The 2015 general election was mainly won by the perpetuation of various myths bordering on deception by the Tories and the majority of the media supporting the Tory project. These myths included the baseless claim that the SNP will ‘blackmail’ a potential Ed Milliband’s government, the utopia of English nationalism, the reduction of immigration to 10s of thousands at most, the rise of a UK ‘giant’ after leaving the EU, austerity leads to posterity, everybody and all businesses pay less tax, ‘right to buy’ will provide housing for people, the management of the ‘aspiration’ of individuals and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately, some of the leadership contenders for the Labour Party seem to be buying into these myths and it is informing their positioning going forward. Most of the leader and deputy leader candidates seem to appear to take these myths as ‘gospel’ truth. It is important that Labour as a Party work to debunk these myths. Pandering to myths or replicating such is not a principled reaction and should not be the Labours’ way.
I would prefer a woman leader for the Labour Party but Yvette Cooper just lost my vote. She lost my vote and endorsement by her recent unwarranted attack on Ed Milliband and his policies. This is not about the man Ed himself (who did his best in circumstances that he could hardly control) but more about the policies. Yvette was party to these policies and I think the policies are good. Yvette’s now seem to want a Labour Party that looks like David Cameron’s Conservative Party, which in itself is a poor imitation of Tony Blair’s New Labour. However, the core and strength of the Labour Party is in various shades of ‘left’. Adopting the rhetoric of the Tories (e.g. Ed is anti-business) will get the Labour movement nowhere. Labour needs to be consistent with a message that recognises its roots and embrace it. Labour cannot afford to adopt the Tories approach, which adopts any and all positions. Social justice, equality and fairness must be driving force of this movement. Win or not, this movement must not lose its soul. I think Atllee would agree with my sentiment here.
If Clement Attlee had the opportunity to dissect the dismal performance of the Labour party in the recent election, he would not disagree with much on my list as follows:
- The rise of tribal nationalism: English v Scottish. SNP fronts the Scottish nationalism and the Tories attracted the English nationalist. Not being of that mode, Labour was caught in between the nationalist.
- The demonization of a possible coalition between SNP and Labour.
- The overwhelming media on the side of the Tories (ultimately its is not the media that won it for the Tories).
- The leadership factor mainly due to the media portrayal of Ed Milliband.
- Confused approach to policies: ‘too left’ ‘not left enough’ ‘centre left’
- The fortunate improvement in the economic out-look in the run up to the election.
- The gamble by the Tories in offering a potentially dangerous EU referendum, which may ultimately cost the country.