As with the Liberal Democrats, there’s plenty of controversy in Labour over the right campaigning lessons to learn from the 2015 general election. That makes the views of any one key high profile individual only part of the full story, but even so there are two immediate thoughts that struck me from Arnie Graf’s remarkable story for LabourList about how Labour struggled to find anyone on the minimum wage to talk to Ed Miliband: “How could it be that the Labour Party, supposedly the Party of working people, was not in relationship with a single minimum wage worker?”
First, it’s a reminder for activists in all parties how easy it is to fall out of touch with the electorate.
Second, it helps explain what always puzzled me slightly about the reaction of the most vocal Labour activists on social media to any jobs figures showing good news. There was always a barrage of noise about how it was all nonsense: there were no new jobs, or they were all part time, or there were all paying the minimum wage, or this or that.
Despite the creation of huge numbers of full time jobs on above the minimum wage (and yes, of course, that wasn’t all the jobs) it was as if they’d never met anyone like that and so quite genuinely believed all those job creations just couldn’t possibly exist. The jobs must all be made up numbers and misleading statistics.
But if this was a Labour Party so out of touch it struggled to find anyone on the minimum wage, perhaps that was a Labour Party so out of touch more widely too.