Monday, 18 November 2013

Nightmares for Labour

At first glance, the news that a rich businessman is going to pour a few of his megabucks into the advertising campaigns for Ukip in next year`s Euro-elections cannot be anything other than good for Labour. More Tory voters, all anti EU and anti-immigration, will abscond, splitting the right wing vote, and leaving ever-so-slightly-left Labour to benefit at the polls, at the expense of a damaged Tory party. Similar events have happened before, so why not again?
    It certainly is a possibility, but not inevitable; in fact, there is an alternative conclusion to such events, one which is more a "nightmare" than "dream" scenario for Labour.
    What if this businessman is the first of many willing to subsidise Farage? With too much cash to know what to do with it, and too little sympathy with Romanians and Bulgarians being allowed to work here, others of the ultra-rich fraternity could well be persuaded to follow suit, and suddenly the country is awash with Ukip propaganda, with  radio, television and newspaper advertisements galore. Massive victories in the European elections could be disastrous for Cameron, but the trouble is, as we have seen throughout the last four years, his lack of principles allows him to make deals with just about anyone, and the result could be a Tory-Ukip coalition facing Labour in the 2015 election.This would mean the Labour leaders would have only a few months to prevent Britain being ruled for the next 5 years by a right-wing group, with policies verging on fascist.
    The right does not have the monopoly on disillusioned workers, who feel jobs are being taken from them by EU migrants, and the trouble is Labour is doing, and has done in recent months, so little to win them over. Even more worrying, and this gives impetus to the "nightmare", is that Labour has been so concerned with not upsetting the well-to-do in the marginal constituencies, it has ignored its more traditional supporters.Clearly, it is relying on the fear of another five years of Tory rule to persuade public sector workers and trade unionists to vote Labour, but if Farage could encourage most of the 20% or so who never usually vote to support him, Labour could be in deep trouble.
 The Labour leaders needs to ask themselves some important questions; why, for instance, should teachers and everyone involved in state education, vote for them? Where were they when the strikes and protests took place? Why weren`t they joining in the rallies and making their anti-Gove speeches, like the union leaders? Do they really think Gove is that more out of touch with the reality of teaching today than privately-educated Tristram Hunt, especially as their views on free schools and Performance Related Pay are so alike?
 But it`s not just teachers, and that`s the problem. How many workers have had pay or pension problems with employers, and received not one iota of support from Labour? Firefighters, Grangemouth, care workers, all on zero-hour contracts, the list is long and seemingly growing, and the unemployed have not even been mentioned yet. Of course, Labour has some MPs who are brilliant, but they are few and far between; we only have to go back one week to the Bedroom tax vote to see that.
  If Labour policies were markedly different, there might be a case for more optimism, but apart from the blip that is the energy price freeze pledge, there is little to tempt the electorate that isn`t pretty similar to other parties` promises. The truth is not-being-Tory is insufficient, and Labour has failed to uphold the basic ideologival principles upon which the party was founded. The only solution must be a radical approach towards taxation and pay, with a change in society as the consequence, and a return to fairness and equality of opportunity as the main objective. No-one believed Cameron when he spoke from a golden throne about his desire to see an increase in social mobility, but what are Labour`s policies on the issue?
 Time is running out for Miliband, and the longer he leaves it to adopt radical policies, the easier it could be for this "nightmare" to become a reality.


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