Labour: always playing away

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Larry Elliott has an article in the Guardian this morning in which he speculates on why Labour are doing s badly when the opposite should be the case. Havign outlined then disaster of Tory economic policy he says:

There is — and always has been — an alternative to all this, which involves rejecting austerity, an interventionist state, a fairer tax system that cracks down on abuse, a national investment bank, and greater workplace democracy.

Labour’s internal polling shows that the public supports this agenda. Voters are up for nationalising the railways and for workers on boards. They see the sense of the state investing in the sectors that make up the fourth industrial revolution if the private sector proves incapable or unwilling to do so. The public can see the blatant unfairness of those who rely on disability benefits to make ends meet paying the price for the follies of the financiers. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said at the weekend that he would like to restructure the UK economy to make it more Scandinavian and there are obvious attractions in Norway’s sovereign wealth fund or Swedish-style childcare.

But the internal polling also shows that when the word “Labour” is attached to any of the above ideas support for them halves. That’s scary. In business parlance, Labour has become a toxic brand.

I agree. And it's been going on, as Larry notes ever since Labour failed to defend its own track record in government. As Larry again notes:


Disastrously, Labour appears to have learned nothing from this episode. After the 2010 election, it spent six months navel-gazing: this time there have been not one but two leadership elections. The message sent out to the public — and amplified by a hostile press — is that the party is at war with itself. There is also no getting away from the fact that Corbyn, while adored by his supporters, does not cut it as a potential prime minister with voters at large.

Richard Murphy, who provided much of the intellectual heft behind Corbynomics during his 2015 tilt at the leadership but has subsequently found his advice less welcome, says the leadership has become too timid and is critical of McDonnell’s attempts to boost Labour’s reputation for fiscal rectitude.

“To use a footballing metaphor Labour have chosen to play away all the time and with a team made up solely of defenders. They have no hope of ever winning. Even a draw is beyond their realistic hope.”

I know Labour do not agree. Larry notes that. But I strongly suspect he agrees with me.