Sunday 15 July 2007

Irish New Labour?

The Irish Labour Party flatlined in the Republic's recent general election. Now, the party's leader Pat Rabbitte has started to think about what went wrong. offers this link to his Kemmy lecture, where I was particularly struck by the following:

In marketing parlance, there is a problem with the Labour 'brand'. In using that term, I am not referring to something superficial, such as the way that we package the party. I am referring to the spontaneous associations and reactions that voters have when they see the words 'Labour Party'. The way we are seen in modern Ireland.

What does that mean – that there is a problem with the brand? It means that the Labour Party does not conjure up in people's minds, much less inspire, a definite sense of what the party stands for and how it relates to their day to day lives.

As a party, we tend to think of ourselves as having a core working class vote. According to the RTE exit poll, more people in the ABC1 category vote for us than do the C2Des. Its not that we are loosing our traditional base – its that our traditional base is being eroded and has changed. Affluence has changed the way people think about themselves. If we ever did, we do not reflect the aspirations of most of the new middle class – people in working class occupations trying to live middle class lives. People whose parents in some cases voted Labour, but who themselves do not vote Labour. We have not persuaded them that we will improve their lives, and certainly we have not persuaded them that we are worth the risk, as they see it, of changing
horses mid-stream.

Irish New Labour beckons, perhaps?

1 comment:

adrian said...

Well, it wouldn't be before time!