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View Diary: Dog whistle politics (187 comments)

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  •  excuse the shilling (none)
    Well, for one, most of the British electorate aren't absolutists. I work for Labour (so excuse the shilling). I spend all day at my job communicating with voters of all political stripes, and while many are angry over the mistakes of the Blair government - even, perhaps especially those who are traditional firm Labour supporters - they will vote Labour because we do, believe it or not, have an outstanding record on social and economic issues.

    I don't know if those used to the Democratic Party being the public face of quasi-liberal politics realise just how much further left the centrist Labour party is on the hotbutton issues. In 8 years, the Blair government has brought in a living national minimum wage (the equivalent of $9 an hour currently and set to rise to $10 over the next year), cut unemployment to it's lowest since the mid 70s, cut crime dramatically, improved the national health service - not to mention liberal favourites such as introducing civil partnerships, writing off 100% of debt to the world's poorest countries and bringing in the Human Rights Act.

    The Lib Dems' lack of electoral success (which I expect to change soon, and I couldn't be happier) has a lot to do with regional politics. Safe Labour seats are generally always going to be safe Labour seats, and the strongest challenges there are from extreme right parties such as the BNP. The Lib Dems tend make their best showings in middle-class former Tory strongholds or Tory held marginals with their votes coming from young educated professionals and older former Tories who've developed a conscience. It's also down to trust - not enough people believe that they would be competent in government. I think this election will reshape the electoral landscape a lot and allow the Lib Dems to put together a party machine to appeal more thoroughly across the boundaries, not just to their current mostly middle class audience.

    I'm not a complete Labour partisan. I fervently opposed the war, top up fees and I don't believe that Prime Minister Blair is the party's best asset anymore. We have made mistakes, some terrible - but don't believe the hype. Iraq and other mistakes are not par for the course in the Party's agenda as they are for the Republicans. Labour's record over the past 8 years (not to mention the past 100) would make the Democrats cream, and I honestly believe we have brought this country forward. I guess above all, that's why we're going to win the election.

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