Hilary: What about how to appeal to UKIP voters. Does it require redefining patriotism?
Jeremy: No, it just requires reaching out and saying, well actually, the housing shortage is created by not enough houses, the doctors shortage is created by not enough doctors, the limits on school places by not enough schools. Stop blaming people. Look to ourselves how we solve it.
And when, Jeremy, the voters who, you say should vote Labour, but whom we have failed, say Labour failed us by letting in too migrants, what then? Would there not be more houses, doctors and school places, if there were fewer migrants? That is the answer you fail to anticipate and for which you have, for now, no credible response.
Meanwhile, you allow Diane Abbott to publicly brand anyone, who has concerns about migration, a racist. And, just to prove Labour’s problem with the plebs’ attitude towards migration knows no, middle class, bounds, Marc Stears, former speech writer for Ed Miliband, Professor of Political Theory and Fellow of University College, Oxford says,
“There is hope only in parties that are rooted in the diverse communities of Britain; parties that are willing to challenge settled opinion in some areas – entrenched attitudes to migration, for example – but who also confidently accept that they possess no monopoly on either wisdom or virtue.”
Of course, being middle class (and lacking in emotional intelligence?) neither Corbyn or Abbott or Stears are likely to find themselves in a position where they might be inconvenienced by migration. They certainly do not fear a migrant taking their jobs from them!
Migration remains a major issue for voters. One Jeremy Corbyn needs to address sensitively and not by lecturing, haranguing and/or challenging those many people who have genuine, not racist concerns about the disbenefits of migration. He might, whilst engaging with voters on this issue, like to reflect on this comment from Danny Blanchflower,
“I think the CIPD’s right. The labour market is slowing, and what we have got is pressure pushing down on wages: from the unemployed, from the underemployed, [and] by the potential flow of migrants from central and eastern Europe.”
Another big issue for voters, unsurprisingly, is the economy which usually translates, for most in work, into how much money will I earn today, this week or this month. Whether or not migrants are taking jobs from local people, they are moderating pay increases, holding down salaries and wages that might have risen higher, if the number of jobseekers were lower.
Labour under Miliband, was, before the General Election, being seen as ever more out of touch with its core vote by those who went on to vote for ukip. Corbyn, on current form, seems set to do nothing to alter that perception, in fact, he looks likely to convince (ex Labour) ukip voters that they were right to switch their votes in May 2015.
Incidentally, “older people” in May 2015 “saw the economy/deficit and immigration and patriotism as important issues and were more critical of Labour’s record in office and less likely to see Labour as competent.” “As a proportion, Labour won just over one in five (22%) of the vote of those in retirement – the largest age cohort and the one most likely to vote.
Weighting the age categories for their relative proportion of the electorate also shows the importance of the older cohort in winning elections. Split slightly differently to the Ipsos-Moripoll, GQRR’s post-election survey shows that over 40% of the electorate are 55 and over. What their polling also shows is that the Tories gained twice as many votes in this group as Labour. Over half (20% of 38%) of their vote came from this group. It formed just a third for Labour despite this group forming 40% of the electorate.
With an ageing population, the ‘grey vote’ will be even bigger still in 2020. Indeed, the next election may well be contested around winning the votes of older people.” It is estimated that 51% of the electorate will be over 55 in 2020. The most that many of them will have in common with Corbyn is that they are over 55.
The biggest issue troubling voters today is defence, foreign affairs and terrorism. The least is nuclear weapons, nuclear war and nuclear disarmament. Corbyn, who has made voters doubt him over his likely response to matters of defence and terrorism now plans to expend political capital, he does not have, on the matter of scrapping Trident. In the process, he risks splitting the Labour Party further and threatening its links with individual trades unionists and thus jeopardising the 2.4 million political levy payments it receives from them each year.
Labour cannot afford to lose the support, especially the financial support of 2.4 million trades unionists, unless the Corybnettes are planning to dip into their pockets to make up any future shortfall. Have they dipped into their pockets yet to offset the funding the party has lost from donors since Corbyn was elected leader?
It is not unusual at moments like this for a Corbynette to pop up and say, but he got 59.5% and it was an unprecedented result (for a voting system never previously used by the party) ! Indeed, he did. 59.5% of the 76.3% who were eligible to vote. 23.7% were so overwhelmed by the leadership election that they seemingly forgot to vote. Seen, from a different perspective, like say Cameron actually only got X%, given the turnout, Corbyn only got 45.4%. And, it gets worse, a total of 148,192 ballot papers were sent out to trades union levy payers registered as party supporters, but only 71,546 were returned. Admittedly, some of the 2.4 million trades union levy payers may have voted as fully paid up party members, but even so the vast majority of those who might have voted in the leadership election did not do so.
Whichever way you cut it, there was no grass roots movement for Corbyn, unless you do not count the vast majority of the 2.4 million trades union levy payers as Labour’s grass roots? By the way, Kezia Dugdale got 72.1% of the votes cast in the Scottish Labour leadership election and, despite that Corbyn said, on his becoming leader, that he was going to review her work one day each month. I am afraid that Jeremy suffers from David’s affliction when it comes to coping with confident, assertive women.
Women make up 51% of the UK population, but they are in a minority amongst the Labour Party’s membership and its Parliamentary representatives. Women, on average, live longer than men so there will be even more than 51% of them amongst the cohort of over 55s who will be voting in the 2020 General Election.
Corbyn is failing to address the three big issues troubling voters in a way that will attract their support. He is not listening to them. He is not engaging in meaningful conversations with them. In some areas, he seems to be doing and saying things guaranteed to make them think he does not share their concerns.
When will Corbyn click his heels twice and realise he is no longer just the (semi detached) Labour Member of Parliament for North Islington? The concerns that obsess his mostly middle class, often quite affluent, supporters in Islington are not ones that many outside of that North London Borough share. Were that the case then Corbynmania would not have been restricted to a mostly middle class selectorate, “whose members were either under 30 or over 60”. Labour did not lose in 2015, because middle class voters had deserted it. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Time, surely, for Corbyn to spend a lot more time with the 9 million who voted Labour in May 2015, learning about what concerns them and a lot less with the likes of the Stop the War Coalition or the Friends of Hugo Chavez? Unless he devotes his diary to the 9 million then, on current form, ukip has nothing to worry about when Corbyn seeks to call home its supporters. Supporters whom Corbyn thinks should vote Labour.