UKIP divides the Labour party internally. To date, senior Labour figures have been unable to agree whether a UKIP really problem exists and, if it does, how problematic it is likely to prove.
In a new Fabian report, ‘Revolt on the Left’, we argue that UKIP poses a clear and present danger to Labour’s 2015 hopes and, left unchecked, could threaten to pull apart the party’s historic electoral coalition and challenge it in large swathes of its heartland territory. The report incorporates new demographic analysis that, constituency by constituency, measures UKIP’s threat to the two main political parties.
Our research cross referenced demographic data based on ‘Left behind’ Mosaic groups favourable to UKIP with 2010 parliamentary majorities to create a UKIP Threat Index which considered the scale of UKIP threat in terms of critical, very serious, serious and moderate ratings.
There are five critical and high-risk seats under direct threat by UKIP, for both Labour and the Conservatives each:
- Labour seats under direct UKIP threat: Great Grimsby, Dudley North, Plymouth Moor View, Rother Valley, Rotherham
- Con seats under direct UKIP threat: Clacton, South Thanet, Thurrock, Great Yarmouth, Waveney
Six critical and very serious indirect threat seats that the Conservatives might lose to Labour as a result of the UKIP threat: Warwickshire North, Cardiff North, Broxtowe, Stroud, Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, and Pudsey
Sixteen critical and very serious indirect threat seats which Labour might lose to Conservatives as a result of UKIP-Labour considerers: Southampton Itchen, Great Grimsby, Walsall North, Plymouth Moor View, Telford, Dudley North, Halifax, Wolverhampton NE, Birmingham Edgbaston, Blackpool South, Walsall South, Leicester West, Nottingham South, Southampton Test, Birmingham Northfield, and Wakefield
Four critical and very serious indirect threat Labour target seats which it could fail to win as a result of UKIP-Labour considerers: Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Carlisle, Lincoln and Ipswich.
Labour should stress a combination of cost of living issues (energy price freeze, increasing the minimum wage, capping rent increases) with policies that speak to UKIP considerers core anxieties (such as the introduction by some Labour councils of residency requirements for council house waiting lists and curbs on welfare payments to families who live overseas). Beyond this, Labour should consider promoting more contribution in welfare, ring fence a large number of its proposed 200,000 new homes for local people and switch from EU free movement of labour, to fair movement of labour.
abour should cease using the top-down message of ‘Only Labour’ and embrace Ed Miliband’s more inclusive language of ‘Together we can’ to signal the shift from a Labour party that presumes to have all the answers to one that listens and works with voters. This should speak to UKIP considerers distrust of politicians’ promises through more inclusive language and politics.
Labour should shift its campaigners efforts to community campaigning on local issues like pay day loan and betting shops, litter picks and night safety campaigns that reconnect Labour with the local community, demonstrate how change can happen, and help restore trust in politics. Doorstep conversations with UKIP considerers should be longer with voters’ concerns genuinely listened to and repeat contacts made.
Revolt on the Left: Labour’s UKIP problem and how it can be overcome by Marcus Roberts (Incorporating research from Rob Ford and Ian Warren) is available to read online.