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Labour Needs to Remember its Roots and its Voters

The Labour party seems to have lost its grass roots. It seems to be more concerned about courting the middle voter and leaving behind the left voter.

labour roots


Labour MPs are voting FOR the austerity cuts. However, countries who have not adopted the austerity measures post global financial crisis are recovering much quicker than the UK.  In fact, since the global turn to austerity in 2010, every country that introduced significant austerity has seen its economy suffer, with the depth of the suffering closely related to the harshness of the austerity.  All of the economic research that allegedly supported the austerity push has been discredited.

Is there some good reason why deficit obsession should still rule in Britain, even as it fades away everywhere else? No. This country is not different. The economics of austerity are the same – and the intellectual case as bankrupt – in Britain as everywhere else.

The price of these austerity cuts are being borne by the vulnerable in society; the disabled, children of sanctioned unemployed, carers, etc.

The answer is fiscal expansion and stimulus not austerity : increase government spending both to create jobs directly and to put money in consumers’ pockets; cut taxes to put more money in those pockets.

Labour once stood for the working man and those unable to work. These days it seems to be just slightly left of Conservative who, in turn, are going further right.

We don't want a middle ground party and that was borne out by the election result where voters decided on "better the devil you know" as there was very little difference between Labour and Conservatives.

Yes the massive vote for SNP ousting Labour in Scotland played a large part but the question that arose from this is why? Why did Scotland abandon Labour in favour of a more left alternative. The answer I think is clear ... disillusionment.


From conversations I have had with people over the last six months it has become apparent there is a lack of understanding about politics and even a lack of interest.  Not that many people actually realised what they were voting for or against. What was apparent was that people want change but are too afraid to vote for change when the options aren't there or clear.

The media coverage was biased in favour of the Conservatives due to the ownership of the media outlets which also had a massive influence.

I think if Labour is ever going to bounce back from this defeat it needs to remember it roots. And, more importantly, it is the not the face we are voting for but policies that are not written on a stone tablet but in people's and politicians' hearts and minds.

In 5 years time, people will be fed up with austerity and begging for an alternative.  Give it to them, clearly and concisely.

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commented 2015-06-14 16:55:13 +0100
Hi Sarah,
I share some of the frustrations raised by your post – as we have been asked to debate the points raised I offer my two pennyworth.
Firstly, whilst I recognise political slogans may have a part to play in politics, I find it difficult to agree with ‘Labour should remember its roots’. What does it mean exactly? Labour’s ‘roots’ were formed at the beginning of the 20th century by working people before they had a vote. Times have changed. For a contemporary progressive speech read the one Hilary Clinton made at the start of her 2016 Democratic Presidential campaign. The full text can be read at:
Quoting President Roosevelt (1933-1945) she said;
“Equality of opportunity… Jobs for those who can work… Security for those who need it… The ending of special privilege for the few… The preservation of civil liberties for all… a wider and constantly rising standard of living.
That still sounds good to me.
If you do your part you ought to be able to get ahead. And when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too.
That bargain inspired generations of families, including my own.
It’s what kept my grandfather going to work in the same Scranton lace mill every day for 50 years. It’s what led my father to believe that if he scrimped and saved, his small business printing drapery fabric in Chicago could provide us with a middle-class life. And it did.
We’re still working our way back from a crisis that happened because time-tested values were replaced by false promises. Instead of an economy built by every American, for every American, we were told that if we let those at the top pay lower taxes and bend the rules, their success would trickle down to everyone else.
What happened?
Well, instead of a balanced budget with surpluses that could have eventually paid off our national debt, the Republicans cut taxes for the wealthiest and family incomes dropped. You know where we ended up.
Except it wasn’t the end.
You see corporations making record profits, with CEOs making record pay, but your pay-checks have barely budged. While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined. And, often paying a lower tax rate.
So, you have to wonder: “When does my hard work pay off? When does my family get ahead?”
I think that’s what people are asking themselves today in the UK. Attlee, Wilson and Tony Blair all made great improvements in their time, but it is not 1945, 1964 or 1997. The solutions to today’s problems are different, and will reflect the fast moving world of the 21st century.
I agree that you won’t find many economic professors supporting the Conservative government’s economic policy of austerity. Yet we failed to convince people of our economic competence. The Conservatives know that – but have different objectives, driven by their philosophical belief in shrinking the state. They daren’t say it out loud. Labour’s fault of the last five years was the belief that the country had moved leftwards, yet the reality was that public opinion was where it had always been. We didn’t set out a relevant positive enough alternative.
The Conservatives meanwhile (long devotees of Blair’s Labour electoral success) falsely presented themselves as the Party of the centre. No wonder people get confused. Labour’s leftward political positioning allowed them to be defined in a way that suited the Conservatives – they took Blair’s ‘new’ Labour clothes in the voter’s perception throughout large swathes of England. These seats are the ones Labour has to win back. It is interesting to note that in Exeter where Ben Bradshaw maintained the central political position, he doubled his majority.
The seat deficit may be a mile wide for us to win in 2020, but it is not very deep. It is up to us to choose the right inclusive policies for today.
Newton Abbot Labour Party posted about Labour Needs to Remember its Roots and its Voters on Newton Abbot Labour Party's Facebook page 2015-06-12 17:17:37 +0100
Labour Needs to Remember its Roots and its Voters - An interesting Blog Addition, Discuss.
@NewtonAbbotCLP tweeted this page. 2015-06-12 17:17:33 +0100
Labour Needs to Remember its Roots and its Voters - An interesting Blog Addition, Discuss. http://www.newtonabbotlabour.org.uk/sarahsmithuk/labour_needs_to_remember_its_roots_and_its_voters?recruiter_id=2323
published this page in Blog 2015-06-11 21:53:38 +0100

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