How did Labour throw this position away?

How did Labour throw this position away?

Was it BJ4BW that started the rot?

With the Norwich by election likely to add to Labour’s woes I thought it might be timely to look back to last December – less than eight months ago – when everything seemed so different for Gordon and his ministers.

Just look at the December polls above and see how close they were getting. Labour’s share was solidly in the mid-30s and the picture was the same across all the firms. While the prospect of a Labour majority seemed slim the numbers were pointing to a hung parliament with Labour probably as the biggest party.

So what’s gone wrong in the meantime? Yes we all know about “Smeargate” and the expenses saga but what was it that started the rot?

Just looking over the hundreds of PB threads since then I’ve come to the conclusion that the key moment was the industrial action at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in protest of contracts awarded to foreign companies at a time of high local levels of unemployment. The strikers theme was “British Jobs for British Workers” (BJ4BW)- the BNP slogan that had been used by Gordon Brown at his first party conference as Labour leader in September 2007.

That pointed use of Brown’s words by the strikers seemed to raise questions about the PM’s style and appeared to mark the end of his bank bailout honeymoon. Why had Brown used a phrase that wasn’t lawful? It seemed very odd and his responses on the issue were far from satisfactory.

By the time he went to Washington to be the first leader to meet President Obama the media narrative had turned.

In January, before Lindsey, the Labour polling deficits were in the 8 – 10% range. After it we moved to almost consistent double digit margins which got larger.

NOTE: This thread was accidentally published in a truncated form early this afternoon – the first batch of comment came from that.

Mike Smithson

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