Jon Lansman has been criticised on the Left Futures website for running a piece on the views of an ex-Labour SNP supporter. His decision was correct, and we need to go further. The disaster of May 7th is in danger of being swept under the carpet, key questions going unanswered. This must end, with the reasons why so many people moved to the right being addressed via looking at their views
It is not just in Scotland, where Jon worked, that target voters moved right. There were six parties in the election, 3 gained, 3 lost. SNP is a gainer, outflanking Labour to the left but not being a left wing party, Tories massively gained, and UKIP took 3.8 million votes. Labour got two extra seats and lost Scotland. The Greens failed to make a breakthrough, and it is relevant that the centre collapsed.
Though the Blairites seem oblivious, the Lib Dem party was decimated. Voters who had voted Lib Dem to keep out the Tories moved to the Tories to keep out Labour. That is my interpretation of the results, though we await serious academic analysis. Whatever, Clegg was in tears at his party’s fate. Not our problem. But why Lib Dem votes did not move left certainly is.
The Labour NEC failed again starting an internal election without an analysis, but they are under pressure from the Blairite wing. The Blairites continually fail to study the data showing Labour lost votes from 2000l onward, and now the media bubble follows suit. Analysis therefore has to come from outside teh Labour machine, and not be put on the back burner by the leadership contest, important though that is. The faiiure in 2015 is the elephant in Labour’s living room.
Key questions have to include:
(a) why the UK outside Scotland is moving right. Even two years ago UKIP getting nearly 4 million votes was unthinkable. The strategy that Lib Dems would move left and Greens would come back to Labour failed. It is notable the Green upsurge in members did not result in a breakthough, unlike Scotland where growth was across the board.
(b) The Lib Dem voter appears to have gone mising, though with the Tory vote holding pretty steady – Cameron got only 36.8% of a low poll, but mostly Tories worked the First Past the Post system to their advantage – what happened to the Lib Dem vote especially in marginals benefitted them. There are few signs it moved left either for the Greens or Labour.
(c) UKIP. It is impossible to ignore the party, so how much damage did it do in marginal and safe Labour seats?
(d) How come Cameron, whose record was so dire, was seen as the best Premiership candidate? Miliband always polled below his Party. Cameron always polled above his party, as I recall it. So why did Labour stick with Miliband?
Its not going to be possible to answer these questions without looking at the views of people who did not vote Labour on May 7th. Jon Lansman is right to do so. Sensible people will start to address these questions and as the Labour Party is not up for it, networking to get answers to the disaster of May 7th and its aftermath is essential. Sadly even the soft left like Compass has gone missing, so the effort will have to come from the grassroots.