As any economist will tell you, we live in a world of incomplete information. A change in information can serve as a shock, and change the economic landscape all by itself.
But this is also true of politics. Changes in information can also change the political landscape, and Labour has just experienced one of what ought to be seismic proportions: it now knows which voters it has lost.
However, surprisingly, this fact went almost unreported in the press: in fact, in the broadsheet press it was initially only reported by the Telegraph; on the left, barely a whisper.
So there are two stories here: the event itself; and the lack of attention it has received.
Why is this event so important? Well, during the last half-parliament, conventional wisdoms as to why Labour lost the last election have built up, fallen and built up again. On the left and on the right of the party, we have all had our theories but, as so often in politics, based more on intuition than hard facts. A rigorous post-mortem has been noticeable by its absence.
Thursday, 1 November 2012
Thursday, 12 July 2012
That said, many of these people and events are in turn, whether we like it or not, driven by power.
It’s significant that even the word tends to bring to mind thoughts of how power corrupts or how the wielding of power is somehow an undesirable act. But power can be good too. We need it. The just wielding of power is a wholly good and desirable act, whether or not we agree with the political outcome. Democracy would be meaningless without it, after all. Power is there to be used for good, even if that is not always the result as we see it.
Those who have it can choose to wield it, or not. And sometimes it can be about perceived, rather than actual, power, as well. The shifting of the political tectonic plates often happens because the balance changes between one side and another, and it is often these events, rather than the froth of the everyday media, which we should be watching.
Sunday, 15 May 2011
There are four types of election result. Ones that are undeniably good. Ones that are undeniably bad. Ones that are on balance good, but look otherwise. And ones that are on balance bad, but look otherwise.
The most dangerous ones, obviously, are the last. There is a risk that, like an alcoholic, you don’t notice, or don’t accept, that there’s a problem.
Friday, 6 May 2011
The Centre Left has come by the following confidential letter, apparently written in the early hours of this morning following yesterday's local elections:
10 DOWNING STREET
LONDON SW1A 2AA
THE PRIME MINISTER
06 May 2011
Just a quick note: I really wanted to say how sorry I am about the election results. Gutted for you. We seemed to do ok, of course, despite all the moaning about the cuts, but there you go (tried to warn you about AV, old chap. Terribly fickle things, electorates).
Anyway, onwards to 2015, eh? I’m sure we can work out whatever little differences there remain between our parties. After all, you’re not going anywhere any time soon, are you! Only joking.
Seriously, I shouldn’t worry too much. After all, lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place, does it?
Yours in friendship,
PS A real shame about Sheffield. The knives are out, eh? (pardon the pun)
Thursday, 28 April 2011
In the Labour Party, we’re very excited about the Alternative Vote referendum. In Westminster, of course, it’s easily crowding out debate on the (not unimportant) Scotland, Wales, Northern Irish and English local elections.
Ooh, the Yeses. The Noes. It’s all that analytical, wonkish, procedural stuff that we love to debate. We seem to have spent the last month or so monopolising the media and the Labour blogosphere with this one issue. To be fair, there are some sensible arguments on both sides, such as this one from Anthony Painter, a fine analytical piece from normblog and a lot of lowest-common-denominator ones. Also there is the delightful “meh2AV” campaign for those who, like Labour Uncut’s own Mike Dugher MP, feel that it’s been a complete waste of time.