August 26, 2016

Labour risks being downgraded to junk status

Labour risks being downgraded to junk status

Labour must reconnect with voters, or risk being relegated to minority party status, argues John Mills.

The Tories face an opposition in disarray. At the moment it is not easy to imagine the Labour Party winning the General Election in 2020. But the real tragedy is that we ought to be able to win. Labour’s message of aspiration should be able to appeal to a very large number of voters across the country.

I have been involved in the Labour Party for over 50 years, and I know that the party has a strong message to sell to the public.

In the past we have been able to appeal not only to people in the North of England, Scotland and Wales through our ideals of equality and fairness, but also to many centrist voters in the rest of England who appreciate our left-of-centre values when they are blended with sensible economic policies that will help the country grow faster and more fairly.

The problem is that in recent years we have focused too much, albeit successfully, on appealing to metropolitan voters in cities like London and Manchester. This has disenfranchised a large number of other Labour supporters, and, as a result, we have failed to present a credible alternative to the Conservative government.

Many individuals who voted for the party in the past have since migrated to the Conservatives, UKIP, Greens, or the SNP. Or they are now not voting at all.

In the face of this challenge, it is now more critical than ever that Labour adopts a coherent set of policies that resonate with the electorate, to help it reconnect before the 2020 General Election.

First, the party must accept the result of the EU Referendum. During the course of the campaign the party made the mistake of being much too Europhile. Of the 9.3 million people who voted Labour at the 2015 general election, a poll by Lord Ashcroft indicates that 37 percent – about 3.4 million – of these Labour supporters voted Leave in the referendum.

If this same number desert Labour at the next General Election, most MPs with majorities of less than 5,000 would lose their seats. This would mean the loss of around 100 MPs in 2020.

But rather than do this, a number of members of the Labour Party are now attempting – or saying they will attempt – to block the invocation of Article 50. Or they are calling for the referendum to be run again. There is no democratic mandate for this rerun, and it will only gift more votes to UKIP who are already nipping at our heels in the north of England.

Secondly, Labour has failed to lay out to the public an economic alternative to the Tories and their unpopular eight years of austerity. In spite of Theresa May’s attempt to claim the term ‘industrial policy’ for her own, it doesn’t ring true for many people in the country who know that the Conservatives were the key cheerleaders for the hollowing out of our industrial base.

Labour must now argue for a transformative industrial strategy, based on radical changes to our monetary and exchange rate policies, to make sure that globalization works for the many and not the few. Investing in and reviving British manufacturing will create good-quality high-paying jobs for working-class people in this country, and encourage them back to voting Labour. It will also rebalance the economy away from financial services and drive higher levels of growth, which is equally appealing to middle-income voters in the English shires.

If we get these two things right, Labour can win again. We have had hard times and we have bounced back before. Now we need to do the same thing again.

2.48 avg. rating (50% score) - 42 votes
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John Mills
John Mills is an economist, entrepreneur and political commentator. He is the Founder and Chairman of JML, the global import-export consumer goods company which operates out of 68 countries. John is also the Chairman of Labour Leave and Labour Future and the Chairman of the Pound Campaign.
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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