The next general election is one Labour has to lose for its own survival

It was reported on Friday that Gordon Brown was likening himself in private to John Major. I too see the parallels. Both embattled, suffering terrible poll ratings and with a party now starting to turn in on itself. However, Gordon Brown apparently sees himself more at the 1990-1992 John Major, not the 1992-1997 one.

This should be of some concern to Labour. You see in 1992 the Tories squeaked in to power again, but in many ways it would have been much better for them not to have done so. In 1992 the Tories still had some inner city seats (Norwich North, Birmingham Yardley, Manchester Withington, Bristol West, and so the list goes on) and the period from 1992-97 systematically destroyed the Tories in those seats so much so that they have never fully recovered their strength and in some of those seats they are a poor third even now and have few councillors. The fact that the Tories clung on actually worked against them in the long run.

This is problem labour now face. This year people went out and voted against Labour because they dislike them. This is what started to happen to the Tories fro the Poll Tax year (1990), but that hated started to become ingrained each year they clung on to power. So much so that by the time 1997 came around there were a generation of people who didn't want to vote Tory ever again. It has taken eleven years to turn that around, whilst in some areas the seats will be lost to the Tories for some time to come because their activist base has still not recovered or the main opposition to Labour is no longer a Tory one and is now Lib Dem or Nationalist.

Labour now face the possibility of seats that have been Labour for 16 years now falling to the Tories, but should they cling on to power next time, the chances are that they won't just be losing seats they gained in 1992 or 1997, instead they will be losing their 1987 gains, and that spells a real disaster for Labour. Already we see Labour being wiped out in seats where the influence of Tony Blair made them strong for a short period of time. In Broadland and North Norfolk, two examples local to me, the Labour Party became the largest party on the councils in the period from 1995 to 1997, and in the case of the Mid Norfolk constituency, they came withing about 1500 votes of winning in 1997. Now Labour are third in this seat and just like North Norfolk, they have no councillors in the whole constituency and little hope of one. St Albans is the other classic example, a Labour gain from third place in 1997, held in 2001, lost in 2005 and now Labour are down to around half a dozen councillors and look set to be wiped out soon.

This is the fate that awaits whole chunks of Britain if Labour clings on next time.

So in many ways the next election is one Labour needs to lose, for its own survival, and one that if the Tories do lose, should see them win by a convincing landslide five years later.


Quiet_Man said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. should labour win another general election I can also further foresee the rise in power of such organisations such as the BNP. It is after all mostly grabbing the support of disillusioned Labour supporters, not Tories, nor Lib Dems.
A Labour victory in the next general election could finish them as a party for good.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Get some perspective.

I remember the Daily Telegraph, Saturday 10th October, 1959, assuring all and sundry that the Labour Party were finished for a generation.

By 2nd April 1966, the Daily Mirror was equally as sure the Tories were a goner for any foreseeable future.

etc. etc.

What goes around, comes around. So re-arrange the following to make a well-known and Wilsonian phrase or saying:

politics in a time a week is long.

Bill Quango MP said...

Yes, good post.
Even i, tory supporter WANTED..Yes wanted john Major to lose.
Nothing to do with Thatcher ousting either. she was clearly past her sell by. No I wanted him gone because he was embarrasing.
Clinging to power for what ? another dangerous dogs act, A knee jerk bill, maybe on firearms, DVDs, Drugs or speeding?

Mr Bean will end up the same way. He's already tainted the way Major was with that dull grey caricature.

Of course, he can't go.. It's his life's ambition. Imagine that.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think the Crew by election result will be very interesting. I think Labour will hold it. But if by chance they dont it could see a revolt in the party during the following months.

I dont think Labour have any chance of winning the next general election. They have upset just too many people. The 10p tax is Labours poll tax but without the rioting.

TJUK2008 said...

Nich, as a local Labour Party activist in Norfolk, I can see your point. In local politics, voters seem to vote for whichever party is not in power, so for local labour candidates to do well and start gaining councillors and councils, we need to have a Conservative Government, sounds crazy doesnt it. Thats the dilemma of local activists I suppose, all that said, I still think I'd rather be a lone labour person in the wildnerness surrounded by Tory councillors then submit to a National Conservative Government.

Anonymous said...

Tories had Bristol South last time in 1931-1935. Since then it has been Labour, their safest seat in South West.

Man in a Shed said...

Agree with your premise. However their is an underlying tension.

The Labour government is controlled by people who's careers will be over when the Labour government falls.

I've tried to argue in the comment section of one or two Labour blogs that if they went now then the next Labour govt would be two years closer.

Really Gordon Brown is using up the future of his own party. But we're back with Turkeys voting for Christmas here - as they lost all nobility and sense of self sacrifice over ten years ago.

Man in a Shed said...

On Crewe - if the Conservatives turn Crewe into a referendum of Gordon Brown then even Labour voters might vote blue....