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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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    1 day ago
  • New Police facilities for Whanganui
    Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced. Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who ...
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    1 day ago
  • Relativity adjustment for Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu
    An adjustment payment has been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under the relativity mechanisms in their 1995 and 1997 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The latest payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu are $2,700,000 and $2,600,000 respectively to ensure the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
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    2 days ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
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    2 days ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
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    2 days ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
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    2 days ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
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    2 days ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
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    2 days ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
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    3 days ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
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    3 days ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
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    3 days ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
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    3 days ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
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    3 days ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
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    3 days ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
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    3 days ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
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    3 days ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt keeps projects on road to completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today transport projects currently in construction will continue at pace due to extra Government support for transport projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. To keep the $16.9 billion 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme going the Government has allocated funding from the COVID Response and ...
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    3 days ago
  • First project utilising $50 million ‘shovel ready’ fund for rural broadband announced
    $50 million for further rural broadband digital connectivity has been allocated from the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been announced by Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure and Kris Faafoi, Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. The investment will go to boosting broadband ...
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    3 days ago
  • Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections
    The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB. “This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network. “Uptake ...
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    3 days ago
  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
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    4 days ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
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    4 days ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
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    4 days ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
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    4 days ago