Posted by Jake on Saturday, August 22, 2015 with 3 comments | Labels: Article, Austerity, Big Society, budget cuts, elections, Graphs, inequality, politicians, the government
When it comes to survival we vertebrates often resort to instinctive knee-jerk reactions to get us out of trouble. If speed is of the essence we tend to think with our spines rather than our brains. However when it comes to political survival, with the high incidence of spinelessness among our politicians this can be problematic.
The Labour Party leadership election after the 2015 UK General Election provides a good example of this spineless political instinct. Having lost the election to the Conservative Party, Labour luminaries' survival jerk-reaction was to conclude Labour was not Tory enough. To avoid getting burned again, their instinct was to swerve to the Right and turn their party back into New New Labour. The Big Beasts concluded it isn't possible to win power from the Left.
Is this true?
To help the Labour Party engage its collective brain, we provide a few graphs about the 2015 General Election:
1) Compare the 2010 and 2015 General Elections, more parliamentary seats moved to the Left than to the Right:
2) Between 2010 and 2015 General Elections the Tories increased their share of the vote by 0.8% of votes. This was less than the increase for any of Labour (1.5%); Greens (2.8%); SNP (3.1%); UKIP (9.5%). Only the Liberal Democrats (-15.2%) had a less impressive change in support than the Tories.
4) The biggest gainer was UKIP, who increased its share by 9.5% of voters. According to a survey by the British Election Study UKIP voters are well to the left of the Tories when it comes to "Rich vs Poor":
3) While the Tories took more votes than any other single party, their support was less than 25% of the electorate (including registered voters who did not vote). Which is about average for election winners in recent decades.
5) The largest reservoir of votes for Labour to capture is those who did not vote at all:
According to a study by the Hansard Society, the majority of non-voters are likely to be of the C2DE social class, on lower pay, ethnic minorities, and live in rented accommodation. Voters who are unlikely to be attracted by Labour steering to the right.
IPSOS-MORI, in their own study, stated:
"There appears to be no significant increase in turnout among young people, with 18-24s almost half as likely to vote as those aged 65% (43% vs 78%; in 2010 estimated turnout for 18-24s was 44%). Similarly, turnout remains lower among the working classes, renters, and BME communities."
6) According to the Electoral Commission, about 7.5 million people had not registered to vote in 2014. It says in their report:
"Younger people, people living in privately rented accommodation and those who move home more frequently are less likely to be registered at their current address. The study with census data finds that people from specific ethnic backgrounds are also less likely to be registered correctly – Black African, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and mixed ethnicity."
An analysis of the 2015 General Election by IPSOS-MORI shows these groups tend to vote Labour.
Labour luminaries are exerting their brains to find devious ways to avoid Jeremy Corbyn leading the party to the Left. Instead they should focus on how Labour can win an election by representing the Left Behind, regardless of whether Corbyn is leader or not. It seems likely that the years since 1979 have created enough of the Left Behind to win Labour the next General Election, if the Labour Party is true to itself.
Instead of trying to take Tory votes by being more Tory, Labour should apply its brains to:
a) Persuading those who are already voting Left to vote Labour.
b) Persuading those who don't vote at all that it is worth voting. The data suggests they will tend to vote Labour.
c) Get people who aren't registered to vote to register.
The data suggests they will tend to vote Labour.
Britain needs strong parties on the Left and on the Right. The Tories represent the Right with pitiless ruthless efficiency. Labour needs to represent the Left.