17 June 2014

Labour's Last Chance for a Majority

The strategic objectives of the Green Party at the General Election are pretty clear. We need to hold Brighton Pavilion and try and win Norwich South. Here in Liverpool, our local election vote share in our best constituency (Liverpool Riverside) was only half that of Labour's in the local elections. In seats like these, even with the Greens building, winning is an incredibly difficult (but not impossible) task. However, there are an increasing number of seats that we may not be able to win in 2015 but could be seats we take in 2020.

The Labour Party's objective is to win with a majority of the seats in 2015 and form the government. Right now they increasingly look as though they will fall short. They are being led by someone who has successfully alienated much of the good will he had built up with traditional Labour activists and supporters with his actions last week. An ICM poll in the Guardian reports that Ed Miliband's popularity has dropped below Nick Clegg's. Re-read that then think about it for a minute.

Ed Miliband has not yet made one government decision but is looked on less favourably than a leader who has taken his party from 23%+ to less than 8% in the polls. He has been leader of the opposition during a time of austerity, where service after service has been cut. Libraries are closing. Leisure centres are closing. Adult social care services are closing. The list goes on. Yet Labour are barely ahead in the polls with 10 months to go before an election and Miliband is looked on less favourably than John Major in 1996 and Gordon Brown in 2009.

It is pretty clear to me and to many others outside of Labour that he is the wrong person for the job. He is too cerebral and too disconnected from the public. Cameron looks more comfortable than he does. We can comment on this. We can blog on this. We can speak our minds. Labour members and activists, by and large, do not. However, you can find the mood changing in Labour.

I am no fan of David Miliband but I'm pretty sure that had he run against a hugely unpopular Gordon Brown (in June 2009, David Cameron’s Tories were polling 39% and had a 12% lead over Labour), he would have won a leadership contest. Then the result in 2010 would potentially have been a Labour / Lib Dem coalition rather than the one we got. To any activist in Labour I say - don't let history repeat itself. This is your one chance for a change now, straight after the appalling error of judgement by Miliband in over posing with the Sun (for a third time). Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham as a leader of the opposition can win the next election. Ed Miliband won't.

Finally, I issue a local challenge to Labour councillors, MPs and activists in Liverpool. Where are you on this issue? Peter Mitchell spoke his mind and deserves credit for saying what others would not. If you are not trying to make a change happen, you are saying cheerio to a Labour win in 2015. While I'm a political opponent and you clearly don't want to tell me about your internal processess, I really, really hope you are not just sitting on your hands and accepting what will at best be something like 2010, or much worse, something like 1992 in May next year. The country will not thank you for another five years of the coalition or indeed, a Tory government.

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