This poll of polls of all major polls conducted since the General Election show that Labour has no breakthrough position. This was shown best in this May’s local elections where Labour did okay in existing seats but badly in the marginal areas they need to win to form a Government
Well what a week it has been for the Labour Party. Hot on the heels of a Conference where they spent most of their time arguing with each other about internal racism; internal sexism and Brexit the week was capped by the announcement that Derek Hatton has rejoined the Labour Party.
All these things should make me glad for my Party because the type of Labour Party that is being created is one that people who are centre left like Chris Leslie will have no part in. In the context of Liverpool, I just cannot see how those few councillors who support Liz Kendall and Progress can possibly be in the same Party as the Corbynistas who are determined to drive them out.
Locally even more worrying is the fact that some ill-informed Labour Councillors, some of them in key positions inside the Labour Group, are welcoming Hatton back so let me start with the account of the damage that a Militant led Labour Group did for the City.
Firstly, there have been attempts to rewrite history. You should be absolutely clear;
- The Labour Councillors were disqualified because they set an illegal budget;
- 33,000 council employees were sent redundancy notices
- That employees who refused to strike were hounded. The best example of this being the gardeners who looked after the World-Famous Orchid Collection in Calderstones Park
- Huge debts were taken on from Swiss Bankers that took 25 years to pay off.
- There were more council homes on the books of the Council at the end of the building spree by Militant but less occupied because the repairs budget was raided to pay for new build homes.
- Those new homes were so badly managed that one estate of 350 homes off Windsor Street was given away to a housing association just 6 years after completion with a ‘dowry of £6million.
- Public and private sector investment in the City fell of a cliff edge. For two decades the only cranes erected in Liverpool had a wrecking ball at the end.
These were the decades where Manchester from a standing start streaked ahead of Liverpool. An advantage that they still have today.
It is clear from their public social media accounts that Labour are hopelessly split in Liverpool. The anger being expressed with each other in public is more than doubled with what they say to and about each other in private. As one long-term Labour Councillor said to me at Council, “If you think council meetings are bad you should be in one of the Group meetings. Constituency and branch meetings are even worse”.
So, I can say with absolute certainty that I have seen it all before. All this happened under Militant and it is now happening once again under Momentum. Things are now much, much worse because then at least the rest of the Labour Party was sane. Now the Labour Party as we have known it for decades is dead. The Party of Corbyn is not the same as the Party of Atlee; Wilson or Blair. Only the name reflects more than 100 years in which the Labour Party were a progressive force. They are now regressive wanting to go back in time to the 1920s and the 1980s.
Incredibly, a shadow Minister received a standing ovation when she called for a General Strike. The Labour movement lost the only General Strike when it took place in 1926. The people who suffered most from that strike were the poorest who lost days wages and couldn’t pay their rent or feed their children. That is what will happen again. More than 30% of families with children are living from hand to mouth. Losing a few day’s pay would be disastrous losing few weeks would destroy people.
But all over the Party people look with pride and want to replicate the industrial struggles of the 70s and 80’s. The class war and the class system which they think of is, rightly or wrongly, dead and gone. The big factories where everyone joined the union and the Clubs where they went for pleasure are mostly gone. Most people do not think of a class struggle but the day to day struggle of living decently with their families.
I won’t bang on about BREXIT. It was incredible how a different opinion came out from different people over the four-day conference. In his Leader’s speech Corbyn totally ignored the opinions of the 5000 Labour members, supported by 300 Lib Dems, who demanded a people’s vote and even more incredibly then offered to work with the Tories on a Brexit plan. Let us be clear. There is no such thing as a good Brexit. By supporting the Tories Corbyn is condemning millions of low paid workers to redundancy and even greater poverty.
We can see clearly in the opinion polls that Labour is going nowhere. At a time when we have the most incompetent and divided Government in history the Tories are, on average, ahead of Labour as the graph above clearly shows. If Blair or a similar figure was now the Labour Leader the Party would be 20% above their current showing. The Tories would be on the verge of becoming one right wing splinter group rather than the 3 right wing splinter groups they are at present.
The Lib Dems are doing relatively well but are not doing well enough. On average we are 4.5% up on our General Election vote. Our membership is as high as its ever been and we have gained almost 100 council seats this year with next year looking to provide us with a bumper crop of new councillors both locally and nationally.
In Liverpool we are delivering more leaflets and knocking on more doors than we have done for many years. The response is, by and large, god. I was out in Cressington last Friday the Norman Mills on a glorious morning where people wanted to talk to me about our alternative to Labour. The same happened this morning when I was out with Rob McAlister-Bell in Mossley Hill.
We know that we will do well this year but will do even better with your help. Why not join us or become a supporter? You can do this at www.libdems.org.uk. Why not give me a call to talk to me or a colleague about how we can work with you inside or outside the Party to create a better, stronger and fairer Liverpool. Anyone can e-mail me at Richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk. I sometimes get over burdened by e-mails but you will always get a reply within a few days.
The next few years are going to be make or break for both the UK and Liverpool. By joining is and working with us you can play a part in ensuring that it is make and not break.