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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

'Deep down, every Labour MP knows Miliband is heading for defeat'

Dan Hodges is at his devastating best in today's Telegraph, clinically dismantling Labour's vapid election strategy:

For the last two years Labour has been trying to peddle the falsehood that it could win the election without establishing a reputation for basic economic competence. They could pull some magic trick – Ed Miliband’s aides referred it as “reframing the debate” – which meant that even though voters didn’t trust them to run the economy, they would be persuaded to trust them with something called “the real economy”. According to Labour’s argument, the Tories would always be ahead on macroeconomics, the economics that only really exist on charts and graphs in the Treasury. But out in the real world, where hard-working people are only one bill away from having to shove their children up the nearest chimney to make ends meet, Labour’s cost of living campaign would win the day.

And it was all a lie. A big, fat, juicy lie. First we had Deficit Denial. Then we had Recovery Denial. And finally we had Economy Denial. Yes, the loyalists claimed, Labour may well be 20 points behind on the economy. But it didn’t matter. Because Ed Miliband had promised to save people £9.30 a month on their heating bills.

Back in November, when Labour’s successful “reframing” of the economic debate was all the rage, I wrote a piece about how the Tory party now saw a clear path to victory. Labour strategists were talking about a “voteless economic recovery”. Their opposite numbers in Tory high command quietly pointed out that their poll numbers were already recovering, and the economic upturn would soon see the party’s moving back into alignment. “It’s just an order book recovery at the moment,” one Tory insider told me “People aren’t feeling it yet. When they do, we’ll draw level.”

They were right. Labour hasn’t reframed the economic debate. It has lost the economic debate. And with it, the election.

The second Big Lie surrounded Labour’s leader himself. Britain wanted Ed Miliband as its next Prime Minister, we were told. The only problem was, Britain didn’t quite know it yet.

No matter. The voters just needed to be given some time. Then they would come to see Ed Miliband as the Labour Party saw him. His courage in taking on the likes of Rupert Murdoch and the bankers and Gary Barlow.

Again, it was a lie. Yesterday’s Guardian ICM poll shows Ed Miliband has achieved the impossible. His approval ratings are now worse than Nick Clegg’s.

No love lost there but accurate nevertheless.
Let's see how the Labour Party does on 22 May. I am quietly confident that Labour will take a second European seat for Wales. There is plenty of time for Ed Milliband and his party to zoom ahead.
Labour in England has passed its high-water mark. Strapped for cash, its leader subject to detrimental comparisons with the others and saddled with the record of the party in Wales, it will be lucky to hold on to its current roster of seats.

If Labour does win that extra MEP seat in Wales (and I believe that potential voters have not been honest in their response to polling organisations) then it will be on the back of the Liberal Democrat initiative to save EU-dependent jobs.
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