First published in Progress magazine
No one has levelled with the public about what drives migration to this country
‘No compromise with the electorate’ was Ted Knight’s infamous opinion when he and his hard-left friends ran Lambeth council into the ground in the 1980s. After the 2015 general election, a senior Labour member of parliament who has long been associated with Progress said to me, ‘On immigration, you are as bad as the Trots – no comprise with the electorate.’ Recently another MP remarked how bizarre it was that, as they saw it, ‘Tony Blair and Diane Abbott basically have the same opinion on immigration’. The former prime minister’s mantra of ‘fair rules without prejudice’ is certainly a position I – and most Labour party members – can get on board with. But the initial comment made me think.
Is there a neo-Blairite/neo-Bennite, liberal metropolitan elite view and is it just a modern form of Knight’s philosophy? Do they have a point? (more…)
First published in the ‘i’ newspaper
The people’s decision to leave the European Union has sent an earthquake through the political class. All major parties have been shaken. Brexit has been as hard on the Labour party as it has on the pound, at its lowest level since some point in the early to mid 1980s. The danger for Labour is that how many voters in its heartlands felt on one day in June 2016 defines how they behave and vote for a decade to come.
If Scotland is a guide, moving to a post-referendum politics – where whether you voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ defines how you vote – will take some time. It will not, as in Scotland, be a resurgent Tory party that will come for our heartlands but their rightwing cousins in the United Kingdom Independence Party. (more…)
Progress editorial | First published on Progressonline
The political establishment is running scared. The United Kingdom Independence party is a phenomenon that it barely understands and cannot quite work out how to outmanoeuvre, let alone outsmart.
While Ukip has given those who do not vote, or reluctantly vote for a mainstream party, somewhere to go, the party has real and present limits to its support base. It might not have reached it yet, but it sits around the 20 per cent mark.
Herein lies the opportunity to win a majority at the next election. Twenty per cent of the electorate may be leaning Ukip, but the rest are not, and there is no party that provokes greater antipathy than Nigel Farage’s. The leader best able to represent and lead the ‘anyone-but-Ukip’ vote has a prize waiting at the end. (more…)