It was the worst night possible for Gordon. The election was directed by him, it used “tough on toffs”
tactics approved by him and dog-whistle issues designed to get out the vote. It failed.
Failed spectacularly – Labour areas did not get out to vote they stayed at home, resulting in a 17% net swing to the Tories. What Guido would describe as the “Maguire Manifesto” was tried out in Crewe. Just as Kevin Maguire talks down to his Mirror readers about “Tory toffs” and tries to divide “them and us” on a class basis, Labour tried to motivate the core vote with an appeal that is just dated. Even if it was as they now claim an attempt to inject humour into the campaign, the time for potent class-based politics is past, most people in the twenty-first century perceive themselves as middle-class. Using the language and imagery of the Beano’s Lord Snooty might appeal to kids, but voters know when they are being patronised. That strategy has now been tested to destruction against Boris and Timpson, it won’t work against Cameron either. So what appeal can Gordon offer voters?
The tipping point is now past, Labour is tired and has run out of ideas and public support. There is nothing they can do in government to turn that around. Taking policies from their opponents won’t work. Gordon is a big part of the problem, he can’t be the face of the change the voters want. The choice facing Labour now is to lose a general election catastrophically under Gordon, or find a more appealing fresher face like Miliband, Purnell or Johnson and lose by a lesser margin. If they lose catastrophically the party could swing to the left after a general election to Cruddas or McDonnell – condemning them to decades of opposition.
The Labour Left is blaming New Labour policies and pushing for a leftward shift. The younger heirs to Blair know this, they may not want to take the helm now, however if they don’t, the Labour Party might be finished off by the left-wing. Gordon is on course to destroy New Labour as an electoral force…
UPDATE : Luke Akehurst points out that if Labour lose badly, never mind catastrophically, Cruddas and McDonnell will almost certainly lose their seats. How amusing.