Should Labour Move to the Centre?

18/05/2015 15:53 BST | Updated 18/05/2016 10:59 BST

A less ideological approach to building a fairer society, and a path forward for Labour 

An open letter to Labour’s new leader

Dear sir or madam:

The question that has dominated Labour’s election post mortem is whether the party lost because it was too left-wing and should therefore return to the centre ground. At one level the answer is plainly ‘yes’. Since Margaret Thatcher’s departure 25 years ago, every victorious party leader (John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron) has consciously sought to campaign from the centre, while every leader branded as firmly to the Left or Right has lost (Neil Kinnock, William Hague, Michael Howard and Ed Miliband).

As you seek to revive Labour’s fortunes, the obvious conclusion to draw is that voters reject the analysis and policies of the Left, and you should return to the strategy associated with Tony Blair and accept the tenets of the free market, rather than bang on about inequality and predatory capitalism.

In fact, things are not that simple. Here are the findings of a post-election YouGov survey that voters’ priorities for government action. I have ranked them from the most left-wing to least left-wing responses.