Labour Doesn’t Need More Studies to Understand Loss

The party is simply unwilling to accept that it needs to move to the middle again to regain voters’ trust.

Former British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband makes a speech, May 4, 2015
Former British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband makes a speech, May 4, 2015 (Labour)

So now Britain’s Labour Party has two reports telling it what went wrong.

After Dame Margaret Beckett published one last week that sidestepped the real issues by blaming a hostile media and a supposedly undeserved perception that Labour policies caused the 2008 crash, ITV reports that another, franker assessment of the party’s 2015 election defeat was kept secret.

Based on voter research in swing districts, it found that “Labour negatives are deep and powerful.” Ed Miliband, the former leader, was considered “weak and bumbling.” The party was perceived as earnest but in thrall to the undeserving. English voters weren’t sure what Labour stood for anymore. Left-wing voters in Scotland couldn’t distinguish the party from the ruling Conservatives.

Doubling down

None of this should come as a surprise. The Atlantic Sentinel argued right after May’s election that the reasons Labour lost were straightforward: The party wasn’t trusted on the economy and didn’t have a credible candidate for prime minister. Both Labour’s economic plan (such as it was) and its leader were seen as incompetent and too left-wing.

Instead of moving back to the center, though, where it won elections under Tony Blair, Labour is doubling down on a failed strategy, electing the far-left Jeremy Corbyn as its leader who, in turn, is shifting Labour’s positions on everything from benefits and housing to nuclear weapons even further to the left.

Sensible Labourites can write all the reports they want; it seems the party is in no mood to learn from its mistakes.

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