Tuesday 25th April
The bitter truth – in order to change the country, first you must win an election. Or have a bloody revolution of course, but with the lethargic English I see no signs of that happening, soon – if ever. And you have to win an election with the wretched system in place at present, first past the post, where in many constituencies M.P.s are elected with less than 30% of the votes cast. Given the poor turnout too, this is often less than one in five of people actually entitled to vote!!!
This was the bitter truth learnt by Blair and Brown over twenty years ago now. They perceived that it was no good going to the electorate with a truly Socialist agenda; people had been too conditioned by the Tories and the Media. They had to persuade people to trust them, that they were competent, that the time was ready to make a change. Of course, there was so much more they could have done after they were elected, but they did swing the pendulum back a little. They were always conscious of the need to get re-elected and therefore proceeded slowly. Though they did spend a lot more money on Schools and the NHS and introduced a minimum wage and family tax credits.
I think it was Hobsbawn who used the argument that any Labour Government lucky enough to get elected should expect to be rejected at the following election, but should make such important changes that it might take the Tories twenty years to roll them back. Whether that is good advice or not it still relies on getting elected in the first place.
And so to the present election. I have read a lot of posts saying either that Labour will win, or that Mrs. May will not get the huge majority she wants. Who knows, we can hope at least. But my experience is that actually the polls do not change that much during the actual election campaign, and that is anything (1992 with Kinnock) the Tory vote is higher than anyone expected come the actual election.
Until Labour presents itself as ‘electable’, however you define that, it will not win. It matters little what the policies are, if the party is seen as ‘unelectable’ or ‘divided’ they rarely can win. Amazing how quickly the Tories have coalesced around Brexit, foregoing their previous beliefs so easily, but maybe they have always been a bunch of carpetbaggers who will say anything to cling to power.
The bitter truth for Labour is that first you have to get elected…