Labour in London, not so good

Labour in London, not so good

Even now, on Saturday morning, it’s probably too early to say what the local elections mean politically. I feel I made a mistake commenting too early last year.

Over the last two days, the story has been that Labour did well in London; there are two punctures in that balloon, Harrow and Tower Hamlets. I believe these losses are caused by a sickness in both the Labour Party and possibly in society itself. In the Labour Party left-right factionalism allied to ultra-communalism/ethno-nationalism has broken both the Party and its connection with its electorate. When one stirs in two spoons of careerism this becomes deadly to the Party and to democratic politics.

I thought Harrow was vulnerable from looking at the Mayor & GLA results last year, as the early declaration of the Harrow & Brent seat results in the GLA elections (last year) had given us all a squeaky bum moment. Given that both councils were Labour, it was expected that there would be a strong vote for Sadiq; there wasn’t. Closer examination of the results suggested that Labour would  Harrow council; I thought that the polling predicted swing to Labour across London would be enough to save it. I was wrong.

The Tower Hamlets result is the culmination of 11 years of bad politics in both the Labour Party and Tower Hamlets; the community is now split on ethnic grounds. Some say it was the poor policies of Mayor Biggs, particularly on liveable streets/low traffic networks which was seen by many as serving the interests of a middle class party against the interests of brown (& white) working class who needed the mobility. In addition, the cuts, in public nurseries, and the notorious ‘fire and re-hire’ programme of the Mayor were unpopular with the Party and the community. This loss is made worse, for Labour, by last year’s referendum in TH to retain the Mayoral system in which Bigg’s Labour campaigned to retain it. My feelings on Mayors is well publicised but it’s possible that Aspire would not have been able to do so well if there wasn’t a ‘whole boro’ mandate being sought.

In Harrow, Labour lost to the Tories, and TH to Aspire. Harrow is over 52% ethnic minority and over 26% Indian, Tower Hamlets has over 55% ethnic minority and over 32% Bangladeshi.

While it is easy to name names in those two borough Labour Parties the true sickness is in Labour’s governance. London Labour has colluded with the leaderships of these two borough parties, specifically the MPs, and in the case of Tower Hamlets for over a decade. This is reinforced by McNicol’s attempts to use senior regional staff as weapon in the factional war, and then Evans’ redundancy programme. I believe that there are only two field/campaign staff left employed by London Labour.

Big governance decisions are not being taken with a view to building a democratic campaigning party or even a democratic parliamentary party. Wrong things have happened and are still happening.

There are plenty of people arguing that by prioritising a ‘blue labour’ policy vector, that Starmer’s Labour is telling the new members of Labour’s coalition that it has nothing to offer them and in doing so jeopardises the support of the young, workers, renters and ethnic minority voters. The relatively good results for the Lib Dems and Greens (& Aspire) shows that people do have somewhere else to go, and some have found out.  …

Labour hold!

Labour holds Batley & Spen. Was it good luck, or did something important and positive happen? I draw some conclusions, and point at other's comments. Most importantly, candidates count, although we are still trapped between running a good MP, or running a good campaigner; people that can do both are rare. I conclude with the view that Labour's election machine needs to be improved if only its messaging strategy.

Red towns, blue suburbs

Red towns, blue suburbs

Arguments on why we lost the last election, and how to win the next continue apace. There is much talk of the Red Wall and how to win it back, unfortunately everyone is focussed on the man who used to “keep whippets in the [outdoor] latrine”, this article by Danny Dorling, précised in his blog, and reinforced by this article in the Economist written by someone else, suggest the problem is elsewhere, that it’s not the towns but their suburbs together with the growing inequality in our society. There is also plenty of evidence that age is also a factor. One commentator suggests it’s a surprise these seats didn’t turn Tory a while ago. …

Labour’s vote: where does the next tranche of voters come from?

I wrote a pissy little piece on the polls the other week but in doing so looked back as far as this one at politico goes. They mark certain key events on the chart, but miss some which I think are important, such as the 2019 Euro-elections, and key counter pandemic events, including Cummings and his drive to Durham and the breaking of the growing corruption story. They also miss the Skripal poisoning, the failure to leave on May’s first deadline, Corbyn’s new red lines and Labour’s NEC’s shit Brexit position for the Euro-election. I’d argue that Labour’s opposition to May in early 2019 won it voter share, but it’s behaviour after that didn’t. Labour’s voter share began to rise after it’s fixed ’19 Conference. The rise and fall of UKIP/LibDems would seem to be the story of the summer and autumn of 2019 suggesting that the electorate was polarising over the issue of Brexit, but that Farage gave up when he realised that his fucking about was jeopardising the Tory vote and there’s no explaining the ludicrous implosion of the LibDems.

The big problem here is that throughout the six year period, with the exception of the 9 months, from June 17 to April 18, Labour’s vote share is under 40%, to reach the FPTP tipping point voter share needs to be above that. It’s a fact that Labour needs to win votes from the Tories but there is some evidence that so-called radical economic policy might win some of the working-class Tory or Brexit Party vote back, if in fact this vote was ever Labour’s. It might be of benefit if the Liberal Democrats recovered some of their vote, especially since they are clearly positioned in the model of European Liberal Parties of ‘dry’ economics, with a dash of social liberalism, add several dollops of constitutional reform and a dash of political sectarianism. If they are kicking lumps out of the Tories who cares? One problem they face is they are not asking themselves these questions either, of where their voters will come from politically or geographically?

How does Labour increase its voter share to over 40%? Where will they get them from politically and geographically? Purges and abstentionism is unlikely to do it unless “Team Starmer” are relying on the idea that Govts lose elections, oppositions don’t win them. If that’s the case, Labour could be waiting a long time. …