Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The tartan elephant in Labour's room

The contest is on and the hopefuls are entering the ring. All, so far, speak of the electoral disaster and the need to reach out to 'aspirational' voters. Look, for instance, at Chuka Umuma's article. He takes 10 paras to argue for a move to the right and dismisses Scotland in one sentence.

Yet it is in Scotland that Labour lost 40 seats - in England and Wales it actually gained two!

So a serious analysis should start with Scotland. Why doesn't he?

I think there are two reasons. First Labour finds it hard to even think about the Scottish losses - the wound is too raw. Labour thought it had a right to its 41 Scottish seats. It's still in shock.

Second, serious analysis would lead to unwelcome conclusions. The SNP's attraction was part nationalist and part political. The SNP's policies (eg against austerity and Trident replacement) were generally left of Labour's so the way to get those seats back would be to move Left. The current leadership contenders fear that that would lose them English votes.

It's also possible that some of them actually believe in the Blairite doctrines of free enterprise, privatisation and 'liberal interventionism' - that they really are red Tories - but I see little sign of any principles at the momemnt.

Which is doubtless good for parties of principle, such as the Greens.

No comments:

Post a Comment