Conservatives won election because of austerity, finds Labour

Written by Tom Freeman on 5 August 2015 in News

Labour will need different policies in Scotland and England, says Jon Cruddas


An inquiry to understand Labour’s defeat in the General Election has concluded voters supported the Conservative message of prioritising cutting the deficit.

“The electorate voted for fiscal responsibility,” writes Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP who commissioned the survey, on the LabourList blog.

Voters were left confused about what Labour stood for, and saw the party as “anti-austerity lite”, according to the report.


MP says time for the new generation to lead Labour

How the general election changed Scotland

Fifth of Labour MPs rebel against party line as Welfare Reform Bill passes second reading

The surge in support for the SNP, according to the report, left 60 per cent of English and Welsh voters “very concerned” about the prospect of an anti-austerity alliance in Government.

This meant the SNP’s anti-austerity message was damaging to Labour in England, according to Cruddas.

“Scotland poses a dilemma for Labour. It has a different political tradition and its voters are more progressive and collectivist minded than in England.

“The English tend to be more individualistic and have a more ‘small c’ conservative disposition. Labour will need to develop a more federal politics to accommodate the paradoxes of radical and conservative dispositions and our national cultural differences,” he said.

There is a “growing political salience” of identity politics, argues Cruddas, with 63 per cent of English and Welsh voters saying their national identity was important to them.

The findings are likely to be seen as a blow for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign, as the left winger has become the frontrunner in the race to lead the party on an anti-austerity ticket.

“On the basis of this data, the public appear to think anti-austerity is a vote loser. We cannot ignore that. We can seek to change the views of the public, but it’s best not to ignore them,” said Cruddas.

Labour peer Maurice Glasman, who worked with Cruddas on the party’s policy review, told Holyrood before the election: “Labour, certainly in England, has got a huge amount of work to do to reconnect with the realities of the values of people within their everyday lives and to stop talking in abstract and general terms and managerial terms and start realising that it’s a political party and not an administrative party, and that requires bold leadership.”

Read the full interview with Lord Glasman here.



Related Articles

SNP depute leader Keith Brown to leave Scottish Government as reshuffle begins
26 June 2018

Keith Brown will become the party’s standing campaign director, with responsibility for policy development and preparation for future elections

Interview: Keith Brown on being elected SNP depute leader
21 June 2018

Exclusive interview with the SNP’s new depute leader on the Growth Commission report, indyref2 and how he interprets his role


Nicola Sturgeon announces pay rise for NHS staff
9 June 2018

The increase will apply to all NHS staff in Scotland working under Agenda for Change and earning up to £80,000

Related Sponsored Articles

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Share this page