Dame Margaret Beckett’s report has been leaked to the BBC [Image: Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock].

The former Labour leadership is clearly to blame for the loss of the 2015 general election – mostly because frontbenchers were afraid to challenge the Tory narrative when it counted.

Let’s look at the reasons this report says Labour lost:

Failure to shake off the myth that Labour was responsible for crashing the economy – This is because it seemed nobody on Labour’s front bench was allowed to put forward any opposing view. Time and time again, This Blog raged against the fact that Labour quite deliberately let the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats spread a myth. The only frontbencher This Writer can recall coming out with the facts was Peter Hain, and he has now been sent to the Lords.

Inability to deal with issues of ‘connection’ like immigration and benefits – Again, This Blog spent years putting forward the facts but Labour seemed unwilling to engage with them. Why couldn’t Ed Miliband just face Cameron down and assert that immigrants aren’t benefit tourists, here to take our money (in fact, they contribute to the UK economy)? As for benefits, This Writer had a very nasty argument with current shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith because Labour would not publicly commit to scrapping the deadly work capability assessment for people claiming sickness benefits, apparently because it would provide ammunition for the right-wing press. You and I know that Labour lost millions of votes because of this, but the Labour front bench at the time wouldn’t have it.

Miliband was judged not to be as strong a leader as David Cameron – Looking at the two points we’ve already addressed, the truth of this statement seems clear. The Miliband leadership was unwilling to challenge the prevailing right-wing propaganda about these matters – afraid of what the papers might say. Of course, this doesn’t mean he would not have been a better leader than Cameron; indeed, it is almost certain that he would have been. Look at the list of scandalous policies the Tories are pushing through Parliament at the moment – none of them would have been Miliband policies. Alas, public perception of a leader’s strength doesn’t seem to extend as far as judging the quality of the leadership he’s likely to provide.

A fear among voters of the SNP propping up a minority Labour government – This was a myth created by the SNP and wholeheartedly seized by the Conservatives. Miliband denied it at every turn but nobody wanted to believe him. Of course, if he had shown a little more free will regarding some of the issues we’ve already discussed, he would have won a lot more support and the possibility of a minority Labour government needing anyone to prop it up would not have arisen.

The lack of a coherent narrative linking Labour’s popular left-wing policies – If there was such a narrative, we didn’t see it. It seemed more likely that Labour’s leaders had cobbled together a list of policies they thought would appeal to people’s selfishness, without disturbing the overall neoliberal direction of travel too much. Big mistake.

Now, we have a new leadership in charge of Labour. That myth about Labour crashing the economy has been well and truly trashed, although some might say it’s too late now. New thinking about those ‘connection’ issues is making itself felt. It’s still too early to make any firm claims about Jeremy Corbyn as a leader, but he has won several major battles within his own party and tackled the Tories on many more issues, so he’s definitely going in the right direction. And Labour is working hard to retake the banner of socialism from the SNP pretenders.

Corbyn hasn’t learned from the mistakes highlighted by the report, though – he always thought they were bad ideas.

Perhaps that’s why party membership and popularity has boomed since he took over.

Labour lost the 2015 general election because voters feared it would join forces with the SNP, did not see Ed Miliband as prime ministerial and were not supportive of the party’s policies on the economy, welfare and immigration, an internal report has found.

The official Labour inquiry, run by Dame Margaret Beckett, a former deputy leader, was commissioned by the party leadership last year but has not yet been made public.

It is due to be discussed by a subcommittee of Labour’s ruling body, the national executive committee, but its principal findings have been leaked to the BBC and confirmed by the Guardian.

Source: Beckett report: Labour lost election over economy, immigration and benefits | Politics | The Guardian

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