This information will no doubt stick in the craw of Blairites who wanted Labour to follow a much more Conservative (large ‘C’ – I mean the political party) course.
Support of benefit caps – a Tory policy – didn’t win more supporters. Would Labour have gained from opposing them?
Professor Stuckler said perceptions of welfare matter because people care about whether the amount paid is enough to support a claimant. We know the Tories don’t pay enough – they do their best not to pay at all! – so perhaps Labour should have supported This Writer’s demand for the evil work capability assessment to be ditched as well.
It all adds up to support for Jeremy Corbyn’s course-change.
There is no evidence that Labour lost the general election because of a shift to the left, a new post-mortem into the bruising defeat has claimed.
The report by the University of Oxford adds that while immigration, welfare, and Ed Miliband’s leadership all played a part in the unexpected defeat, it was more about perceived competence and rhetoric than policy. It also claims that the party’s anti-austerity message led to some gains in England.
The authors add that Labour’s “equivocal support” of benefit caps did not necessarily help the party win any more supporters at the election. “Perceptions of welfare matter,” they said. “But it is not the precise amount that is important. Rather people care about whether the amount given to people is enough to live on.”
Professor David Stuckler, of Oxford University’s Department of Sociology, told The Independent: “We analysed the election results using the British Election Survey data that can tell us what happened to Labour voters over time and, unlike focus groups, cover the entire country. What also sets apart our approach is that we can use these data to look at those who switch parties; the key swing voters.
“What we’ve learnt so far is that Labour didn’t lose because they were seen as having moved to the left. In fact, on a left-right spectrum, the public consistently see Labour as closer to their own views than the Conservative Party.”
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