One of the first challenges for Labour’s new leader will be to identify why the party lost and what they need to do to make themselves electable once more. This is not necessarily an easy task (it took the Conservative party a decade!), they must convince their own party members of any changes and during long years of governing there is a risk of a disconnect building up between the way parties see themselves, and the way the public see them.

As part of our polling on the Labour leadership last week we also asked Labour party members which criticisms of the Labour government they themselves agreed with, and which they thought were the main reasons the Labour party had lost.

A majority of Labour party members agreed with three criticisms of the party – the large majority (71%) thought Labour had been too subservient to the USA over Iraq and Afghanistan, 64% that it became out of touch with ordinary voters and 62% of party members think that Labour did not do enough for working-class supporters. On other criticisms 47% think that Labour didn’t pay enough attention to the trade unions, 41% thought the recession had destroyed Labour’s economic reputation and 33% thought Labour had not been tough enough on immigration. Few (28%) Labour members thought that Gordon Brown had been a poor Prime Minister, and hardly any agreed that Labour had taxed too much (9%) or wasted too much of the money spent on public services (12%).

Asked which three of four of the reasons contributed most to Labour’s defeat, the answers were slightly different. While 71% had thought Labour was too subservient to the USA, only 43% thought it was a major cause of the defeat, rather the economy was seen as a main cause (47%), along with Labour becoming out of touch with ordinary voters (47%) or doing enough for natural working class supporters (44%). Gordon Brown’s own performance was seen as a major factor by only 33% of Labour members, with only 25% thinking that immigration was part of the problem. Hardly any party members (5%) thought money spent on public services being wasted was a factor.

Compare this with the opinions of the general public. There immigration (52%), the recession (43%) and Gordon Brown (43%) are seen as the main reasons Labour lost the general election. Being out of touch (39%) and failing to help working class supporters (29%) were seen as less important factors. Wasteful public spending was only seen as an important factor by a minority (29%) but nevertheless, this was far more important than Labour members perceived it.

With Labour electing a new leader, the amount that Gordon Brown contributed to Labour’s defeat is now largely academic. On the other two main reasons cited by the public, while most Labour members have not themselves lost confidence in the party over the economy, they do recognise that it was a problem with the wider public. In contrast, immigration was seen as a major factor in Labour’s defeat by 52% of the public, but only 25% of Labour members, a major disconnect.

However, we shouldn’t go away from this polling thinking that it says a harsher immigration policy is the necessarily the answer. Firstly, people are not always good judges of what drives public opinion or sometimes even their own decisions, so just because immigration was seen as a main driver of Labour’s defeat, it doesn’t mean it necessarily was. Secondly, it may not make good strategic sense for Labour to change their stance on immigration anyway – while it could please their traditional working class supporters, the Labour party is a broad church and also contains middle-class intelligentsia who would be repelled by an anti-immigration policy.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the next election could be almost five years away. If the current government runs its course, it will have changed the political landscape that the next election is fought upon. Part of the battle ahead for the Labour party be over how the public remembers the Labour government just gone. In the same way that Labour in 1997 managed to embed the Major government in the public mind as one of “boom and bust” that starved public services of investment, the Conservatives will be eager to paint the former Labour government as profligate spenders who wasted money and drove the country into unmanageable debt. While neither Labour members nor the general public saw spending as a major cause of Labour’s defeat, the disconnect between the general public, 59% of whom think most of the extra money Labour spent on services was wasted, and Labour members, only 12% of whom agree, may yet be the most important as Labour try to adapt to the new political landscape.

This is cross-posted from the YouGov website here, Will Straw’s take on the polling at Left Foot Forward can be read here.


180 Responses to “Views on why Labour lost”

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  1. What scares me looking back on Labour is how quickly the made created all of these problems.

    It might be fair to conclude that by 2003 the damage was done on Iraq, immigration and excessive spending.

    Thus a challenge for the next Leader must surely be not to salvage the best beits of Nuu Labour or to pretend things went wrong in 2008. Labour staggered punch drunk through their last term. In many ways it was five wasted years. Given that the Iraq war consumed the 2 before that it is logical to conclude we wasted 7 years when the UK stood still.

    The biggest of all challenges in light of taking the public for granted will be to convicne British voters that Labour do not simply crave power for power’s sake.

    Half the time, one wonders if Celtic aim to win the Scottish premiership simply to deny Rangers it. The celebrations on gaining a third Labour victory had that ring about it….

    2015 must be about restoring the principles of Social Democracy back to the heart of policy formulation. Either that or Labour will have to consider whether it is best to just take out a PFI loan to pay for the retirement of the Primrose hill gang…

  2. What facinates me about this thread is not so much why they lost, but the different view point Labour supporters have as to why and what someone like me thinks the reason for defeat was.

  3. @Anthony

    Lots of food for thought here which it will take me a while to digest.

    But as a Labour supporter, I think they lost the election because after 13 years, like most governments, they had run out of steam. I think, during the election campaign, they should have made it clear they would NOT raise VAT as part of their programme to reduce the deficit, rather than just say they “had no plans”.

  4. I really do think Governments have a natural life span. That is why, in some ways I back FPTP.

    I know Major bucked this trend, but look at what happened to him!

  5. Roland – Me too!! I started posting here, because I’d never debated with Conservative voters and genuinely wanted to know more about why they vote as they do and what policies they considered sacred.

    I was concerned that I had become guilty of knee-jerk reactions.

    I must say this site allowed me to do just that, and it is now an invaluable tool when I research

  6. @Roland – “What facinates me about this thread is not so much why they lost, but the different view point Labour supporters have as to why and what someone like me thinks the reason for defeat was.”

    ‘Twas ever thus. Logically there has to be a disconnect between party supporters and non party supporters. If the disparity is too wide the party remains effectively unelectable, as happened to the Tories for much of the last 13 years.

    @Eoin – “It might be fair to conclude that by 2003 the damage was done on Iraq, immigration and excessive spending.”

    I wouldn’t say so. Iraq yes, but immigration and spending no. My view is that you were nearer the mark with your Celtic/Rangers analogy and that Labour rely didn’t do as much with power as they should have done. If from 2003 – 2006/7 they had spent more wisely (no necessarily less) and tackled issues like housing and welfare reform, I suspect they might not have had such a bad result in 2010.

  7. Sue,

    My post was quite poorly scribed… You may be correct on immigration. I had the accpetance of Polish entry for the following May (2004) and the forecast of 20,000 when I cited immigration. But you are correct to say that full effects of it were in no way felt yet…

    The manner in which we escaped the Dot.Com crash was in many ways ‘to good to be true’. By spending I was referring to the encouragement of consumers to spend. I think 2003 was the year we really unleashed a cocktail of credit cards and Poles on Britain without much thought as to the consequences….

    For the record- the arrival of our Polish cousins was one of the most positive effects of Belfast life in the last decade.. so I myself have a very positive view on immigration. In regards to overspend I myself also consider it to have been merited due to a generation of underspend… I was merely attemtping a bit of honest introspection.

  8. Alec… sorry I addressed that post to Sue- T’was for you of coruse… Sorry.

  9. Good use of the word ‘intelligentsia’ Anthony.

  10. It is not surprising that a serious recession like the current one is seen as a “government killer” – it is quite generally the case that only a newly elected government can feel in any way secure with a badly damaged economy.

    Apart from that I think there was a general atmosphere that the Labour government was running out of puff that became increasingly obvious late 2007 and then much more so when the credit crunch started.

    I think that the last 30-odd years show us that while the economy isn’t too bad – things jogging along fairly well, with only isolated niggles, and that the opposition is led by someone who just isn’t convincing as the next prime minister, the incumbent will carry on in government perhaps with a small majority. As soon as both these things change, then that’s clear notice for the incumbent to prepare for opposition next time.

  11. To my mind as an LP member the key groups are former labour voters who moved their support elsewhere and those that abstained plus we got a lower share of first time voters than previously.
    I think there is a lot in Sue’s 13 years argument and I agree with Eoin that the rot set in under Blair who should have gone in 2003/4 as he originally said he would (we would have done no better with Blair in May than Brown maybe worse)
    IMO Immigration in itself was not a direct vote loser but the Government’s failure to handle correctly; housing and insufficient support for the most affedcted local authorites being the obvious areas. Also the economic downturn must have had an effect although it is too simplistic to blame this as a panacea.
    I think in most areas for change the party will adapt easily but the hardest will be the value for money notion in the public sector which is a shibboleth.
    As a user of Public services who works in the private sector I have long been of the view that waste is endemic in the public sector meaning systems rather than people in the main.
    The public services needed the investemnt the LP injected but there is a feeling in the country that we should have got more for the money.
    In all honesty I don’t have the answer but if we start with the corredct questions we have a chance.
    I do think we have 5 years as I expect the coalition to run a full term.

    Anthony – are you no longer doing threads for the You Guv daily polls?

    [JimJam – I don’t do them everyday, though I’ll mention it if I’m posting that night and do an update whenever there is an interesting trend or change (or, indeed, if it’s just been a while) – AW]

  12. sorry Valerie’s 13 years.

  13. The interesting thing about immigration is that it seems often to relate to inter EU immigration rather than immigration from outside the EU as it did between the 1950s and 1980s. I wonder if there’s been polling work done in areas like Slough Reading and Maidenhead where large numbers of easter euprpean immigrants put huge pressure on schools and housing.

    I think that housing itslef is key. It fascinates me that for all the 1950s and most of the 1960s we built 300k to 600k housing units per year. What’s more we then sold a lot of the stock off a subsudised prices in the 1980s and 90s. Now we are talking about only allowing people to rent for a fixed period. Has anyone noticed how big a change if policy and philosophy that is for the conservative party? From right to buy to maybe right to rent.

    Rather like the demtualisation of building socities and the mortgage bonanza we’ve forgotten that some stuff we did…in creating public housing and giving people to right to a home were amongst the most important social changes of the 1930s-70s.

    Sometimes the lessons best learned from the past are the ones we didn’t even know we learnt to begin with.

  14. As I have pointed out before, e.g. on the recent thread discussing the YouGov poll on the Labour leadership contest, identifying why Labour lost should not be, although it actually will be, one of the first tasks for a new Labour leader.

    Identifying what is required to win the next leader, which entails identifying why Labour lost the last election, needs to be done before starting out to select the leader, not after the leadership election. Because you cannot decide who would be the best leader until you know what he or she will be required to do.

    Brown’s unpopularity is therefore not irrelevant. It highlights continuing failure in the Labour Party in relation to its personnel selection processes. One can have discussion about the need to relate advice from professional experts in this area to the fundamental importance of democratic choice. But just recently the Conservatives have been best at finding the right people (the LibDems, by the way, appear worst, in part because they simply do not have enough people to choose from).

    It is an interesting question as to how accurately party members’ and voters’ self-perceptions of the reasons for their voting decisions compare to actual reasons that may be identified by other psephological techniques. But when party members views as to the cause for defeat vary from those of ordinary voters, both sets of perceptions cannot be right. This is worrying for the Labour Party, particularly because I think that other evidence indicates that it is Labour members, rather than ordinary voters, who have got the wrong perceptions.

    It would appear that the polls prompted reasons for defeat by asking specific questions. The validity of such a procedure will depend upon good methods of choosing the questions, which should be, e.g., from issues raised by focus groups.

    It is doubtful how far people change their minds over specific issues. There are fuzzier influences that coalesce into a general political climate that changes voting behaviour.

    The bottom line of this poll, which seems to confirm my impression from the dullness of the leadership elections, is that Labour appears adrift and out of touch.

    Ordinarily, the scenario seems set for a Labour generation in the wilderness. The events from 1979-1997, and from 1997-2010 for the Tories, suggests that it takes a long time for an opposition party to get over the images of executive incompetence and lack of integrity (Iraq, as this poll shows) that Labour has now in turn acquired. Words can do little to correct such impressions – why should the voters believe them? -and there is little a party in opposition can actually do to demonstrate its competence and good faith.

    Labour’s best hope of getting back quickly must be that the LibDems act to bring down the coalition – and that some of them perhaps then join Labour. But it is difficult to see such events being more than a least bad solution for ordinary voters, when LibDem influence over a Labour Government is hardly likely to get it more in touch with working class interests or to address immigration more firmly.

    I voted “Other” at the General Election, for a very small party; but it is difficult to see what new option there could be in coming years for voters disaffected by Labour. Labour reform has failed such voters before, and all the indications from this poll of Labour Party members is that it will do so again.

  15. Frederic,

    Excellent summary. I am inclined to agree with your future predicitons for Labour. At this moment, they are plotting a route to wilderness.

    ________

    David Milliband has as of yet been fairly quiet on Iraq. Had he been PM he would most likely have gone ahead with the invasion. He is unashamed of his view of himself as a global citizen. This need not automatically be a problem but there is little indication he understands ordinary peoples attitudes to immigration. And third way economics and public service reform seem to run through his DNA. In short, he would a fantastic candidate as a Senator for the US Deomcrat Party. Uk Prime Minister? I think not…

    The lower echelons of the Labour party feel ignored and cheated they want a champion who will raise their status to match their chablis drinking suburban comrades.

  16. They didn’t do enough to make people proud to have voted Labour. Where they should have invested in pride for the electorate, they alienated the electorate, creating a deep “them and us” mood. All the good things went unnoticed because of this. They were the government you were supposed to hate, Brown the prime minister you were supposed to hate. This stung even more after the 18 years of Conservative rule previous.
    Of course, a hostile media amongst other things didn’t help (particularly towards the end) and after thirteen years, it was always unlikely they would win again. But the next Labour leader must forget that, and start to lessen the rift between the voter and Labour.
    In my opinion :D

  17. Long range forceast for next GE result con victory, majority depends on AV to a degree but will form gov’t on own if they wish.
    Labour Vote up from 2010 which will encourage the ‘wait for our turn’ tendency but if we ignore that and get a new leader (Ms Cooper perhaps) we will have a good chance in 2019/20.

  18. JimJam,

    I concur. Best get used to it, that’s my plan :(

  19. It is incredibly difficult to pin down public attitudes regarding matters such as immigration. When the Tories went RIGHT and banged that drum in 92 and 97
    people appeared to turn away. The next thing you know the same people were concerned with Labours
    “appaling immigration record”, what the hell do you make of that.

  20. Labour just ran out of steam. There is nothing more, nothing less to say. All governments do that.
    The blame game is quite pointless because it only slows down the partys chances of getting back into office.
    Labour would have lost anyway no matter who was the leader.
    I think it would be quite unwise in future to take a leaf out of the Australian Labor party and knife the next leader in the back, front and sides.

  21. Wow! That was confusing for a while.

    Catching up on the thread, a post from Valerie and a post from Eoin referred to me instead of Alec in a post, and Jim Jam referred to me in stead of to Valerie.

    I didn’t understand either post until it dawned on me what had happened. I thought I’d forgotten a whole debate I’d been a part of, lol ;)

  22. @ Eoin

    “Half the time, one wonders if Celtic aim to win the Scottish premiership simply to deny Rangers it.”

    That’s always the objective of the Old Firm. That and trying to kick the sh*t out of each other. So a lot like modern politics in some ways ;)

  23. There is a lot of interesting stuff here. Of course we have to remember that the Labour members here are those left after thirteen years of defections – 160k as opposed to 400k in 1997 – and are likely to be ultra-loyal. The polling was done in the first two weeks after the election, so newbies like Eoin wouldn’t be included.

    Brown seems to have been a Marmite PM – those who voted Labour thought, if anything, better of him that these ultra-loyal members. And remember that Labour did better than expected; so Brown may be responsible for both the defeat and the fact it was not catastrophic.

    The most amusing figures show that agreement is equal about Labour helping the richest in all groups except Labour voters, who most strongly disagree. Obviously the last place to look if want class warriors. :)

  24. Roland
    They will also be the same people cheering Mo Farrah and other not typically flaxen haired youths as they bring home the gold medals.

    Compartmentalised thinking is in all of us. I wrote some time back that my SW constituency has a large percentage of voters who fear immigrants and yet we have none, at least none ethnically visible. It is actually a shock to see such a person and at this time of year, it is assumed they are a tourist. However a visit to the hotels and old people’s homes will reveal hundreds from the sub continent and islands. I assume they don’t go out much, probably can’t afford to on the minimum wage.

    I think it is a mistake to pay too much attention to party members on what will win elections. Better to ask the opposition camp surreptitiously..

  25. A good cross section of the findings in Anthony’s narrative plus Valerie’s simple home truth, folks just get fed up with them. I well remember the early 90s, when every week Rupert Montagu-Balmpot MP, was found enjoying the services of a £1000 per night expert in resuscitating tired businessmen, she was paid for by an Arab arms dealer. He was seen outside his Surrey home with his wife and daughters saying the young lady was teaching him Polish. It was obvious we were going down. It hit the party so hard they where like shell shocked soldiers. I don’t know why they could’nt see it coming.

  26. Sue,

    Your omnipresent :)

  27. @HOWARD
    Perhaps I am a prime example Howard. I have no colour prejudice but cannot abide feeding useless mouths. Indian Hindus, are my favorites, making “loads a money” very law abiding and super bright kids. They are very like the Jews who came in the 20s and 30s, their grand children will all end up millionaires. However, what is the point of a Romanian Big Issue seller? Just my little foible I suppose.

  28. Having concluded my last about not asking party members how elections are to be won, I suddenly realised i was supposed to be commenting on the opposite – why Labour lost. One should definitely ask party members that, as they do the foot slogging. My party members thought it was immigration and Trident. In both cases the voters did not understand the policies that they didn’t like but of course that is irrelevant, as it was our fault that they so thought.

    Labour was the Government so I am sure that the reason given, the economy, was paramount and the difference between ‘out of touch with working class voters’ and ‘immigration’ is a nuance (see Mrs Duffy). The reason for Labour Party members using the first is that it is too painful for Labour activists to think about their working class supporters as racist or xenophobic. However many are.

  29. HOWARD
    It is the greatest mystery to me how, over the last 50 years Labour have managed to become the party of mass immigration and yet keep hold of that most racist and deeply conservative group, the English White Working Class. Amazing. It is like the Tories convincing myself Colonel Blimp and Admiral Sir Bufton Tufton that Nuclear Disarmament is the way to go.

  30. @Roland
    What you are supposed to comfort yourself with is that the Romanian market is a huge opportunity for our producers to sell them Stilton cheese and Robby Williams DVDs.

  31. I think one of the problems with immigration as an issue for all the parties is that in order to win a majority you need to appeal to a broad cross-section which would include those (white working class largely, but not exclusively) who would favour a tougher line and those (middle-class intelligentsia, etc…) who maybe take a different view. Thus when the tories went “right” on the issue they alienated more of the urban middle classes. I think one of Labour’s problems this time around is that they managed to simultaneously alienate both sides to some degree. They were seen as both not tough enough in terms of numbers by those who maybe leant BNP, whilst simultaneously alienating some middle class liberal elements by an over-reliance on detention and other “harsh” measures.

  32. Roland
    I didn’t know old Tufton was a sailor but i don’t read Private Eye. He would want to scrap Trident as he thinks we should instead still be poncing around the oceans in down market cruise ships called frigates.

    On subject, I haven’t looked up AW’s links yet (will do AW) but the Labour Party Members attitude to defence spending would be interesting.

  33. hold on a moment

    the reds are asking themselfs why they lost

    and the libdems are doing the same

    what about the blues, they lost as well. are we going to have a thread about that

  34. @Richard in Norway

    Ah yes, but the blues think they’ve won by the backdoor, so the postmortem is postponed.

  35. TONYOTIM
    I am not a particularly liberal person and certainly believe Labours motives in actively encouraging mass immigration was for their own electoral ends. However, the BNP and anything like it are IMPO, to para phrase Aneurin Bevan “worse than vermin”.

  36. Can someone please explain to me the defeatism I’m seeing among Labour members and supporters not just on this site (Eoin, JimJam) but elsewhere? The consensus seems to be that the coalition will last the full five years and the Conservatives will win the subsequent election. Who ever wins the Labour leadership will be unpopular and make no difference.

    You’d think it was 1983 or even 1931. You’d think Labour MPs were meeting in a phone box. In fact we have a hung parliament; a coalition already showing differences between and within its Parties; government policy decisions which are at best inconsistent with each other and full of potential problems; and poll figures that would still produce a hung parliament – even though we should be in a honeymoon period and policy decisions haven’t begun to bite.

    Most peculiarly of all, whoever wins the leadership is assumed to have the power to turn things around single-handed (but won’t). Given that they don’t even choose their own shadow cabinet, presumably there should be enough talent at the top of the Party to provide opposition and the semblance of an alternative government. It’s not like their without experience – that’s most of the government front bench.

    I can see that there’s something in Valerie’s idea of losing because the government was tired and had run its course. But it shouldn’t take a decade to reinvigorate yourself while you wait for things to fall apart. And the fact that most of the Blair generation have left, to spend more time with their publishers and their directorships, should make it easier to ditch unpopular or unworkable policies – especially those the coalition seems to want to continue.

    I’m genuinely puzzled at this defeatism and despair. It makes no sense.

  37. I’ve got one in mod at the moment because I used the word p*nc*ng. It’s mine of 5.30 p.m Roland (word does not apply to you I hasten to add!).

    I’ve had a look at the tables and am astonished more than anything at the Con voters 86% who thought Labour leaders were too near to the US (‘subservient’) over Iraq and Afghanistan. What breathtaking hypocrisy and nothing better could illustrate my ‘compartmentalised thinking’ point I made earlier.

    What rankles me more than anything is that hardly any of them marched down Whitehall when it mattered.

  38. I believe that Labour lost the plot. Elections are won in the centre and Blair appealed to the centre. People like white van man and Worcester woman.
    Brown took the party to the left and it did not work any better than if a tory leader tried to take the country right.
    The other mistake was Labour tried to manage the country from the top.The result they threw money at problems without proper management controls and reporting LOCALLY. They thought they could inject a management layer to control the funds along with the systems they introduced. They became executive managers, not politicians. The trouble was they were not particularly good managers. No one of whatever party is.

  39. RICHARD IN NORWAY
    The Tories did not win outright, but they received a lot more votes and gained a lot more seats than Labour.
    Had the inbuilt Labour advantage not existed in our system this would not of happened. It is being addressed as I post. Further, we have on this site debated the pro’s and con’s of our present system and alternatives. Whilst I personally feel considerable gratitude to the people of Norway for their sturdy genes
    in our early history, I feel we can muddle through with our version of democracy without Norway’s help.

  40. We need to be careful about generalizations such as white working class racists. If we look at the newspapers with the most openly racist tone they serve the middle classes rather than the working classes. The Sun actively campaigned against the BNP, for example…

  41. Roger,

    I and I think I speak for JimJam see little cause for optimism in the direction the Labour leadership race is taking…

    I am not convinced that any of the front runners have really interrogated why they lost… I think they would like to blame it on Gordy or Northern Rock..

    I repeat this statistic at length but it is an important one- in the 17 polls before Brown took over Labour averaged 31% in the polls.

    Ressurecting Blairism will achieve nothing. cosying up to ‘the filthy rich’ will not do so either… Embracing public sector refrom of the PFI type… lying down to france and Germany in Europe or supporting Turkish entry to the EU will not attract voters either…

    All of these mistakes we are raring to make….

    I often ask myself what might have been had Blair stayed in power…

    He planned his own brand of Freedom school
    He planned a welfare to work scheme that Tebbit would be proub of..
    He planned variable top up fees

    A dark part of the recess of my brain is worried that D Millibrand (r is deliberate) is raring to pick up that relay baton and run with it.

  42. roland

    are you a sore loser? did i offend you by pointing out that the blues did a chris waddle in the last election

    i may live in norway, but i’m still british though and though. we eat a full english breakfast every sunday.

  43. @DUNCAN
    The Mail is not a middle class newspaper. It is for retards. What is more, one does not have to be a BNP supporter to question the levels of immigration which have existed for these last 13 years.

  44. the fact is the electorate rejected a class obsessed, union financed,pseudo metropolitan, english hating,immigrant loving,political plaything.our beloved movement must smell the coffee and start reading hello magasine to rediscover the fact that true leadership in british politics is now the preserve of men educated in the top public schools, and THAT IS WHAT THE VOTERS WANT.where is our new old harrovian to lead labour to the promised land?

  45. Richard in Norway

    And the rest of the week?

    Whale meat?

  46. My earlier post was maybe a little hastily composed. I in no sense meant to imply that all the white working class votes Labour lost were to the BNP or indeed that all those voters were racist (not that I accused anyone of racism – I wouldn’t even go as far as to say that anybody who votes BNP is racist, although I do think the party is racist itself and vermin as Roland so eloquently puts it), but I do think that Labour did lose white working class voters over the issue of immigration (some to tories, some to UKIP and some to the BNP).

  47. Richard in Norway
    We didn’t lose David Cameron is PM.
    You are British though and though, though and though what?
    I can eat two whole reindeer with chips, it doesn’t make me a Viking.

  48. howard

    so glad you have stopped being woolly

    very funny,

    no, whale meat is too expensive

    i’m planning to come over to england next week, first stop indian take-away

  49. Howard,

    I did not know you were Woolly! Where’s Woolly? Oh.. There he is….

  50. roland

    I can eat two whole reindeer with chips, it doesn’t make me a Viking

    we must have matching pot bellies

    i’m not quite sure how i could prove my britshness to you, but i do pass the tebbit test

    btw is there a test match next week, i love cricket on the radio

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