In this brilliant piece in the The Independent, Amit Singh calls out one of the great myths of this election, that Labour was left-wing, they wasn’t, well their manifesto wasn’t anyway. Since the election several Blairites have risen from their slumber to denounce Miliband for sending the party “back to the 80s”, this actually wasnt the case when you look at his policies but that is perhaps the public perception. Ask SNP or Green voters, such as myself why they didn’t vote Labour and they will tell you Labour was not left-wing enough. Labour’s policies on austerity and immigration would support this viewpoint, however Labour did not lose this election in Scotland, they lost it in England to the undoubtedly right-wing Tories, where people perhaps believed or perceived Labour was too left-wing. Campaigning against the poverty creating plans of the Tories should have been an open goal for Labour, but here enlies the issue, the election was not fought in the left v right manner we have become accustomed, it wasn’t about the NHS or the economy, instead it was about fear and nationalism. Fear of the SNP and fear of immigration. I argue that the left-right political spectrum is a dying dichtomy, Labour was perhaps defeated in Scotland because it was not left-wing enough, yes, many in Scotland believe that New Labour abandoned Scotland and Miliband failed to convince them otherwise but it was effectively beaten by nationalism. The SNP were deemed to better represent the views of the people of Scotland than Labour that were seen to have ignored Scotland in the New Labour years in order to court the middle England vote. In England, it most definitely wasn’t defeated because it was too left-wing, because Labour most certainly wasn’t, at best they could be described as centrist, perhaps it was defeated because people trusted the Tories more with the economy, but Labour planned to cut the deficit, they didn’t plan to borrow, in my opinion their economic plan was far fairer than the Tories and would spread the pain rather than shameless attacking the most vulnerable in society, however perhaps this lack of trust was because Labour broke several promises in their last spell in government, the Lib Dems defeat could certainly be atributed to lack of trust. In my opinion however Labour in England were again defeated by nationalism with a side-order of fear, two-pronged this time, nationalism from UKIP which targeted the traditional Labour working classes with its anti-immigration rhetoric, which effectively made UKIP the official opposition to Labour in the North, and a real threat to the Labour power base next election. Combined with the more potent nationalism from the Tories, their allusion to the “SNP threat”, this idea that the Scots were Guy Fawkesesque coming to England to steal our money, and break up our country, it was the threat of these “radical left-wing insurgents” being part of a Labour government that persuaded shy Tories in their droves to vote Tory and deliver a sensational shock majority. What does all this mean, well I think it means our politics have become more about stoking nationalism v fighting nationalism rather than left v right because policy wise there is only very slight differences between Labour and the Tories (and there would be less still if the next leader is Blairite), instead the defining difference was that the Tories chose to stoke up nationalism whereas Labour tried and failed to fight against it. My prediction for the next election, providing we are still the UK and have the same voting system, will again be fought on nationalist lines, with Labour moving further to the right, meaning the two main parties will be practically have the same centre-right stance, and Labour’s complete abandonment of the working class will cause major losses in the North but perhaps a couple of Tory gains, the result though will be another Tory majority and another another SNP landslide in Scotland.

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