Why Labour shouldn’t put its hopes on the economy

Why Labour shouldn’t put its hopes on the economy

It’s Gord that’s the problem – however much they deny it

I’ve just been listening to Radio 4’s “The Week in Westminster” and Diane Abbott MP was lucidly arguing that it’s the MPs expense scandal and the economy that’s behind Labour’s travails – NOT Gordon Brown.

Once we get to the election, she argued, everything would depend on the economy and who was seen to best placed to deal with it. During a lively discussion the old Clinton mantra “It’s the Economy, stupid” was raised and nobody seemed to dissent.

We’ll Diane and all who take this view are wrong and have to face up to the fact that their leader is a massive turn-off to voters. With Brown still there on election day Labour is dead.

I’ve published this before but it’s worth reminding ourselves. This is from the final ICM poll which came out on the morning of May 1st 1997 – the day of Tony Blair’s great electoral victory.

So John Major’s government went into the election with a lead on the economy – and a fat lot of good it did them. Voters were just tired of him, his government and what was perceived to be his sleazy party. They wanted change and change is what came about.

Just look at the following table from MORI which I first published here last month. It’s a bit old and comes from a time when Labour was doing a bit better in the polls – which makes its conclusion even more striking.

IpsoMORI July 2008

The message is very clear. Gordon Brown is simply not liked by too many people. The Labour party itself polls much better.

Mike Smithson

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