And here are the results from the latest You Gov opinion poll:
CON 43% (35% in January)
LAB 40% (46%)
LD 7% (6%)
UKIP 3% (7%)
GRN 2% (2%)
Given the sheer ineptitude of the Conservative government under the most useless leader of my lifetime, it is amazing that Labour is not 20 points ahead of the Tories, never mind three points behind. Yet these figures are even worse than they appear. This sample reflects the views of social grade C2DE voters, which is to say working class people. And the whole reason for the existence of the Labour Party is to represent working class people in parliament. This is a terrible state of affairs.
It has been blindingly obvious to many of us ever since his election to Labour leader but now we all know for sure that under the ‘leadership’ of Jeremy Corbyn, that Labour’s electoral heartland is where the middle classes live. It is also clear that Labour is increasingly London-centric. You would have thought that the recent council elections were purely about London and nowhere else.
James Dean Bradfield of the popular beat combo outfit the Manic Street Preachers, who have historically been disposed to support left wing ideas and causes, attracted the ire of Corbynistas everywhere when he made the entirely reasonable point that, and I paraphrase here, that the current version of Labour has little idea what is going on outside London. I’d go much further: it doesn’t care. A large part of the electorate has twigged that the resurrection of the failed slogans and rhetoric from Labour’s dark 1980s period has little to do with them.
Put this into context. The Conservatives, propped up by the Lib Dems (remember them?), and now by the hardliners of the DUP, have inflicted maximum misery on the very people who are walking away from Corbyn’s Labour. Low paid, insecure work is the new norm, living standards have not recovered from the worldwide financial crisis of a decade ago, the sick and disabled have been exposed to the worst elements of right wing Conservatism, social care is in crisis, schools and hospitals are suffering from chronic underfunding and the party which is entirely responsible is more popular than the so called People’s party.
I have not look into the specific reasons why Labour is not more popular in its heartlands. I would guess that voters have come to the entirely correct conclusion that Corbyn, Abbott, McDonnell do not offer a serious alternative. That they look at Corbyn and think, “Hmm. There is no way this man is up to the job of being PM.” Which given Mrs May’s chronic ineptitude is a damning point of view, or fact, as I prefer to call it.
The sheer irony is that Tony Blair’s New Labour attracted far more working class people than Corbyn is managing. The perception that Blair was somehow for the middle class elite. Not so. When it came to attracting the support of the working classes, Blair was miles ahead of Corbyn and the comrades. And why? Because working class people benefited hugely from a New Labour government. No one seriously thinks that Corbyn’s reheated Bennism provides any answers at all.
In fact, Labour today not only attracts the support from the affluent middle classes, it is run by them. Almost everyone at Corbyn’s top table went to private school and/or elite universities, some sent their children to private schools, some are handily related to those in Corbyn’s top team and a good few are millionaires, like Momentum owner Jon Lansman and Labour’s real leader Seumas Milne.
No one seriously believes that Theresa May’s useless, divided Tories represent the average woman and man in the street. But increasingly the very same people don’t see Labour as being for them either. I certainly don’t.