Some people simply won’t face the facts.
Spencer Livermore* seems to be one of them. Now Lord Livermore, he was Labour’s general election campaign director in 2015 – in other words, he’s the man who lost the election for Ed Miliband. Had he learned any crucial lessons from that disaster?
It is now widely accepted – isn’t it? – that Labour lost because it didn’t offer a political programme that was substantially different from that of the Conservatives – alienating English and Welsh voters who simply didn’t support anybody at all, and driving Scottish voters into the arms of an SNP that promised a truly left-wing alternative to “Red Tory” Labour.
That’s not the case according to Spencer! He simply hasn’t learned the lessons of the loss – but perversely, that is exactly what he told Radio 4’s The World At Once was Jeremy Corbyn’s problem – and it must have been music to the ears of the mostly-Tory bigwigs at BBC News.
What progress have we made so far against the enduring weaknesses that led us to lose the election in 2015? Are we further ahead now in terms of economic credibility? Do the British people now see our leader as a potential prime minister. And have we broadened the base of our support in the country? I think if you look at all of those things I think it is impossible to conclude that we are anything but further away from power than we were even on May 8.
He mashed up his words so the meaning may have been unclear, but he was trying to say that Labour’s economic credibility has taken a tumble under Corbyn, that the electorate don’t see him as prime minister material, and that Labour’s support base has narrowed. Let’s look at those.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has formed a special committee of economic experts to ensure that Labour policy is based on the best possible advice and will produce the most reliable and sustainable results. Spencer doesn’t care about that. Is it because it is based on real economic expertise as opposed to the neoliberal nonsense we’ve had to endure for the past 36 years? This Writer thinks so.
If the British electorate don’t see Jeremy Corbyn as a potential prime minister, the most likely reason is that they keep being told he isn’t – by Labour representatives like Spencer, who should be supporting their leader rather than undermining him. If Livermore had an ounce of public-spiritedness in his body, he would be extolling the virtues of a Labour leader who actually stands for traditional Labour policies that support everybody, rather than just the richest, but that never occurred to him at all.
Finally, perhaps it has slipped Lord Livermore’s mind – what with being ennobled and all – but Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader corresponded with the largest increase in the party’s membership in years – perhaps decades. Maybe that enthusiasm for Labour (and not neoliberal) ideals hasn’t filtered through to the wider population yet, but that is because of people like Spencer, failing to do their duty and promote it.
He said that elections are decided well in advance of polling day, and that Labour lost in 2015 because it did not take the right decisions on the deficit and welfare early on in the 2010-15 parliament.
“I think we hadn’t taken the difficult decisions early on in the parliament to convince people that we could be trusted on issues such as the deficit and welfare. Having worked now on four general election campaigns, it is increasingly clear to me that elections aren’t won in the six week campaign at the end, probably aren’t won in the year before a campaign, but are won in the first months and years of parliament. That’s when the voters make up their minds really about a party. And if the wrong decisions are made at the outset of a parliament, it is very, very hard, almost impossible, to correct those decisions later on.”
In that case, perhaps Lord Livermore should consider the results of the latest Ipsos-MORI poll of voting intentions, which showed that Jeremy Corbyn is easily the most popular UK political leader.
The same poll has Labour – as a party – trailing the Tories by seven per cent.
Think about that.
Corbyn is riding high, nine points above his nearest political rival – who isn’t even David Cameron!
But Labour is seven points behind the Conservative Party.
What can be turning Corbyn’s 12-point advantage over Cameron into a seven-point disadvantage? What is the 19-point drag factor?
Only one possibility comes to mind. The problem that has been hounding Corbyn ever since he took over as Labour leader.
His own party’s so-called ‘moderates’ are sabotaging Labour’s chances of winning over the electorate.
I refer to Simon Danczuk, Maria Eagle, Tristram Hunt, Mike Gapes, Caroline Flint, Graham Jones, Kevan Jones, Ben Bradshaw, David Blunkett – the list is lengthening all the time. Silly, silly people who can’t accept that Labour is returning to the roots it should never have left.
If not for the noise these crybabies have been making, the electorate might be able to form its own opinion on Corbyn policies, such as his plan to protect police budgets that the Conservatives are determined to slash. Considering the current claims that we are under threat of terrorist attacks, which of these is most likely to protect national security?
Corbyn’s plan, of course.
The message to the ‘moderates’ is clear: Stop destabilising.
If you can’t get behind Corbyn, get out of the way.
*He’s classic New Labour, this guy. After graduating from the London School of Economics, he went to work for the Labour Party and became a SPAD for Gordon Brown. His only experience of real-world working conditions appears to have been as a ‘senior strategist’ with Saatchi and Saatchi, the advertising company that won a string of elections for – would you believe it? – Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party. Draw your own conclusions.
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