On Wednesday Jon Cruddas announced his first findings from his inquiry into why Labour lost the election, writing an article on LabourList about how Labour lost because it was too anti-austerity, not because it was too pro-austerity. It was not, it’s fair to say, universally welcomed by Labour supporters and there was particular criticism of it being backed up with a couple of poll questions showing people agreed with a statement “We must live within our means so cutting the deficit is the top priority”.

I don’t like “do you agree or disagree with these statement” questions, as I’ve written before. They do have their uses (and indeed, comparing agreement with broad campaign messages that can’t really be unbiased is one of them) but in most cases there are better ways of asking the question. The bigger mistake being made here is to wrongly focus on just one polling question and ignore the wealth of other data – if Jon Cruddas was basing his whole review on a single poll he would be being rather foolish, but I doubt he is. I expect the polling question has been highlighted as an illustration of his case, rather than being the whole evidence his case is based upon. The broad thrust of his argument is in line with other polling.

The key question on Labour’s economic positioning at the election isn’t whether people were pro or anti austerity, it’s which party people trusted on the economy (specific economy policy questions are just things that feed into that). On that the polling was clear – for example here or here. For whatever reason, people did not trust Labour on the economy as much as the Conservatives.

The British Election Study analysis of what drove people’s votes with proper key driver analysis will come in due course. Typically though the main factors in voting intention are things like party identification, perceptions of the leaders and the parties’s perceived competence on whatever voters see as the important issues of the day. In hindsight now that we know that Labour’s polling lead was an illusion, Labour’s defeat seems very straightforward. A year ago we were scratching our heads at the paradox of how Labour were ahead despite trailing on the things that normally drive voting intentions. The actual reasons seems to be the polls were wrong, which means Labour’s defeat is suddenly pretty easy to explain: people did not have a positive perception of their party leader, people did not think they were competent on what they considered two of the three major issues of the day (the economy and immigration) and even in the area Labour normally have better figures than the Tories, perceptions of the party itself, people increasingly saw them as out of touch with ordinary people.

Turning specifically to austerity and Cruddas’s argument, the British public are not “pro-austerity” in any ideological sense, the vast majority of people don’t want to see the state cut down in size on principle – you can easily find lots of polls showing that people oppose particular cuts, think cuts are too deep or too fast or whatever. The government’s cuts were never “popular” as such, but throughout the Parliament they were consistently seen as necessary. After the economy began to grow again they gradually became seen as beneficial to the economy, by 2015 YouGov were typically finding around 45% of people thought that the government’s cuts had been good for the economy, 35% of people thought that they had been bad for the economy. By the time of the election 50% of people thought the government were handling the economy well.

Regardless of whether or not the government’s policy was right, regardless of whether or not they should have won the argument on the economy, regardless of whether or not they actually made any cuts, when it came to broad public perceptions this was the situation: the government had argued that cuts were needed for the economy, Labour had opposed them, cuts happened and the economy recovered, therefore the government were right. Yes, it’s a classic case of post hoc ergo propter hoc, but there goes.

It is not impossible that Labour could have combined being anti-austerity with perceived economic competence, but it would have been a huge ask. Once the economy started to turn around it was likely that the public would give the government some credit for it. Making an argument that the government’s whole approach was wrong when the public perceived it as “working” would have been difficult, more so when the public still held Labour partially to blame for putting the economy in such a state. Rightly or wrongly, getting spending under control came to be associated with sound economic management, failure to commit to getting spending under control was perceived as being against sound economic management.

There are different realities where an anti-austerity stance might have worked. If Britain hadn’t got back to economic growth for the last couple of years the government’s economic policy wouldn’t have been perceived as a success and the public would likely have been more open to alternatives. If the government had imposed their cuts in ways that had upset a greater number of swing voters they might have lost more support. However, parties can’t choose their own reality, they have to deal with the one they are given, and being anti-austerity was unlikely to be a winning strategy in the political realities of 2015.

2020, of course, will be a different battle – the great recession will have receded a decade into history, if the government have met their targets there won’t be a deficit for Labour to answer difficult questions about. I expect Labour being seen as economically responsible will still be important and questions about whether a party is seen as moderate or extreme, risky or safe will always be relevant… but the specifics of arguments about being pro or anti-austerity and questions about how you deal with the deficit may well all sound a bit, well, a bit 2015.

286 Responses to “On Jon Cruddas and why Labour lost”

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  1. Second!

  2. nth!

  3. It s not clear to me on an initial inspection what facts this report is based on, or even if it actually reflects Jon Cruddas’ opinions.

    Respondingto Anthony Wells’ feelings on this report, it does appear that the Tories managed to blame the recession on the pre-2010 Labour Government.

    A grim aspect of this is that voters with little or no economic expertise ralways seem to think in terms of balancing the books. “A pound plus sixpence is happiness, a pund minus sixpence is disaaster”, as Mr. Micawber might say. The electorate felt this in 1924, in 1931 and 1935, between 1979 and 1997, and in 2015. Sadly, there is little to suggest that they won’t think the same in 2020 and come to that 2025.

    Labour are in a dilemma. If they follow the balance economy lie, they will never fix the economy. If they put forward realistic economic proposals, they will never get elected. Their best chance is when theyhave bee in Opposition and the Tories have had an economic disaster (as sooner or later they will), like having to withdraw from the ERM in 1992. Then Labour will be unable to put through their programme, so they wil get defeated when the elctorate forgets the Tory mistakes.

    On top of this, Ed Milband was not the leader to give leadership to overcome these problems, and it does not look like they are going to elect such a leader this Summer.

  4. Spot on!

    I think it’s worth pointing out that most economists think austerity is bad for the economy, and they’re right (and so I think the public is wrong to think the way they do).

    However a major reason for the misconception that austerity is necessary and in fact good is that no one has properly argued against that notion, but for economists as a group who have been largely ignored by the media.

    Therfore once the argument is made properly in a way that actually gets through to the voting public then perceptions will inevitably change.

    Furthermore Cruddas’s findings thus have even less relevance to 2020 .i.e. The findings do not mean that anyone but corbyn is the answer.

  5. Absolutely nothing in these inquiry findings that was not already obvious to those with there ears and eyes open: as opposed to some shouty types with their eyes shut and their fingers in their ears humming in that way toddlers do when they don’t want to hear what their parents are saying!

    As the article by Cruddas (no ‘red Tory’ he…) states “first comes fiscal responsibility” / “you can try to change the publics opinion but you cannot ignore it”.

    What is important is how ‘fiscal responsibility’ is defined. However that definition is one- for everyone but the tiny band of activists on each wing of the political spectrum- whose definitional terms are set by the government of the day: the ones running the fiscal department and making policy decisions.

    When Labour was in power it made the case for public investment and made it so accepted that even Osborne was committed to Labours spending plans. After the (necessary) financial system bailout it made targeted/ moderate short term austerity the definition- forcing the Tories to pare back their austerity plans in the lead up to the 2010 election.

    But since 2010- first with the cover of the (naive) Lib Dems, and now the comedic chaos that is Labour they have redefined ‘fiscal responsibility’ as hard core expenditure cuts and a smaller state.

    That is the context that opposition parties now have to accept and deal with: much as they had to accept aspects of Thatcherism in order to be taken seriously again in the early 1990s.

    Once you are in government you can slowly turn things around to be more in your own desired image (and on this I agree with many here when they say Labour accepted too much of the Thatcherite ascendency and did too little to inject vitality into the social democratic cause after 1997).

    You don’t win elections under FPTP by ignoring what the public thinks. Once JC is elected and actually makes some specific costed policy announcements we can get polling on what levels of support his actual proposals as leader receive.

    But this inquiry and its findings should be top of the pile in his inbox on day one of his leadership. Though I do get the impression that- when presented with it- his eyes will be closed his hands will be in his ears and he will be humming…

  6. ‘There’ = their

    Blinking iPhone !

  7. Crudas’ thoughts on Scotland and its effect on Labour’s chances back in May are ok as far as they go; but he fails to ask why it is that Labour collapsed so dramatically north of the Border.

    My own view is that Labour’s failure to distinguish itself from the Tories, both in the Indyref and in the run-up to the GE (despite what some south of the Border seem to think was the case), was fundamental; but ‘the Tories = austerity therefore Labour must come up with an alternative’ is only part of the problem, of course. May’s GE was ‘Indyref Part 2′ as far as many here were concerned.

    Scots just don’t want to be governed by the English (a party which has a majority of English is fine as long as the Scottish voice is clearly heard as well) and until the Tories find a way of being a Scottish party again (by which I mean a party which communicates with a large number of Scots, not just Edinburgh and the Huntin’ Shootin’ and Fishin’ brigade) Labour either makes itself clearly different from the Tories (at present the English National Party in effect) or can give up hope of returning to power.

    So Labour’s GB future and the future of the Tories in Scotland are strangely interwoven matters. Unless and until they sort themselves out the SNP will continue to move forward towards its goal of ending the Union. Any analysis of May’s GE result which fails to keep this aspect at the centre of all thinking is just going to speed up the end of the Union, as such failure will be seen in Scotland as confirmation of the SNP narrative.

  8. Thanks to Frederick, Dan and Rob for their thoughts, which are, of course, germane to the discussion south of the Border and have much to contribute to economic thinking north of the Border as well.

    It may be argued that, since the SNP have been ‘in government’ since 2007 they have had the time to change Scottish perceptions of how economic sense may be defined. North of the Border John Swinnie has at least as much air time as, and would appear to have a lot more credibility than, the occupant of 11, Downing Street.

  9. @” The actual reasons seems to be the polls were wrong, which means Labour’s defeat is suddenly pretty easy to explain: people did not have a positive perception of their party leader, people did not think they were competent on what they considered two of the three major issues of the day (the economy and immigration) and even in the area Labour normally have better figures than the Tories, perceptions of the party itself, people increasingly saw them as out of touch with ordinary people.”

    Yes-and it would be as interesting to know what the effect on Labour’s campaign would have been if the Polls had been right; as it to know why they weren’t.

    ps it should be recorded that TOH of this parish wasn’t “scratching his heads at the paradox of how Labour were ahead despite trailing on the things that normally drive voting intentions. “.

  10. “. The actual reasons seems to be the polls were wrong, which means Labour’s defeat is suddenly pretty easy to explain: people did not have a positive perception of their party leader, people did not think they were competent on what they considered two of the three major issues of the day (the economy and immigration) and even in the area Labour normally have better figures than the Tories, perceptions of the party itself, people increasingly saw them as out of touch with ordinary people”

    Perception perception perception I kept saying this before the election. I also could not understand (I said it many times) why Labour were ahead in the polls yet the Tories were leading on all the KPI”s!!

    So the polls were wrong………..I spotted it first.

  11. I don’t normally like to criticise polls for leading questions, but surely “We must live within our means, so cutting the deficit is the top priority” is an extremely leading question.
    Who on Earth is going to answer “no, we don’t have to live within our means” ?
    The arguments against austerity are not that simplistic, they cannot be put into short sound bites which is of course is why the anti-austerity arguments are often lost.

  12. JOHN B

    Excellent comments. I don’t know where OLENAT is but I’ll sign them off on his behalf. ;-)

  13. Ed milliband was not perceived by most of the electorate to be a viable candidate for prime minister. Millions who voted labour did so holding their noses. This problem has not gone away. Corbyn would be nowhere right now if there was just one half-decent ‘mainstream’ candidate running who was able to string a coherent sentence together.

    During the election, the talking heads in the media were even more hopeless than the pollsters. Every performance from Ed was cringeworthy, The public watched and squirmed but the press sidestepped the gorilla in the room and pretended he’d ‘outperformed’. HE DID NOT. The same thing is happening again with the leadership contest. Why doesn’t someone just come out and say that all the current candidates are rubbish and that labour should start again with some better candidates? The ‘debates’ so far have been embarassing. Corbyn is bonkers, but he deserves to win it. Only THEN, when labour has something akin to a human being as it’s leader would it make sense to ask questions about policy

  14. @Rob Sheffield (at 6.08pm)

    I wouldn’t disagree with much of what you say, and I tend to think Cruddas generally is one of Labour’s greatest assets. In fact it’s a shame that EM ultimately hesitated on Cruddas’s ideas in the last parliament.

    However, I don’t think the electorate stand anywhere at all at present. It’s a very confusing picture.

  15. Good stuff on here as is so often the case.

    I expect the electorate will get tired of “austerity” eventually. People got tired of Cromwell’s Commonwealth and no singing or dancing or Christmas after a while. In the 1960s my parents used to speak of the cold weather and the shortages “after the war”, which I am sure helped to undermine the Labour Atlee government – and yes I am aware of the record Labour vote in 1951 and the collapse of the Liberals which was one factor finally letting in the Conservatives.

    If we are talking perceptions, the Conservatives have already flagged up a replacement for Cameron before 2020, and it would be perfectly possible for the other parties to change leader as well and bring in some new faces and a new direction if they wished.

    Things can change very quickly too. It’s not so long ago since we were hearing the argument that the Conservatives could never win again because of changing demographics and their ageing membership base, now we are hearing that Labour will be unelectable for x years.

    All I can offer at the moment is a suggestion to watch the (English) midlands marginals.

  16. @ Dan
    ‘However a major reason for the misconception that austerity is necessary and in fact good is that no one has properly argued against that notion, but for economists as a group who have been largely ignored by the media. ‘

    I totally agree with that. Moreover most people haven’t a clue when it comes to economics and scarcely know how it differs from accountancy – which is what ‘balancing the books’ relates to.
    A reasonable counter to Anthony’s final paragraph is that if economically things go ‘tits up’ by 2020 – another recession for example – people might well feel cheated by the rhetoric of the last few years and come round to the view that the austerity – and the sacrifices associated with it – was for nothing. If that were to come to pass Osborne might yet reap a bitter harvest.

  17. How much more evidence was required to suggest that Ed Miliband was NOT the man, God alone knows. Once again Rob Sheffield is correct, Cruddas states the “bleedin obvious”. Labour supporters might consider choosing a leader that has a cat in hells chance of being accepted by the electorate, if they are really serious about beating the hated Tories. For the intellectuals who so love Labour, is this fact just to simple to grasp?

  18. I haven’t been around much lately for various reasons, but have just read all this thread. Here’s a few comments on the latest topics –

    On perception of Labour’s perceived economic incompetence: this goes along with the fact that older people tend to be more Conservative. Labour ALWAYS tanks the economy, and the older you are the more you realise this. Notwithstanding the Tories occasional alarums such as the ERM exit, and arguments about how responsible the government might be for world events; the last Labour government was in office when the crash came in 2007-08, the previous one (1970s) had to call in the IMF to bail us out. the one before that (1960s) devalued the pound dramatically etc etc.

    On austerity: what austerity? I haven’t noticed any apart from a slight restriction on pay rises in my last job in the NHS. It’s not exactly drastic compared to the three day week or rationing, both of which I (and millions more) remember.

    On Miliband: I had a number of discussions on here as soon as he was elected Labour leader to the effect that he could never win because he was perceived to be a nerd. Whether we like it or not a potential PM needs a certain air of authority and normality.

    “Things can change very quickly too. It’s not so long ago since we were hearing the argument that the Conservatives could never win again because of changing demographics and their ageing membership base, now we are hearing that Labour will be unelectable for x years. ”

    Spot on. I think we are entering a new era of unpredictability because of the rise of ‘Others’ such as the SNP, UKIP, Greens etc. It is too soon to write Labour off.

  19. Colin (fpt)

    ‘Alan Johnson spelling it out :-
    “………Corbyn had no such constraints. He’s been cheerfully disloyal to every Labour leader he’s ever served under. That’s fine so long as members understand that it’s the loyalty and discipline of the rest of us that created the NHS, the Open University and all the other achievements I’ve mentioned and the many that I haven’t.”’

    I found Johnson’s examples here quite amusing – the NHS was Bevan’s creation of course, and the OU was set up during his wife Jennie Lee’s time as Education Secretary in Wilson’s government. None of Bevan, Lee and Wilson are noted for their loyalty to the party leadership – Wilson and began famously resigned after NHS charges were introduced, and Lee split from labour with the ILP.

  20. @Pete B

    Well, if you’re gonna point to tanking economies under Labour, then for fairness might include Heath’s Secondary Banking Crisis, the recessions under Thatcher and Major, and then there’s what happened to the growth Cameron inherited which vanished until he did the Help to Buy stimulus.

    As for the Seventies, Heath, Callaghan and Thatcher all suffered economic difficulties due to the same thing: swingeing oil price rises which affected many other economies alongside our own, so not really fair to blame Tory or Labour for that.

    Meanwhile in the post-war period up until the advent of the neolib thing, for a couple of decades things were pretty stable, with healthy average growth and rising prosperity whether under Tories or Labour. And no storage tax.

    On austerity, you may not have lost your job in the public sector, but hundreds of thousands did.

  21. @Funty

    Also, maybe I missed summat but wasn’t aware of Corbyn voting against the setting up of the NHS, or the OU. Did he vote against the Minimum Wage or Sure Start or summat? How many of what NuLab might trumpet as their key achievents did Corbyn vote against?

    I suppose it also depends on what one might mean by loyalty. It’s not just a case of voting against or openly disagreeing on policy. Were Blair, Brown and their acolytes all that loyal to each other, as opposed to seeking to frustrate, brief against, renege on agreements, force out etc.

    This is without mentioning the duel between the two brothers…

  22. I generally like and respect MPs who rebel.

  23. The fact is voters didn’t trust Labour on the economy. Many voters would like a fairer society but the economy has to come first.

    Labour need radical ideas on tax, and not just keep Tory tax policy on the likes of inheritance tax cuts for the rich recently announced.

  24. Austerity hasn’t hit those who vote Tory, the working have had tax cuts, and benefit cut haven’t hit them much, so less austerity doesn’t resenate with them.

  25. Millie,

    Of course a conscientious rebelling against the party line on some occasions (Iraq, tuition fees, Europe) is vital to our democracy and part of holding the Executive in check.

    A parliament of Independents, though, would achieve nothing so party discipline is crucial to good governance in my opinion and an opposition as the alternative Government needs similar discipline.

  26. I find it amazing that the word ‘Austerity’ is being used to mean “less borrowing”.

    If we had a balanced budget and we chose to spend less than that and cut back on services then, well THAT would be proper austerity.

    As it is the country is simply trying to live more within its means. It’s simple maths that even school children can grasp.

    The public finances are still an almighty mess and I think Labour were very shortsighted to not address this with the public. A simple mea culpa and a promise to fix things would probably have sufficed or certainly helped to start rebuilding the public’s perception of their financial competence rather than going ‘full on ostrich’.

  27. @Pete B

    Comments such as “On austerity: what austerity?”, are the sort of thing that cause me to switch off, ask myself what planet that person is on, and consequently become inclined to disregard ever other point they make as well.

  28. Great article, but one that will not be welcome by hard-left denialists touting Corbyn as the future of Labour.

    The reality is, Labour lost a lot of people veering left during Brown and Miliband’s era, including me. People who believe in social justice and equality, in the NHS and schools, but are also entrepreneurial and think that a free market is the best way for a country to help achieve this and fund this sustainably.

    The fact that the Labour leadershsip candidates are currently debating how many industries to re-nationalise, not how they will move toward a more just but also market-friendly economy, just shows how disastrous the post-defeat delusion is in the party.

    Too far left? Never. Not left enough. Only by reverting to the 1970s can we recapture the centre. Good luck with that.

  29. I am quite surprised at the conclusions that John Cruddas infers on attitudes to austerity from very flimsy evidence, and agree with many of those above questioning the polling.

    Far more instructive is this sort of thing that YouGov were coming up with in July 2013 when they last asked the question:
    “Thinking about how the government is cutting public spending, do you think the government should cut spending less, cut spending more, or are they getting the balance about right?:
    Cut more 15%, balance about right 25%, Cut less 47%, DK 14%.

    At the very least, we know that the public can face both ways at once, so using a question focused on “the deficit” alone to define attitudes to the balance of public spending is nonsense.

    At the very least, the polling suggests that Labour could have struck a chord had it had the courage to argue for its convictions (or at least, those of most of its members). Labour instead allowed the Conservatives to frame the debate, and by stepping back from putting a counter argument it allowed opinion to move further in the Conservatives’ direction. We had the pretty pathetic spectacle of a party leader in his final set of interviews desperately pleading to be given credibility on the (false) grounds that he has signed up to his opponents borrowing plans, and then wonder why the public viewed the Conservative economic approach as the only game in town.

  30. @Tom Pride

    Are you THE Tom Pride?

    If so, when’s the blog coming back? It is sorely missed and was the best source of political satire on the net.

  31. I don’t see why Cruddas, the author of Labour’s 2015 manifesto, should have suddenly become an expert in what appeals to the electorate. Quite the opposite, I’d have thought.

  32. @ JimJam

    I’m not advocating the abandonment of party politics, although I did vote Independent last May.

    But I would favour a retreat from ‘lobby fodder’ politics: more free votes, select committees that operate outside of party political policy frameworks, MPs prepared to question the leadership and not obsessed with climbing the greasy pole to ministerial office.

    The current spectacle of the Labour leadership contest is especially unedifying as the candidates race to distance themselves from the manifesto policies they apparently supported two months ago.

    Is it too much to ask that they at least offer some explanation for their previous reticence?

  33. @Oldnat

    “It is often difficult to select the most inane, meaningless comment on UKPR.”


    Well of course it is, you could fill the top ten spots with the needless quibbling thing. Anyway Coups said this is Salmond’s favourite site so dunno why you’d wanna be so down on it…

  34. The electorate aren’t required to be loyal to a party ad infinitum so shouldn’t really be a surprise if their elected representatives sometimes aren’t? Politicians aren’t even loyal to their own policies at times, u-turns abound.

  35. The reality has always been (I think), that you have to win the argument for your economic competence FIRST, and then use your credibility to then argue for a pro-anti cuts/spending agenda.

    This is what Blair and Brown did. They won their argument for being economically competent by promising to stick to Tory spending and especially helped by Black Wednesday. Then after two years they could make the case for greater spending.

    Conversely the Tories had to win back trust on the economy first, and part of this was to promise not to cut spending. Only once they were trusted more on the economy (thanks to The Crash) they could argue for cuts.

    Labour Left wants to do it the other way round – argue for their own agenda first, then try and persuade people it is economically credible (some of which clearly isn’t). It has never worked and it isn’t going to work now (but try telling that to activists!).

  36. @ Isaac, when are we going to wake up to the fact that many, many (MANY), Tory voters were low-wage, working people. In the jargon the C2DE voters who thought Labour were not to be trusted with the economy and/or immigration. So they voted UKIP, or even Tory (in some of the marginals).

    Whoever wins the leadership election MUST make economic competence their front and centre achievement, before wowing the voters with their radical agenda (people forget how radical Labour’s first term agenda was).


    “Anyway Coups said this is Salmond’s favorite site”

    That’s quite a scoop for our AW to have such a big political beast of Salmonds stature say UKPR is his favorite site. It must be the polls..;-)

  38. @Allan

    Yeah, it was a good spot by Coups. In the same article Salmond wasn’t so keen on WoS, but Oldnat doesn’t seem to complain about that…

  39. Anthony, I have to question your premise, that positioning themselves as clearly anti-austerity would have been such a hard sell. Really? A harder sell than the muddied message of being against certain cuts, but not against others and even proposing own cuts?

    History is pretty clear about how to get well AND FAST out of a recession. Through a keynesian approach with INCREASED government spending. In the 1930s the USA tried the austerity approach and failed miserably, taking a world war with associated vastly increased government spending to get out of the ditch. In 2009 the Obama-government tried the opposite and was more successful than the UK to increase growth and reduce unemployment.

    The UK is behind the curve on all those indicators. And through increased growth the US has also seen a dramatic reduction in the yearly budget deficit. So to say as a by product.

    And thats leaving out the political question of who have been the winners and loosers of the great recession in both countries. When people will look at the effects they will see the income divide and the distribution of wealth to have become more polarized in the UK. Hardly a goof thing, especially for Labours core voters.

  40. Alister1948
    ‘ and yes I am aware of the record Labour vote in 1951 and the collapse of the Liberals which was one factor finally letting in the Conservatives. ‘

    Actually the collapse of the Liberals in 1951 is a bit of a myth. It is true that they polled just 2.6% compared with 9.0% in 1950, but this is largely explained by the very sharp drop in the number of candidates contesting seats. In 1950 the Liberals fought 450 seats – a figure which dropped to 109 in 1951.

  41. 1) Cruddas – given the ongoing internal battle Labour comments on the election polling are more likely going to be related to the internal battle. I wouldn’t take any notice unless it’s people speaking against interest.

    2) Austerity – there’s been a ton of austerity (aka spending less) at the council level since before the 2010 election. Tories don’t see it but do see the deficit not moving so assume nothing has happened. It has happened but the policy of driving down wages just pushes tax credits and housing benefit up so from a deficit reduction point of view it’s austerity vs tax credits with tax credits winning

    3) Pro or Anti Austerity as Labour policy

    For more than 30 years we’ve been told by oligarch minions that
    – off-shoring
    – debt-based consumption
    – mass low-skilled immigration
    were all good for the economy.

    And here we are.

    Blairites can’t do it because they’re tainted as complicit but leaving aside the third one there’s plenty of scope for Lefties to blame the current problems on the post-Thatcher consensus *including* the Blairite’s signing up to it i.e. they relabel New Labour’s economic failure as a right-wing economic failure.

  42. ISSAC
    Your 8.43 this am. The Tory driven austerity does not affect Tory voters you say, only “working class people” suffer you say.
    Issac, please go on saying it. It exemplifies the early 20th century them and us mentality that will keep Labour out of office for decades.
    I am a retired executive of the army officer class (prior to going into life assurance and pensions). Now retired, I live in a £600,000 house in rural Buckinghamshire and drive a new French luxury car. My lady wife drives a modern Fiesta. We have at least 3, probably 4 holidays per year. If I and my wife had not “worked” all our lives, you could scrap the above completely. You and Labour, really should get with the programme son.

  43. Marc Kersten
    I have to question your premise. When the British people actually see a Labour government do the business financially, rather than what happened in 1930’s USA or anywhere else for that matter, they may believe it. On the purely British experience, ( which Ken and Dott and Kelly and Craig care about), AW is right and you are flogging a deceased equine.

  44. Phil Haines

    In your July 2013 quoted opinion poll the only option that does not involve cutting (whether more cutting/ currently about right/ less cutting) garners 14%

    It’s hardly a ringing endorsement for the idea that deficits and debts don’t matter.

    Furthermore even if (some day) the public says that ‘austerity’ has to end that is by no means the same as saying ‘spending and borrowing and tax has to rise’. The two are conflated all too often in certain parts!

    Labour had lost the argument on the economy- all the polling evidence clearly illustrates that I’m sure you will agree. It needs to make a convincing case for why austerity needs to end before it can propose sweeping fiscal changes. If it can’t convince more than 30% of the electorate them defeat looms again…and again…and again.

    I think- as with Ed back in September 2010- Corbyn has around 18 months to win the UK people over with his ‘platform’ (including that large number of Scots who vote SNP in UK elections safe in the knowledge that they will never get a SNP Westminster government).

    If by then we can’t make it to 40+ in the mid term polling nor are picking up hundreds of council seats, nor have taken back a sizeable chunk of the Scottish Parliament or wonthe London Mayoralty (Livingstones defeat was a clear harbinger of what was to come when you reflect): then the writing will be on the wall.

    With a hostile PLP JC will be out. But if he’s made headway (as set out above) he will be safe.


    The other thing to watch for early in a JC leadership is for him- as one of those “constitutionalists” from the Bennite period- to propose significant changes to the LP constitution. Not just some kind of clause 4 resurrection but also a move to confound the choice of leadership contender being solely the purview of the PLP: say a new rule that requires you have to have a minimum number of constituencies nominating you to get on the ballot paper.

    This will be justified on the grounds that “every constituency should have a say in who gets nominated, not just those with MPs”.

    But actually of course- identical to the 1978-1985 period- it will be to empower the CLP committees who (in the latter stages of Ed M and since the Corbyn ascendency) will have be taken over by the far left.

    If so watch for- just as Callaghan resigned in 1980 to force an election under the old rules- the PLP forcing an election under the current (PLP only nominations) rules.

    Hey ho halcyon days !!

  45. Bhttp://bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/index.php/city-news/958-rise-and-fall-of-jeremy.html

    BC (Scotlandshire) has the lowdown on the likely events that would follow the election of Corbyn.

  46. I looked at the Cruddas article but was unable to find any link to the actual polling data that he apparently based the article on. Who carried out the poll? Was it a proper sample? Was it carried out in accordance with industry best practice (including avoiding leading questions)? My understanding is that the British Polling Council requires that the basis of the poll must be published so that its validity can be peer-reviewed. Until this happens I think we must regard it as what AW calls a “voodoo poll.”

  47. @Roland

    It sounds liked you worked hard.

    So did my grandad. He stated work aged 14, and spent most of his life down a mine, which cost him a lung.He died very poor, not owning his own home. He died of emphysema.

    You worked hard, and got the breaks too.

    Enjoy your wealth :-)

  48. “the BoE has become more upbeat about business investment, which is expected to grow this year by 4.75 per cent, up from 2.5 per cent.
    “This is as much, if not more, an investment-driven recovery as it is a consumer spending-driven recovery,” said Ben Broadbent, deputy governor for monetary policy.
    The central bank thinks this may be a sign the labour market is normalising as unemployment (currently 5.6 per cent) nears 5 per cent — its best guess of the long-term sustainable rate. The BoE predicts unemployment will hold steady for the next few months then fall more slowly than it did in the early stages of the recovery.
    Mr Carney spoke of a “bunch of signs” that the labour market was tightening: the proportion of people out of work for less than 12 months was below its pre-crisis average, while the ratio of job vacancies to unemployment had also returned to pre-recession levels. As a result, the BoE forecasts that wage growth will strengthen to just above 4 per cent per year by 2017.
    Crucially, the central bank also believes productivity may finally be starting to recover after years in the doldrums. This would allow employers to pay more without putting up prices and triggering an inflationary spiral. “We may be seeing this pick-up in productivity and that is very good news for the sustainability of the recovery,” Mr Carney said.”


    Can’t help feeling that timing of a Bennite offering from the Labour Party under JC may be a bit off.

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