View from the Margins

Politics from a 'Marginal Constituency’ by Andy Reed

These are my personal reflections as the former Labour and co-operative MP for the marginal constituency of Loughborough which I held between 1997 and 2010.

The Blogs are largely about understanding the Labour Party since 2010 and plenty of unsought advice for how to win a marginal ‘Middle England’ seat!

I have shared my frustration with the Miliband years and the horror of the Corbyn period leading to the disastrous 2019 General Election defeat.

At times I have been too timid for the fear of upsetting friends and being accused of undermining the Party and candidates – whilst at the same time being accused of doing that! So maybe I got the balance about right. I have certainly not held back on what I thought of Corbyn since day one.

As we move through the 2020’s I will reflect on what a Johnson Government means, how Brexit will unfold and what will happen to the Labour Party. Is it the end or just another long period in the wilderness. Will Labour members ever learn about the importance of winning elections?

I am sure the next decade will be as eventful at the last. Except this time we don’t have a home Olympics to cheer us up a little as we did in 2012!

  • Time for a Fresh Political Start in 2020? What will 2030 look like?
    As 2020 is just around the corner it feels appropriate to look back over the last decade and not just 2019. Perhaps because 2019 seems to have so politically exhausting and damaging it’s tempting to see the last decade only through the narrow lens of the politcs Brexit. It didn’t have to be this way in 2010. If you had pushed me to try and predict what the UK would look like in 2020 – remember all those catchy 2020 vision events you have been to – I woulnd’t have predicted what we are about to suffer. In this article …

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  • A Quick Goodbye to Politics in 2019
    I have taken my own advice from my last Blog and taken time over the last week to reflect, research and listen and not write! Clearly despite the call for people not to rush to judgement most couldn’t resist the temptation and have taken to social media to ‘explain’ why their faction is right about the #GE2019 result. These blogs will continue to reflect on a future for the Labour Party as these are the politics I know best. Specifically from the perspective of a marginal middle england seat. My own SajeImpact assessments about the performance of the new Tory …

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  • Pause & Think Before Electing a New Labour Leader – But Corbyn Should Go Now
    At the same time as everybody is calling for the Party to pause, reflect and listen before rushing to replace the failed Corbyn leadership the starting gun has been fired by some of the possible contenders and their outriders for the Leadership of the Party. This is completely the wrong way round. My heart sinks as I read the internal local Labour Party Facebook posts about the leadership election ahead. We have just come off the worst election defeat since 1935 and already people are falling into their differing camps based on some vague ideological difference or who they ‘like’ …

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  • Time Needed for Reflection Listening & a Lot More Humility
    Like many political progressive observers I felt angry and disillusioned on Friday morning and took to social media to point out where I thought the blame lay – Corbyn, Brexit and an inept Labour campaign. Although I knew all these were massive problems for Labour and called them out during the election in these articles I didn’t see the massive Tory majority coming. By the time we got near to Polling day I had them down in my mind for a 20+ majority territory. Sadly the Polls got it largely right. I don’t like to rush to judgement normally but …

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  • The Fight for the Soul of the Labour Party
  • The Final Stretch – a few random thoughts!
    I have had some really interesting conversations over the last 6 weeks of this general election campaign and thanks to all the comments and questions I have had from those who have read these ramblings! In over 30 years of deep involvement in every General Election I don’t think I have ever been so remote from the day to day planning and intensity of a local campaign as this election. It has certainly made me see the impact of the Campaiagns as an average interested voter rather than a party loyalist. Last week In particular I was completely turned off …

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  • Have the Campaigns Run Out of Steam?
    With just a week to go it is still difficult to call this election. On the surface it looks as though the Tory lead has remained quite solid and small majority is on the cards.
  • Tories Heading to Victory or Looking Vulnerable with Another Hung Parliament ?
    The much anticipated YouGov MRP poll was released last night and suggests the Tories could sweep the election with a 68 seat majority. When I say much anticipated I mainly mean by political nerds like me, journalists and campaigners. The YouGov poll and the MRP methodology called the 2017 General Election hung parliament result 9 days out from election day, so has some credibility amongst observers. There are of course numerous caveats. Like financial products past performance doesn’t predict the future. Polling in these uncertain political times must be taken with a lot of caution. There is also two weeks …

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  • *That* Corbyn Interview – The Moment Wavering Voters were Scared Off?
    There was a large part of me that didn’t want to watch the Andrew Neil interview with Jeremy Corbyn on BBC last night. I knew it would be excruciating so didn’t want to watch it live. But having seen my social media light up with the sheer horror of what people had seen I had to see it for myself on iPlayer. Was it was as bad as everybody claimed. I am afraid it was. Whilst everybody seemed to concentrate on the inability of Corbyn to get to grips with the anti Semitism issue and to fail to apologise for …

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  • WASPI – Victory for Campaigners
    Anybody who has followed politics over the last few years cannot have failed to have been impressed by the case made by the WASPI women in their fight for their pensions. If you haven’t been keeping up to date if you aren’t one of the the 3m women affected you can read some of the background here on the BBC News Story. The case has been well made but it’s not really as clear cut as it seems and any policy and financial response needs to be carefully thought through. But this weekend Labour took everybody by surprise by coming …

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