Most of our readers are aware that we produce voting reports on MPs (as well as other research). In fact, it’s developed into a rather useful resource so, not surprisingly, we’ve started to get requests for information on the Labour leadership candidates. Rest assured folks, we will be doing detailed voting reports on all the candidates for the Leadership and also the Deputy Leadership roles, as soon as the candidates have all officially declared.
There’s already concern however over some of the rhetoric coming out of various camps as the prospective candidates start unofficially pitching their cases. Phrases like ‘progressive patriotism’ are making a lot of folks rather uncomfortable and call’s to transform the party into something ‘more electable’ hint at what could be a significant change in direction, despite the obvious popularity of existing policies.
When you have candidates musing over why Labour failed to win the recent general election and coming up with ideas that clearly do not consider the available voting data, then what we’re seeing is that the parliamentary Labour Party are still refusing to learn lessons. They appear to be arguing that pitch and spin hold more value with the voting public than what voters actually think and are trying to tell them. It’s a bit like persuading voters that they have the answers without actually knowing the questions people are asking. If you subscribe to this way of thinking then you’re ignoring the fact that, although Labour lost a sizeable vote share the Conservatives barely increased their vote share at all and you ignore the fact that despite the Remain-Alliance not gaining any seats, they still made massive gains in vote share (roughly the equivalent to Labour’s loss in vote share). These candidates also ignore the fact that despite Labour losing vote share, they still had a higher vote share than in the 2005, 2010 and 2015 general elections. So, to somehow then extrapolate from this data the conclusion that Labour lost the northern vote is either a stretch of the imagination, an extremely misguided pitch or a deliberate attempt to persuade members that we need to change the direction of the party.
Jeremy Corbyn made a point of reminding us all today, in his New Year’s speech, that Labour is now a strong movement of well over 500,000 members and is still growing. He encouraged members to keep the faith and continue the fight and it’s clear that the vote share data proves Jeremy has good reason to believe in the policies that party membership voted in. Assuming the wider membership still have faith in these policies, they’ll be keen to vote in candidates who share their belief and they will not want to take a risk with candidates who could force the party to change direction. One also assumes they will not want to take the risk and simply back a Momentum/CLPD/BAME slate either, as past experience of backing slates have spectacularly back fired.
One thing we will not do at Spotlight is produce a slate. We’re not in the business of telling people who they should vote for but what we can do is provide you with the information you need to make your own informed choices. We’ll post the voting report to Spotlight as soon as it’s finished folks (and any other useful information we can find). If you’d like to get email notifications when we post articles and reports then please drop us an email folks – firstname.lastname@example.org
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