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Pete Lawrence - 22 May 2016
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Surely then the biggest challenge to Labour is to counter these scare stories and MSM influence with rebuttal and reason, to make sure they’re ‘on-message’ in social media, to develop and support their own media channels, or third-party channels who are g

The discussions that must lead on from former policy chief John Cruddas' newly published report over Labour’s future are vital, with that I agree with Cruddas, but certainly not his context or language. Or many of his actual conclusions.

There are factors at play which were noticeable at the recent elections and they are very relevant to this survey. Although it talks about learning the lessons of both the general election and the recent May elections, one might assume that the bulk of the research was done before these recent polls. There is a geographical split evident from the recent the May polling, significant if not dramatic shifting of the plates is occurring.  I take issue that Labour are becoming as toxic in south east. That may have been the case with Miliband’s Labour but in fact the evidence now points to Labour starting to increase votes across swathes of the more well-to-do south East, across the more liberal elements of ‘middle Britain’ - but not by enough *yet* to start winning key marginals in the way they did in 1997. That level of victory may still be possible, I believe, if Labour continue exactly as they are doing - rolling out strong policy especially on the economy, taxation, education, welfare and countering and highlighting the stupidity of most Tory initiatives, which are forcing so many u-turns already.

Let’s not ignore the significance of the ‘fear/hope’ divide for the more conservative, usually older Labour elements. Cruddas’ report talks about their insecurity on immigration, Europe, crime and welfare - all these are on the ‘fear’ radar for Thurrock or Barnsley man / woman. These are the elements who are more likely to be reading the Daily Mail’s latest horror stories or the Express’ UKIP propaganda. Without being patronising about any of this, surely then the biggest challenge to Labour is to counter these scare stories and MSM influence with rebuttal and reason, to make sure they’re ‘on-message’ in social media, to develop and support their own media channels, or third-party channels who are giving exposure to more unfiltered information. In its widest context it’s about getting the message out there - in the most subtle, non alarmist ways possible - that the old neoliberal system has had its day..

At the same time as continuing this message, there’s much work to be done in parts of the Midlands and particularly the North, the traditional heartlands where Labour’s vote seemed to be slipping slightly too, often to UKIP and usually based on the ‘fear’ vote.

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