This is a defining moment for the future, and arguably the survival, of the Labour Party. In the coming months there will be much debate about what went wrong and where next.
In 2005 I produced evidence that Labour had lost 4 million voters since the election in 1997. A substantial part of these missing millions were traditional working class voters. This pattern has continued over the last 10 years.
In a minor tidal wave of what looks like pre planned statements, a group of commentators have argued that what lost the election was a failure to tap into the hopes of “aspirational” voters.
However, there is not a shred of evidence for their argument. The explanations for our defeat are deeper than this simplistic assessment.
The truth is that Labour recovered amongst middle class voters but has suffered a cataclysmic decline among working class voters.
It is possible to scrutinise now the initial voting analysis provided to me by the House of Commons Library.
If we compare the election results for our last election victory in 2005 with the result last Thursday and analyse by social class, a very interesting pattern emerges.
Here are the figures.
It is possible here to see that the proportions of AB and C1 voters who voted Labour in the last three elections has held steady. Indeed Ed Miliband’s leadership led to a mild recovery of these voters between 2010 and 2015, (as it did among the C2 group.)
A full analysis of what happened last Thursday is not yet possible but at least one opinion poll has shown that ‘the election result implied by polling would give the Tories 12.5 m votes and Labour 12.2 million. However, in the event the Tories secured 11.3 million votes and Labour 9.3 million.’ There were almost 3 million Labour identifiers that we failed to mobilise.
Labour’s electoral base last Thursday was by far the most middle class we have secured in our history. A strategy based on a misunderstanding of what is happening in our country will not work. We cannot expect to win an election without reaching out to other layers of the population and equally mobilising those Labour identifiers who didn’t bother to vote.
In the coming leadership election, candidates need therefore first of all honestly to demonstrate that they can develop a three-fold strategy in England (Scotland is a very special case):
A) Hold on to and indeed increase our middle class vote
B) Reach out to working class voters, and
C) Mobilise Labour identifiers who did not vote Labour.
I will shortly publish further reflections on what we do next. However, the party should not elect a Leader who cannot concretely demonstrate that they can deliver B) above, since they are the largest group of the electorate whose support we have lost.
Those in the PLP with leadership aspirations cannot remain in denial or ignorance of these facts. They do so at their own peril, but more fundamentally fail to understand why the Labour Party exists.
This is a defining moment for the future, and arguably the survival, of the Labour Party. In the coming months there will be much debate about what went wrong and...
With the polls closing in just over 24 hours, it is urgent that we get out the vote for Labour.
I know many people think that “they are all the same” or that voting doesn’t affect them. But in this election, more than for any election for a generation, it is important to cast your vote.
In my part of the world, Yorkshire, a vote for Labour would change people’s lives.
Under the Tories Yorkshire and Humber has suffered. Average wages are now over £2,000 a year less than they were in in 2010 in real terms. That means people are facing a huge squeeze on their living standards and finding it really difficult to make ends meet at the end of the month.
On top of this, insecure jobs and zero hour contracts have increased dramatically. There are nearly 60,000 people in Yorkshire that are on zero hour contracts which rely on a text in the morning to see if they will actually have any work that day. If you’re on one of these contracts you cannot get a mortgage, borrow money to buy a new car or plan for the future.
The Tories have built an economy based on low pay and insecure work that hits working people hard. We were told that this would cut the deficit and reduce borrowing. It hasn’t. In fact the Tories have failed on their own terms: they said the deficit would have been gone by 2015, but it’s now set to be £75 billion by then and they are borrowing over £200 billion more than they planned.
The Tories have got it wrong. We can only have a strong economy when working people across the whole of the country succeed, not just the few at the top. That’s why a Labour government will raise the minimum wage to over £8 an hour by October 2019, we will ban exploitative zero hour contracts and make it illegal to use agency workers to undercut wages of permanent employees.
That’s why a Labour vote could make all the difference to people’s lives.
With the polls closing in just over 24 hours, it is urgent that we get out the vote for Labour. I know many people think that “they are all the...
The NHS is not safe in Tory hands
We all know the Tories have caused a crisis in our National Health Service – the numerous statistics churned out of the last few years has proved it.
But people aren’t statistics and their experiences are much more shocking than the percentages and numbers we see in the media.
On the campaign trail this week, I met an 82 year old woman. This woman had been extremely ill and taken to her local hospital.
The hospital was understaffed and ill-resourced to respond to the urgent needs of patients – even those of emergency patients.
So, this woman got out of her hospital bed and actually started nursing other patients, even though she was sick herself.
This is just not acceptable.
Also, last week, one of my key volunteers was attacked by a dog and bitten.
He went to A&E straight away at 5pm that day to get the stiches he needed. The hospital he went to admitted him but then sent him to another hospital.
At the second hospital it wasn’t until 1am – 7 hours after the attack – that he was seen.
It is disgraceful that he had to wait that long for two stiches.
But it is not the fault of the staff, it is the fault of the Tories, who, over the last five years have driven the NHS into crisis.
Waiting times are up, people can’t get to see their GP and our ambulance service has been put under tremendous pressure.
We are all proud of our National Health Service and on May 7th we have to fight to save it, by voting Labour. Only in Labour’s hands will the NHS be safe.
The NHS is not safe in Tory hands We all know the Tories have caused a crisis in our National Health Service – the numerous statistics churned out of the...
It was great to be out and about in Featherstone recently when I met Morgan Binnersley. Morgan is passionate about animal welfare and was collecting for neglected Siberian Huskies.
I get hundreds and hundreds of e-mails and letters every year from people concerned about the way we treat animals. I am proud of the last Labour Government’s policies which achieved much to end animal cruelty. No other major political party has such a proven track record of decisive action for animals at home, on farms and in the wild.
The last Labour Government:
- banned hunting with dogs,
- secured an end to cosmetic testing on animals
- banned fur farming and
- introduced the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
A vote for Labour on 7th May will see a continuation of our commitment to animal welfare. A Labour Government will:
- Defend the hunting ban
- ban the use of wild animals in circuses
- end the government’s ineffective and inhumane badger culls
- improve the protection of dogs and cats
- tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
- lead the fight against global animal cruelty.
If you would like to receive a copy of our animal welfare manifesto please get in touch.
It was great to be out and about in Featherstone recently when I met Morgan Binnersley. Morgan is passionate about animal welfare and was collecting for neglected Siberian Huskies. I get...
Today reminds me of when I met George, a 91 year old former miner who worked in Frickley Colliery for 46 years of his life.
During his time underground, he helped rescue and carry out 4 injured men from the pit. He himself sustained injuries, once quite badly.
The Conservatives try to make us believe that only the richest among us are the wealth creators of this country. But they are wrong; working people like this former miner are the truth wealth creators.
He is a true hero and Britain became great because of people like him, who have contributed so much often in return for little reward.
He came to see me because he is a little unsteady on his feet, but the local GP can no longer provide the chiropody service he needs. It now costs £20 each visit, which he can ill afford. In this way the Tories reintroducing charges into the NHS.
Today is International Workers Memorial Day. A lot has been done for health and safety in the workplace. Labour introduced the Health and Safety Act and created the Health and...
Ackworth Grit, and the true cost of the nation's wealth
The wealth of my home village of Ackworth in part originated from the local stone quarries.
The other day, I was at a Memorial Service, remembering those that have lost their lives in the Ackworth Quarries. It was here that 14 men – including a 13 year old boy – were tragically killed.
The memorial, which is made of stone, bears the names of each of the men who died. It was wonderful that the volunteers of the Ackworth heritage group made the memorial possible.
And on the memorial you can see many well-known Ackworth surnames, families who remain here to this day. But there are also names of men who came to work in the local quarries from all over the country.
The quarry site is where the local Co-op is now. And you can see the memorial on the green not far from the road.
Many of the houses locally are built from the quarried stone. In fact the wall that surrounds my house is built with such stone. Although the stone is quite soft and used to build houses and walls, it also has other uses.
When it is broken up, it becomes gritty and was used as an abrasive all around the world.
But this got me thinking about how people in Yorkshire are described as “gritty”.
At the end of the ceremony it was said that the price of stone was measured in pounds, shillings and pence.
But the true cost of grit can only be counted in the lives of men who died.
Ackworth’s wealth was partly created through the grit that was produced, by gritty Yorshiremen whose lives we should never forget.
Ackworth Grit, and the true cost of the nation's wealth The wealth of my home village of Ackworth in part originated from the local stone quarries. The other day, I...
Deeply concerning figures have been released by the Trussell Trust which show over a million people in the UK are now relying on food banks. I believe that in reality the number is likely to be much higher as the Trussell Trust has not included figures from community or church led food banks.
Deeply concerning figures have been released by the Trussell Trust which show over a million people in the UK are now relying on food banks. I believe that in reality... Read more
Yesterday I went into Wakefield to meet the Election officials,
It is a little known fact that once the election is called, there are no longer any MPs. So I have not been an MP now for more than week.
Yesterday I went into Wakefield to meet the Election officials, It is a little known fact that once the election is called, there are no longer any MPs. So I... Read more
On Monday I went to the 20th anniversary of Warde Aldham becoming a centre of care for the elderly.
I must say that it is a very impressive and happy place. The staff turnover is low which means that they must be generally content with their work. I gave a bunch of flowers to Sue who had worked there for the full 20 years.
On Monday I went to the 20th anniversary of Warde Aldham becoming a centre of care for the elderly. I must say that it is a very impressive and happy... Read more
Today I was in Featherstone where I met Denis and June. Denis served in the army in the middle east. The day he arrived back on the troop ship was June 1st 1948, the very day that the NHS was set up.
Ten days ago he had spinal surgery in hospital, today he was out and about. A minor miracle, he said.
He told me that he is very worried that if the Conservatives win the election the health service will be ended.
Today I was in Featherstone where I met Denis and June. Denis served in the army in the middle east. The day he arrived back on the troop ship was...