The uncomfortable truth is that Labour can learn something from Nigel Farage

At least the UKIP leader avoids the dizzying spin which the voters are seeing through so clearly.

At least the UKIP leader avoids the sort of dizzying spin the voters are seeing through so clearly

With the dust finally settling on what has been a turbulent few days of electoral politics, we can at last look back and reflect properly on what has undoubtedly been UKIP’s time to shine.

The ‘main’ parties have serious lessons to learn, Labour included. Yes, we secured an additional 300 plus local authority seats along with an additional seven MEPs, which is undoubtedly good news. But for all of this it has been a bad few days for the party.

At 31 per cent, Labour’s total share of the vote in the local elections fell from the 38 per cent seen in last year’s vote, which included the kind of shire counties which have never been Labour’s natural territory. Meanwhile the Conservative Party trailed by just 2 per cent; in the European elections just 1 per cent separated Labour and the Conservatives.

Whichever way you look at it, the gap between Labour and Cameron’s Tories is just too close, and fails to provide any sense of Labour marching on to the clear victory which Ed Miliband so wants to radically change the country.

So what does the party do now?

Firstly, accept that UKIP is a force not only to be recognised and take them on accordingly.

The Labour MP for Bassetlaw John Mann was right over the weekend in criticising the party’s abject failure to properly tackle head on UKIP and expose it’s lack of policy on bread and butter issues like education and the NHS. The past few days should act as a wakeup call to Labour HQ that UKIP are breathing down the party’s neck, and it would be refreshing if front benchers publically admitted as much rather than defended an election campaign which failed to inspire.

Secondly, we need to start to look like an insurgent, change-making party, rather than carrying on in the mould of the other parties of sound bites and spin which impress no one.

Phrases like ‘working hard for hard working families’, ‘cost of living crisis’ and ‘one nation Labour’ have become so worn out that one wonders if some in Labour feel that the more they say them the more true they will be. These catchphrases should not be a substitute for a properly constructed and clear vision for the country. The voters were telling all the main parties that they want change, not more of the same.

Finally, we need to look and sound more look normal people as opposed to zombies connected to pagers for the words and phrases to persistently repeat in the television and radio studios.

The uncomfortable truth for Labour is that we have much to learn from Nigel Farage – we disagree with all he stands for, but he nevertheless avoids the dizzying spin which the voters are seeing through so clearly.

Miliband needs a repost to this. A good start would be to appoint Alan Johnson as party chair, to bat for the party when the chips are down and to get out into the country and explain what a Labour government on people’s side would actually mean.

Labour can win next year but the work and change that will be needed is immense. It’s time to get to it.

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10 Responses to “The uncomfortable truth is that Labour can learn something from Nigel Farage”

  1. TerryTurtle

    i nearly died when I started hearing Ed use the words “hardworking people”. Not only has it been used to death by the Tories, it sounds completely patronising and stealing their lines only blurs what distinguishes between the parties. Ed especially needs to break out of his “media friendly mode” because as we’ve seen, too often, it ends up biting him n the arse!

  2. LB

    Whichever way you look at it, the gap between Labour and Cameron’s Tories is just too close, and fails to provide any sense of Labour marching on to the clear victory which Ed Miliband so wants to radically change the country.


    So you want to screw the majority.

  3. Carol

    The traditional working man who voted labour are now the unemployed due to the imported cheaper labourers.
    The idea that we are unable because we aren’t qualified or willing to do the dirty or mundane jobs is a lie.
    The employers don’t offer living wages.
    Make employers pay a premium tax on non uk born employees. If they are so essential pay the premium.

  4. Rachel

    Not a L/P supporter but think this is a good analysis. Am worried L/P will go even further to the right after these elections rather than be clear it is austerity/cuts unequal opportunities that are the problem and not migrants for example.
    Alan Johnson may appeal to prospective L/P voters, (personally I find him shady after appearing on This Week), but apart from finding a good communicator the L/P has to find policies that will address peoples concerns, I don’t think they have them and show no sign of developing them. The L/P is not my concern but what is, is the fear it will feed the bigotry that is becoming more normalised, which is bad for all of us. Sks recent letter to the express was appalling, I honesty thought it was a bad joke at first, so hope the next apology is for that letter before moving on to better things.

  5. Wendy

    Dump the spin and tell the truth. Peter Mandelson was the worst thing that ever happened to the Labour Party. Austerity is a lie. Every voter knows it. It’s common sense that giving people proper jobs with decent wages would bring more money into circulation. Starving people by sanctioning what little they get from benefits is not only a crime against humanity it is a crime against the economy as they have no money to circulate. IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE THIS START CALLING IDS & FRIENDS WHAT THEY ARE, MURDERERS

  6. Sparky

    Ed Miliband: it’s not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration

    Funny he should now say that, because it directly contradicts almost every pro-immigration post on this site since it started. For years, we’ve been told by the Left that it was simply racism. And now, suddenly, it isn’t. Why is that?

  7. Matthew Blott

    So the way to power is to start accusing members of the Tory front bench of homicide? Aside from being utterly barmy as a strategy on its own you should of course realise anyone saying this would end up in court for libel.

  8. SemiPartisanSam

    You are quite right about Ed Miliband’s phrases becoming worn – his long winded definition of “One Nation” yesterday (after being asked to give a one word answer) epitomises the long way he has to go in order to build a rapport with the electorate and help them to understand his ideology, goals and motivations:

    I fear, however, that you are wrong about the need to attack UKIP in a more head-on way. Even if Labour did not lead the charge during the recent election campaign, UKIP were subject to intense attacks and scrutiny from the establishment in general, as well as the media, and came through relatively unscathed:

    Sadly (but understandably), people do not want to grapple with the fact that many UKIP voters made a positive choice when casting their ballots, and did not simply fritter them away as a protest vote. An all-out attack on UKIP now will only make it seem as though Labour is attacking and belittling those voters – hardly a formula to win them over in 2015.

  9. SemiPartisanSam

    Well said. The one surefire way to not get back into power is to succumb to the temptation to base a campaign on anti-Tory histrionics such as this. What’s needed is a positive alternative, something that might actually distinguish the two parties from each other in the eyes of an electorate only too happy to say “a plague on both your houses”.

  10. Trofim

    “The employers don’t offer living wages”.

    So those people weeding in the field over the road are dead then? Amazing what corpses can do nowadays.
    The reality is young Brits are not strong, robust or fit enough, not to mention being reluctant to do the kind of work for which God invented eastern europeans. God created Brits to do higher things.

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