Miliband’s campaign, much like this stone, was destined to crumble
Written by Thomas Westgarth
This election demonstrated the public’s rejection of the far left, big state ideology which damages business and ultimately working people. Miliband had forgotten the golden rules of politics.
As the exit polls came in, my faith in the electorate had been restored. The public had elected a party that has created one thousand jobs a day, brought the economy back to it’s feet and would give the public the opportunity to have their say over whether they want to be in the European Union.
Having overseen 3 successful elections, Tony Blair had calculated a secret formulae; standing up for working class views, whilst remaining on the side of big business, appealing to the centre ground, where elections are won and lost. Ed Miliband abandoned this winning formula, leaving the Labour party destined to lose from day one.
Whilst nobody could doubt Mr Miliband’s intelligence; an Oxford graduate who also attended Harvard, he failed to win over business leaders, with hundreds signing an open letter rightly saying that his policies would damage the country. Capping energy bills at record high prices, installing maximum prices on rents, which has never worked well in any country and only drives up the price of affordable homes.
When talking about the wealth creators, the private sector entrepreneurs who have created over 2 million jobs in the last 5 years, Miliband described them as ‘Predatory capitalists’. Big business is far from the enemy, they are the men and women who create the jobs and put money in your pocket so that you can put food on your table and a roof over your head. Criticising them was a major mistake from Miliband.
But the defining moment in the election campaign was when he refused to admit that Labour overspent in the last parliament, losing the faith of the taxpayer in a matter of seconds. Whilst overspending was not responsible for the financial crisis, it left the UK in a much more vulnerable position. The Labour party had a decade of growth in their last government and still couldn’t manage to run a budget surplus, so how should we expect them to now?
Countries which had kept money back such as Norway and Germany were left much better off due to cautious decisions taken on spending in the run up to the great recession in 2008. This was the moment when the public came to their senses, where the electorate smelt the coffee, where the voter woke from the Labour nightmare and realised that the irresponsibility shown by the Labour party in their last government still resonated strongly in the leader and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.
What the Labour party need to do is focus on appealing to aspirational voters rather than demonising them, understand that money must be created before it is spent, because with current policy comparison you could actually argue that the Conservatives are the party of the working people, raising the personal tax allowance, investing in more apprenticeships and free schools, bringing back the right to buy scheme. Labour have lost their core voters, and don’t look like winning them back any time soon.