Lewes Forum thread

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Too left,too right? Why did Labour lose?

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On 13 May 2015 at 9:01am Professor Politics wrote:
Did Labour lose the election because they were too left wing,too right wing or none of the above?
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On 13 May 2015 at 10:58am Mavis wrote:
They lost because not enough people voted for them ! Get over it, now.
Also, could be the note they left about spending all the money !!
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On 13 May 2015 at 11:12am Clifford wrote:
I'm not Labour supporter Mavis, but the recent election the party increased its overall vote by 1.4% since 2010 (despite the collapse in Scotland). The Tories increased theirs by 0.8%. We can all of us, though, enjoy the fact that the Lib Dem vote fell overall by 15.1%. Thankyou and goodnight, Mr Clegg.
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On 13 May 2015 at 11:16am Paul Newman wrote:
They increased their vote considerably in our constituency and with what I thought was a rather weak candidate.I don`t see how anything recognizable as the current Labour Party can win in England though and with Scotland Wales surely going towards fully federated status, they have to.
Overly left wing ,anti English, union money financed ,bossy shrill self righteous miserable shouty, silly and only interested in talking amongst themselves.
Otherwise a great party!
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On 13 May 2015 at 11:18am DL wrote:
More complex than that I'm sure. EG Lib Dem collapse (as a result of being seen to have 'betrayed' many supporters, or just simply - why vote for them if you get a Tory Govt anyway), handed seats like Lewes and Eastbourne back to the Tories (Labour would never have won there). Norman B actually did quite well considering, but not well enough obv. But where I live now Labour actually got more votes, had a 5% swing to labour, and won more council seats (reducing the Tory council seats to just 6% of the total) - but that was stacking up more votes in a labour area.
But in scotland different trends were at play. If scotland post referendum had returned similar labour MPs, the end result would have looked a lot closer, tho lab would not have won.
I reckon they lost due to a skilled targetted strategy run by Lynton Crosby who focused down on voter concerns in key demographic groups on issues that resounded with them - be that Milliband's 'leadership qualities' or certain policy issues, or stuff relating to the public expenditure record that the LP never properly challenged from their point of view (NB - anyone with a mortgage should not lecture anyone else on 'debt' ...?? ha ha).
With the benefit of hindsight a good question would be why did Cameron not win by more?
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On 13 May 2015 at 11:20am Clifford wrote:
Sorry to appear to be stalking you Paul. 'Overly right-wing ,anti-everyone not wealthy, bankers' money financed ,bossy shrill self righteous miserable shouty, silly and only interested in talking amongst themselves.'
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On 13 May 2015 at 11:23am Clifford wrote:
A good point, DL, about Cameron's failure to win by more than 12 seats. We are supposed to be in a Great Recovery, the Tories have promised an EU referendum, the sun is shining... and Cameron increases the Tory vote by a miserable 0.8% and is back with a majority that six by-elections could wipe out. Obviously the electorate is not as gullible as Crosby thinks.
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On 13 May 2015 at 11:35am Professor Politics wrote:
Let`s hope not eh!
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On 13 May 2015 at 12:20pm Paul Newman wrote:
Conservative 331
Labour 231
Simples

That pre boundary commission which is about another 10-20 Conservative seats.My contention is that by the end of this Parliament Scotland will be effectively excluded from much of English legislation and clearly the English will not be ruled by the SNP anyway
Labour have to win in England and that means persuading considerable numbers of people who voted for David Cameron to vote for them.
The journey in terms of political position is vast , it would have to be a Party that I quite liked , let me put it that way,( I am quite a left wing Conservative, pro europe, and all that ).
I`m not sure it is possible

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On 13 May 2015 at 12:51pm AuntieAviator wrote:
Paul, you are of course assuming that the Conservative party stays where it is now over the parliamentary term, which is quite a big assumption to make.
Given his slender majority it is quite easy to see the party being pulled apart by right-wingers over Europe, or being dragged rightwards on a whole swathe of issues that alienate the electorate. A more centrist Labour party vs a party of Redwood clones...? Err, let me think which one would appeal more.
Then there's also the issue on how the economy performs - five years is a long time in economics. Osborne's mettle during a crash, which would be disastrous for the tax base and his plans to deal with the deficit, has yet to be tested.
Meanwhile, in the long term, demographic trends are a problem: in particular, ethnic minority groups who, even when adopting quite Conservative values, refuse to vote Tory; and also the increase in the number of renters, which will continue.
The Labour vote increased quite substantially in places like London, Brighton and Manchester. These places represent the future of this country, not rural areas with massively ageing populations (where the Conservatives did well).
Meanwhile judging by the number of young Tories brandishing Hayek and Rand your 'left wing Conservative' may be a dying breed.
I think Labour's short term prospects are difficult, agreed, but in the long term a more Centrist party could prosper - yes even in England.
Incidentally the manifesto was quite a lot more centrist that the messages coming out of Miliband command. They focussed too much on issues like the bedroom tax and not enough on tneir plans to invest for a more sustainable and productive economy.
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On 13 May 2015 at 12:52pm AuntieAviator wrote:
"We can all of us, though, enjoy the fact that the Lib Dem vote fell overall by 15.1%. "
No we can't. It's a travesty for a party that has done a lot to blunt the edges of the Tory party, and one that has a proud history of radicalism and reform.
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On 13 May 2015 at 12:52pm Humbert wrote:
Labour lost in Lewes constituency because the constituency seems to be made of right leaning Lib Dem voters who jumped ship to Tory, and UKIPers. That's my guess anyway. I don't see Lewes constituency being anything but Tory for a long time now.
Labour lost in Lewes Town because other than their shop and their posters in Grange Road every election, they appear to me largely anonymous compared to one of the independents and the Greens and Lib Dems.
Labour lost the country because they didn't offer any significant opposition, nor have they done for the past 5 years. Those who have - Greens, UKIP, SNP, all saw a significant jump in vote share. Imagine if Labour had done so too.
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On 13 May 2015 at 12:58pm No... wrote:
"Labour lost in Lewes constituency because the constituency seems to be made of right leaning Lib Dem voters who jumped ship to Tory, and UKIPers."
The Tories mobilised their vote through a massively targeted campaign. Looking at the figures, I don't think the LibDems lost many votes to the Tories (perhaps a few in Seaford). It's more that their vote was lost to Labour and the Greens.
Labour can't ever win because their vote is minimal outside Lewes town and Newhaven.
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On 13 May 2015 at 1:13pm No... wrote:
I should post some facts to back up my assertions.
The Conservative vote only increased from 18,123 in 2010 to 18,401 last week. That's a grand total of 278 additional people voting Conservative. So whatever happened, the result was not due to "right leaning LibDem Voters jumping ship to the Tories / UKIP". Hardly any new people voted Tory.
The difference of course is the other candidates: Labour, from 2,508 to 5,000 (2,492 extra votes) and Green, from just 729 in 2010 to 2,784 today (2,055 extra votes). I can only presume this represents 4,547 former LibDem voters. if they had stuck with Norman this would still be a LibDem seat with a majority of 3,464.
This was Lynton Crosby's great insight - that in LibDem/Con marginals all he had to do was get the Conservative voters out while the LibDem vote would fall apart. And that's what they did here - a massive postal assault combined with agents helping to get ageing Tory voters to the polls. People voting Green and Labour in Lewes have been entirely played by an Australian genius.
The number of seats changing hands from Labour to Tory was miniscule, by the way; he didn't bother with Lab-Tory marginals as he knew the Labour vote would be eroded by UKIP.
The only places this didn't work are London and places which look like London (e..g Brighton).
Disclaimer: This analysis doesn't cover Scotland
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On 13 May 2015 at 1:46pm Country Boy wrote:
Have Political Parties always 'chased' votes by adapting to the mood of the country, or was there a time when they simply nailed their colours to the wall according to their principles and let the public decide?
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On 13 May 2015 at 1:52pm Humbert wrote:
@No... what about the 5,500 UKIP voters? I'm not the only person to think Lib Dems going Tory has made up for the Tories who have gone UKIP. What do you think?
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On 13 May 2015 at 1:59pm Paul Newman wrote:
Lewes os the last place to look at for any idea of the country
The often (in fact interminably) quoted fact, that Labour tend to do better with the young ( hence the wish to enfranchise six years olds, is a statement about youth, not the future and it has always been thus in one form or another. I am afraid the young get Sad eh.
Those hoping for ‘Major`s B-stards’ 2 in 3D will be disappointed after so long out of power it is not a confident Party and the fact of UKIP is a door to which the unhappy may be directed. As for Labour`s immigrant vote, that is a trap not an opportunity, one that is going to threaten the North. The Conservative Party may improve its position, have you considered that?
I think what people of all hues find hard to register is the cost of the last 1%. Numerically it looks so small and yet the last few votes without which the rest count for nothing costs everything, do you think Owen Jones is up for that Len McLuskey, our own candidate with his Peace Studies Degree and work in youth something or other ( mirth..), who will fund this Party. That was Blair`s problem and you will recall his answer … Lord Cash Point.
As I say, for Labour to be elected in England, and they have to be a party I might vote for .Not so far in terms of Policy but personality is another matter entirely. The only qualification I would add to that is whilst the self-satisfied and unpleasantly preachy voice of the left is always unbearably audible, I don`t believe it is as important as it likes to think in the Labour movement.
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On 13 May 2015 at 2:00pm erm... wrote:
Not sure I quite agree with you No...
Seats changing hands from Lib Dem to Tories weren't those putting the Tories in power here. Leaving Scotland to one side, it was Labour's failure to make the expected gains in Lab/Con marginals that led to Tory victory and majority.
I'd say Lynton's policy was aimed squarely at these marginals, which are critical because every seat won is a seat lost by the other side. There seems to be some consensus forming that the SNP factor was key to these seats not swinging to Labour.
Basically it doesn't really matter to the make up of this government that Lewes has gone Conservative. They have a slightly bigger majority but without those Con/Lab marginals Labour were never going to be able to form a government.
So don't be too hard on the Green and Labour voters, we'll get a more radical Lib Dem party as a result next time round and who knows, maybe even some kind of electoral pact with the Greens (and ideally with Labour if they can get their heads around the fact that they can't expect to govern alone any more, a big if).
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On 13 May 2015 at 3:14pm DL wrote:
many of the above contribs assume ppl who voted for someone last time, changed their mind and voted for someone else next time.
Obv some do do this . BUT
In my experience what happens more is that one party supporters get more emboldened and vote than anothers, who get disillusioned and stay at home. I suspect lots of lib dems this time were in that stay at home camp.
You have to look at turnout to try to see this, but even then it is hard to check.
For example, Blair did not win a massive majority in 1997 because people voted for him who had prev voted for Major, no. He got a massive majority because lots of Major's 1992 vote did not go to the polls, and LP supporters were enthused enough to get out and vote.
Political parties know this because they are the few orgs who buy what is called the 'Marked Register' - available for sale for the next few weeks from your local council. This is the list of people who actually cast a vote (bet many readers did not know it is available for sale to anyone who wants it!).
By comparing this with their own collected data on people who say they are going to vote for them they know how many actually turn out and do what they say (assuming they actually cast that vote in the secrecy of the election booth).
The lower the turnout - the easier this trend is.
So for seats to change next time it only takes Cameron's supporters to become disillusioned (for whatever reason that has yet to emerge), and his opponents to become more emboldened for seats to change hands again.
In south east tory / lib dem marginals expect to see lib dems re group around their trad 'pavement politics' in the hope of rebuilding their base so they can take advantage of any frustration that may befall the new govt.
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On 13 May 2015 at 3:28pm No... wrote:
From Sunday's Sunday Times (ahem)
rosby, the Australian dubbed “the Wizard of Oz”, and Messina, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, saw from a study of the battleground seats that a host of Lib Dem MPs were vulnerable.
“It was the Merkel strategy,” a minister said, referring to Germany’s chancellor. “Angela Merkel said that coalition always destroys the little party and that was what we set out to do.”
Grant Shapps, the party chairman, claims that, starting in January, buses manned by Team 2015, a group of tens of thousands of activists, began visiting Twickenham, the power base of Vince Cable, and Yeovil, the seat of David Laws, as well as less well known Lib Dem targets.
Some ministers were bemused to be sent into battle against the Tory-friendly Laws in the final week. “He had a majority of 13,000,” said one source. “We were told we were edging ahead of the Lib Dems but voters were asking whether we could really win there. To show them, we sent ministers down there.”
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On 13 May 2015 at 3:29pm Sorry... wrote:
THE fall of Balls was the climax of a campaign whose ruthlessness had been formed by a decision taken eight months ago. According to Cameron’s aides and cabinet ministers, that was when his main strategists — Lynton Crosby, Jim Messina and Stephen Gilbert — turned on their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.
Crosby, the Australian dubbed “the Wizard of Oz”, and Messina, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, saw from a study of the battleground seats that a host of Lib Dem MPs were vulnerable.
“It was the Merkel strategy,” a minister said, referring to Germany’s chancellor. “Angela Merkel said that coalition always destroys the little party and that was what we set out to do.”
Grant Shapps, the party chairman, claims that, starting in January, buses manned by Team 2015, a group of tens of thousands of activists, began visiting Twickenham, the power base of Vince Cable, and Yeovil, the seat of David Laws, as well as less well known Lib Dem targets.
Some ministers were bemused to be sent into battle against the Tory-friendly Laws in the final week. “He had a majority of 13,000,” said one source. “We were told we were edging ahead of the Lib Dems but voters were asking whether we could really win there. To show them, we sent ministers down there.”
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On 13 May 2015 at 4:42pm Clifford wrote:
AuntieAviator wrote that the Lib Dems did 'a lot to blunt the edges of the Tory party'.

The fact that the Lib Dems were wiped out suggests a large number of their former voters thought otherwise. And looking at Lib Dem support for further marketisation of the NHS, the bedroom tax, tripling of tuition fees, and the drip-drip-drip demonisation of the disabled and unemployed... who can blame them? The Lib Dems under Clegg, Alexander and 'Housing Benefit' Laws were contemptible.
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On 13 May 2015 at 6:02pm Irate Lib Dem wrote:
That`s very unfair.Without the Lib Dems the Tories would have been very bad to....... ,and done very awfull things,and been very beastly to.........,and privatised the...... and cut all kinds of ......... and there would have beeen terrible horridness towards...We stopped all that and we are extremely proud we did.
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On 13 May 2015 at 6:33pm Mark wrote:
The "what would make Paul Newman change his vote" argument is flawed. It assumes that people's stance on politics is fixed and inflexible - that parties need to adjust policies to attract voters with a fixed view. Lots of people are quite flexible and fluid about it all.
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On 13 May 2015 at 7:53pm Sussex Jim wrote:
The Tories are now the party of the working man. David Cameron has not exactly launched a party calling itself "New Conservative"; but the general theme is there.
Labour should really be consigned to history. They will of course hang on during their steady decline, just like the Liberals went from being the main opposition party 100 years ago, to the eight MPs. they have today. Perhaps the 2115 Election will finally kill them off...
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On 13 May 2015 at 8:58pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
I've read lots of very interesting, considered answers, but I think they're missing the central point, which is that Ed Miliband was completely lacking in any charisma. If the leadership is weak, a large number of voters won't even listen to the policies. That said, Labour's manifesto also failed to fully address the issue of how they'd end austerity AND reduce the deficit.
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On 13 May 2015 at 9:49pm Clifford wrote:
Sussex Jim wrote: 'The Tories are now the party of the working man.'

And one day they may even come to terms with the fact that women work. Or is it just you who hasn't, sussex Jim?
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On 14 May 2015 at 3:47am Peasant wrote:
Lewes was a safe Tory seat from its Victorian creation as a modern Parliamentary constituency (rather than a borough that was just Lewes town) in 1885 until 1997. Tory votes were weighed rather than counted. Norman managing to break this stranglehold and holding this seat for four elections in a row was a remarkable personal achievement and a tribute to his strengths as a local constituency MP. Now he has gone it will probably revert to as safe a Tory seat as its neighbours Wealden and Mid-Sussex. Sad but true.
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On 14 May 2015 at 6:49am Floating Voter wrote:
Stop moaning about it and rise up against the nasty party. No more armchair politics from the lot of you. Be active and campaign on the streets if it bothers you that much. But I guess you probably won't as your lives haven't really been affected enough to get you off your backsides!
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On 14 May 2015 at 9:24am Clifford wrote:
Peasant, wasn't it more the case that by 1997 people had learnt about tactical voting and voting Lib Dem was the best way to get the Tories out and keep them out? But after the coalition, in which the Lib Dems acted as Tory poodles, people saw there was no point in voting Lib Dem if it just meant a Tory government anyway. Baker's personality has nothing to do with it.
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On 14 May 2015 at 9:39am Bing wrote:
That's right, Clifford - it did nothing. Which is why we now have a government proposing to trash workers' rights and leave the convention on human rights. We'll see now whether it was just a Tory government anyway. Just because they supported some measures you didn't like doesn't mean they didn't stop other things happening, you know. The Beecroft Report, for example, blocked by Cable.
Peasant - I completely disagree. Firstly, the historic Lewes seat was quite different to today's boundaries. Secondly, Wealden and MId Sussex are totally different seats to Lewes. Look at these statistics:
Conservative vote as % of total
Wealden - 57%
Mid Sussex - 56%
Lewes - 38%
Combined Labour, libdem and green vote as % of total
Wealden - 26%
Mid Sussex - 16%
Lewes - 51%
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On 14 May 2015 at 10:48am Phfellow2004 wrote:
'No' posted yesterday at 1.13 slightly incorrectly! The Con Vote in 2010 was 18401 and it increased to 19206 in 2015. By my mathematics, 805 more Votes not 278 additional people voting Conservative nevertheless the gist of the post was probably accurate!
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On 14 May 2015 at 4:54pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Clifford- I refuse to be "politically correct". When I refer to the working man, it is a general term and includes working women.
Mrs.Sussex worked full time from leaving school until she became a full-time mother: and worked again when our children were older.
The best example of a working woman in our lifetime surely has to be Margaret Thatcher. She was admired and respected by many Tories.
 
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On 14 May 2015 at 5:47pm Peasant wrote:
Bing: you are certainly right that the Lewes seat has covered a varying geographic area around the town since first created in 1885 - originally it went in a circle around Brighton, as far as Worthing, while Ringmer was in the Eastbourne constituency. However, it has been confined to East Sussex since the 1920s, taking in different villages and towns from revision to revision. The proposals blocked by the LibDems last time will presumably now go ahead, and may even delete the seat altogether, coupling Lewes town to parts of Kemp Town and Tory Peacehaven.
However, that doesn't minimise Norman's achievement in cobbling together a local coalition to beat the Tories in what is demographically a safe Tory seat in 1997 - achieved on the back of a sustained campaign culminating in a pretty successful period as leader of the District Council. Other LibDems have done much the same thing in other places, but it takes a huge amount of work and a dedicated individual building up a personal following over a decade or more. I very much doubt Norman will be back for 2020. Do you see anyone likely to unify the anti-Tory vote and take his place so soon? Perhaps St Ruth d'Arc? However, she has not built a constituency-wide support base of the type you need to be successful.
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On 14 May 2015 at 7:20pm Voter 2 wrote:
If Norman stood as an Independent in 2020 I'd vote for him!
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On 14 May 2015 at 11:04pm bewilderedlabourer wrote:
I don't know about anybody else but I won't know what the answer is until Southover Drama Queen has flown in to tell us how we are all wrong.
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On 15 May 2015 at 9:43am Auntie aviator wrote:
Gotta love Paul Newman. The sun king ain't hot anything on him. L'angleterre, c'est moi.


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