Socialist Worker

Labour fails to learn lessons from election, so it panders to the right

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2405

Sadiq Khan MP

Sadiq Khan MP


Labour is still the main home for those opposed to the government. But it leaves many voters uninspired.

Despite going up in the polls Labour seemed determined to draw the wrong lesson from the election.

Leader Ed Miliband said voters looking to Ukip showed “a deep sense of discontent”. That may be true, but Miliband doesn’t offer much hope.

Labour MP Andy Burnham said the party needs a tougher line on immigration to stop its northern working class voters defecting to Ukip. He said, “The talk on the doorstep was about immigration—there’s some thinking for all of the parties to be done there, ourselves included.”

Labour has been “too quick” to dismiss concerns over immigration, Sadiq Khan MP said in an open letter to Ukip voters. 

He cited the fallout from Gordon Brown calling Gillian Duffy a “bigot” in 2010 as evidence that Labour was losing touch with voters. “We know we made mistakes. We’re determined to put them right,” he wrote.

“Take immigration. In the past, we were too quick to dismiss concerns about immigration, or even worse—accused people of prejudice. 

“So what are we offering now? We will change the rules on child benefit—so that it’s no longer paid to children outside of this country.”

In contrast Ged Dempsey is a print worker who lives in Wath, Rotherham. He’s also on the print section of the Unite union’s national executive and a member of the Labour Party. 

He told Socialist Worker in a personal capacity, “It’s a wake up call. For too long the Labour Party and the council have failed to listen to people and communities. 

“They have not campaigned against vile austerity cuts enough, or the bedroom tax.

“They have outsourced services and closed services to vulnerable people and children instead of fighting back.

“It’s time they stood up to the government instead of carrying out their plans. It’s time they fought back with progressive and radical policies that offer a real alternative.”


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