Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Sunday That Wasn't

The politicians have tried to stoke up the campaign today but with little success. The same old rubbish has been wheeled out about immigration, but it doesn't seem to have bitten. Labour have still not taken a decisive step to push the campaign in their direction, and they may pay the price for this. It looks like they'll wait until the manifesto launch at some time next week before beginning the big push, but they are spending too long the defensive.

However, maybe it doesn't matter. According to MORI, there has been a shocking turnaround in the polls, going from 5% Tory lead to 7% Labour. This is quite surprising, and it is possible that MORI have a rogue poll on their hands on both occasions. There's something not quite right here, since the electioneering of the last couple of weeks has not been particularly groundbreaking. However, the other figure showing that 61% are absolutely certain to vote (as well as a clutch of other data from these polls) makes for interesting reading.

Some of the more intriguing numbers in particular suggest that 56% of people would be happy to have tax rises if they went on health, education and welfare, and that 59% of people have either slight or strong support for the use of taxes being used to narrow the gap between rich and poor. It's these people that Labour are probably going to have to rely on to get through this election while staying silent on whether taxes are going to go up enough. Fortunately, this is more than enough to win an election, and it's strangely reassuring to learn that this nation has not yet descended into the Tory maelstrom of The Back Pocket is King.

But if there really are a lot of fickle people in this country, wavering between parties from one minute to the next, we can be sure that there will be a certain level of Labour supporters who just won't be able to vote for them again, no matter how much Peter Hain tries to scare us. Chicken Yoghurt, in a great post explaining just why we find it so difficult to support New Labour this time is well worthy of a read.

It makes you wonder... just what has happened to traditional Labour and liberal values? The government seems to have got lost in a lust for authoritarian measures. If there really is such support for these traditional "Old" Labour principles as the polls suggest, then why has the Labour party not made significant efforts to highlight their plans in these areas? Instead, they've been busy fighting wars, curtailing civil liberties and burning the ladders up which they climbed. It seems they're more interested in talking about the economy and appealing to that Old Back Pocket again. Isn't that the Tory way?

New Labour is not Labour, no matter what Peter Hain thinks.


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