FYI I’m a Labour activist and member. Here are a few reflections on the general election:
Why did Labour lose? And we did lose. There was an increase in the Conservative vote. No point blaming the SNP either.
1) Ed wasn’t convincing enough to enough people. I grew to like him more than I did but so many just didn’t see a man that would represent our country on the national stage. They didn’t consider him to be a Prime Minister.
2) The economy stupid. I know plenty of comfortably off people, not rich or selfish, but normal folks who just didn’t connect with Labour’s economic plan and liked the Tory one better. These are people who are doing ok and prefer the devil they know. Incomed households. The message that austerity is vital and Labour overspent was potent and resonated. These people also feel they’re putting in and others are taking out unfairly. And, goodness me, Labour was weak on small business and the private sector too.
3) Labour’s strategy that focussed on the NHS and a core voter base was dull and wrong. Labour doesn’t own the NHS. And we just kept expecting people to give us credit for something we did under Attlee. It isn’t enough.
4) The Tories successfully exploited the tartan wedge. They did a good job on emphasising the potential influence of the SNP. It wasn’t something great swathes of England fancied.
5) Older people, many whom are relatively affluent, are a key voter group and they have been well served by the Coalition. We didn’t have much to say to them. The Tories were keen to remind them of the “triple-lock”
Looking ahead. For me it’s not about left or right. I don’t think Labour’s manifesto was that leftwing. I thought the stuff for tenants was excellent and reasonable. Blair could have stood on the same policies but would have made different emphases.
The overall Labour package just didn’t excite enough people. Ed wasn’t the man. Labour lacked coherence. In the face of a classic Conservative “safety first” offering… I completely understand why so many plumped for steady as she goes.
(Re the above: I don’t seek to detract from a great many Labour friends who fought fantastic campaigns.)