"We cannot form a government without white working class Britain behind us"by John Mann / June 12, 2014 / Leave a comment
Ed Miliband needs to reconnect with traditional Labour voters ©Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images
The dust has settled following the results of the European and local elections. The Labour Party now has to come to terms with its refusal to take the fight to Ukip throughout those elections, a strategy which was an unmitigated disaster. However a much bigger price will be paid if those who were unenthused to bother voting Labour continue to abstain next year. It is these voters, not the smaller number of Labour to Ukip switchers, that the party must become obsessed with.
If even a small percentage of previous Labour voters stay at home, then we cannot win the election. These voters are not comfortable with Ukip’s extremes, but they want to see a confident, bold and in-touch Labour Party. This time a dangerously increased number of them stayed at home.
Through this year the Labour election strategists have laboured under the illusion that strong performances from Ukip were good for our electoral chances. This was based on the assumption that Ukip’s appeal was restricted to disaffected Tories, and the mistake of taking a large number of “traditional Labour voters” for granted. The mind-set behind such intellectual games is at the heart of the fault line which Ed Miliband must address.
I will not join the whisperers hoping to remove Ed Miliband. I will never be a plotter against a Labour leader fighting an election. However, I will be a critical friend. False comfort from local election results has derailed Labour before and this must not happen now.
Our immigration policy has to bridge the metropolitan elite that runs the Labour Party and our potential voters outside London; incorporating both our London strategists who are reluctant to recognise the downsides of rapid population shifts and those whose livelihoods are directly impacted. The Labour Party must create a broader coalition that includes viewpoints like those of my constituents in Bassetlaw, north Nottinghamshire. We cannot form a government without white working class Britain behind us.
Ukip’s racist pandering has undoubtedly diminished its appeal, but our complicity with what people are experiencing creates a dilemma for many…