THE BLOG

Labour's Got the Blues

04/03/2013 16:18 GMT | Updated 02/05/2013 10:12 BST

Labour has been through a number of different guises over the years. To begin with we had just Labour, the party of Attlee and Bevan, who overhauled the Welfare State and put a positive spin on socialism. Then we had New Labour, an attempt to capture the centre ground of politics after eighteen years of right wing Thatcherism. Now we have Ed Miliband's One Nation Labour, or as it is also known. Blue Labour.

The problem with this? The UK already has too many True Blue Parties.

The Eastleigh by-election proved this. The Liberal Democrats may have retained the seat, but Labour limped into fourth place, piped to the post by the Conservatives and - the big shock of the night - Ukip, who took second place. And while the Lib Dem colours may still be orange, I strongly suspect that new MP Mike Thornton will be found on the ring wing of the party - the so called Orange Bookers - who share more ideological similarities than differences with the Tories.

Now you may argue that Labour were never going to win in Eastleigh, a Hampshire constituency and a seat as likely to be ideologically conservative as any. But the point of Miliband's "One Nation Labour" campaign is to try and persuade people that Labour is not just the party of the working classes and the regions, but the party of everyone. That it can appeal to the conservative commuter hubs of Hampshire as much as it can appeal to the industrial heartlands of the north. Its aim is to convince disenfranchised Tory voters that they have a home in Labour.

But Eastleigh has proved that there is already a party ready and willing to take on marginalised Tories.. If a small "c" Conservative voter is angry at the way that Cameron is turning their party into a group of sandal wearing tree huggers, they are more likely to switch to Ukip with its promises of small government, low taxes and a decent debate over Europe, than they are to start singing the Red Flag.

If Miliband is serious about winning the next election and not just keeping the Labour leadership warm for someone else, than he needs to stop trying to present the Labour party as the Conservatives under another name. Current evidence suggests that the British electorate are tired of the same old politics and parties hugging the centre ground and are more willing to respond to parties who aren't afraid to hold different opinions or represent different ideologies. With no Ukip equivalent on the British left, the Labour party has plenty of room to manoeuvre. If Miliband wants Labour to take back Number 10, then he needs to move the party away from the centre and show the country exactly what makes Labour different.

The British people are tired of the same old policies being enacted by two rotating parties. It's time for Labour to ditch the blue and take up its old red colours once again.