14, 2015

    What a brilliant article & so true. I am an ex -Labour voter of 40+ years in England but last year I joined SNP because their actions, track record & policies were ones that spoke of responsible government i.e.equality for all, social justice & care for the vulnerable in society. They are a government that any developed society should aspire to.

    I didn’t vote in this election for the first time in my life but instead went to Scotland for 2 weeks to leaflet, help man street stalls, talk to voters etc to help the SNP cause & I’m so very glad that I did.

    Labour lost my vote with the Iraq war & will never get it back no matter how many lies they tell to show us they’ve changed. Leopards don’t change their spots-Red Tories is what they are & all they will ever be. That isn’t good enough for me-I want to be proud of my country but I can’t. My only solution is to leave it & move to Scotland as soon as I retire in 2 years time. Know what? I can’t wait for that moment to arrive 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • YESGUY · May 14, 2015

      Lollysmum.

      You are a credit to us all in Scotland. Too much was made of the bad SNP. They have worked well for us up here and we were often shielded from th worst of the austerity policies . The joy of our landslide was tempered by the Tory win. Folk up here realise just how bad things will get for the rUK as they have no one in their corner.

      Hope that the SNP can help at WM but doubt it much as there would be no support from Labour who are in tatters.

      Wish you guys would organise like us. You have so much power but you have to fight to get heard first. You have the support of many up here.

      Lollysmum. Thank you as an SNP member and Scot ( Fellow Winger too 😉 ) for your help. Hope over fear rules in Scotland . Come on England . It’s time your voice was heard.

      Thanks for the article too . Really fired me up . Annette whoever you are xx and a big hug.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anne Armstrong · May 14, 2015

      Well done you. Scotland needs more like you. 😃😃😃

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Russ Jackson · May 14, 2015

    Extremely well put. Labour looks like lurching to the right and if they do, you’re correct, it’ll be the end of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Páll Thormod Morrisson · May 14, 2015

    Excellent points, but Labour does not deserve a second chance. They have spent generations doing nothing for Scotland but rob it and put it down. They have repeatedly betrayed us. The SNP have delivered everything that Labour should have delivered. Why would Labour even be required now?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Weegiewarbler · May 14, 2015

      I agree. Labour have consistently stabbed Scots in the back to remain at the Westminster trough with aspirations of ermine. Why else do we have areas of Glasgow where poverty is at mind-blowing levels, and men die before they exit their 50s?
      I say in future, ex-labour voters uncomfortable with SNP voting (but why should they be? Their left leanings are clear – as opposed to so-called Labour), they should vote for the Greens.
      Let’s take Scotland back into a truly Social Democratic realm where family, society and environment mean something.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Colin chalmers · May 14, 2015

    Great post, the SNP have done more with eight years of power ( four as a minority government ) than labour ever has. Why would anyone believe a word from them ever again? I was a labour voter all through my early twenties till Blair came along then for me the Labour Party died.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Helen Ilitha · May 14, 2015

      “the SNP have done more with eight years of power ( four as a minority government ) than labour ever has” Like what, for example?

      Like

  19. Jean Smith · May 14, 2015

    Crap. love the UK.

    Like

  20. Suusi M-B · May 14, 2015

    Absolutely correct. Though you could have added that what sounds good in Islington is political suicide in the rest of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. gregwalkeh · May 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on Greg Ranks Stuff.

    Like

  22. Jim Fraser · May 14, 2015

    If Labour, particularly in Scotland, can learn from this excellent piece of analysis it would make many Yes voters very happy, even now.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. wasterspace · May 14, 2015

    Bloody brilliant! This lady says everything I think and lays it out so eloquently. Faultless. Thanks for sharing, Steve. X

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Tog · May 14, 2015

    Reblogged this on sideshowtog.

    Like

  25. Joey Mc · May 14, 2015

    Disappointed English social democrat here (of proudly Scottish descent). Lots of sharp analysis with which I agree. Particularly the point about the Brighton Pavilion campaign. But i’m afraid that for all Ed Miliband (and Jim Murphy’s) flawed strategy, they are not the sole reason for the Conservative majority. There was a fag-paper difference between the fiscal plans of Labour and the SNP, and i did not hear either Miliband or Sturgeon acknowledge this. Miliband should have done, and Sturgeon should have been pressed on this during the campaign. In Scotland, it would not have suited her purposes to acknowledge that SNP plans were so similar to Labour’s. She and the wider SNP have after all engaged in a life-long war against Labour.

    In England and Wales, where until a few months ago Sturgeon had a relatively low profile, middle of the road, apolitical ,voters were suddenly presented with an SNP leaderwho positioned herself rhetorically as way to the left, of Labour. She is also explicitly primarily concerned with the interests of a small proportion of the 60 million UK citizens. This went down like a cup of catsick amongst the people who are needed to win a UK general election. It absolutely destroyed Labour in the marginal seats they needed to win.

    Be in no doubt, the SNP surge , and its after effects, has just cost Britain the chance of it’s most social democratic, progressive government since pre-1979.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scarletstandard1987 · May 15, 2015

      Agree strongly with the points made above.
      People in Scotland were voting as if New Labour was on offer, not the principles set forth by Miliband. Labour did badly judge the independence referendum and then electing Murphy (I didn’t vote for him for the leadership). But the inability to look beyond independence and stand with people on the left in a broad front against the Tories played straight in their hands.

      Since the GE was not about independence what was the point in voting SNP, to make our voice heard? Surely it would have been better heard by a Labour government which as you rightly point out would have spent the same if not slightly more than the SNP according to the IFS but the end of the parliament. I wanted to vote know and give a Labour government the chance to reunite the country and have a constitutional convention. I guess we will never know what could have been.

      Like

      • william young · May 16, 2015

        SCARLET, lets be serious here. the people of Scotland could no longer align themselves with a party that sat with the Tories on the same bus during the referendum, they could not do the same with a party they used to trust when that party also got into bed with the Tories with the austerity vote. furthermore, they were totally perplexed when the last leader of a party they used to trust, made a monumental kamikaze dive by saying that he would rather a Tory government, than working with the SNP. Thereafter, became the change of Scottish politics as we know it, for ever.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Annette · May 15, 2015

      Sure, it was the fault of the SNP surge, and of the Green surge, and of the UKIP surge, and of the LibDem collapse, it was, as usual, everybody else’s fault apart from the fault of Labour’s incompetence…

      If some voters in England were spooked by the SNP (many weren’t!), that is to a large extent Labour’s fault for helping to build them up into the almighty bogeyman. It shouldn’t have been a hard sell, not at all, if Labour had just pointed out how essentially moderate the SNP are. On the independence issue, the SNP have made it clear that it would only happen if a majority of people in Scotland wanted it, and if they did, other people, including English people, including Labour, would have to accept that. In everything else, they are centre-centre-centre, and they are also known for being cautious and circumspect. Yet Labour fell in with the “marauding hordes” narrative.
      I also don’t see where Labour’s platform was so very similar to the SNP’s. For a start, the SNP oppose Trident, Labour support it. This is a mega-massive issue, the decisive issue for many voters. The SNP are committed to ending austerity, Labour is committed to continuing with it. Ed Balls said he would not change a single thing about the Tory budget – surely if he says that, it is the party line? The SNP are immigration-friendly, Labour have caved in to the UKIP agenda with their “controls on immigration” nonsense. The SNP are committed to protecting the vulnerable, Labour allowed Rachel Reeves to trumpet about that Labour wants to represent only working people. The SNP want more powers for Holyrood, Labour made the most measly offer to the Smith Commission and oppose further devolution at every turn. The SNP introduced a fracking moratorium for Scotland and supported the motion for a fracking moratorium in Westminster, Labour abstained. So, not much in common there.

      I am not an SNP member, BTW, nor did I vote for them. I am watching this from the Green sidelines.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Annette · May 15, 2015

    Hi, I am Annette.

    My original text (slightly different) is posted here: http://virtuella.livejournal.com/8974.html

    I am a member of the Scottish Green Party and live in the Central Belt of Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stevetopple · May 15, 2015

      Hello Annette! So good to have found you! Your comments were superb, hence why I reposted it on here. Everyone who has viewed it, and commented, says it is the best appraisal they’ve read of Labour, far more succinct than anything written by any journalist. You should know – nearly 17,000 people have read your “piece” in the past 36 hours – a remarkable number. Are you on Twitter?
      Best wishes,
      Steve x

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Raul GodSword · May 15, 2015

    Only one point I would disagree on – they are already done. I’ll tell you a phrase I hear a lot more often than “I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me”, and it’s “I will never, EVER vote Labour in my life again”. Goodby Labour, you will not be missed – and that’s the message from “our country”.

    Like

  28. dainagregory · May 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on dainagregory.

    Like

  29. Pingback: “So listen to me well, Labour Party, because if you get this wrong again you will be done for, once and for all” | dainagregory
  30. elainecanham · May 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on Writer's notebook and commented:
    Evey single member of the Labour party should read this. But I expect they won’t. Ever since they ignored three million people marching against the invasion of Iraq, I get the impression they feel they know better than ‘ordinary people’. And now they wonder why they lost the election…

    Liked by 2 people

  31. RealityMerchant · May 15, 2015

    Oh dear. A bit embarrassing really. Essentially this is a core vote diatribe – speak to the core! The core! Not the Tories or the centre! Core vote = (a very enthused) 30%. 30% = 100 seat defeat. Usual left wing reality distortion bubble stuff in this piece as well: Tories increased the debt! Errr, the debt was always going to increase and will continue increasing until the deficit is eliminated. Do you not know the difference between the two?; Tory ‘hair raising incompetence’ on the economy? In no world of open minded analysis is this true. They certainly came up short in certain respects but not in a manner that fits this characterisation. Its cringeworthy someone would write it in a supposedly reasoned argument; There is also denial of reality regarding the outcome of a Labour party being propped up by the SNP. Labour, having lost in England, then implementing a rejected manifesto on the back of Scottish MPs (to whom large tracts of the legislation wouldn’t apply due to devolution) would have been a catastrophe for Labour in England. They would be annihilated next time round if they did it. Holes in the arguments go on and on but judging by the other comments I doubt very much anyone wants to hear it so I’ll shut up now 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tony D · May 15, 2015

      So, doubling the debt – that is, creating as much debt as every other government in British history – in the space of 5 years *isn’t* hair-raising incompetence to you ? God alone knows what genuine failure would look like.

      To take the Tories flawed metaphor of household budgeting for national economics a little further – it’s a bit like a guy down the pub boasting that he’s cleared off his credit card bills – only to reveal that he did it by taking out massive payday loans…

      Like

    • Steve · May 16, 2015

      OK, I’ll just address one point as others have responded to the rest: “The core vote = 30% = 100 seat defeat.” If we accept this as true, how do you propose Labour extricate itself from its cleft stick? One of the main points of Annette’s article was that Labour’s core vote has grown sick of the rightwards lurch of the party and are no longer prepared to vote for it as the lesser of two (or three or four) evils. Instead they’re voting SNP, Green or not voting. Another rightward lurch, which looks to be on the cards, will only exacerbate this and will likely cost Labour as much as it gets them. So how to solve this?
      (I do have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear yours first.)

      Like

      • Annette · May 16, 2015

        34% of the electorate didn’t vote. I don’t what party strategists are thinking, but to me, these would be the obvious people they should try to engage.

        Like

      • Steve · May 17, 2015

        OK, that’s an idea I’ve often had. It relies on the aforementioned 34% being essentially progressive people who’ve become disillusioned with Labour and don’t see any other party having a realistic chance of being elected (which, outside of Scotland, is true.) I was one of those people myself, still am to some extent – I voted Green, but I didn’t expect them to win much (and, sure enough, they didn’t.) However, I did join the Green Party a week or so before the election in a fit of optimism.

        But I wonder how much of this is wishful thinking on my part, something I’d like to be true but for which there’s not a huge amount of evidence, for or against. I often find myself at variance with what everybody else thinks. Like you, I figured there’d be a hung parliament, that the conservatives couldn’t possibly have enough support to win the election, and I was wrong about that. Back in 2011, i figured the AV referendum would win because, bad as AV is, it’s much better than FPTP – I thought a lot of the people who don’t normally vote might vote for it as they might be non-voters because they’re fed up of FPTP. Well, I was wrong about that on both counts. And I could go on, but I’ll not belabour the point which is that I’m not very good at predicting what the electorate would do.

        My own ideas rely on a level of common sense from the Labour Party that’s probably beyond them. If they recognise that they can’t win an outright majority and will struggle to win enough seats to form a coalition under FPTP, they might accept the ineviatability of a coalition before the election and arrange some electoral pacts with the Greens, perhaps the Lib Dems, maybe even Plaid Cymru and the SNP (though, in the last case, it’d be to the SNP’s detriment, and they might not accept.) Done right, they could easily take over 100-150 seats from the Tories – but they wouldn’t all go to Labour and Labour wouldn’t have enough to form a government without coalition.

        Again, this is a level of wishful thinking on my part – I don’t believe the Labour Party realises quite how screwed it is yet and even if they did a large section of it would oppose any power sharing or pacts, especially before the election. So I’m kind of hoping a lot of their membership read your article, which summed up perfectly stuff I’d been trying to put into words since the election. Without that, I foresee another rightwards lurch and an even more disasrous result in 2020 (for the country, not just the Labour Party.) There’s a reasonable chance that Scotland will have gone its own way by then, so we’ll be left to deal with it on our own. Any chance that Scotland could annex the East Midlands?

        Like

  32. John Meed · May 15, 2015

    Tremendous article – thankyou Steve and Annette. I have reblogged it to http://www.johnmeed.net/

    Like

  33. Alasdair Kelly · May 15, 2015

    Austerity is a horrible word and was brought in through Tory speeches and spread across all.
    Other political parties failed to show SNP’s shrug of responsibility.
    SNP are the best at dodging responsibility and give a good face of sheen.
    I get the calls it is the fault of Westminister or the fault of the local councils.
    Education has been juggled around.
    Let the SNP have praise for their high academic offer at top, but regretfully it covers up the shrink and withdraw of fund to technical education which builds up the nation.
    Funds to our local councils from Scottish Parliament shrunk over the seven years.
    Costs brought short term contracts for new teachers.
    The SNP wanted new subjects but failed to equate the cost to setup and maintain.
    How can you reduce number of pupils to teacher? If you don’t build more rooms.
    Balancing books are painful.
    Less people, less hours for the existing pile of work.
    What aspects of social support services needed had to be given with more brief periods and frequency.
    No political party are saints, but the SNP bury their sins.

    Like

  34. Michael Joseph · May 15, 2015

    Got to agree with RealityMerchant – this is just nonsense. Also unbelievable that the author says they care nothing for nationalism, before proceeding to spew out a whole lot of nationalist cant and SNP talking points masquerading as ‘progressive’ politics. If you support the SNP, you’re supporting a nationalist party, with all that entails. You can stick any adjective you like in front of nationalism – “civic nationalism”, “progressive nationalism”, “inclusive nationalism” (!) – it’s still just polishing a turd.
    After all, if the SNP and Yes voters are so progressive, then how come their nationalism and model of politics have managed to divide this country, divide families and spoil friendships? For anybody living in the SNP/Yes-voting bubble, the rest of us find your politics, rhetoric and manner deeply off-putting and creepy.You don’t have to be a Tory to agree with what Hugo Rifkind wrote last week:

    ‘Why do the haters of difference, the defenders of Scottish purity, the loathers of the English all cheer it on? Why does it seem to operate so often on faith rather than logic? Why does it appear to contain no internal dissent whatsoever? Why does it inspire such wariness and intimidation in a majority with quite different views? Why will the response to this very column be so different from the response I’d get for writing about any other British party, bar Ukip? If this is not — on any level at all — a traditional, nasty, blood-and-soil nationalist party, why do all those traditional, nasty, blood-and-soil nationalists seem to think it is?’

    Like

    • Annette · May 16, 2015

      “this is just nonsense” Presumably the fact that lots and lots of people have said that yes, these are the reasons why they stopped voting Labour, is irrelevant?

      “spew out a whole lot of nationalist cant” Like what exactly? I said every country should have a right to govern itself and not be governed by another country. If you don’t agree with that, then you are an imperialist. Either that or you think Scotland is not a country.

      Furthermore I said the SNP are a rather moderate party. Take a look at political compass. They are in fact the only party in the UK that is almost exactly in the political centre. Which mean they are not left-wing enough for a Greenie like me, but they are still a lot more leftwing than Labour is these days.

      “a traditional, nasty, blood-and-soil nationalist party” It is the SNP who welcomes immigrants. It is Labour who write “controls on immigration” on their mugs and monoliths. It was Nicola Sturgeon who spoke out against Farage’s xenophobia in the TV debates, not Ed Miliband. Quote me a single example of “blood-and-soil” nationalism from the SNP.

      “managed to divide this country, divide families and spoil friendships” I am still friends with all my no-voting friends and colleagues and I do not know of a single case where people have fallen out over it. Not a single one. Divide the country? As if it wasn’t divided already between rich and poor.

      Like

      • Sego1 · May 17, 2015

        It was Leanne wood who spoke against Farrage’s Xenophobia as I recall,apart fot taking credit, another attempt to distract from the left inspired programme that was the Labour manifesto. Camouflaging the SNP ‘s 5years compliance with austerity in Hollyrood as’ the model of a well run administration’ ? Nicola Sturgeon recommended that people should vote Green in England did she do the same in Scotland ? Why not? This is just opportunism, trade-mark of the SNP now locked out with a Tory Government and still trying to blame Labour !

        Like

  35. lbwoodgate · May 15, 2015

    My sympathies. Those of us in the U.S. have experienced the same thing with the Democrats here as you have with Labour there. They are nothing more than centrist neoliberals tilting right and have lost all sense of the social values that made a strong middle class and propped up a safety net for the disenfranchised and the poorest amongst us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annette · May 16, 2015

      Indeed. I do feel sorry for people in the USA, because you have even less of an alternative.

      Like

  36. Mindsinger · May 15, 2015

    Some of this rings true. As an Englishman I was scared of the SNP having involvement in Government. Having already decided to vote Labour , I decided that I had better actually read the policies. After I did, I was largely reassured. Their manifesto matches a lot of my beliefs and I would probably have voted for them myself if I lived in Scotland regardless of nationalism. However, I can easily see that if left leaning undecided voters in England did not look at what the SNP were actually saying that they might be spooked into voting Conservative to shut the SNP out of Government.

    There were things that I was not aware of which seem quite shameful such as abstaining on Fracking notwithstanding that they now oppose it(shame on me as this is a topic I feel passionate about) .What I dont agree with is that they did not oppose Tory policy on austerity and other issues such as animal welfare. Promises have not always been kept by politicians of all colours but for me one party promised to do good for all but the best off while another (another 2 if you count UKIP) promised to do evil to anyone but their core support. A worry that the party that promised to do good might actually not carry through on all it promises is no reason, in England at least, to vote one that promised to make life worse for the middle class ( real not Tory defined), working class and those in need.

    I remember soft benefits. I remember a bloated public sector . I also remember Blairs Tory lite. I voted Liberal at both those times (obviously before the great betrayal). Public opinion and policy seems to move like a pendulum and unfortunately that pendulum seems to have swung far too far to the right. Should people blame modern Labour for these past failings? You may as well ask whether we should still blame modern Germans for WW2.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Les Thompson · May 15, 2015

    the rent we pay to a private landlord when spent it’s is gone caput when we spend the rent of a councill built house the rents go to the coffers of government or council ether recitals the revenue back to the state to be reused now this is what we meant to be fiscally responsible now waste in government income to the private sector to be bled of to offshore accounts ..les

    Like

    • Terry Mason · May 16, 2015

      Excellent point Les

      Like

  38. TheEnglishMan · May 15, 2015

    You Scottish are a world apart from us English.. you all seem to be socialists but i wonder if youd be so fast to continuously claim immigrations not an issue if you lived in places like Peterborough.. our home city has been turned into an Eastern European hell on earth for us English still living there.. 76% of school places taken by non English speaking kids, walk through the town and no English spoken.. huge housing and other waiting lists.. people leaving Peterborough just to get away from it! and yet there’s no problem.. i do wonder if maybe the arrogance is simply created by you not getting your fail share of migrants.. in fact if your so happy with immigration we will send them all packing up to you! see how you like it!

    Like

    • william young · May 16, 2015

      Ok Mr England, I do understand where you are coming from re- the immigrants, and I have discussed this for years with mates, about us not having the influx like Kent and Lincoln, your areas etc so we don’t have the same issues on this. However, don’t blame us Scots for having a National identity, as we come from Scotland which is a different country from England. would you swap me an English tenner for a bank of Scotland tenner?. we speak differently, think differently, sing different songs, we don’t like cricket or morris dancing, and you probably don’t ken what a piece oan jeely is. you might have tried a roll on haggis, but I doubt it. But, lets get to the real issue here, we are undoubtably a socialist minded small part of the world, who wish to perpetuate those socialist values and have tried for many years to extricate ourselves from the still embedded Imperialist ideals that still exist to some in the establishment in England. 300 years is a long time, but were any of your ancestors thrown out of Peterborough, to be replaced by a herd of sheep or their fields turned over to make grouse moors?300 years ago, Gaelic was a main language in the highlands, they also wore tartans, plaids and even kilts. that was ended when a foreign invader took over. the Nottingham regiment were given carte blanche by the Duke of Cumberland after victory at Culloden, to have their “sport”. they killed 110 old men ,women and children in the fair town of Inverness.be careful, your main language 100 years from now might be Polish/Albanian/Bulgarian. and you could be speaking a dialect of Scots.

      Like

  39. James Wray · May 15, 2015

    One of the most naive pieces I’ve read in a long time.

    The SNP leadership decided to play the work together card very hard knowing it would play into Tory hands but play well in Scotland. It was a very selfish political move that has landed the rest of the UK with 5 years of Tory government. Labour would not have won a majority but there would have been a hung parliament without the huge backlash in England.

    Does anyone really think Salmond would rather be in government with Labour? Of course not, this suits SNP’s goal much better.

    I voted YES and would again but the SNP are all rhetoric and no substance look at their manifesto it reads like a summary of Labour’s.

    This is all exactly what Labour should not do. the Labour Party in Scotland is stuffed until after another referendum. If it is another NO then a refreshed party might get support back with the majority realising will be in the UK for at least another 20 years. If it YES then Scottish politics will change anyway.

    In the UK they need to occupy the centre ground. Moving to the left is the worst thing they could do.

    There is hardly a fag paper between the SNP and Labour manifestos, it had nothing to do with policy.

    Like

    • william young · May 16, 2015

      you certainly have got me confused Jamsie. you voted YES, and would do so again, so you are a Labour YES voter, who would vote that way again, if Labour get in? or was it a devious move by the SNP to get the Tories in?

      Like

  40. Veronica Zundel · May 15, 2015

    This is so on the button. It’s what I’ve been saying all along. The reason Labour lost (apart from the obviously rigged first past the post system) is that they did not offer anything like a credible alternative. I am a lifelong Labour voter, but this time I voted Green.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. John Lowe · May 16, 2015

    I could not have mirrored my own feelings regarding the current state of the Labour Party any more concisely than you have Annette, an uplifting and very welcome piece of writing, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. John Baruch · May 16, 2015

    Very good as far as it goes but it misses the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM……
    Read George Monbiot in the Guardian Thursday the 14th May or my letter below…..

    Dear Sir,
    George Monbiot (Guardian 15th May 2015 Labour’s rebirth requires a grassroots revolution …) is right. A Labour Party that only assembles its members to bring out the voters in elections has lost its way. The vision of a leader emerging with popular policies from the swamp of the middle ground is a mirage massaged into life by a press almost totally committed to governments of their rich friends. This free press has destroyed Leveson, a charter to deal with their criminal activities. It was not a charter for a press to reflect universal suffrage.
    The Labour Party must be reminded that it is a delusion to believe that social change is led from Parliament. It is led from campaigns on the streets, in the factories, schools and shops; it is elections that ensure that popular change takes place without revolution.
    The Labour Party should win back its laurels and lead a campaign with the unions against zero hours contracts selecting the worst offenders for boycotts and other actions, similarly it should organise defence and support against evictions around the bedroom tax. It could work with the Unions and set up not for profit companies to bid for franchises in rail, water, energy and other suppliers and probably now the NHS.
    If it is really serious about power it needs to assemble a group around hacked off and other media organisations to generate a news flow that is not totally tied to the coat tails of the richest in the land. Without this it is eternally damned to flounder in the middle ground swamp defined by the Tory media.
    Yours sincerely;

    John Baruch.

    Like

    • Annette · May 16, 2015

      That is a very good point, and as we have seen in Scotland, grassroots movements are powerful and can effect change. So my message to the people of England is, if we can do it, so can you!

      Like

    • John McArdle · May 16, 2015

      Baruch Hashem to that, John! Solidarity! 🙂

      Like

  43. This has made us cry. Articulated in a way that can only be described as sublime.

    Like

  44. John Magnam (@JohnMagnam) · May 16, 2015

    Good article! Sort of sums up all we’re all thinking. Their treachery has left the people of Britain in the clutches of the Gestapo! Thanks New Laborys! We now have to suffer another 5 years of torture and seek an alternative representation.

    Like

    • John Baruch · May 16, 2015

      No we don’t have to suffer – the old maxim from Joe Hill was Don’t Mourn – Organise. A Labour Party working with the Unions naming and shaming the zero hours contracts organising a boycott of the one we could most likely win could put writing on the wall……..

      It could be done by local labour branches contacting their local TU – Unison – Branches and starting there. How many branches would be needed to get a national boycott going? the University Action clubs could also be involved….

      Like

  45. Rebecca Taylor · May 16, 2015

    Excellent analysis. It misses out one thing however and that is how the Labour Party became so obsessed (at least in England) with kicking Liberal Democrats (I am one) and targeting LibDem seats, they let the Tories off very lightly.

    In Yorkshire where I originally hail from, Labour activists poured into Sheffield Hallam on Election Day, failing by 3000 votes to unseat Nick Clegg, only to have Ed Balls unseated by the Tories down the road by a mere 400 votes. In North London, Labour activists poured into Hornsey and Wood Green to unseat Lynne Featherstone, while in nearby Harrow a Tory MP with a majority of less than 200 votes faced a campaign that according to a Labour activist there consisted of him and a couple of others on the ground, plus some direct mailings via Royal Mail. You note a similar phenomenon in Brighton against Green MP Caroline Lucas.

    I think another thing that Labour and the Liberal Democrats failed to understand (and I haven’t seen anyone mention this) is that the moderating influence of the LibDems made the Tories seem more palatable to swing voters. When Labour activists were going round saying “this is the most right wing government ever”, voters saw same sex marriage, an increase in tax free allowance, free school meals for infant school pupils and a commitment to 0.7% of national income for international development (and other LibDem policies including on the environment, apprenticeships and more) introduced which aren’t nasty and right wing in the least.

    Like

    • Annette · May 16, 2015

      I confess the LibDems are somewhat off my radar, because ever since they joined to coalition, I thought they’d be for the chopper at this election. And I still hold that they ought not to have enabled the Tories, because they’d no mandate for that from their voters. But what you say is interesting, especially about targeting LibDem seats adjacent to Tory seats with slim majorities. It almost seems as if they are scared of targeting the Tories and prefer to target all the smaller parties.

      Like

  46. Steve · May 16, 2015

    I think they may have viewed the Lib Dems as an easy target. But I suspect they’re worried about the Green Party, hence the effort put in to unseating Caroline Lucas.They should worry. What happened in Scotland with the SNP could happen in England with the Green Party. Or parts of it anyway. Thing is, it’s likely to take decades. And we’ll probably have the Tories for most of that as Labour are such an incompetent opposition.

    Like

  47. Baz · May 16, 2015

    I’m English and a Green party member but I totally agree with every word of this..

    Liked by 1 person

  48. tomjamesford · May 16, 2015

    A very good article. Although I voted Tory (where I am from, Woking, a spud with a blue rosette would win any election) and am a Eurosceptic (ducks for cover!) your post sums up all that is wrong with Labour.

    Labour are a party of the elite, and any and all links with socialism died with John Smith. Now, all you have with Labour is a bunch of metrosexuals who sip lattes whilst reading from The Gospel according to Polly Toynbee in their Holy Book of The Guardian. They are far removed from the traditional heartlands of Labour – The South Wales Valleys and the Industrial North – and think that as long as they are beating UKIP voters etc. up on line (or in real life) that they are contributing towards Labour and the left.

    Meanwhile, people are in poverty or homeless or in danger of sexual abuse.

    Labour reminds me of the story where a man says ‘you have a splint in your eye’ to another man – the other man replying: ‘how can you say that I have a splint in my eye when you have a tree in yours!’

    If Labour actually held their hands up and said sorry for their mistakes and worked towards correcting them and building a happy and harmonious society, then there would be no need for UKIP et al. However, whilst Labour are under the thumb of big business and bankers like Rockefeller and Rothschild and follow their Common purpose Politically Correct mantra then they are going to crash and burn. 2020 may see the last of Labour and the Liberal Democrats and the rise of more parties on the right – it is up to Labour to listen but I guess they’ll only call me a homophobebigotracistmisogynist which is their only defence.

    Like

  49. James Stuart Greenwood · May 17, 2015

    Very interesting Sunday morning toilet time reading. Now I can flush it all away.
    It is so easy being wise after the event !

    Like

  50. phoenixartistron · May 17, 2015

    Will we see Labour reverse this ideology in 5 years? 10 Years? 15 Years?

    They’ve alienated their centre-right that have ditched them for UKIP and centre-left voters that have ditched them for the Greens.
    Worse the Labour faithful went paranoid finger pointing at any Green voter for splitting the vote, blaming them for Labours failures as a Party.

    That’s one thing i’ve not seen Labour push forward.. An apology.
    I hope I survive another 5 years of Toryism, Labour have let down the disabled, they’ve alienated all their allies, it’s like the Tories in Labour want Labour to collapse under the weight of it’s own Tory-Lite policies.

    Like

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