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Labour Must Embrace a Socialist Agenda to Win in 2015

The Labour Party’s poor performance in yesterday’s local elections mean that the Party must wake up now to the fact that their anodyne and Tory Lite policies are a massive turn off for the voters. Labour should be sweeping all before them with a bungling and inept Government in Office (but not in power) at Westminster and a magnificent team of hard working local activists knocking on 7 million doors across the UK.


But Labour’s play it safe and hope for a 35% vote share in 2015 (this would deliver the keys of Number Ten to Ed Miliband due to our broken electoral system) has rendered the sweat of the activists  because as less as important as it should be. If there is no message then you can’t expect the voters to turn out for Labour. The electorate are not lobby fodder. They need ideas and a vision to galvanise them.

In 1987 the Tories swept back to power with a 100 seat majority, yet a year before that election they lost a record 687 council seats as the voters turned to Labour in droves. Thatcher took account of that and was forced to pump vast amounts of money into the NHS in response. In 1986 Labour faced a Tory Party with a rock solid majority and one of the most formidable Prime Ministers since the War. Yet Kinnock inflicted a big defeat on the Government. 2014 sees a weak Government riven with so many splits they cant even get enough business in front of MPs and the Commons is in recess, and a Prime Minister that can’t control his own Party, never mind run the country efficiently.

UKIP are making hay because they are seen as fresh and not “of” the political class. Those of us who are the political nerds know that this is far from the truth and that all they are offering is proto Thatcherism with a snifter of racism added into the mix. They have identified immigration and the EU as “their” issues without offering any solution what so ever.

The reason that immigration has become a concern to voters is because successive UK Governments have failed to build houses and have allowed wages to be trashed. This allows the right wing media to point the finger at migrant workers when in fact the whole problem is the result of the market being allowed to run riot by driving up house prices and squeezing wages. Thus people are forced into horrendous debt. Factor in a cost of living crisis, 8 million un/ underemployed and you have the classic scenario where the right wing media, cheered on by MPs on both sides start the blame game. Instead of pointing the finger at our failed political elite, people are encouraged to blame immigrants and social security recipients. Because Labour are complicit in this ( Rachel Reeves wants to be, “tougher than the Tories” on Welfare, Labour took six months to decide it would repeal the Bedroom Tax) the voters think the main parties are “all the same” and either stay at home or vote for UKIP without realising they are voting to sell off the NHS and abolish maternity rights.

Labour needs a vision. From the vision flow the policies. In 1945 Labour had such a vision. They painted a picture to the voters of state support from cradle to grave, and workplaces where profit was not the main motivation. All the evidence shows that this is what the voters want right here, right now in 2014.

In November 2013 YouGov discovered that the voters are way ahead of Labour on the question of state ownership of the railways and the utilities such as water, gas and electricity. 52% of Tory voters want this to happen! What is also fascinating is that 78% of UKIP voters are pro state ownership proving that many of their voters have no idea that they are so aggressively neo liberal and pro market.

Ed Miliband should have enough respect for the voters to adopt nationalisation as Party policy and realise that the public want socialist values back in politics.

The deficit is a massive distraction. Ed Balls is economically illiterate if he doesn’t realise this. If our broken and corrupt tax system was reformed, and the emphasis is shifted from income onto assets such as land and valuables (paintings, vineyards etc) then £800 billion would be raised. We could then invest in a mass house building programme, properly paid apprenticeships, manufacturing (why are we paying Seimens when we could make this stuff ourseleves) and get rid of VAT and students debt.

Miliband was voted in to deliver a left agenda and if the Progress lot don’t like this then put up or shut up. All the door knocking and canvassing we have done in the East Riding and in Hull demonstrates that across the demographic range the public want a Labour Government elected on a socialist programme. What are we waiting for? You would think there are vested interests that don’ t really want a Labour Government……



About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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