Moving away from the centre

Mike Hedges says Jeremy Corbyn offers hope.

Jeremy gives hope to both the party and the country.

I have always wondered how the First World War generals could have been so stupid trying the same tactic time after time. Yet more of what failed in 2010 and 2015 a form of austerity light is considered by some the solution next time. If it fails in 2020 we can always try it again in 2025.

You win elections when you give the electorate hope. When they think you are on their side. Labour lost in 1959 and in 2015 because we were not prepared to differentiate ourselves from the Tories. We are the party that stands up for the poor, the down trodden and exploited. We are the party of the ordinary workers and their families not of the casino capitalists of the city of London.

I want to debunk two myths. Firstly is that you keep the last election vote and add to it.

Remember the last election, the experts, the leadership, the planners had it all worked out. All we need to do to win is add the disillusioned Liberal Democrat to our 2010 voters and we would win. According to electoral calculus 7 % of the electorate who voted Lib Dem in 2010 voted Labour in 2015 so we should have won or at least come a close second..

But 2% of 2010 Labour voters voted SNP, 1% voted UKIP, 2% voted Tory and 1% voted Green. If we had held on to that vote we would have polled 36.4% of the vote to the Conservatives 36.9%.

We cannot take our voters for granted and try and gain some conservative ones by moving to the right. Some people have said we lost due to lazy Labour voters not voting. It is my view we lost because too many ex Labour voters could not see how we would make their lives better. Why voting Labour would make a difference.

The second myth is that you win elections from the centre ground. If that was true the Lib Dems would win every election Although the Liberal Democrats most successful elections have been when they moved to the left.

Was the Attlee government in 1945 in the centre ground?

Were the Wilson Governments in the centre ground?

Was Thatcher in the centre ground?

Is Cameron in the centre ground?

We in Wales, when led by Rhodri Morgan, set clear red water between us and the Labour Party in London and we won.

What are my constituents telling me?

Statements on my Facebook feed from my constituents include

“If he (Jeremy)  gets elected as leader of the Labour Party I will come back from the Greens the only other party that leans to the left and in support of the people.”

“I believe it needs to change people’s minds and lead rather than take the populist view. That’s what it was good at back when it started. Make fairness, caring and looking after the worker and the disadvantaged an electable ticket rather than trying to be a less conservative Tory party”

“I feel the Labour Party has forgotten its roots and those who started it. It was from trade unionists we came!! For a Labour Party to abstain from voting on welfare rights is completely diabolical.”

Finally we win when we offer the electorate hope, when we appear economically competent, when we appear a party of principle and that is why  I am supporting Jeremy Corbyn for leader.

Mike Hedges is the Assembly Member for Swansea East.

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