UK Labour is in an interesting position

Written By: - Date published: 11:54 am, January 4th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags: ,

Ed Miliband Tony Blair

A recent article made me reflect on the current state of progressive politics in the Western World.  The Guardian reported Douglas Alexander, Labour’s campaign chief, as predicting that the UK Conservatives would spend three times as much money as the Labour Party on this year’s election campaign.  He is reported as saying:

The air war still has its place but it is on the ground where this election will be won or lost. Anyone who, like me, spent last summer in church halls and village halls, high streets and doorsteps across Scotland will understand this demand for dialogue.

The Tories may be able to outspend us by as much as three to one, but on the ground, in the key seats, we aim to outnumber their diminished and demoralised activists by the same margin as we fight this election conversation by conversation.”

Labour’s response is the same as elsewhere, the on the ground work of activists counters the traditional cash deficit that the left has.

Labour believes a shift in local activism from “no campaigning” to “average campaign intensity” leads to an identifiable increase in the party’s share of the vote. Its research shows that if Labour managed to contact 30% of voters in a seat in 2010, its share of the vote rose by over 5%.

By mid-November, in its key seats, Labour had contacted over 15,000 voters per constituency, 21% on average. It hopes to have pushed that figure to 25% by the end of the year, and take it higher in the months before polling day on 7 May.

The polls suggest the parties are neck and neck and the effect of the UKIP on election results is somewhat unpredictable.  The latest Guardian ICM poll has Labour at 32% and the Conservatives at 31%.  Softness of support for Labour in Scotland following the referendum may be contributing to this result.  Interestingly the UK Green Party is performing remarkably well and is polling at 6% which regrettably in a first past the post system unless there are specialised local characteristics in a local seat.  This is in contrast to the Scottish National Party which with a smaller proportion of the nation wide vote could win most of the Scottish seats on offer.  The prospect of the SNP winning 50 seats must be of concern to Labour because the prospects of the parties agreeing to a coalition appear to be slim.

Ed Miliband has not been helped by some poor party discipline.  Tony Blair recently mused publicly that he did not think that Labour could win.  According to the Guardian:

Tony Blair has cast doubt on the likelihood of Labour leader Ed Miliband winning the next election, saying it could well be a contest that repeats previous Conservative victories against a traditional leftwing party.

The former Labour prime minister has until now disputed reports that he does not believe Miliband can win in May.

However, he told the Economist that the result might well be an election “in which a traditional leftwing party competes with a traditional rightwing party, with the traditional result”.

Asked if he meant a Tory win, Blair said: “Yes, that is what happens.”

He has since stated that his comments were misinterpreted and he expects Labour to win.  But there is a discussion happening within the party about where it should position itself.

The party is having a debate about whether or not it should move to the right.  Thankfully it appears that the party will hold its nerve and not move right as advocated by Blair and others.

Lucy Powell, the party’s vice-chairman of the election campaign, said she respected Blair but the solutions he provided in the nineties were right for that era when she said it seemed right to leave capitalism alone to provide resources for public services such as education.

She told the BBC World at One: “He has his experience from his era. That is not the era we now live in.”

But she added that for most voters phrases such as left and right meant little. She said that since the crash it had been proved necessary to intervene, but denied Labour had alienated business, pointing out that Miliband’s speech to the CBI with a strong pro-European message had proved more popular with business than that of David Cameron, who spoke on the same day.

Recent leaks to the media from within caucus suggesting internal dissent within Labour is not helpful.  As has been shown in Australia and New Zealand internal dissent is electoral poison.

The English experience appears to be matched throughout the western world.  Much of the mass media in each country is owned primarily by the same entities with a decidedly pro free market anti collectivism and environmentalism bias.  The parties of the right are well resourced, far better resourced than the parties of the left.  It is only the innate attraction of cooperation and community to ordinary voters and the work of activists that keeps the left in the game.

63 comments on “UK Labour is in an interesting position”

  1. Bill 2

    The prospect of the SNP winning 50 seats must be of concern to Labour because the prospects of the parties agreeing to a coalition appear to be slim.

    Beyond Labour having to agree to get rid of Trident, what else is there that would make the formation of a coalition unlikely?

    Anyway. The SNP won’t get 50 seats, but Labour in Scotland are dead regardless.

    Anyone just has to look at their new leader, Jim Murphy, a disciple of Blair, who now must somehow perform a convincing 180 degree turn and explain away a shopping list of Westminster policies he was in favour of….illegal war on Iraq, Bedroom Tax, tuition fees, welfare cuts….

    • mickysavage 2.1

      I agree the SNP would rather die than go into coalition with the conservatives but I understand relations are really strained post referendum. Labour also deals with the SNP a as if they are the opposition which they are in Scotland.

      • dave 2.1.1

        going coalition with any form of Toryism in Scotland your dog tucker Tories are dog shit fun begins if the snp has the balance of power , labour is not popular because they took the no line in the referendum and are seen as collaborators and liers , snp are running the line that England has reneged on promises of devo max which Cameron says will take 5 years to deliver since they don’t have the money and Scottish electorate which is now one of the most politically aware and educated in Europe will not stand for that crap a bust up of the UK is still on the cards and there a lot water under the bridge yet the people want real change and they don’t really give a hoot about the bloody English.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.2

        Didnt SNP and Scottish labour have a coalition in the previous Holyrood parliament?

        • mickysavage 2.1.2.1

          Yep but the current relationship is not the best …

          The Guardian recently has this article where former SNP leader Alex Salmond says he was eyeing up a Westminster seat and that he expected the SNP to provide support but not be in coalition with Labour:

          Alex Salmond has said he expects to play a leading role in brokering a deal to prop up a minority Labour government after he confirmed he would stand for a seat at Westminster again at the 2015 general election.

          The former Scottish National party leader and first minister announced he would be fighting for the Liberal Democrat-held seat of Gordon in north-east Scotland, confirming widespread speculation that he wants to return to the Commons after a five-year absence.

          Salmond said he wanted to become an active and noisy backbencher, to “turn Westminster upside down” by helping to force the next UK government into making far greater concessions to the Scottish parliament than just income tax and “small proportion of welfare spending” now being offered after the referendum.

          The article is at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/dec/07/alex-salmond-coalition-labour-return-westminster

        • Bill 2.1.2.2

          Didnt SNP and Scottish labour have a coalition in the previous Holyrood parliament?

          No. In the last Holyrood parliament, the SNP had an out-right majority. In the one before that, they went into coalition with the Greens to form a minority government.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.2.2.1

            Youre right.
            The first two governments were Labour-Liberal and the 3rd was a SNP minority with Green party and then current a SNP majority.

            Interestingly the 3rd government was an attempt at a SNP- Lib Dems but they couldnt agree.

          • mickysavage 2.1.2.2.2

            Right you are Bill.

            Underlines the unlikelihood that Labour and SNP could stitch up a deal.

            I expect Labour’s policy for Scotland this year will propose all sorts of concessions.

    • dave 2.2

      snp winning isnt a bad thing snp kicked of all the private health care providers out of scotland
      they totally hate the torries and english as does most of the scotish population and the first minister nicola stergion is one determined lady

      • CJ 2.2.1

        The SNP does not “hate the English” and in my experience of neither do most Scots. The point of the SNP and the Yes campaign was that democracy at Westminster doesn’t deliver what the Scottish electorate (made up of Scots, English, Welsh, and any other nationality who wishes to come and live in Scotland) votes for.

        The SNP may totally hate the Tories, but in the West of Scotland there’s an intense, historical rivalry with Labour too.

        The people in Scotland who vote SNP at Holyrood do so because they have provided Scottish voters with an actual social democratic option – that led to the landslide majority in 2011 (the current Scottish Parliament) in a proportional representation parliament.

        The Polls currently suggest that the Scottish electorate are now aware that the “vote SNP get the Tories” line that Labour have been feeding them is a lie; and that there may be more political traction in voting for the SNP at Westminster in 2015 than Labour. This may well be both a result of the population having been more engaged in political debates than at any other time in my memory during the referendum campaign, together with a reaction to seeing Labour politicians campaign side by side with the Tories for the No vote.

        My own, special memory is of seeing Alistair Darling actually say, live on TV, that the NHS (in England, Wales & N Ireland) has been safe in the Coalition government’s hands… then turn round and the week after 18/9 Labour starts spouting how the NHS isn’t safe in their hands.

  2. Ad 3

    Lucy Powell’s point that Blair’s experience worked for his leadership in his time have current impact as well. Because there ain’t been much going for the left since the GFC in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the US, and much of the whole EU.

    Every party in those democracies, left or right, knows it doesn’t want another GFC. But what do they want? But I don’t see common lessons from the common defeats, or common projections of the future that the left wants.

    Certainly not enough to say “we want less inequality and poverty”. Piketty and Marx can describe that same inevitability of capitalism upon us. It’s not enough.

    Labour will I think remain an internationally marginal political proposition unless there are common themes and policy directions. I don’t even think we need a new Keynes to do it. If deprivation and 1% rule is so obvious to the punters, it should not be this hard.

    Sme may respond to that that there’s a great conspiracy that keeps us all losing so bad, for so long, across the world. Arse. Been done plenty of times before, in worse conditions.

  3. millsy 4

    UK Labour seem to be leaning to the right as it is…

    They are promising spending cuts, only they will not cut as much as the Tories. Hardly inspiring.

    They dont even want to buy back the railways, which even we did, even though it made it easier for National to dismantle the railway network.

    As for Blair, it seems that he could have just slotted into the Conservatives without any effort. He was more or less anti union and his policies on health and education out-Thatchered Thatcher.

    Best PM the Tories never had.

    • Murray Rawshark 4.1

      I keep having to remind myself that Blair was actually a member of the Labour Party.

    • JonL 4.2

      Leaning to the right – they’re more right wing than any Tory government before 1980 – if they leant any further they could rename themselves “Tory – Heavy”

  4. Ovid 5

    Given that it’s a FPP system, the rise of UKIP may very well split the Tory vote and allow Labour to gain some unexpected seats.

  5. Draco T Bastard 6

    Tony Blair recently mused publicly that he did not think that Labour could win.

    I suspect that Tony Blair is the type of “Labour” member that thinks that society needs to go further to the right – just Like Josie Pagani.

    The English experience appears to be matched throughout the western world.

    I’ve been noticing that too. Seems that there’s a clutch of RWNJs in Labour parties the world over that are busy whiteanting them.

    • hoom 6.1

      People who think that the world needs to go further Right should get the fuck out of Left parties, join Right parties & let the Left actually be Left.

      No matter how far Right the ‘Left’ parties try to go they will always be out Righted by the Right and that completely destroys the point in being ‘Left’.

      Also: it really is a good pic of the thing that is a problem for Left parties around the world: previous generation discredited Righties still in Left parties making people not want to vote for them.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        People who think that the world needs to go further Right should get the fuck out of Left parties, join Right parties & let the Left actually be Left.

        But that won’t ensure that the world will go further right while getting in to Left parties and whiteanting them will. What actually needs to happen is that the Left parties need to clearly state their principles and policies and then kick out everyone who doesn’t conform to them.

        • hoom 6.1.1.1

          Fair point & agreed 🙂

        • Olwyn 6.1.1.2

          +100

        • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.1.3

          Why dont you open some gulags while you are at it.

          If you knew your history, you would recall Michael Savage, practically on his death bed, kicked out John A Lee. he was too left wing.

          • DS 6.1.1.3.1

            Lee wasn’t kicked out because he was too left-wing. Lee had many ideological sympathisers in the Labour caucus (Arnold Nordmeyer, for one). His problem was his destructive personality, and his personal attacks on the dying Prime Minister.

  6. Jenny Kirk 7

    ” Recent leaks to the media from within caucus suggesting internal dissent within Labour is not helpful. As has been shown in Australia and New Zealand internal dissent is electoral poison. ”

    You’d think they’d have learned something from the recent NZ experience, wouldn’t you ? Dissenting, leaking caucus does not lead to electoral victory !

    • Northsider 7.1

      Andrew Little has made an example of Cosgrove with his severe demotion and Mallard is in the departure lounge. With these team Robertson leakers out of the way Robertson is on a warning: another leak and you do not get into the seat Annette thinks she is warming for you.
      Andrew Little saw how team Robertson played against Cunliffe and will not have a bar of it.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1.1

        Your knickers are in a bit of a twist.

        Robertson is the current member for Wellington Central, so doesnt need someone elses seat ‘warmed’

        • Northsider 7.1.1.1

          The Deputy Leader possie, you rude person.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1.1.1.1

            Deputy leader is a position not a ‘seat’, which generally means electorate in this context.

            • Anne 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Hang on gwwnz. I took Northsider to be referring to the Deputy Leader’s seat in the debating chamber which Annette King is currently keeping warm for him.

              It looks like that is exactly what he meant.

  7. f.y.i..i have been keeping an eye on all that..

    ..and have come to the conclusion milliband is their shearer…

    ..(and if you have never seen vid of him speaking..watch some..

    ..i swear he was made in the same factory that made wallace and grommit..)

    http://whoar.co.nz/?s=british+labour+party+

    (..the first ten stories in link r relevant..)

  8. miravox 9

    Tony Blair showing disunity is a bit like Roger Douglas trying to tell our Labour party what to do. He’s so intensely disliked by so many people that it likely will increase Labour votes I reckon.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      Shame about winning a general election twice, intensely disliked you say, by whom.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1.1

        make that won 3 general elections, the same number as Maggie Thatcher.

      • miravox 9.1.2

        Let me rephrase ‘… Is now so intensely disliked…’

        Won 3 general elections and by 2003 had topped a poll of Worst Britons and was forced to hand power to someone even more unelectable than he was.

        Brown has been rehabilitated to a degree (well, until the results of the Scottish referendum debate), Blair has not been. Take the comments on Andrew Rawnsley’s article in yesterday’s Guardian as to the intensity of feeling about him.

  9. Lloyd 10

    Trying to be neo-liberal-light will not solve the economic problems of the UK, New Zealand or any other OECD country, To get out of the GFC malaise progressive taxes must be increased and there must be redistribution of wealth to the low and middle income groups in society.
    Left wing parties must get over the message that progressive taxes will benefit the majority of the electorate immediately and will benefit all in the country eventually, as the redistribution of wealth will stimulate the economy far better than anything done since Reagonomics and Maggie Thatcher started screwing up the US and UK economies. Regressive taxes (GST or VAT) must be reduced or eliminated,
    When the majority can see voting for left wing parties must benefit them, the surely there will be no right wing governments in power?

    • locus 10.1

      “progressive taxes will benefit the majority of the electorate immediately”

      Do you mean a reduction in tax for the majority with the resulting deficit covered by increasing tax for top earners (assuming this group doesn’t have the ability to avoid tax) – i.e. redistribution of the tax burden?

      I don’t know of any left wing party in recent history that has won an election based on a promise to increase tax? I’d be happy if you could prove me wrong…

      I agree that eliminating regressive taxes like GST should be a focus for left wing parties – maybe combined with a proposal to replace them with a much lower % transaction tax on all financial transfers. But I’m very doubtful that an election promise to increase progressive taxes (whatever the good reasons we have to justify this) will sway voters away from nact

  10. Rob 11

    Any party that promises to increase tax will be dog tucker
    Leave any major changes to the taxation rates till after the books are clearly reviewed
    Focus on engagement with the masses
    Go to Comms101 just like Obama and Key
    Only don’t not perform when in power afterwards

  11. Whateva next? 12

    I agree Rob, Thatcher stayed in for 11 years by the opposite, promising tiny tax cuts, and despite taking so much more back, the masses fell for it……… Key only had to mention tax cuts……NEXT YEAR, and he ‘s in again, crickey.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Puleeze. In any normal election campaign, the gulf between the PM and finance minister would have been seized on as evidence of disarray. As it was English was able to school Dirty John without too much fall-out.

  12. Wayne Mapp 13

    Hoom,
    Keep on encoraging all moderates, such as Josie, to join the Nats.
    It will guarantee that the Centre Right will win all future elections. Govt might a bit bland though.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      When did you decide to become a tr*ll, Dr. Mapp?

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      Pagani is about as moderate as John Key.

    • millsy 13.3

      Wayne — what policies would you find it acceptable for National to dump for it to move to the ‘centre ground’?

      If you were in Sid Holland’s cabinet, would you have supported the establishment of the Tourist Hotel Corporation (essentially state run hotels), given that was a previous depature from ‘core National principles’ to appeal to the ‘centre’?

  13. Sable 14

    UK Labour is already right leaning which is why other parties are doing well there. People are sick and tired of their ersatz socialism. Much the same scenario we have here in NZ.

  14. SNP are forecast over 50 seats and Labour only three in Scotland.
    Labour has lost popularity further since the selection of Westminster MP Jim Murphy as leader of the Labour “branch office” in Scotland.
    Murphy cannot speak in the Holyrood Parliament so the young deputy, a list MSP with little life experience outside of Labour and student politics, must front in Parliament to the extremely experienced Nicola Sturgeon. SNP has become the Social Democratic Party of Scotland. They have nearly 100,000 paid up members who are raring to win in the May election. Labour is suspected of having less than 10,000 members in Scotland.
    The SNP has exceptional leadership in Sturgeon, Salmond, McSwiney and Murrell.

    The Lib Dems will be lucky to hold onto Joe Grimonds old seat in the Orkneys. There are more Pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs: two Pandas in Edinburgh Zoo and one Tory MP in the Borders.
    The 2015 Westminster GE is similar to the 1918 one which led to Irish Independence. It will accelerate the reunification of Ireland and the development of real regional government around England and Wales.

    This election could be the last UK of GB and NI election.

    It will be fascinating.

    • tricledrown 15.1

      With Ukip in the mix,the lib dems decimated the Tories behind.
      The Tories will need Ukip to get back in and Labour will need the SNP.
      A decimated libdem party could still hold the balance of power!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 15.2

      SNP are forecast at over 50 seats ?

      yeah right, how did that forecast of a close referendum go. There was only close result in one or two areas.

      Having a closer look at the surveys, they are under weight for young males ( so polled numbers are pushed up) and over weighted for older males ( polled numbers are pushed down). THis would be areas where SNP is strong ( young) and labour strong ( older)

      The election day voters may reflect the live polls results before adjustment.

      • Bill 15.2.1

        What your missing in your dismissal of that SNP voting sentiment is that many people who voted against independence, nevertheless wanted much more power devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

        The UK’s Labour/Tory/ Lib Dem ‘triumvirate’ desperately threw in ‘devo- max’ immediately prior to the vote after saying all along that devo-max would not be an option.

        Now the question arises as to whether they will they deliver devo-max. Many think it unlikely…unless of course, a large SNP contingent is returned to Westminster to ‘keep the bastards honest’.

        But sure, I don’t think anyone, not even the SNP, is taking the 50 seats prediction seriously…a groundswell of support resulting in many more SNP members of (Westminster) parliament – yes. But 50 seats? Probably not.

        And Labour done, dusted and finished in Scotland? Possible.

      • Northsider 15.2.2

        “Labour set for a bloodbath in Scotland”

        “Whereas Labour’s Scotland-wide vote drops by 16 points, it falls by 22 points in these constituencies while the SNP surges by 26. That combination is sufficient to wipe out majorities that were always assumed to be impregnable, and Scottish Labour’s Westminster caucus is left shrivelling to just three MPs.

        We are prospectively looking at the collapse of citadels that have always been Labour since the 1920s,” said [Professor] Curtice. “That will seem incredible to some in England, but to those of us who paid close attention to Alex Salmond’s 2011 landslide at Holyrood, it would merely be the next chapter in the political transformation of a nation.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/26/labour-bloodbath-scotland-general-election-2015-snp-westminster

        • ghostwhowalksnz 15.2.2.1

          Just as well, the SNP werent relying getting more of that North Sea oil money as ‘their own’

          hello!. “SNP raises taxes to make up big loss of revenue from Oil” would have been the headlines.

          • Northsider 15.2.2.1.1

            Scotland has been subsidising the rest of the UK for years. They pay more taxes per capita and get hardly any major capital programs. This was well documented in the Financial Times, Herald Scotland and elsewhere.

            http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/do+the+scots+subsidise+the+english/166260.html

            Already Scotland is reaping the rewards of the Indy Buzz. The people are more stimulated to achieve a better and more prosperous society. That is resulting in better economic growth and social and political engagement.

            The oil is not a problem. It is but one of many variables that will go into the mix. It is human wealth that will make Scotland prosperous.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 15.2.2.1.1.1

              Thanks for that. You do know when an article is only a rewrite of a press release from a political party ? As well it was dated 2006 so the data was for around 2004, thats 10 yeras ago. We have had a GFC( which basically destroyed the leading scottish banks and if independent, Scotland would have been in deeper trouble than Ireland)

              The basic fact is that Scotland back then got 1500 pounds per head MORE in public services than England. This is a truth that SNP doesnt deny.
              Instead they say is about 1100 pounds. As this is just a rewrite, the author doesnt look at another credible authority to find out who is right.

              The SNP says 9.2billion SHOULD be Scotlands share of North Sea oil, its obvious that amount in 2006 would be very much smaller than today

              AS well the Scottish governments expenditure is running a deficit of 11 billion pounds, which is 13% of GDP. (2004)

              Latest figures give deficit 14.2 billion pounds which is 11% of GDP
              The equivalent UK wide figure is 115 billion or 7.3%

              So they are spending all the extra money from Westminster and then a lot more ( thats why they have no student fees compared what is payable in Britain)

              Even with the ( reduced) revenue from oil, and additional national government costs if independent, Scotland would be a basket case economically without steep cuts in services or rises in taxation.

              The figures from Scotland itself, even IF all its oil revenue was included was a deficit of 12 billion pounds in 2013.( 8.3% GDP)
              http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/03/7888

              You would have to increase that number for an independent country ( paying debt, defence costs, international costs etc)

              Its clear that human wealth is not making Scotland prosperous, and independence will make it much pooerer

  15. AUDNZD 16

    Ersatz socialism? Hasn’t socialism failed everywhere?
    Who needs it? Definitely, not NZ.

  16. DS 17

    >>>However, he told the Economist that the result might well be an election “in which a traditional leftwing party competes with a traditional rightwing party, with the traditional result”.

    Which explains 1945, 1950, 1964, 1966, February 1974, October 1974… oh wait.

    UK Labour’s problems in the 1980s weren’t because it was “a traditional left-wing party”. The problem was SDP treason and disunity. If left-wing associations put people off, why did UK Labour get a lower percentage of the vote in 1992 (after Kinnock’s modernisation and US-style campaign) than it got in 1979, a matter of months after the Winter of Discontent?

    Blair’s victories were due to (1) Tory collapse in the aftermath of Black Wednesday, and (2) the British Left finally figured out how to vote tactically. It gets forgotten that Tony Blair in 1997 got fewer votes than John Major got in 1992.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1

      Comparing previous % is a false idea, as even Thatcher at her peak got less % of the vote than the hapless Ted Heath did when he LOST!!!!

      Voters have no longer a strong identity to political parties and choose third or fourth or fifth parties more often.

      Its a false idea to compare % of total vote with bygone party ideology. Doesnt work as I have shown

      • DS 17.1.1

        Um no.

        Heath lost three elections, and his peak among those was 41.9% in 1966. Thatcher got 43.9% in 1979.

        Comparing, say, 1992 and 1997 is perfectly legitimate. It shows that Blair wasn’t this silver bullet his apologists claim. Blair destroyed turnout in Labour areas.

        The four lost elections make for an interesting rebuttal of the Blairite narrative too.

        1979: 36%
        1983: 27%
        1987: 30%
        1992: 34%

        If 1983 was all the fault of Michael Foot and the Longest Suicide Note in History, why did Labour barely recover in ’87, when it ran a much better campaign? If it was all down to the nuclear policy of ’83 and ’87, why was 1992 so bad? The logical answer is that the SDP traitors split the anti-Tory vote until 1997.

        1992 in hindsight was bad for Labour (i.e. it led them to buy Blair’s nonsense), bad for the Tories (they have never really recovered from Black Wednesday), and bad for Britain.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1.1.1

          I was meant to claim Heaths best result ( 46.4) was better than Thatchers best result ( 43.9)

          Blairs 3 results were all better than that from Foot and Kinnock 3 results. The 29 was from Brown.

          Using your logic you could say Clark depressed ( eventually) the labour vote in NZ.

          Just because you are a ( constant) glass half full person doesnt mean every one else sees the Blair years that way.
          Take away the Iraq disaster and you have a better Britain than the tories would have done ( which would have been a version of Ruthanesia)

          • DS 17.1.1.1.1

            Heath in 1970 was a comfortable victory, especially coming off the 1966 disaster. Thatcher’s 43.9% in 1979 of course resulted in her smallest parliamentary majority (it gets forgotten that the Tory vote dropped in 1983, but then there’s the Thatcher myth to go alongside the Blair myth. No SDP and no Falklands means a Labour Government in 1984).

            And as I’ve said: Blair’s wins were motivated not by love for Blair (who, again, got fewer votes than John Major five years earlier), but by hatred and fear of the Conservatives. Black Wednesday killed the Tories, not New Labour.

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