Labour party more lost than ever

John Harris tears into the right-swinging idiocy of the Labour leadership candidates:

“After so many years of ever tightening welfare entitlements, and with the City elite seemingly as untouchable as ever, to focus any argument about distributional justice on welfare claimants is borderline obscene.”

Somebody at Crooked Timber adds:

Roy Hattersley quite rightly observed that Labour used to appeal to (or reflect) the best instincts of working people: New Labour appeals to their worst. but that’s a direct consequence of their rightwing economics: not that they have to go with horrid social politics (often they don’t) but if you’re making your pitch to working people and you’re not appealing to their better instincts, which are going to be egalitarian, you’re going to have to appeal to their resentments instead.

And another; I’d be interested to know if there’s any hard data to back this one up:

It’s a generalisation, but there are a lot of working class people who would be reluctant to move even 20-30 miles away from their home for a job – their support networks and roots are in a particular place and they want to remain there if at all possible. They thus have no personal benefit from the possibility of being able to go and work in Portugal or Germany. It is predominantly the middle classes, with a culture of moving away from their community for education or work, who can take advantage of this kind of labour mobility.

And one final comment:

Clinton and Obama. Blair and Schoeder. Why do the left parties of the developed world keep selecting leaders and platforms that betray the economic positions that have always been the most characteristic concern of the left? It seems to be happening in different contexts. Is there a unified field theory of why Labour cannot seem to get to the Left of Brown

I don’t quite believe it’s just the left. Sarkozy constantly outflanks the PS on the left, although he mixes it up with plenty of right-wing populism. IMO it’s less about the leaders (all leaders batter the fringes of their parties, as electoral necessity), but the weakness of the wider left. There was no serious resistance to Blair.

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