Recent by-elections have shown that the Labour party has been haemorrhaging votes to Ukip, and that there is a real danger seats will be lost to Farage`s cronies. Here are ten ways for Labour to win them back:
1. There is no way Labour should attempt to compete with the Tories and Ukip on immigration; it would be like Tristram Hunt`s disastrous attempts to out-Gove Gove on right-wing education policies. Jobs, housing, health and school places are the issues Labour should focus on, whilst stressing the benefits immigration has brought to this country, and countering the inaccurate propaganda of the right about "benefit tourism" and such like.
2. Europe is a problem area for Labour: by denying the right to a referendum on Europe, Labour will appear to be of the opinion that politicians at Westminster know best, and that the people cannot be trusted on such fundamental political issues. This is something Farage has played on with some effect, so Labour should not be so adamantly against a referendum at this stage.
3.Focus on Ukip`s right-wing policies and their many similarities with those of the Tories. Expose their support for further cuts, further privatisation, including of the NHS, and less regulation. Do they still support the ridiculous idea of a flat rate tax or has that been ditched with most of their last manifesto? Flat rates mean the rich pay much, much less! Recent speeches indicate them favouring a 40% top rate tax and a grammar school in every town. so if Labour cannot make electoral hay with these, it probably does not deserve to be elected!
4. No need to attack "shrinking man" Clegg and the Lib Dems, but the same sort of video could be devised to show how the privately-educated ex-City profiteer Farage is a fake, and guilty of not only "conning" the British public, but of stirring up racist tension. Employ expert satirists to use their artistic skills to reveal the real Ukip behind the mask. How many people know that their meetings are frequently provided, albeit voluntarily, with "security" by the mosque attacking organisation,"Britain First"? The public need to be told repeatedly the truth about Ukip, especially as much of their success can be attributed to the easy ride Farage has received from the media, especially the BBC, and the other parties.
5. Give Farage no reason to capitalise on people`s fears of immigrants taking jobs, houses, school places and health care, by offering the British public:
an end to zero-hours contracts
an increased minimum wage on a par with the living wage, with massive fines for firms refusing to pay it. Increase role of trade unions in wage negotiations, and move towards the German example of Co-determination. Support the TUC`s call for a ban on the "Swedish" derogation" clause which is being used by employers to pay agency staff, often recruited abroad, far less than permanent employees.The TUC claims it has evidence from UK workplaces where agency staff are paid up to £135 a week less than permanent staff, despite working in the same place and doing the same job. It also found that Swedish derogation contracts are used regularly in UK call centres, food production and logistics firms, while the number of agency workers with these contracts has grown by 15 per cent since the recession, with as many as one in six agency workers on them.
the provision of increased social housing, and strict regulation of rents and private landlords: ensure that the young, students and Generation Rent will no longer be exploited by profiteering landlords
ending Gove`s idiotic policies on free schools and enforced academisation, and repealing his examination reforms which have decreased social mobility so much.
guarantee the future of the NHS and repeal all "reforms" which have led to its partial privatisation.
6. Many ex-Labour supporters will have defected to Ukip because of their belief that Labour leaders are too closely connected to the city, and out of touch with the real world. To remedy that, pledges are needed on:
a refusal to allow the privatisation of RBS, developing it under a Labour government, into a People`s Bank, with reduced profit margins, "ethics" really coming before profits, and no bonuses, with profits funding the NHS. It could attract millions of new customers.
support for a Robin Hood tax on all financial transactions
bankers guilty of scams,like Libor fixing, including the ones responsible for the bank (CEOs), to be disgraced and charged with criminal offence.
restore corporation tax to a sensible rate, which does not invite "tax inversion take-overs" of British firms by foreign businesses
7. Taxes must be set at fairer rates, which tackle the problem of growing inequality. Labour should know anyway that increased inequality inevitably means little or no economic growth. Even the IMF has acknowledged that the rich need to pay much more, so a sliding scale of income tax is needed, Do the vast majority of voters object to the return of the 50% rate for earnings over £150K? Of course not, so why would they not support 45% being paid by those earning over £100K, or 43% over £75K, not to mention 60% over £200K, 75% over £500 K,and 90% over £1m? When the average earnings are around £26K, such measures, perhaps temporary, will attract the support of most voters.
8. Develop policies which will actually reduce tax avoidance and evasion:
give awards, for use in advertising, to firms paying the proper amount
individuals involved in tax avoidance/evasion to be forced to return all honours previously received
individuals involved in any tax avoiding/evading scams not to be allowed to represent GB, including sports stars who change main place of residence from GB
increase number of tax inspectors
go for total transparency on all tax details of Labour MPs and candidates, and challenge the Tories to do the same.
9. Pledge "fiscal responsibility", which does not mean continuing with coalition austerity policies. How can voters be expected to believe the government cannot afford decent public services, when there is money available for unwinnable wars, unnecessary runways,high speed railways, Trident renewal, cheap sell-offs of state owned assets like Royal Mail,and tax reductions for the rich?
10. Deliver the message effectively. Use social media and a variety of "cool messengers"including ordinary MPs, taking the onus off the leader, to give the appearance of unity. Get rid of the awful slogan, " Hard working Britain better off". What does it mean and what confused message does it send?