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Labour's 2015 election chief says party heading for defeat under Corbyn - Politics live

Labour's 2015 election chief says party heading for defeat under Corbyn - Politics live

Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happenLunchtime summarySpencer Livermore says Labour heading for defeat under CorbynSadiq Khan’s speech - SummaryFour election books reviewedAfternoon summary 5.27pm GMT 5.20pm GMT Yesterday at PMQs David Cameron said: “In the capital city, we have seen a 500% increase in neighbourhood policing.” Labour said this was “staggeringly wrong” and put out a statement saying: “Since May 2010 the capital has lost 5,702 uniformed officers from its neighbourhood policing teams. That’s 2,497 PCs and 3,205 PCSOs lost who could have been on our streets fighting crime in the capital.”It has taken a while to get an explanation for Cameron’s figures from the government, and for the discrepancy between the two claims, but I have finally had some figures from the Home Office. 5.03pm GMT It may seem ages ago but it is just over six months since the general election and the first books about it are now starting to come out. Four of them have landed on my desk within the last few weeks and, with Spencer Livermore talking about the election earlier (see 2.52pm), today is a good day to write about them. Instant political history of this kind can often by unsatisfactory. The journalists who write these books fit them around a day job and often their behind-the-scenes access can be limited. (It is different in the US, where there is a rich tradition of embedding reporters with political campaigns and giving them plenty of time to cultivate contacts.) Also, readers already know quite a lot about the general election, which means the writers have to write books maximising their use of the new material they’ve obtained, and minimising their use of what we already know, while still telling a coherent story.That said, all of these books will appeal to hardcore politicos, and they all shed light on what happened in May. As a service to readers, here’s a quick round-up.One senior Downing Street figure explains that Crosby’s entire focus was to destroy the Lib Dems: ‘The genius of Lynton Crosby’s campaign was being able to spot that the route to victory was through the Lib Dem marginal seats in the south-west, and then to actually deliver it.’When even Labour activists were conceding that Ed Balls has probably lost to Andrea Jenkyns, the Tory candidate in Morley and Outwood, Cameron leapt up and roared with delight. He never imagined such a prized scalp could be theirs. But, according to those close to him, his euphoria quickly gave way to pathos. ‘It’s a brutal old game, isn’t it?’ he remarked. One member of the Witney entourage noticed how the sobering reality of Balls’s demise genuinely struck Cameron: ‘When you see an election, it is Game of Thrones. A whole load of people figuratively get murdered. If you’re an aide, your reputation is trashed. If you are a politician, you get humiliated.’The answer Miliband had prepared earlier - rather longer than the one he gave on the night - to the question ‘did you overspend’ was as follows: ‘I understand why you are asking the question - I take the view that it wasn’t Labour’s spending that caused the financial crisis. It was the crash that caused the deficit, not the deficit that caused the crash. But the world has changed, money is tight now, there’s a premium on every pound, so I’ll be straight with you. Did overspending cause the crash? No. But we are going to take a different approach to spending now in difficult times? Yes’ ...The pollsters took the view that it was better to say anything, however unconvincing, other than ‘No’ in response to whether Labour had overspent. Any answering involving the ‘No’ word had been tested in focus group, and had provoked horrifically hostile responses.‘All good decisions are collective decisions’. That was the familiar refrain from Bob Roberts [Labour’s press chief] whenever he was asked who was behind a particular initiative. ‘So was this a collective decision?’ ‘Eh, no.’ We were standing in the gymnasium of a school in Worcester - home of course to those ‘Worcester women’ who helped Labour to power in 1997 but neither they nor their daughters were going to do so in 2015 ... On one issue the verdict was already clear. What was now being called the ‘Edstone’ on social media was a disaster, and every Labour official present tried to distance themselves from it. Roberts later admitted: ‘We completely underestimated the effect of social media or the reaction it would get on social media.’Early Labour research indicated that the party should ‘in no circumstances rule a coalition out [with the SNP]’. Doing so would risk alienating two key groups of target voters: (i) Those who had voted Yes, but had not supported the SNP at the 2011 Holyrood elections; and (ii) Yes voters who had supported the SNP in 2011, but always backed Labour at Westminster elections. When the idea of ruling out a coalition was put to these people in focus groups, the response according to those watching was ‘violently negative, as if it would be a slight against Scotland’. Some participants even asked: ‘Why would Labour turn against Scotland?’‘Oh, I sound like a north London twat from an over-privileged background,’ Ed Miliband groaned. Honing his television debating skills was a rigorous and exhausting process.Labour’s election campaign was relentlessly focused on ‘working people’. Miliband constantly tumpeted his plans for a radical mansion tax, so a sprawling mansion in Kent was an unlikely location for the leader’s secret TV training sessions. Labour peer and TV mogul Waheed Ali’s country pile near Tenterden had, for years, been offered up to senior party figures - although, this time, they were not using the grand house, but the barn.It was the BBC’s political presenter and author Andrew Marr who first noted during the 2015 general election campaign that Scotland appeared to be going through something like ‘a national revolution’. It seemed a bit of an exaggeration at the time. We don’t do revolutions here. The word evokes images of violent overthrow; of barricades and broken heads. But I increasingly believe he was right to pose it in revolutionary terms, because there is now a fundamental struggle over the location of political power. What the SNP seems to have achieved in East Edinburgh, as in so many working class communities in Scotland, is to have fused class solidarity with a latent sense of national identity so that many voters can still feel they’re in touch with their Labour roots even though they are voting SNP. It isn’t about identity as such - Scots have rarely had a problem with their identity. Rather, they have, for a variety of reasons, started to feel a degree of self-confidence about it. 3.55pm GMT Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for London mayor, gave a speech to a press gallery lunch this afternoon on radicalism and extremism. Sometimes these press gallery speeches can be relatively perfunctory, but this one was unusually substantial, and colleagues who were there tell me he went down very well. Here are the key lines.And to defeat the extremists we simply must do more to stop radicalisation in Britain. It doesn’t just affect us in these awful moments of violence and terror. It is a cancer eating at the heart of our society - all the time. And if we’re honest - not enough has been done to root it out. And in this week of all weeks that makes me angry. Angry because for too long we have buried our heads in the sand.I believe that British Muslims have a special role to play in tackling extremism. A special role not because we are more responsible than others - as some have wrongly claimed. But because we can be more effective at tackling extremism than anyone else. Our role must be to challenge extremist views wherever we encounter them.For decades successive governments have tolerated segregation in British society. In doing so, we’ve allowed the conditions that permit extremism to continue unchecked.We’ve protected people’s right to live their cultural life at the expense of creating a common life. Too many British Muslims grow up without really knowing anyone from a different background. Without understanding or empathising with the lives and beliefs of others.Extremism isn’t a theoretical risk. Most British Muslims have come across someone with extremist views at some point - and so have I. It’s affected my personal life, my friendships, and my career.People I knew as a boy have gone on to hold extremist views, and even to act on them in terrible ways. When I was a lawyer, as well as representing people who were badly treated by the police or their employers, I sometimes had the unpleasant job of representing people with extremist views.Sadiq Khan in dig at Corbyn: "There is nothing I disagree with in the way Emwazi (Jihadi John) was taken out: I live in the real world"[email protected] says those living "in the real world" understand armed police must be able to shoot-to-kill, and back Jihadi John's [email protected] tells #pressgallery he was "proud to sing not just one national anthem but two" at Wembley this week.Sadiq Khan at lobby lunch: I'm waiting for call from the Leader's Office telling me I'd been disloyal to the leader by doing the Royal toast 2.52pm GMT Spencer Livermore was Labour’s general election campaign director in 2015. He is now Lord Livermore. Here are the main points from his World at One interview.I believe that Mr Corbyn has failed to learn the lessons of why we lost in 2015. And unless he does, on the present course we will lose in 2020 ... On the fundamental backwards we are going backwards rather than forwards.What progress have we made so far against the enduring weaknesses that led us to lose the election in 2015? Are we further ahead now in terms of economic credibility? Do the British people now see our leader as a potential prime minister. And have we broadened the base of our support in the country? I think if you look at all of those things I think it is impossible to conclude that we are anything but further away from power than we were even on May 8.Elections are won on the three fundamental issues: whether or not you have credibility on the economy; whether or not your leader can be seen by the country as a potential prime minister; and the breadth of the vision and that plan that you are putting to the country, and how many people can feel part of that plan. And I think that, with the benefit of hindsight, in May we were on the wrong place on each of those issues. I think we hadn’t taken the difficult decisions early on in the parliament to convince people that we could be trusted on issues such as the deficit and welfare. Having worked now on four general election campaigns, it is increasingly clear to me that elections aren’t won in the six week campaign at the end, probably aren’t won in the year before a campaign, but are won in the first months and years of parliament. That’s when the voters make up their minds really about a party. And if the wrong decisions are made at the outset of a parliament, it is very, very hard, almost impossible, to correct those decisions later on.I think he would have made a good prime minister but ultimately the public could never quite see him in that role. But I don’t think that in any way was the decisive factor in the election. I think that elections are won and lost on strategy. 2.13pm GMT Here’s a clip of the Spencer Livermore interview.On #wato today: in his first intv since #GE2015 @SpenceLivermore on why Labour lost and lessons for @jeremycorbyn https://t.co/EazyMwG3dV 1.44pm GMT Q: Corbyn might argue you led the party to a terrible defeat?He may say that, says Livermore, but I have reflected on the reasons for the defeat. 1.42pm GMT Livermore says in 2015 Labour had not learnt the lessons of its 2010 defeat.He says he does not want to be sitting here in 2020 saying Labour has not learnt the lessons of its 2015 defeat. 1.41pm GMT Q: Should Miliband have stayed on?Livermore says it is not helpful looking back with hindsight. 1.37pm GMT Q: How big a factor was Ed Miliband’s leadership?Livermore says the fact the Miliband was always behind David Cameron on who was seen as the best prime minister was always a problem. 1.36pm GMT Livermore says we can all agree now the Edstone was a bad idea.But stunts like that do not make any impact on elections, he says. 1.35pm GMT Livermore says Labour’s internal polling showed what external polling showed. Contrary to some claims, he had not seen some polling showing the Tories ahead.Q: Why was Labour not trusted on the economy? 1.33pm GMT Spencer Livermore, who ran Labour’s election campaign in 2015, is being interviewed on the World at One now.He says a party needs three things to run an election: credibility on the economy, a leader seen as a credible prime minister and an attractive vision for the country. 1.26pm GMT In another sign of the bitterness between the two sides and the bleak prospects for a settlement of the junior doctors dispute, the British Medical Association has voiced frustration that Jeremy Hunt has in broadcast interviews rejected their idea of ACAS intervening (see 10.16am) to arbitrate between them and seek a settlement. A BMA spokesman has just said this: It is clear that trust has broken down between junior doctors and the government, which is why we are offering conciliatory talks via Acas. If it is true that Jeremy Hunt has refused our offer, all he is doing is entrenching himself even further.This is not just one or two junior doctors who believe that his proposals are unsafe for patients and unfair for doctors. The fact that today’s ballot result is near unanimous should be a wake-up call for the government. Instead of continuing to ignore the views of tens of thousands of junior doctors who, in the health secretary’s own words are the backbone of the NHS, he should, if he really wants to avoid industrial action, accept the BMA’s offer of conciliatory talks. 1.18pm GMT It may well be a misunderstanding ... I can say with confidence that John McDonnell does not want to disband MI5.And the director of Labour's 2015 campaign, @SpenceLivermore says the party is further away from winning power now than it was in May #[email protected] : "It's impossible to conclude that we are anything but further away from power than we were even on may 8th" #watoOf course we'll listen - & we share determination to defeat ISIS - but the case for airstrikes has not been made https://t.co/lf908siZiQThere is no change in the SNP’s position and you would have to have an extremely suspicious BBC journalistic mind to try and detect one.As Nicola has tweeted this morning – a UN resolution is a pre-condition of SNP support for military action. Not, incidentally, just because of the legality, although legalities are quite important in these matters, but also because unless you have that UN consensus you cannot bring peace to Syria.Good luck 2 Peter Robinson.If Ian Paisley was the unionist pilot of the peace process then Peter Robinson was the unionist navigator, an indispensable part of the project that has established self-government and a permanent settlement between bitter old enemies. He will stand tall because of that and because of his leadership as first minister. 12.50pm GMT Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has described the decision of junior doctors to vote for strike action as “very disappointing”. He told Sky News:This is very, very disappointing news today. We want to be able to promise NHS patients that they will get the same high-quality care every day of the week and study after study has shown that our mortality rates at weekends are too high. We’ve put forward a very fair offer for doctors which will see pay go up for three-quarters of junior doctors. We wanted to talk about this to them, but in the end they’ve chosen to strike so we will now have to put in place contingency plans to make sure that patients are safe over a very, very busy period for the NHS and we’ll be doing everything we can to make that happen. 12.37pm GMT Dr Maureen Baker, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, has warned that any settlement to the junior doctors dispute needs to happen quickly before the walkouts make things even harder for GP surgeries and hospitals as they enter the pressurised winter period. Our NHS is being pushed to breaking point, particularly as we head towards what will be a very difficult winter for our general practice and hospitals. A prompt resolution is in everyone’s best interests and the college will do everything we can to support this.The current situation has led to the lowest morale amongst doctors in a generation. We are incredibly concerned about the effect that this will have on the future of our profession and the wider NHS, particularly in terms of efforts to recruit and retain enough doctors to deliver safe patient care to our patients.We must do whatever we can to support our junior doctors and make them understand how valued – and how essential to the future of patient care - they are. Doctors choose medicine because they genuinely want to care for their patients and contribute to the health service. This decision is an overwhelming indication that junior doctors do not think the proposed contract will enable them to do this. 12.34pm GMT The number of NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training) has fallen by 100,000 in the past year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. The Press Association has filed more details.There were 848,000 young people aged from 16 to 24 classed as Neets in the three months to September, a decrease of 74,000 from April to June and down 106,000 from a year earlier. A total of 11.7% young people were Neet, down by 1% over the previous quarter and by 1.3% from a year earlier. 11.54am GMT Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director of NHS England, has written to the BMA seeking “formal assurances” that no action will be taken which will endanger patient safety and urgent and emergency care. He also asked what junior doctors would do if there were a major incidence on one of the strike days. In the letter he said:In light of the tragic events in Paris last Friday night, and the ongoing threat level in the UK, we need to ensure we have a clear understanding of arrangements should a major incident be declared. Will the BMA ensure that members will be available to respond to a major incident, whether this is declared because of a sudden single event or an unprecedented surge in activity? 11.46am GMT Downing Street is urging the BMA to return to negotiations to try to avert next month’s junior doctors strike. This is from the prime minister’s spokeswoman.Clearly it is regrettable that the BMA have decided to go ahead with this action that will put patient safety at risk. We want to sit around a table and negotiate. We would urge the BMA , rather than striking, to return to negotiations. We value the hard work that junior doctors do up and down the country. That’s why we want to secure a fair deal for them. 11.31am GMT Esther McVey has got a job. The former Conservative employment minister lost her seat at the general election, but now she has been appointed chair of the British Transport Police Authority (BTPA). This is from the Press Association.McVey will oversee the authority’s work on transport security and tackling sexual violence on the rail network as part of her four-year term. The BTPA sets the force’s strategy and allocates funding. 11.23am GMT Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary, has put out a more detailed statement about her proposal for the government and the BMA to go to mediation. (See 10.14am.) She said:Jeremy Hunt needs to take responsibility for the fact that this is the first time in 40 years that junior doctors have voted to take such significant industrial action. There is clearly huge anger about the way in which these negotiations have been handled by the government. It is imperative that in the next 10 days Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron find a way to avoid a strike. There has been a fundamental breakdown in trust between the Health Secretary and junior doctors, which is bad for the NHS and bad for patients. I have written to the prime minister suggesting that an independent mediator is brought in to break the current stand-off. If he dismisses this suggestion, he will be risking patient safety in both the short and long term. 11.13am GMT Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary, says his union supports the BMA strike action. Unison represents many health service staff. Prentis said in a statement.The result is a sign of huge dissatisfaction with NHS pay. It sends a clear message that staff will no longer tolerate the government’s approach of making savings in the health service solely by withholding pay and cutting jobs.Jeremy Hunt might think that cutting the extra cash that junior doctors and other NHS staff receive for working at night or weekends – when most other people are either sleeping or enjoying their leisure time – is no big deal. But pay austerity has meant that health workers now rely on unsocial hours payments just to boost their shrinking salaries and make it through the month. 11.11am GMT Yesterday in the House of Commons Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, quoted an opinion poll on bombing Islamic State (Isis) in Syria. He told MPs:The first survey of UK public opinion on Syrian intervention since the Paris attacks, conducted by Survation, has shown that 52% believe that “the UK should engage with all countries to co-ordinate an appropriate response, military or otherwise, backed by United Nations resolution” and only 15% believe that UK should independently launch air strikes. 10.34am GMT And here is my colleague Denis Campbell’s story about the strike. And here is how it starts.The NHS is about to be hit by a wave of strikes after junior doctors voted overwhelmingly to walk out in protest at the government’s decision to impose a new contract on them which they regard as unfair and unsafe.In a ballot of more than 37,000 junior doctors in England, organised by the British Medical Association, 98% have voted in favour of full strike action. Ninety-nine per cent voted for action short of a strike. 10.33am GMT The Patients Association has urged the government and the BMA to talk again to avert the strikes planned for next month. This is from Katherine Murphy, its chief executive.The Patients Association are extremely worried by the confirmation that industrial action by junior doctors will go ahead. Patient safety will undoubtedly be put at risk by this decision. Whilst the views of doctors must be heard, the potential consequences of this strike for patients are severe. It is not too late for this industrial action to be called off. We call on the government and the BMA to hold talks to try to resolve the dispute before December 1. 10.19am GMT Here is the first take from the Press Association on the strike vote.Thousands of junior doctors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes in a bitter row with the government. Some 98% voted in favour of strikes, with 2% against and 11 spoilt ballot papers, the British Medical Association (BMA) said. 10.16am GMT The BMA has offered to go to ACAS - the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.BMA have offered to go to ACAS for talks 10.14am GMT Labour is urging the government to call in mediators to stop the strike. This is from Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary.Huge Junior Dr vote in favour of industrial action. The PM must do responsible thing & call in independent mediator for sake of patients. 10.12am GMT Junior doctors vote in favour of IA & invite @jeremy_hunt to @acasorguk talks #juniorcontract | More soon pic.twitter.com/zvKSiQeBRk 10.06am GMT The BMA has just announced the results of its junior doctors strike ballot. 9.48am GMT David Blunkett, the former Labour home secretary, has become the latest Labour figure to express doubts about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. He did so in an interview on the Today programme this morning. Here are the key points.I think they’re [the public] bewildered, and I think Jeremy has got a very short space of time, and I mean in politics short spaces of time are 18 months, two years, to actually demonstrate that he wants to be prime minister, he knows how to be prime minister and if he was people would feel confident in what he said and he did. Eight weeks on, well nearly nine weeks on, I think he has got a lot to learn. I’ve come to that point, where you have to be really circumspect about your past, including your failures. I’m trying to do that myself in teaching politics at the University of Sheffield, and one of the lessons I’ve learned is that if you’ve made mistakes you won’t continue making them. Ken lost the mayorship of London twice, I think he should be circumspect about why.I want your listeners, if they are interested in politics and they are left of centre to do something which is totally counter intuitive at the moment; I want them to join the Labour party. I want them to join it so that their voice of sane, sensible people wanting radical policy can get the Labour party into a position with those radical policies, but in a credible situation to win the next general election. 9.25am GMT Peter Robinson has announced that said he intends to step down as Northern Ireland’s first minister and leader of the Democratic Unionist party. The full Press Association story is here. 9.04am GMT Britain seems to be inching closer to an escalation of the air war against Islamic State. David Cameron is pushing increasingly hard for a Commons vote and this morning, in an indication of how the mood has changed, it is emerged that the SNP is prepared to consider the case for bombing Isis in Syria. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and Scottish first minister, said so in a BBC interview. You want watch the key exchange here, and here is the key quote.I’m not yet convinced the case for air strikes has been made. That is not to say I will not listen to the case that David Cameron will make ...I think it is incumbent on the prime minister if he is going to bring forward a proposal for air strikes to the House of Commons that he makes that case and that he addresses these key points that are not just being raised by the SNP but by the foreign affairs committee in the House of Commons itself.Thursday's Daily Mail front page: We should bomb Syria say 60% of Britons #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/i9nhuNdm0q Continue reading...

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