"The real issue is why so many Labour voters did not bother to vote in Heywood and Middleton"by John Mann / October 10, 2014 / Leave a comment
There is no need for Labour to panic over the Ukip surge in votes, but there is an urgent need to understand what it means.
The real issue is why so many Labour voters did not bother to vote in Heywood and Middleton. Crucially, Ukip is bringing the lost 1997 Labour voters back into electoral participation, while Labour voters from recent years are abstaining in noticeable numbers.
In recent weeks I have polled the views of residents who have previously voted across my constituency. Of the thousands who responded around 30 per cent of those who have previously voted Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and even Ukip have still not decided how they will be voting on Election Day. These are the people who may well abstain next May unless we give them something to vote for.
Why? There is a failure by Labour to present a clear vision on low pay, on immigration, on housing, on the NHS and on power within the country. The mantra of “must work harder” is not sufficient.
A party that is unequivocal about its commitment to public services, to the NHS, that will renegotiate free movement of Labour inside the European Union, that will transfer real powers for education, housing and planning to local communities would be offering a very different prospect to the country—and not least to England.
There are the opportunities to make these decisive moves and that is the imperative, not pondering over which personality would make the best leader.
I back Ed Miliband. But, does Ed Miliband back me and the views of many Labour voters across the country who want to see our concerns addressed? It is not listening but action that we need: deeds not words. “I hear what you are saying” is not good enough. We need to be bold if we are to gain the confidence of the electorate.
I fear that the decimation of the Tory vote in two by-elections, and the consequential private and personal panic of scores of Tory MPs, will create too much comfort for Ed and his pals who run the Labour Party. His fundamental error will be if he…