The Military Army Blog

Labour party conference – as it happened

It s a shame, in some ways, that Jeremy Corbyn[1] was not sitting the other side of a one-way mirror. He d have liked a lot of what he heard. Voters told us, as they have done for years, of their deep disillusionment with modern politics. Corbyn, fresh and different, might just be the antidote to that. Describing his appeal voters chose vocabulary rarely used to for politicians: he s principled , passionate , decent , down to earth , honest and, most of all, authentic . However, other aspects of the discussion make less comfortable listening. Asked what they would most like to change about the condition of Britain, our swing voters talk about the economy and immigration. They believe there has been some recovery, but remain worried about their own families future financial security, and are also genuinely worried about the impact of immigration, particularly to public services already squeezed by cuts. We re reminded that many abandoned Labour in May because they did not trust the party to manage the economy. Specifically, they still blame Labour for the financial crisis. They also believe that Labour let in too many immigrants. TheSyrian refugee crisis[2] has led some to be a little shy about talking about this. They pick their words more carefully and preface their comments with heartfelt sympathy for little Alan Kurdi[3] whose death they found upsetting. But their views have not changed. These are problems facing Britain and they want them fixed.

Here, the focus group mood changed, getting much trickier for Corbyn. Voters don t know where he stands on immigration. They are also unsure where he stands on the economy and what little they have heard suggests his diagnosis of the problem may not precisely chime with their own. Some are unsettled by stories they ve picked up about Corbyn s past. Can it really be true that he supported the IRA? After discussion, many remain concerned, their anxiety given credence by his reluctance to sing the national anthem[4].

References

  1. ^ Jeremy Corbyn (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ Syrian refugee crisis (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ Alan Kurdi (www.theguardian.com)
  4. ^ his reluctance to sing the national anthem (www.theguardian.com)

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