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> Why are Labour doing worse than the toxic Tories?, Still don't get it.
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zenon
post Aug 11 2021, 02:58 PM
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Can anyone explain to me why Labour have been doing so badly in the polls? Surely if the Tories have been handling the pandemic horrifically then everyone would vote Labour instead to get them out. Still can't work it out.
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Rooney
post Aug 11 2021, 03:31 PM
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There are lots of reasons, but also there are lots of reasons for optimism too. The Tories have a huge vaccine boost and up until June everything was going pretty well for them. I think before Parliment broke for Summer the Tories were still ahead but both the Lib Dems and Labour were rising. I think covid talk will still dominate the rest of 2021, especially when September rears its head with University students and schools re-opening.

You also have to remember that there are large parts of the country who will just vote Conservative regardless.
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Chez Wombat
post Aug 11 2021, 04:24 PM
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They've handled the pandemic atrociously, but they've also got the vaccines going so they're just using that silence any other argument however valid. A weak opposition leader who isn't challenging them enough and the nation generally having a bit of a Brexit mindset at the moment doesn't help. It's also important to remember they also have the tabloid rags on their side, no scandal seems to stick sadly (with the exception of Hancock who I can't imagine they're gutted to lose).

Unfortunately, I can't see things changing as it stands by the next election at least, but when we're out of the woods with Covid and the effects of Brexit start to become more visible, and y'know Labour sort themselves out and/or form a more progressive alliance, I think there's a chance things could change, just gotta keep waiting it out for now~
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Iz 💀
post Aug 11 2021, 05:06 PM
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Labour are not visible for one, so there's nothing that would make any Tory waverers consider the possibility of a Labour government, if you want polls to move you can't just have negative feeling downwards, there's got to be something to replace it. Starmer gets his name in the news about once a month and it's usually some lackluster token opposition to something. Very few moves, most of his style and affect is managerial rather than rhetoric, so he's just very dull. And then his old strategists were certainly bad and his new ones haven't shown themselves to be much good so far either. Only bright spot was Batley & Spen and that still had cause for concern, meanwhile for other moves against the Tories, Chesham would have been far more of a blow to them and if the Libs had a better network of influence then we'd see more challenges from that angle.

Politics is on break right now and we might see some movement around conference season, during which Labour might commit to fix some of their problems, if they want to have a chance next time, but the Tories have consistently been in front in the polls for half a year. Putting that in the context of vaccine boost, it's more like vaccine life support as they're honestly only barely hanging on to that lead again.
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Suedehead2
post Aug 11 2021, 06:08 PM
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Keir Starmer became leader at a particularly bad time, probably the worst timing for any Leader of the Opposition for many years. Others such as Neil Kinnock, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith took over after a heavy defeat. Duncan Smith also took over at a time when attention was focused elsewhere - he won the leadership in the week of the September 11 attacks. However, September 11 dominated the news for weeks whereas Covid has dominated it for around 18 months so far.

In 16 months as leader, Starmer still hasn't been able to give a major speech in front of a large, live audience. He wasn't even able to meet the whole of his Shadow Cabinet in person for many months. Johnson and other ministers are on television almost every day. That has included countless news conferences and addresses to the nation with no opposition spokesperson getting anything like the equivalent airtime. It isn't particularly surprising that a lot of people still don't even know who Starmer is.

The fact that the press is overwhelmingly hostile to Labour adds to their difficulties. Starmer and other senior MPs can issue as many statements as they like but they can't force the press to report them. For the Lib Dems and Greens, it is even harder to get any press attention or airtime.
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Smint
post Aug 11 2021, 07:01 PM
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Everyone is correct that there is an inbuilt bias to ensuring Tory Government after Tory Government - in fact the only time is was broken since 1979 was Tony Blair and although I think his record was impressive in areas and less good in other it is hard to argue that he did not copy many Tory traits. Examples of the bias include the following (and this list is depressingly long)

1. Ageing voting population - pensioners overwhelmingly support Tories and are likely to vote. Policies such as the unfair triple-lock pension rise
2. First Past the Post distorting vote share especially for smaller parties.
3. Biased foreign owned media -
4. Divided toxic Labour party
5. Poor Labour leader
6. Corrupt payment of public funds to places which vote Tory
7 Continuing above Tory sleaze and dishonesty (which is not reported fairly on by media)
8. Holding BBC to ransom
9. Introduction of voting suppression (ie Voter ID)
10. Playing on voters' prejudice

They've lucked out on the vaccine (not that it was anything to do with them) and Brexit damage is more gradual and underreported.

I can't see any changing in the short term. It's depressing sure but I try to find other things to lift me up and know that the youth are on the progressive side and the future.
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ElectroBoy
post Aug 11 2021, 07:44 PM
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Will be interesting to see how the Greens fair in the next set of polling - given the Climate Emergency etc going on. Wouldn't surprise me if there was a big surge for them.
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Umi
post Aug 11 2021, 10:50 PM
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I keep trying to write a lengthy post on this and I just can't get it right so I'm just going to boil my opinion down to a couple of bulletpoints. While there are issues with Labour leadership and situational issues that can be brought up as relevant, I believe that the issues the Labour party faces are structural to the left, and therefore the Labour party is simply playing a game that is rigged against them at this point.
  • The left globally has gone through a schism, so you have (super-simplified) a side of the political spectrum populated with social progressives whose #1 priority is climate change, but also social conservatives who are still just pissed off that their coal mine was closed. To expect those to share a party is ludicrous, and that's fine in most places, but not a first past the post country. Labour is asking groups of voters who are fundamentally opposed to each other to share a party, while a healthier system would simply see the progressives vote for Greens/Lib Dems and then enter into a coalition with the more conservative Labour party.
  • The easiest way to unify left-wing voters is "more money for the poor, less for the rich", but the left has no credibility on this subject in a post there-is-no-alternative world. Leftist politicians in the late 20th and early 21st century roundly failed to argue against the idea that an increasingly impotent state in the face of globalisation is inevitable and even desirable, and so they have ceded the definition of credible economic policy to the right. Corbyn is decried as a socialist for ideas that were mainstream right into the late 20th century, while Hollande cannot even get his ideas to pass after election. As such, you can't energise voters to vote for traditional leftist parties based on financial concerns, because there is no reason to believe that they will be better off under the left than under the right. This is particularly acute in the UK, where the most recent Labour prime minister is infamous for being "Tory-lite".
Lots of relevant stuff has been brought up in this thread and in particular it's essential to note that the UK's press is stunningly biased politically to the point of being a huge elephant in the room when it comes to the health of British democracy. For me though, the core issue is that the Labour party is going through the same malaise that socdem parties are globally but without the release valve of smaller and more diverse leftist parties being able to pick up the votes that Labour drops. First past the post destroys everything but the most unified political fronts and it takes a Trumpian figure to unite the left in 2021. Labour had a number of years to reform the electoral process to avoid this and they did not do it, and they had years to establish themselves as a credible party of the poor and similarly failed to do that. The British left are just now paying for the mistakes of the past.

My personal preference for the future of the party would be for them to establish a firm and consistent identity of basically being less vicious Conservatives, and leave the progressive agenda to the more natural fits in the British political system. It would guarantee Conservative government in perpetuity, but if every major leftist party argued passionately for vote reform in the face of that there may eventually be some meaningful change. Alternatively, if Labour can scam their way into government for a single mandate and reform the electoral system while there, I'm fine with that if they can somehow make it work. Broadly though, I have very little hope for any FPTP democracy at this point in history. It astounds me that the Democrats in the US barely scraped over the line against a comically evil and incompetent Trump in 2020 and yet they see no urgency to change the system. I am very concerned to see where both the US and the UK go in the future.

On a lighter note, I learned recently that Ireland's electoral system was designed by the British to give fair representation simply to prevent the protestant minority from being totally disenfranchised politically. It is a fun quirk of history that the UK could give a colony a politically healthy system while locking itself into a system that would eventually lead to the corrosion of its democracy.


This post has been edited by Umi: Aug 11 2021, 10:53 PM
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Rooney
post Aug 11 2021, 11:33 PM
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QUOTE(Umi @ Aug 11 2021, 11:50 PM) *
I keep trying to write a lengthy post on this and I just can't get it right so I'm just going to boil my opinion down to a couple of bulletpoints. While there are issues with Labour leadership and situational issues that can be brought up as relevant, I believe that the issues the Labour party faces are structural to the left, and therefore the Labour party is simply playing a game that is rigged against them at this point.
  • The left globally has gone through a schism, so you have (super-simplified) a side of the political spectrum populated with social progressives whose #1 priority is climate change, but also social conservatives who are still just pissed off that their coal mine was closed. To expect those to share a party is ludicrous, and that's fine in most places, but not a first past the post country. Labour is asking groups of voters who are fundamentally opposed to each other to share a party, while a healthier system would simply see the progressives vote for Greens/Lib Dems and then enter into a coalition with the more conservative Labour party.
  • The easiest way to unify left-wing voters is "more money for the poor, less for the rich", but the left has no credibility on this subject in a post there-is-no-alternative world. Leftist politicians in the late 20th and early 21st century roundly failed to argue against the idea that an increasingly impotent state in the face of globalisation is inevitable and even desirable, and so they have ceded the definition of credible economic policy to the right. Corbyn is decried as a socialist for ideas that were mainstream right into the late 20th century, while Hollande cannot even get his ideas to pass after election. As such, you can't energise voters to vote for traditional leftist parties based on financial concerns, because there is no reason to believe that they will be better off under the left than under the right. This is particularly acute in the UK, where the most recent Labour prime minister is infamous for being "Tory-lite".
Lots of relevant stuff has been brought up in this thread and in particular it's essential to note that the UK's press is stunningly biased politically to the point of being a huge elephant in the room when it comes to the health of British democracy. For me though, the core issue is that the Labour party is going through the same malaise that socdem parties are globally but without the release valve of smaller and more diverse leftist parties being able to pick up the votes that Labour drops. First past the post destroys everything but the most unified political fronts and it takes a Trumpian figure to unite the left in 2021. Labour had a number of years to reform the electoral process to avoid this and they did not do it, and they had years to establish themselves as a credible party of the poor and similarly failed to do that. The British left are just now paying for the mistakes of the past.

My personal preference for the future of the party would be for them to establish a firm and consistent identity of basically being less vicious Conservatives, and leave the progressive agenda to the more natural fits in the British political system. It would guarantee Conservative government in perpetuity, but if every major leftist party argued passionately for vote reform in the face of that there may eventually be some meaningful change. Alternatively, if Labour can scam their way into government for a single mandate and reform the electoral system while there, I'm fine with that if they can somehow make it work. Broadly though, I have very little hope for any FPTP democracy at this point in history. It astounds me that the Democrats in the US barely scraped over the line against a comically evil and incompetent Trump in 2020 and yet they see no urgency to change the system. I am very concerned to see where both the US and the UK go in the future.

On a lighter note, I learned recently that Ireland's electoral system was designed by the British to give fair representation simply to prevent the protestant minority from being totally disenfranchised politically. It is a fun quirk of history that the UK could give a colony a politically healthy system while locking itself into a system that would eventually lead to the corrosion of its democracy.


That's a really great post Umi, and I agree with a lot of it. I agree that some form of conservatism will always be there under a FPTP system, but that's not to say a lot of good can't be done. I still find it so odd that large swarms of the Labour Party fail to give Tony Blair any credit for what he achieved in his Government. IIRC Tony Blair was a fan of PR prior to 1997, but when he came to power with such a large majority, changing the voting system that worked didn't seem necessary. I suspect there will be another referendum at some point as we inevitably end up with a coalition Government in the next 10-15 years. But there's no guarantee it would win in a vote. If I remember last time, people tapped in to the fear that it could lead to a rise in influence of minority radical parties. Which is kind of ironic when you think about it now.
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slowdown73
post Aug 11 2021, 11:48 PM
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I hate the Tories with a passion but despite all the pain caused by years of austerity, greenfell and the abysmal way they have handled the pandemic, I still canít see Labour being elected. Johnson and his colleagues only got in with such a big majority due to Brexit and come the next election they will certainly lose seats. However, the problem is we donít have a credible alternative right now. Firstly,
Keir Starmer is a nice guy but he is the wrong man for the job. He is weak and ineffective. Secondly, Labour lacks a clear vision of what they actually stand for. Thirdly, the party is so divided and need to come together and unite. Fourthly, the voting system and changes in electoral boundaries has been designed in such a way to benefit the Tories.

It is clear from the polls that Labour have made little progress so far. We badly need a change of government in this country but unless Labour can elect a stronger leader, come up with some clear and credible policies and start to reconnect with the general public then sadly we are stuck with this abysmal right wing government.



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Rooney
post Aug 12 2021, 12:16 AM
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QUOTE(slowdown73 @ Aug 12 2021, 12:48 AM) *
I hate the Tories with a passion but despite all the pain caused by years of austerity, greenfell and the abysmal way they have handled the pandemic, I still canít see Labour being elected. Johnson and his colleagues only got in with such a big majority due to Brexit and come the next election they will certainly lose seats. However, the problem is we donít have a credible alternative right now. Firstly,
Keir Starmer is a nice guy but he is the wrong man for the job. He is weak and ineffective. Secondly, Labour lacks a clear vision of what they actually stand for. Thirdly, the party is so divided and need to come together and unite. Fourthly, the voting system and changes in electoral boundaries has been designed in such a way to benefit the Tories.

It is clear from the polls that Labour have made little progress so far. We badly need a change of government in this country but unless Labour can elect a stronger leader, come up with some clear and credible policies and start to reconnect with the general public then sadly we are stuck with this abysmal right wing government.


But to come with a strong Labour Leader, you need a strong candidate of which there are none in the Party right now, and the better Labour politicians all have cushy Mayor roles. I agree Starmer was always the best of a very average bunch, but I also agree with Suedehead's assessment earlier that the platform has not been the same as other previous leaders. He certainly lost his way and handled some things badly, but there are signs he's re-focused a little bit. It will be interesting to see his strategy, but as Umi pointed out brilliantly there is a delicate line and it's not as simple as saying "Let's all ride bicycles for the planet!" - of course, that is oversimplying a very complex issue but it's not as easy as some commentators have been stating on Twitter etc. this week.
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Doctor Blind
post Aug 12 2021, 01:26 AM
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The answer is the same blight that has plagued all center left/social democratic parties in Europe: Pasokification - Corbyn managed to reverse this (briefly) in 2017, but it's now returned with a vengeance. Remember that in the 1980s a majority of 18-24s voted FOR Thatcher/Conservatives, in line with the rest of the population. There is now a huge generational split that keeps growing and so trying to keep a voting coalition that spans the generations is a hopeless task, one that disenfranchies the young and does little to win over the older parts of the electorate who are more likely to vote, naturally trend Conservative (even more so recently), and therefore I don't see an end in sight in this decade to Conservative power - especially with boundary changes that favour them and bringing in voter ID which also favours them.

Starmer is irrelevant IMO.
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Suedehead2
post Aug 12 2021, 09:09 AM
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QUOTE(Umi @ Aug 11 2021, 11:50 PM) *
On a lighter note, I learned recently that Ireland's electoral system was designed by the British to give fair representation simply to prevent the protestant minority from being totally disenfranchised politically. It is a fun quirk of history that the UK could give a colony a politically healthy system while locking itself into a system that would eventually lead to the corrosion of its democracy.

We're good at that. We also insisted that post-War (West) Germany should be a federal state with a proportional electoral system.
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Doctor Blind
post Aug 12 2021, 09:35 AM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Aug 12 2021, 10:09 AM) *
We're good at that. We also insisted that post-War (West) Germany should be a federal state with a proportional electoral system.


Haha, that is very true - and Germany is a lot better for it. The UK is far too centralised around London and the SE and we are struggling because of it. Things like decentralisation and more power devolved locally is a very popular message with the public and the results in places like Preston (which incidentally has a fairly left leaning Labour council) are the success stories that the Labour Party should be learning from. Instead we've got this pathetic infighting led by dinosaurs like Peter Mandelson.
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steve201
post Aug 12 2021, 09:38 AM
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QUOTE(ElectroBoy @ Aug 11 2021, 08:44 PM) *
Will be interesting to see how the Greens fair in the next set of polling - given the Climate Emergency etc going on. Wouldn't surprise me if there was a big surge for them.


Only locally the big parties will have that centre stage to soak up their support in the GEs!
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post Aug 12 2021, 06:58 PM
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Keir Starmer pushing flexible working conditions post pandemic rather than the Tory old fashioned and rich property owning donor courting back to office.

And better for environment too.

Rare moment when he impresses me.
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slowdown73
post Aug 12 2021, 11:34 PM
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QUOTE(Rooney @ Aug 12 2021, 01:16 AM) *
But to come with a strong Labour Leader, you need a strong candidate of which there are none in the Party right now, and the better Labour politicians all have cushy Mayor roles. I agree Starmer was always the best of a very average bunch, but I also agree with Suedehead's assessment earlier that the platform has not been the same as other previous leaders. He certainly lost his way and handled some things badly, but there are signs he's re-focused a little bit. It will be interesting to see his strategy, but as Umi pointed out brilliantly there is a delicate line and it's not as simple as saying "Let's all ride bicycles for the planet!" - of course, that is oversimplying a very complex issue but it's not as easy as some commentators have been stating on Twitter etc. this week.


I agree there arenít really any strong contenders to lead the Labour Party right now but thatís one of the main issues. The popularity of a leader is so important and it can make or break a party. In some ways, I think itís more important than actual policy. Margaret Thatcher was a strong leader, like her or hate her. Tony Blair too was perceived as being a strong leader who was charismatic. In contrast, Neil Kinnock was weak and why Labour were never elected in the 80s/90s. The tories followed the same trend after the John Mayor government with several weak and incumbent leaders until pompous David Cameron arrived. If you elect a weak leader who lacks direction and passion then itís just a disaster really. Iíve been a Labour supporter for a long term but I donít even know what they stand for anymore. There is just no proper vision.


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post Aug 13 2021, 08:09 AM
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I find the opposite true for what a lot of people are saying about Starmer and how unlucky he is to be leader during this time ó†the more people see of him, the more they don't like him. I don't expect that to change when he becomes more visible ó unless he and the party massively changes by then.

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Doctor Blind
post Aug 13 2021, 08:19 AM
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He just doesn't come across as very likable to me, when he knocked over that Deliveroo cylist in his massive polluting SUV whilst on the way to his tailor, that kind of made me realise that this was a very different leader to Corbyn and someone who doesn't really care all that much. I know that Boris Johnson is hardly a 'man of the people' but you could envision yourself going for a pint with him whereas with Starmer it'd just end in a brawl..., he comes across as very disingenuous.

The fact that he leans into the whole false narrative of 'the left are entirely to blame for the party's disappointing result in 2019' also pisses me off a bit. Grow a backbone mate!
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Iz 💀
post Aug 13 2021, 08:36 AM
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I think this semi-viral piece of news is the best (unintentional) publicity Starmer's had for ages even if it is using his blank slate personality and 'you come down off the fence for THIS?!' as a source of humour. It's the sort of thing people share and then his name is out there.



if he were savvy, he'd be capturing the zeitgeist with quips, PMQ takedowns and what have you - rhetoric is a necessity for this job
if he were genuine, we'd see more fire in challenging the government when he did such
if he were looking to change the country, we'd know about it, Labour have such a large network of infrastructure and potential volunteers when they aren't all being suspected of being Trots by the party leadership who'd get enthusiasm out there for him

but alas
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