...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, May 09, 2014

Day 4876: The Day Labour Admitted They Have Lost


Wednesday night's Partly Political Broadside from Hard Labour seems to have got a lot of people talking.

Dan Hodges thinks Hard Labour have gone insane.

Owen Jones thinks it's lacking in hope.

(and it takes some doing for Mr Milipede to look like a less mature grown-up than my fellow Stopfordian!)

While the New Statesman thinks it means Labour are going all out for a majority.

Personally, I think that that last analysis is 100% wrong.

Because self-indulgently playing to their CORE VOTE prejudices is a sure sign that Labour are now falling back on a CORE VOTE STRATEGY.

Sure, Hard Labour supporters may all be very tickled with the "LOLS". But guess what – they were going to vote Hard Labour anyway!

EVERYONE ELSE is going "Well, that's a bit SHI—, er, negative!" And if you want to ensure a majority, then it's EVERYONE ELSE you should be talking to.

You need to be reaching out to floating voters and your rivals' supporters. You know, like that thing that Captain Clegg has been doing with his "we're the Party of IN", building a – dare I say – coalition of people because they support our actual POLICY on Europe, even if they've made up their mind to blame the Captain for not having given him a majority Liberal Democrat government in 2010.

Of course, to do that you do have to have some actual POLICIES to sell them. And it turns out that Hard Labour are coming up empty. Sort of a Hard Up Labour, in fact.

OK, Mr Milipede did have ONE policy – that "energy price freeze" lark that touched the media's sweet spot last year. But that is looking SO 2013, now that the energy companies have hiked their prices and announced their own eighteen month "price freezes" – just like Mr Ed and everyone else said they would – and the meeja have decided La Farage is their new darling.

And – in an obvious effort to strike it lucky with the same card twice – they have now announced they're in favour of rent controls as part of a continuing effort to try to REINTRODUCE THE CORN LAWS: i.e. to artificially depress prices thus cutting off SUPPLY making everyone worse off, rather than trying to address the real need which is increases in DEMAND.

To underline their paucity of ideas we have Mr John Crude Ass Cruddas (trying to get the silly names right…) – Mr Milipede's "policy co-ordinator"; an easy job when they've only got two policies, I suspect – writing in the Grauniad that: "Labour will pioneer the post-industrial economy" off the back of a new "Digital Revolution". So that's "post-industrial" in the sense of no one having any jobs? Do they really believe we'll all be e-commerce entrepreneurs and app-store millionaires? That's quite an upskilling they're promising. Or is it just an acid flashback to the dot-com bubble of 1997? And how did that work out, can anyone remember?

But it's all very thin stuff, dressed up with an anti-Farrago fringe of "No we ARE against the Kippers REALLY!" I guess it's because Cap'n Clegg's been questioning why their leader is not standing up for Europe against UKIP. Not so much "Where's Wally?" as "Where's Milly?". It must have really hit a nerve.

Vague promises of "devolution to our cities and regions" and "renewing the bonds of trust" and "new ways of doing politics" though will give anyone with even a passing familiarity with Lib Dem policy a profound sense of déjà vu.

It seems WILFULLY PERVERSE to depict Nick Clegg as NAKED just as you are trying to steal his clothes!

Oh yes, back to the barely-coherent "plot" of that election broadcast that sees a not-very-Clegg-alike "shrinking" as his promises are undermined by a nasty pseudo-Mr Balloon. It attacks Nick with all the usual old catalogue of allegations while simultaneously depicting him as being forced to do it all by the evil Tories. Well, make your mind up, boys: is he victim or villain?

I even feel some sympathy for the Conservatories in this. Absolutely they've made some pretty poor choices and there has been much pain, often falling on people who should NOT have been let down. But the Tories – and we – didn't do it for "teh Evils"! It was because Labour left behind a situation that was damn near IMPOSSIBLE.

The sort of Cameron-caricature depicted in Hard Labour's ad is the sort of thing you expect from Tweenie Trots in fashionable student debating clubs. But it's not proper politics, is it.

If you want to reduce some really complicated economic factors and impossibly hard decisions to Dr Evil stereotyping, then expect to see LABOUR BROKE THE ECONOMY coming right back at you. That's what everyone believes anyway, no matter how many times you trot out "No, it was like that when we found it, it was the bankers, it's not FAIR!"

In some ways the worst of all is the sheer ARROGANCE of the ad's conclusion that the British people will just drop a Happy Ending into Hard Labour's lap without the Milipedes, Ballses or Crude-asses having to DO any actual "labour" at all.

And in a way, they might. Because Labour's core vote strategy is to try and leverage the unfairness of the electoral system and scrape a majority out of the bare 35% of people who voted them in last time they were "elected", back under the old war-criminal Lord Blarimort.

Because it's quite clear now that they don't expect anyone else to vote for them. And why would they? There were no reasons to vote Labour here, no reaching out to the electorate, no "vision".

Their cartoon-Clegg might be naked on screen, but it's Hard Labour who look like the Emperor with No Clothes.

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