Conservatives

Face-Off: Who Will Labour’s Next Opponent

‘Now it’s open war’, screamed the Daily Mail headline on 18 June 2015. Not, this time, a comment on the Labour leadership race that was then getting into full swing, but the contest to come on the Treasury benches. The future race to be leader of the Conservative party, a vacancy David Cameron himself pre-announced in his kitchen interview with the BBC’s James Landale earlier this year, might have slipped from the public eye temporarily, but the unrest that characterised the Conservative parliamentary party in the last parliament has not gone away.

In this new pamphlet, a leading cast of Labour commentators examine the names in the Tory frame and assess their chances.

Face-off front coverContents

II Introduction Parties at war – by Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

III George Osborne Politics first, economics second – by Conor Pope
IV Theresa May Neither ‘blue’ nor ‘Bullingdon’ – by Jacqui Smith
Boris Johnson A real laugh – by Sally Gimson
VI Sajid Javid Break the mould – by Felicity Slater
VII Amber Rudd Thatcher’s heir – by Ben Dilks
VIII David Cameron Always underestimated – by Jonathan Todd

XI Conclusion Osborne’s to lose? – by Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

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See the full pamphlet with all the potential leaders profiled here

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Labour has to be honest about the hole that it’s in

First published on The Staggers

Labour suffered a “hidden landslip” at the polls last week. Getting out of the hole requires some frank conversations.

Let us be in no doubt how bad last week’s result was. We lost – I repeat – lost eight seats to the Tories, and of the 88 seats we were targeting to win from the Tories we gained just 10 and reduced their majority in only a further 10.

Our prospects at the next election now look more distant than ever. Had we this time around gained 3,000 net votes per seat from our closest rival we would have gained 49 seats. Next time, if we rose 3,000 net votes against seats’ new majorities we would gain just 24. Just as Joan Ryan identified the ‘hidden landslide’ – 2005 seats won from Labour by the Conservatives which massively increased their majorities against us in 2010 – this time we witnessed the ‘hidden landslip’  of our party sliding further away in the seats we need to win just to get near a majority. The Staggers’ own Stephen Bush has calculated the large swings Labour would now need to secure in target seats if it is to return in 2020. (more…)

Crosby’s mimicry is too little, too late

Redbox article 16/04/2015First published on the Times Redbox

The Conservative party’s apparent political cross-dressing has left many people puzzling over why the party is talking about matters traditionally viewed as Labour strengths. In fact, this is classic Lynton Crosby.

Known as the ‘Australian Karl Rove’, and ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Crosby has long been associated with the negative campaigning that became the signature of the 2005 general election.

But he is also a master of mimicry. When things are going well for his opponent, and he cannot easily demolish it or find a way to fold it into the Conservative message, he will go all out and ape it. (more…)

‘The country will be run according to a different idea’

First published in Progress magazine

There will be no pie-in-the-sky promises under the next Labour government, Ed Miliband tells Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

Entering the leader of the opposition’s now-bare office, his team are quick to point out how the operation has decamped to Brewers Green, the campaign nerve centre. In what is one of Ed Miliband’s last meetings in the Norman Shaw South office we ask him to cast his mind forward. What will Britain after five years of a Labour government look like? ‘The country will be run according to a different idea,’ he explains. ‘I think the Tories really do believe that as long as you take care of those at the top, the wealth will just trickle down to everybody else. That has not worked.’ So Labour, in contrast, believes ‘when working people succeed, that Britain succeeds’. ‘At the end of five years of this government, people think the country is more divided, more unequal, more unjust. And I hope that by the end of five years of my government, people will think, “Actually the country is more fair, more just, more equal and better serves my interests”.’ (more…)