Radical proposals don’t have to divide and alienate.
Hopi Sen in his blog here draws attention quite rightly to a set of polling figures that if we are to look at recent history suggest that 2015 will be a difficult election for Labour. He goes on to say that Labour must approach the next election as a war of attrition, jealously guarding every existing voter and not seeking to make bold policy pronouncements that might scare waverers or alienate the base.
I’m not so sure. Now I’m happy to agree that 2015 will be a tough election; and certainly there is a danger of relying on previous indications that incumbent governments never increase their vote share, as we are not going to be choosing between an incumbent government and an opposition in the next election but between a Tory government and a Labour government. I suspect that the Conservatives will turn up the heat on their current coalition partners as the election draws closer, partly because of trouble on their right flank and partly because it creates useful distance between the current and government and a potential Tory majority one in the eyes of the all important floating voters in marginal seats.
A winning electoral strategy for an opposition faced with the above needs to inspire people, it needs to inspire its base – and it needs to inspire enough floating voters in marginals with something different to that offered by the other side, in a way that is not completely alien to their values.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is – does Labour’s core support have hugely different values to those floating voters or actually are there a range of issues on which they broadly agree?
Well I think that following today’s announcements on rent and the cost of living contract from Labour we will see. These seem to me to be a fairly bold set of reforming policies that will give the Tories and their mates plenty of ammunition to fire and at the same time should enthuse a section of the electorate…