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Pivotal Moments Leading To Labour And Liberal Defeats

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What were the key moments underpinning the Labour and Liberal defeats, here are some ideas

1. Liberal Tuition Fees Pledge

2. Labour "Scottish Independence" Pledge

3. Liberal disowing the government programme during the election

4. Labour not owning up to being the authors of the crash - witness a member of the public harranging Miliband during a debate

5. Labour union members voting for Ed Miliband

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"Better Together". Lab, Lib & Tory campaigning alongside each other for the past year or more - even die-hard partizan supporters are realising they are just 3 faces of the same neo-liberal consensus. And that the Tories are the "honest" face of that consensus and the other two are two-faced about it.

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2009: David Miliband not challenging Gordon Brown

2010: The unions choosing Ed; focusing on who runs the labour party, rather than on who runs the country

2011: Campaigning against electoral reform believing that the Conservatives would be too unpopular to re-elect

2014: Not having a clue what the GE fallout would be of a No vote in Scotland.

2015: The campaign strategy being almost exclusively Ed Miliband being on TV. Blair won with a recognisable team (Straw, Brown, Short, Mowlem, Cook, Mandelson etc, with Campbell cracking the whip).

Oh, and not having a way of developing policies based on what the wider electorate actually want and need.

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1 : The creation of New Labour, the party was unelectable under Kinnock and so they decided to throw the baby out with the bath water and forego their socialist principles (to be fair this was after Kinnock had left and the sad passing of John Smith). It just took a couple of parliaments for the working classes to realise the name Labour and the red ties represented something completely different to what it did in the past.

2 : The Lib Dems grab for power and going in to coalition, I know that seems simplistic but I don't think it mattered one bit about what they actually did once in the coalition, the damage was done the second they went in to it. They were between a rock and hard place, dammed if they did and dammed if they didn't. They were talking this morning on BBC that it could take a generation to recover, personally I think it has completely and totally destroyed the party and will never recover.

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1 : The creation of New Labour, the party was unelectable under Kinnock and so they decided to throw the baby out with the bath water and forego their socialist principles (to be fair this was after Kinnock had left and the sad passing of John Smith). It just took a couple of parliaments for the working classes to realise the name Labour and the red ties represented something completely different to what it did in the past.

2 : The Lib Dems grab for power and going in to coalition, I know that seems simplistic but I don't think it mattered one bit about what they actually did once in the coalition, the damage was done the second they went in to it. They were between a rock and hard place, dammed if they did and dammed if they didn't. They were talking this morning on BBC that it could take a generation to recover, personally I think it has completely and totally destroyed the party and will never recover.

The lib dems are really two parties...the party who voted liberal before the 21st century, who were probably closer to the tories than labour anyway, and the labour protest votes since 2001 or so, who for some reason thought the lib dems were to the left of labour. I suspect the former have gone tory, the latter green, or to some extent labour.

However, the alliance/liberal democrats have really been on borrowed time since 1997/new labour. They presented themselves as an honest centre left alternative to labour. Similar politically, but 'honest'

As we all know honesty and politics are uncomfortable bedfellows.

Edited by Executive Sadman

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The lib dems are really two parties...the party who voted liberal before the 21st century, who were probably closer to the tories than labour anyway, and the labour protest votes since 2001 or so, who for some reason thought the lib dems were to the left of labour. I suspect the former have gone tory, the latter green, or to some extent labour.

Yeah that was really the root of my comment with regard to dammed if they did and dammed if they didn't. They could have formed a coalition with Labour (although a much weaker one and would have to have included other). As you say a party split internally, had they gone with Labour they would have been in a similar position now IMO.

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I suspect Ed made 2 bloopers in the last week. First he ruled out working with the SNP. That seemed a recipe for chaos in a hung government, and people prefer a bit of stability. Secondly that whole EdStone business. Very bizarre.

I think also the Tories shored up waverers by promising more funds for the nhs.

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I look at the Tory performance in 2001 which was probably their low point and compare it to today and the Labour party and it seems to me that Labour have less far to travel than the Tories did in 2001. It will be interesting to see how the UK public take to a return to the 1930's over the next 5 years.

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2 : The Lib Dems grab for power and going in to coalition, I know that seems simplistic but I don't think it mattered one bit about what they actually did once in the coalition, the damage was done the second they went in to it.

Actually I think the damage was done before they went into coalition, the moment when the conservatives fell just a few seats short of a majority, at that point the LD's were screwed whatever they did.

At that point they had 3 options:

  1. Con-lib coalition;
  2. Lab-lib coalition;
  3. do nothing.

1 brought them where they are today, propping up The Cretin Brown would've been even worse and if they were going to stay out of government on the one occasion they got a chance then what exactly was the point of the party in the first place?

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What were the key moments underpinning the Labour and Liberal defeats, here are some ideas

1. Liberal Tuition Fees Pledge

2. Labour "Scottish Independence" Pledge

3. Liberal disowing the government programme during the election

4. Labour not owning up to being the authors of the crash - witness a member of the public harranging Miliband during a debate

5. Labour union members voting for Ed Miliband

All those but for the Libdems the big one was the tuition fees debacle immediately after the election and pretending that in doing so they were "a grown up party" and doing that having stood on a platform of honesty. That defined them. Generally appearing to be pretty devious in power and Cable in particular seemed to be Mr U-Turn compared to when out of power. Eventually they just came across as hangers on.

They might have done better if they had exited the coalition early (the 5 year agreement come what may seemed to be another mistake - people didn't vote for that) perhaps when the Conservatives were down in the polls but they seemed to just stay on to enjoy the trappings of power.

Labour's electioneering seemed a bit half hearted and that was reflected in their manifesto.

Edited by billybong

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"Better Together". Lab, Lib & Tory campaigning alongside each other for the past year or more - even die-hard partizan supporters are realising they are just 3 faces of the same neo-liberal consensus. And that the Tories are the "honest" face of that consensus and the other two are two-faced about it.

Spot on.

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I suspect Ed made 2 bloopers in the last week. First he ruled out working with the SNP. That seemed a recipe for chaos in a hung government, and people prefer a bit of stability. Secondly that whole EdStone business. Very bizarre.

I think also the Tories shored up waverers by promising more funds for the nhs.

Miliband should have said, right from the off, that he would not deal with the SNP. Once he was in a position to get into # 10, with SNP help, he could then open dialogue. It's not as if he had anything to lose!

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I look at the Tory performance in 2001 which was probably their low point and compare it to today and the Labour party and it seems to me that Labour have less far to travel than the Tories did in 2001. It will be interesting to see how the UK public take to a return to the 1930's over the next 5 years.

Only way thats going to happen is if energy availability was cut to 30s levels or the greens stage a coup.

And you know thats not happening.

In terms of inequality, we're already at numerical 30s levels, and no one seems to care.

Labour's problem is they have neglected the white working class. Unless they offer to not only stem the flow of migrant labour, but also bring factories back from the few east, neither of which they are willing to do, they'll have to accept they will continue to lose votes to UKIP.

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I look at the Tory performance in 2001 which was probably their low point and compare it to today and the Labour party and it seems to me that Labour have less far to travel than the Tories did in 2001.

I'm not so sure.

First off 30.4% is a worse share of the vote than the 30.7% the conservatives got in the 1997 landslide (surely their lowest point), in 2001 they managed to get 31.7%.

Secondly, assuming that Scotland is lost for the forseeable future it's hard to see where they're going to find the seats to catch up with the conservatives, let alone form a majority government.

Thirdly, Labour has benefited hugely over the last 20 years from the inbuilt bias of the electoral system, presumably one of the first bits of business will be boundary reform.

More fundamentally the standard of the shadow cabinet looks pretty cr@p - can you imagine people being any keener on PM Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham? Is there anybody there who looks remotely like a PM?

It will be interesting to see how the UK public take to a return to the 1930's over the next 5 years.

Do you mean 2001, which is the last time spending was at that level?

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I look at the Tory performance in 2001 which was probably their low point and compare it to today and the Labour party and it seems to me that Labour have less far to travel than the Tories did in 2001. It will be interesting to see how the UK public take to a return to the 1930's over the next 5 years.

The Tories will win again in 2020. I say this as an almost near certainty.

No matter how badly the economy blows up, the Tories are now free to enact boundary changes in the way that they see fit. This will remove Labour's artificial electoral advantage. At the same time, much of their support will now be stranded in Scotland where SNP dominance means that those potential votes are useless in a general election. English voters are never going to vote for an SNP/Labour alliance.

The key to political power in the UK is structural. UKIP can gain all the support they want, but the structure of UK politics prevents them from having any say in government. The structure of UK politics has shifted against Labour (in no small part from their own doing) and they will never win again in their current configuration.

Labour's central problem is that their core ideology of socialism has been shown to be completely intellectually bankrupt, and rather than try to address that problem, they've tried to paper over the cracks with identity politics and political correctness. However, a strategy of identity politics based on racial and gender grievances (i.e. Labour) is never going to be able to compete with an identity politics based on national grievances (i.e. SNP). If Labour wants to win again, they're going to have to adopt the SNP model and embrace nationalism.

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I'm not so sure.

First off 30.4% is a worse share of the vote than the 30.7% the conservatives got in the 1997 landslide (surely their lowest point), in 2001 they managed to get 31.7%.

Secondly, assuming that Scotland is lost for the forseeable future it's hard to see where they're going to find the seats to catch up with the conservatives, let alone form a majority government.

Thirdly, Labour has benefited hugely over the last 20 years from the inbuilt bias of the electoral system, presumably one of the first bits of business will be boundary reform.

More fundamentally the standard of the shadow cabinet looks pretty cr@p - can you imagine people being any keener on PM Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham? Is there anybody there who looks remotely like a PM?

Do you mean 2001, which is the last time spending was at that level?

In the time I was typing up my comment, you said virtually the same thing. Labour, in it's current form, is history.

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Labours problem is that they have failed to realise that there are voters other than benefit claimants and that taxing them to the hilt to bail out the lazy is a recipe for disaster at the polls.

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The Left Wing of the Labour party haven't noticed that the country has moved on. Their socialist policies are not what the majority of people want any more. The Unions that support the Labour Party basically are for public sector workers as the UK doesn't have heavy industry any more. Fortunately the public are cleverer than the politicians and most (at least south of the border) didn't fall for being bribed with their own money.

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In many ways I feel this election proves Tony Blair was right that you have to adopt an overtly right of centre programme in order to get elected. Anything else is futile.

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In many ways I feel this election proves Tony Blair was right that you have to adopt an overtly right of centre programme in order to get elected. Anything else is futile.

This is not true at all. It's self-serving bull-poo from a master of self-serving bull-poo.

Yes, you need to adopt a right of centre programme if that's the outcome you want, but there's nothing stopping the Labour Party from adopting policies that would get them elected (i.e. standing up for working people in the UK by opposing globalization, low-wage immigration and welfare dependency) except that the people who control Labour would stand to personally lose out by adopting those policies. How will the Blairs and Millibands afford a nanny without cheap imported labour? How will they be able to afford their lifestyle without EU sinecures or corporate "consulting" gigs? The British Labour Party's problem is that it's not British and it doesn't represent labour. It's a hypocritical farce that's been taken over by former student activists, champagne socialists and public sector parasites who would all be just as happy living in Brussels or New York as they would in the UK. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that when polls consistently say that immigration is a top concern for voters, you're not going to win an election by ignoring the topic.

Edited by richc

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Labour's central problem is that ... they've tried to paper over the cracks with identity politics and political correctness. However, a strategy of identity politics based on racial and gender grievances (i.e. Labour) is never going to be able to compete with an identity politics based on national grievances (i.e. SNP).

That's the current Labour party's problem in a nutshell.

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The Conservatives would seem to have it all stitched up now that they can gerrymander etc etc but give it an extension of the recession and a couple of years of sleaze etc and Labour could stroll right back in with a bit of re-imaging/restructuring. That's not to say it'll happen in the next 5 years - the recession part likely will though. Labour's policies wouldn't end up being much different but they would have to sound convincing and make plenty of good "promises"- cut out the pledge stone stuff etc.

The new Parliament is going to be just as interesting as the last one. It's a bit of a shame that the Sun will be able to claim again (however flimsily) that they won it.

Edited by billybong

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