I was about to finish the blog below today to explain the 21pt Labour deficit.. but as you can imagine the General Election being called for June 8th has slightly changed the news today! More to follow on that later…
At the end of a blitz of Policy announcments during the Easter recess it looked as though the Labour leadership had found out how to look half competent. Indeed according to the Poll in the Independent released today many of these policies seem to be popular with the public. I am not sure you can read too much into these findings as it would be difficult to find many people who don’t like the idea of a £10 Minimum Wage. The same could go for other policies – like free school meals and reigning in high earners. The worrying finding for Corbyn in this polling is the suspicion of the £500bn ‘investment’ bank. It sounds like more Labour borrowing and people are still wary of Labour on the economy (more of this later). But overall it did look as though all the boxes had been ticked. Most of the policies hit the mark – causing a headline, good media coverage (see what happens in the MSM when you work properly) and creating mini fights to highlight Labour taking on vested interests. Some of the policies don’t really add up under scrutiny but at this stage of the electoral cycle that isn’t the purpose. Job done. Well done from me. But of course there is still the elephant in the room in a week like last week. ‘The Leadership’.
But it was such a relief that Labour had a normal week and a pick up in the polling on policy that Corbynistas got very excited on my timelines tweeting the polling with great excitement. But of course the same newspaper was also reporting its own ComRes poll which put the Tories 21 pts ahead. Of course to Corbynistas this part of the polling is surely #fakenews as its a little inconvenient. They pointed to the ‘other’ poll which showed the gap was ‘only’ 9% behind. This update isn’t really about the accuracy of polls so if you want to enter that debate it is worth following a good friend of mine who does these things for a living! – Matt Singh over at Number Cruncher Politics . Is it a 21 or 9pt Tory Lead?
This ability for Labour to have ‘popular policies’ but struggle in the polls and at elections is not a new problem. Indeed it is a re-run of the run up to the 2015 election for Miliband. The individual policies (at least most of them) polled well with our core support and those needed to be won over as part of the infamous 35% strategy.
So if all these policies are so popular what is going on when Labour are then a massive 21% behind the Tories and heading for another poor set of local election results?
Perhaps this article from Helen Lewis best summarises the problem. The electorate have already made up their mind about Corbyn and thet aren’t prepared to listen.
There was also ‘the’ photo which showed his team are not quite keeping their eye on the ball all the time but to be fair this job is much harder than it used to be. We all know a photo can haunt a politician as Ed Miliband found to his cost when that Bacon sandwich photo became the abiding memory of the Labour leader. The toilet photo is poor and thanks to social media has been shared more than it deserved to be. For me this isn’t the same bracket as the Bacon sarnie fiasco but it does reinforce a poor image of Corbyn.
I write these things in desperation that Corbyn supporters may start to take an interest in the damage he is doing to the Party and what it takes to win a general election where we need to win marginal seats like Loughborough. I watched I Daniel Blake this week. It reminded me of the cases I was able to take on as an MP and win. Being out of power and allowing a regime of sanctions against the poorest makes me angry and desperate to see a Labour government as soon as possible. It won’t be me in Parliament but it needs Labour representation asap. With Corbyn