The big story of election night was the battering of the Labour Party which was hit by a combination of factors producing the perfect storm. So what went wrong? I think these were the main issues:
- Failure to provide a clear narrative to the electorate: it was never that obvious what Labour were offering and most of the 'offers' such as ending non-dom status came far too late in the day. Crucially they abandoned their real base support in the working class, even to the extent of allowing Ukip, of all people, to steal many thousands of Labour voters.Its not longer certain what Labour stand for except perhaps a watered down version of what the Tories are giving us - neoliberal austerity-lite.
- Failure to nail the Tory lies about economic incompetence: Labour never seriously challenged the Tory narrative that they 'overspent' and crashed the economy. They allowed the Tories to assume the mantle of economic competence even though Osborne's record is lamentable.
- Making a complete hash of the Scottish referendum: the rot set in for Scottish Labour long before the referendum, but the negative Better Together campaign, in which Alastair Darling seemed little more than a front-man for the Tories and the English establishment, did huge damage. Even when the warning lights were flashing after the 55-45 no result, Labour chose to ignore them and took their voters for granted, conceded political territory to the SNP, and got wiped out in the process.
- Failure of leadership: Although Ed Miliband had his moments on Syria and Leveson he was too timid by half and failed to set out a strong narrative and strategy for Labour to win.
|Keir Hardie - great Scottish Labour politician - no doubt spinning in his grave after the 2015 general election result|