29 January 2015

Does Everyone in Labour Really Want to Win the Election?

Let me be clear at the start that I am not here to question the commitment of many Labour activists, councillors and MPs who are on the ground canvassing in marginal constituencies. They are fighting to win the election and remove Cameron as Prime Minister. Nor am I questioning Ed Miliband and the team he has around him. He wants to (and needs to) win this election. The question I’m asking is whether some of the factions and significant individuals in the Labour Party want them to lose the election.

In 2003 I was on an intercity train travelling from Glasgow to London. On it there was a rather drunk man with a very posh accent. He claimed to have worked for Major from 1990 to 1992. If I can sum up a rather tedious couple of hours of conversation, he said it had all gone wrong when he had won that election. I paraphrase, but something like, “the bloody fool wasn’t supposed to win”.

Have some of the high profile members of the Labour party (and the factions they come from) decided that they do not want to win this election? Is there evidence of Ed Miliband being undermined, quietly, by his own side? Of course there can’t now be open revolt as we are now in the election campaign, but Blair and others seem willing to damn Ed Miliband with faint praise.

George Monbiot had this to say yesterday:

“If Labour wins in May, it is likely to destroy itself faster and more surely than if it loses, through the continued implementation of austerity. That is the lesson from Europe”

It would be bad for the country to see another blue/yellow coalition for the next five years but Labour and its leader have failed to inspire. Despite that, the electoral system is stacked in Labour’s favour. Even with a smaller share of the vote than the Tories, they will probably end up with more seats. To end up as the smaller party, Ed Miliband is going to have to do worse than Gordon Brown at the polls, and that would require serious acts of sabotage from within his own ranks.

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