THE BLOG

The Economy, Immigration and Welfare - The Nails in Labour's Coffin

21/01/2016 11:08 GMT | Updated 20/01/2017 10:12 GMT

We're still talking about it, but not many people in the Labour leadership seem to be listening. In 2020, Labour need to win 94 MPs to form a majority government of just two. The newly released Beckett report has pointed out a variety of reasons Labour lost in 2015, mainly that of the economy, immigration and welfare.

Ed Miliband has been given a fair hearing overall, with Beckett applauding the ground campaign, which revived his polling status. But, sloppy media appearances should be treated with equal fairness, and therefore equally condemned. Miliband lacked in challenging 'overspending' claims, merely emphasising the Tory narrative. Not only did it allow the Tories to run rings around Labour's press team, it also promoted the myth that the financial crash began at Number 10. The financial crash started on Wall Street, not Downing Street, and Labour's failures to put those myths to bed were an open goal for the Tories.

SNP alienation of English voters in key marginal constituencies won over Tory votes, due to the threat of a Labour-SNP coalition. Labour lost credibility. The Tories then held the narrative over immigration and welfare, issues that Labour tried to hold up vague policy on and then wondered why they convinced very few. Labour's policy to stop benefits for migrants for the first two years was seen as half-hearted and never had a chance at winning over votes from the Tories or UKIP, whose policies both seemed more in tune with public opinion.

It is because of our failures in May 2015 that people in Britain are suffering. Young people can no longer claim housing benefit and social mobility is dead after the scrapping of maintenance grants for the poorest students. With boundary changes expected to shrink parliament from 650 seats to 600, the government will be the only party to benefit electorally against a somewhat floundering opposition leadership team. If the Labour leadership can't convince large sections of their own party, then it will have no hope of convincing the electorate in 2020.

Labour was terrified of standing up to myths and allowed the Conservatives to run away with the narrative and set the agenda in 2015. With a party that seemed scared of the merits of its own policy and a current Labour leader that has the worst polling results since the Second World War, social justice will be a thing of the past for a generation unless Labour learn from the mistakes of 2015.

To get the changes people need from a Labour government, the leadership need to attack the government and stop claiming every piece of criticism in the media is some sort of 'right wing conspiracy'. Open goals over the floods in the North of England, the Trade Union Bill, and many other issues have been missed because of an obsession with alienating the mass media. Having a coherent, 'on message' media strategy is not the same as getting into bed with Rupert Murdoch. Sadiq Khan's London transport policy reveal was dwarfed by the marathon reshuffle, which just shows the shockingly disorganised media management team surrounding the leadership at the moment.

Since 2010, Labour have danced around issues rather than tackling them head on. Issues that are top of the electorate's priorities cannot be ignored if Labour expect to win an election. Hopefully there will be some realignment, in terms of attack and media management, at the top of the party to deliver what the majority of the country need - A Labour government.