By Luke James in Britain:
Voters reject lurch back to Blairism
Thursday 21st May 2015
New poll shows a public let down by Labour’s timid tax plan and City brown-nosing
“NEAR-MISS” voters who rejected Labour at the election overwhelmingly feel the party is too soft on the City and too timid over taxing the rich, a poll revealed yesterday — but it isn’t hostile to aspiration. The survey of 4,669 people blows apart Blairite claims that Labour needs a rightward lurch to become electable, finding that 42 per cent of people polled believe Labour is a soft touch on the City while just 22 per cent think they are “too tough.”
And the margin is even larger among voters who considered, but decided against, voting Labour, at 50 per cent to 10. The GQRR poll comes a day after Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper stirred up controversy by claiming Labour lost the election because it “sounded anti-business.”
If elected, Ms Cooper said she would back Tory big business handouts through cuts to corporation tax, which now stands at just 20 per cent — the lowest rate in the G20 forum of major economies.
Her comments sit in direct opposition to poll findings. A majority of voters want Labour to increase taxes on the richest, with 47 per cent in favour compared with 31 against. For voters who ditched Labour at the last moment, the total rises to 61 per cent for, 21 against.
The poll also lands a blow on Ms Cooper’s right-wing rival Liz Kendall. Ms Kendall, backed by neoliberal pressure group Progress, has said Labour should stop supporting higher taxes for the rich “just to make a point” that it is pro-aspiration.
But just 8 per cent of voters who turned away from Labour did so because it was “hostile to aspiration, success and people who want to get on,” the poll showed. Ms Kendall’s bid to rewind the clock to the New Labour years won support yesterday from TV toff turned shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt — who dramatically fell out of the leadership race after failing to get the support of 35 MPs, the minimum needed to run.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the research proves Blairite analysis does not stand up to scrutiny. “Interestingly, voters are not greatly worried about Labour being against aspiration or anti-business, despite these emerging as themes in Labour’s post-mortem,” she said. Hitting back at calls for a return to New Labour policies, Ms O’Grady added: “The challenges Labour now faces are very different from those in the past. “Voters back a lot of the trade union agenda on living standards and an economic policy based on investment and growth, rather than the deep cuts we now face.”
The poll showed the public wants to prioritise public services over spending cuts by a margin of 37 per cent to 31.
But it also suggests that Labour’s biggest weakness is economic trust, an issue where it trails the Tories by 39 per cent. Labour MPs have suggested that is because the party was “confused,” promising to both continue austerity and support public services.