Saturday 20 June 2020

Weekend: Those Fearless Labour GE Post Mortems...

Oh, they promised to be fearless, these inquest-holders, to accept no shibboleths or no-go areas or taboos; no stone to be left unturned.  Well, it transpires they were wrong about their mandates, to which we shall return at the end of this post.

There are two out this week.  The big one first:  Ed Miliband + Labour Together's 154 page epic.  The stuff on the Election itself isn't revelatory: their summary is as follows -
• Negative perceptions of our leader were a key reason why Labour lost so many votes in this election
• Labour’s position on Brexit alienated voters on both sides of the 2016 referendum divide 
• The popularity of our policies was undermined by a lack of confidence that we could deliver them 
• In Scotland these issues combined with and were reinforced by national debates and dynamics 
• These issues served as focal points for deeper divisions of values and outlook 
• Value-based analysis of Labour’s vote base reveals a coalition that is crumbling
Well what else could they say?  We all knew that: and the only issue is the ranking of the first two disasters the list.  In the party of Kier "peoples vote" Starmer, unsurprisingly they opt for Corbyn.  Only respectful references to the new Dear Leader here.

What's genuinely worth reading is the numerical stuff (Miliband is a wonk, after all): several commentators reckon to have found some gems there.  No space here to summarise it, but one chilling graph leaves a deep impression.  Forget north vs south / city vs towns / workers vs the bourgeoisie: figure 8 shows with blinding clarity how UK politics has, over the years, become polarised into essentially a generational divide.  Presumably this graphic is prominent on Cummings' wall, too, and explains his current culture-war tactics**.  Sobering stuff indeed.

The conclusions and recommendations are all pro forma, completely anodyne, and unlikely to stir Starmer in any way.  He already knows what he's about.

The second autopsy, published on the same day, is from "Labour for a European Future", which deploys a lot of Ashcroft data (inter alia).  No prizes for guessing their #1 conclusion is -
The election loss was not caused by the second referendum policy
Yeah, right.   That aside, it's altogther punchier and more opinionated than the bigger report, and has been hurriedly but intelligently brought bang up-to-date.  (No chance of nimbleness like that with Miliband's stolid crew, which had to answer to a board of 15 Commissioners, one of which is a collective(!))  One could imagine Starmer finding the shorter one more useful, and not just because of its congenial Euro-bias.

So where are the gaps?  Again, it's the Mili-version that betrays the weakness most glaringly.  As a BTL commenter put it in the Graun today: 
You can blame brexit, 'genius Tories', voters not liking corbyn, but there is another reason, which was only spoken about in hushed tones and behind closed doors that spooked millions of people in former Labour strongholds. It can't be addressed, it won't be addressed and Labour will continue lose those votes.
Now let's tread carefully ourselves here (OK?); and take just one of these *unaddressed* issues.  If (for example) Labour becomes clearly identified as the party of Trans Rights, they will silently haemorrhage votes, even as they refuse to contemplate the matter.  (The rather niche Labour Uncut blog is bravely willing to air the subject, even if nobody else is.)

And so it goes on.  Cummings must be spending this weekend laughing out loud.  Starmer has strategic problems extending far more widely than Scotland, and Wonk Miliband may not be much help to him.

** Or Munira Mirza's - whomever 

UPDATE: Rawnsley, Graun, today
The report concludes that Labour will only achieve power again by building “a winning coalition of voters that spans generations, geographies and outlooks”. This is so right that it is a truism ... In their vagueness about how this feat is to be achieved, the report’s authors are faithful reflections of the party’s leader. Mr Starmer has had almost nothing to say about policy since he became leader.


Raedwald said...

Excellent analysis.

Only a couple of minor footnotes I can suggest.

First, the statue-toppling and renaming. It can only be a matter of time before the Eugenics phase of the Labour party come to light. The Fabians were big fans, and Shaw wanted to euthanise social problems, including the poor and ethnic minorities. Virginia Woolf wanted to kill the mentally ill. And scores more respectable Labour figures, some of whom have statues and foundations named after them, signed up to a scientific human breeding programme to exclude mongrel elements from the pure race of Socialists. So far they're hoping no-one notices - no chance.

And secondly, a bit like detecting a stealth aircraft by finding the bit of sky where it isn't, Labour are in danger of adding racism against those of Hindu ancestry to the Party's anti-semitism. If it scores the hat trick by denouncing some public figures of Christian adherence, it's in a death spiral. And no-one ever needs to mention the forbidden thing.

iOpener said...

A minor meta comment.

I downloaded the report and unsuccessfully searched it for 'figure 8'. The search failed because the words 'figure 8' appear as part of a graphic image as opposed to being within the .pdf text.

Labour is as incompetent as ever, even at the simple things.

Anonymous said...

Good job you can count then.

andrew said...

Look at it the other way around:
What 3 changes to labour would put them in a probable winning place.

I have the feeling that the only reason the cons won were that the other side were even worse. Since then the quality of govt only seems to have declined.
Along with that, the strength and quality of labour opposition seems to have declined.

E-K said...

The Communists (and that's what they are) smell blood. The dithering and U turning of Johnson has been woeful.

The WHO states that social distancing should be "at least 1 metre" so WHAT is he waiting for ?

He is killing the country I love and the simple things I love to do.

He is utterly dominated by the Communists and the only thing he's dug in on is Cummings.

We may as well have Labour in for all the good Johnson is doing us. You'd think Corbyn had won !!!

dearieme said...

I sneer at the idea that anyone in his right mind would take COVID advice from the WHO. Even the obviously still ill Boris surely has more sense than that.

"Mr Starmer has had almost nothing to say about policy since he became leader." How very wise. Socialism has nothing to offer anyway, that hasn't already failed a thousand times.

If I were weary Keiry I'd bash away at The Tories and COVID and wait until Brexit is finally in the bag. At that point many Conservative MPs will feel that Boris has achieved all that he's capable of and a merry civil war will erupt in that party.

Meantime the Labour Remoaners will presumably finally accept the result of two elections and one referendum, and shut up about the EU. Starmer should keep his powder dry for that phase.

Of course the risk of this strategy is that Boris will regain his bounce and pursue one or two sensible policies. Smothering the foreign aid scam has been a good start. Cancel HS2 and I'll begin to believe that he's better than the alternative. Which is who? Michael bloody Gove?

Sir Gillop said...

Starmer was the leader of Remain

dearieme said...

"Starmer was the leader of Remain"

Then he'll do his best to make us forget that.

A useful tactic against him is perhaps to point out many of the horrible prosecution decisions that were (presumably) made while he was DPP (2008–2013).

Nick Drew said...

A useful tactic against him ...

should be - but how come Corbyn wasn't nailed by HIS disgraceful past in GE2017? It's not a slam dunk to whack people up with their past mistakes: needs to be done carefully

(the people who really hate Starmer for his DPP past are, of course, the Labour Left - and they don't much like his present, either)

Elby the Beserk said...

Sir Gillop said...
Starmer was the leader of Remain

7:29 pm

was? He still is.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Judging by my neighbours here in South Yorkshire, many are quietly perturbed by the fact the Labour Party has become the party of Muslims and not Jews.

andrew said...


It is well-established in the public eye (the reality of the matter may follow perception or may not) that lab are not very nice to women and jewish people.
And a lot of the UK will feel rather uncomfortable voting lab whilst that perception persists.

Anonymous said...

"It can only be a matter of time before the Eugenics phase of the Labour party come to light."

I see, a UK version of "DR3" or "Democrats aRe the Real Racists" - after all, it was Republicans who fought the Civil War and Dems who founded the KKK! It's been really successful over there as you can see on the news, not to mention the huge Republican support among blacks /sarc.

The good news is that every government has a eugenics policy, whether they like it or not. The laissez-faire default for the last 800 years to 1945 was pretty successful in producing a society that was extremely peaceful, prosperous and nice to live in if you were a heterosexual Briton, which was 96% of the population. Not so good in 1845 or 1745, but the default for most of world history was poverty.

The bad news is that our undeclared post-war eugenic policy has been a disaster and an accelerating one. Just like all our other social policies post war - but the acceleration only really kicked in during the Thatcher/Major/Blair years. Destroying a lot of low-skilled industrial jobs while simultaneously removing the social sanctions on bastardy and benefit dependency was the recipe for massive expansion of the Brit underclass. Importing millions of low-IQ but high fertility people was a master-stroke, while encouraging intelligent women into business and higher education is also genius, there being an inverse relationship between fertility and number of years in education in pretty much all societies. For every Nicola Horlick there are 20 Susan Greenfields.

Against all this, one solitary finger in the crumbling dyke - the Cameron/Osborne decision in 2015 to only allow benefits for the first two children. I bet repealing it is high on Starmer's to-do list.

Raedwald is a lovely chap but we're WAY past the stage where having logic and facts on your side can win a political debate. That was an older Britain.

Raedwald said...

And you're still banned from my blog.

Matt said...

@ Raedwald

He's missing nothing of worth. Your blog is a great example of an echo chamber. Express a contrary opinion and you're gone. Like Twatter in that respect.

Anonymous said...

Best of order please, gentlemen!

E-K said...

White Lives Don't Matter.

We're getting this under a Tory Government. Who needs Starmer in power ? In fact he has huge powers without any of the embuggerance of being in office.

"Lessons will be learned" is patently NOT what an 80 seat majority was given for.

"Lessons will be learned" = more can kicking.

Anonymous said...

"I bet repealing it is high on Starmer's to-do list."

Aaaannd here's one of his Shadow Ministers!

"According to research conducted last year by the Church of England, in co-operation with the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), more than 50,000 children across the Bradford district are estimated to be affected by the Government’s two-child limit. It prevents parents from claiming Universal Credit or child tax credit for a third or subsequent child born from April 6, 2017. The research ranked Bradford West as the constituency most affected by the two-child limit in the country, while Bradford East was at number five and Bradford South at number 16."

Good to see the CoE using the parish collections wisely.

Anonymous said...

I've just thought - that figure, if true, means that more than 50,000 kids have been born in Bradford District since April 6, 2017. Seems like a lot to me, and the reasearch was conducted last year!