Labour is following the same plan as England’s football team – to failure

Mock sympathy: This is the sort of treatment Ed Miliband can expect from David Cameron if he keeps following policies that are created by the Tory media rather than the needs of the British people.

Mock sympathy: This is the sort of treatment Ed Miliband can expect from David Cameron if he keeps following policies that are created by the Tory media rather than the needs of the British people.

Labour could be heading for defeat next year, after it set out new policies that have the same chance of success as England’s plan for the 2014 World Cup.

The party put its weight behind a report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) that left the public cold. If Labour does not change direction, it seems likely the party will not win the votes it needs to get into office next year – unless its rivals make serious mistakes.

It is a situation almost exactly like that of the England football team.

All right, it’s not a perfect parallel. England got into this fix because it was outplayed by teams with ambitious and flamboyant star players – Balotelli for Italy and Suarez for Uruguay. Labour doesn’t have that problem as the closest equivalent in politics is Nigel Farage.

But, like England, Labour seems unable to defend itself against even rudimentary attacks – partly because leaders have painted themselves into a corner (marked ‘pro-austerity’) and partly because they simply refuse to use the logical arguments. Does anybody remember what a relief it was when, after years of silence in response to Tory claims that Labour caused the financial collapse, Peter Hain finally told Owen Paterson, on the BBC’s Any Questions, “It was the banks that destroyed the economy, not the Labour government – it was the international banking system!”

And where is Mr Hain now? He’s retiring at the next election. The only Labour player who was man enough to fend off this blatantly unreasonable Tory attack and he’s being taken off the field.

Meanwhile, Labour’s leaders continue to make schoolboy mistakes that create the opportunity for the other side to score. Ed Miliband’s publicity-seeking pose with The Sun was a spectacular example; yesterday’s IPPR report was a more subtle one.

The lack of ambition is staggering; it seems that, after four years, the Miliband camp still hasn’t understood that copying Tory austerity will scare voters away. Committing to Tory-imposed constraints that require any new idea to be covered by a cut or a tax increase will just increase the exodus – Labour needs to be ambitious.

Everybody knows now that austerity is nonsense. It’s an excuse to drive money into the hands of those who have too much of it already. After four years of it, we are told that this government is on course to put five million British children in poverty by 2020. Food bank use is at its highest ever. The number of people claiming in-work benefits is at its highest ever because employers refuse to pay a living wage and expect the taxpayer to subsidise them instead; by the time of the 2015 election, working families will be around £2,000 per year worse off than they were in 2010.

You are worse-off under the Tory Coalition. You are worse-off under austerity.

Meanwhile, business bosses and shareholders have been having a spectacularly good time, with incomes skyrocketing. There’s no austerity for the One Per Cent!

Indeed, income inequality has increased hugely to place the UK seventh on the international table, behind the USA (fourth) and Chile (first) – and we all know that Tory neoliberals are huge fans of the systems in those two countries.


What are the wealthy doing with all the money they have parasitised from the rest of us?

Well, they’re not using it to pay their taxes, that’s for sure!

One of the main plans put forward in Labour’s IPPR report was to save money by means-testing benefits for 100,000 young people – saving £65 million. That’s a pittance compared to the £600 million in taxes that is being withheld by Google, Amazon and Apple, according to an infographic that’s currently doing the rounds.


Labour is very quiet about that – copying the Tory attitude of diverting people with stories about welfare abuses because Miliband’s know-nothing advisors think being “hard on benefits” is popular with the public, who don’t like “scroungers”.

They’re not intelligent enough to understand that this attitude has been carefully nurtured in the public consciousness by a right-wing, Tory-controlled media. It has nothing to do with reality, in which only a tiny minority of people are in fact defrauding the taxpayer out of benefit money. Lord Fraud – sorry, Freud – was taken to task for this only days ago.

It seems that – like England’s football team – the Labour Party has been off chasing a fantasy. Austerity and the persecution of people on benefits (most of whom are entirely deserving of them, plus massive amounts of compensation for the despicable way they have been treated for the past few years) are Conservative-created blind alleys. In politics, you don’t oppose anybody by copying them.

If Labour concentrated on the real causes of Britain’s problems, the party might have a hope of success.

Otherwise, like the England team, Labour will have to be content with hoping that the Tories make a big mistake.

And, like the England team, they are most likely to learn that this is not good enough.

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  1. ellie guest June 20, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

    both are full of self serving obsessed overpaid d**d*s

  2. jaypot2012 June 20, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply

    The tories have made mistake after mistake and you only have to look at the cock-ups with IDS alone to see that.
    I am terrified that there is going to be a tory/ukip coalition and that would be even worse than we have now!
    Although I am a Labour supporter I am so disheartened with them and wonder if they have the sense to even run the country if they did get in. They need a leader change and they need it now as Milliband would crash under the pressure if they got into power – he’s far to weak, he’s a follower and not a leader.
    Although I am being absolutely selfish, I am hoping with all my might that Scotland gets Independence as this is the only way we can get rid of such pathetic leaders and parties and of course, Westminster.

  3. jaypot2012 June 20, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Milliband and the labour party make my heart sink…

  4. Jim Campbell June 20, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    I’m not sure that *particular* example is actually accurate or helpful, Mike. Specifically: I’m not sure what changes anyone could propose that would change Apple’s tax position. Apple Europe is incorporated in Ireland, it trades in Ireland and it pays its corporation tax in Ireland. The thing is, that tax is close to zero due to a tax loophole *specifically* created by the Irish government because they made a political/economic decision that it was worthwhile to take the hit to their tax receipts in return for the jobs coming to Ireland. It’s not specific to Apple, any US company could take advantage of it…

    If you want to get mad about tax evasion, get mad about companies like Boots. Boots was taken over by a venture capital firm a few years ago and one of the first things they did was re-register the head office in Switzerland. Not one SINGLE thing about the company changed. Not one job moved abroad, not one penny of its trading activities moved out of the UK, literally the only thing that changed was that they reprinted their headed stationery with a Geneva PO Box as their head office address and stopped paying UK corporation tax overnight. Now THAT’S a loophole I would have thought government COULD close…

    (Note that I’m not specifically trying to defend Apple here, it’s just that having followed the fortunes of the company for 20 years, I happen to know a bit about how they’re structured.)

  5. Smiling Carcass June 20, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH and commented:
    I have said something very similar here- Where are the challenges to Tory misrepresentation?and have been saying so for 40 years- Labour and socialists need to challenge right-wing and neo-liberalist propaganda with their ALTERNATIVES and explain them fully and properly.

  6. royboxer June 20, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on royboxer and commented:
    Excellent piece

  7. amnesiaclinic June 20, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Excellent post by Mike Sivier. Spot on. If labour cannot turn itself around by listening to people like this at the grassroots then they have lost the next election.
    It really is up to the grass roots to change this. Otherwise the banks and the 1% win – again!

  8. […] Labour is following the same plan as England’s football team – to failure. […]

  9. James June 20, 2014 at 11:45 am - Reply

    When a rat-bag like Matthew Hancock accuses Labour of copying Tory policies you know something is very seriously wrong.

    You have to ask yourself what is the point of Jon Cruddas? All those years of policy review and Labour, seemingly bereft of its own internal original ideas, simply adopts an agenda pretty much as is from a think-tank like the IPPR.

    The only way I believed that Labour could win with (let’s be honest) a man who has ended up looking like a very poor excuse for a leader is by way of startlingly good policies much better than those on offer from the powers that be. Now it looks like Labour’s policies and agenda are actually going to end up as lacklustre as Ed Miliband. So 2015 looks like we’re going to end up with a Tory minority government or possibly another ConDem stitch up coalition for another five years.


  10. christopherblackmore June 20, 2014 at 11:50 am - Reply

    It’s bloody pathetic. They could have a landslide if they would stop announcing tiny changes to Tory policies and talk about their vision of what a wonderful place this country could become. Oh, don’t they have such a vision? Then they should shut down and go away.

  11. NeilW June 20, 2014 at 11:53 am - Reply

    You’ll never succeed while you bang on about a distributional issue with taxation as though it is stopping anything.

    It isn’t. Government action can happen regardless of what large companies choose to do with the tax code.

    The two are never really linked. While you link them and while you talk about money you are playing away from home and will lose.

    Switch the debate to real terms. The doctors and nurses about to lose their jobs at my local A&E, who else is going to employ them? And why is that employment more important that providing localised A&E cover.

    Make the Right explain what they want to do in *real terms* rather than hiding behind the abstract concept of money all the time.

  12. Matthew June 20, 2014 at 12:25 pm - Reply


    Labour are chasing votes of the people they understand: those who vote Conservative. They’re completely ignoring the 34.9% of the population who didn’t vote at the last election. Win 10% of that 34.9% over and you’ve on the way to a majority at the next election.

    So why don’t people vote? Because the main parties are all the same: Labour’s policies are too Tory and the Lib Dems are complicit in everything the Tories do.

    So why don’t Labour prove them wrong? There are so many ways for Labour to prove that they are different but every announcement must be treated with cheers in Tory HQ.

  13. HomerJS June 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Mmmm, says Ed. The Tories are winning because they kicked the ball in our net. Perhaps we could do the same?

    No Ed. That’s called an own goal.

  14. Jim Round June 20, 2014 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised anyone who wants Labour to be just Labour hasn’t given up by now.
    There is still no ideas for the real root problems Britain faces, no credible investment outside of the South East, no help for those who are content with life on benefits, no help for those on benefits who want to come off them, no decent fiscal, education crime and justice, health policies etc….
    You get the idea.

  15. Jayson Carmichael June 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    Cutting benefits to young doesn’t sound right as a policy

    • Jim Round June 21, 2014 at 12:35 am - Reply

      No, it’s not right, but all the parties are clueless on how to tackle those issues.

    • JK June 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      Not right – right-wing!

  16. […] Labour could be heading for defeat next year, after it set out new policies that have the same chance of …Continue reading →  […]

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