- Increasing the electorate: The idea of engaging with people who have stopped voting is often dismissed with a remark along the lines of: ‘the trouble with non-voters is that they tend not to vote.’ But this is because many people feel that they haven’t got anything to vote for. Worryingly, between 1997 and 2010, Labour lost 5 million voters, the vast majority of whom didn’t vote for other parties but simply stayed at home. Under Jeremy, all that can change. Even his critics cannot deny that Jeremy is enthusing people who were previously disengaged by politics, as well as crucially, inspiring young people, a group of people who haven’t voted in large numbers in recent elections. 15 million people didn’t vote at the last election. Low turnouts always benefit the Tories and harms Labour’s chances.
- Winning back Scotland: Winning back Scotland in 5 years will be a mammoth, if not impossible task. But we can only begin this process if we recognise the SNP won a landslide in Scotland largely because it was able to position itself as anti-austerity and more committed to traditional Labour values, outflanking Labour to its left on issues like Trident, tuition fees and prescription charges. Jeremy’s stance on all these key issues chimes with the Scottish electorate and can win people back to Labour. (Similarly, only through this approach can we ensure that Plaid Cymru does not continue to erode the Labour vote in Wales for similar very reasons).
- Winning back Green voters: Although the Greens polled a just over million votes nationally, it had a devastating impact on Labour. For example, in Morley and Outwood, in which Ed Balls lost to the Tories by just over 400 votes, the Greens got over 1200 votes. In total, there were 10 seats which Labour would have won had they secured the bulk of the Green vote. Jeremy’s policies connect with many Green voters and members, some of whom have already been won back to the Labour fold.
- Winning back UKIP voters: It’s perfectly possible for Labour to simultaneously win back voters to the left and the right. That’s because although UKIP was founded by, is led by and funded by ex-Tories, many ex-Labour voters turned to UKIP not because of its Thatcherism but out of protest and frustration with Labour taking them for granted. Jeremy can reconnect with these voters and indeed it was no real surprise that a recent poll showed he was the most popular amongst UKIP voters. Furthermore, instead of pandering to UKIP’s solutions (remember that ‘controls on immigration’ mug?) which unsurprisingly didn’t work as it only reinforced UKIP’s credibility, Labour can win voters back by highlighting the real causes of low pay, the housing crisis and unemployment and putting forward serious solutions which address these concerns.
- Shifting the centre ground: A lot can change in 5 years. If we start to set out a clear and coherent alternative now, we can shift the so-called centre ground of British politics away from Thatcherism and back to where it should be. As long as austerity is seen as ‘common sense’ and the only option the Tories will have the upper hand. Jeremy can win support by putting popular policies like taking the railways and utilities into public ownership back onto the agenda which will translate into electoral support in 2020. His proposals are perfectly workable and credible. In fact, there’s not one policy which Jeremy has put forward whether it be a living wage, public ownership of the railways or rent controls which isn’t already working in practice elsewhere in Europe.