Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Labour looks to Obama

Douglas was out in Washington last week, and he's blogged about it on LabourList, including on what lessons we can learn from his use of the internet.


Old Holborn said...

I think it's really funny that Labour think they can harness the internet like the Democrats did.

The problem is that Democrats are internet savvy and usually intelligent. Unlike red neck Republicans with humvees of course.

Labour voters however are 52" Plasma, sit on the sofa watching East Enders all day savvy

You can't reach them through blogs, Kerry. Free beer from Lidl maybe, but not the internet.

SteveL said...

Of course, we in the campaign to save the railway path worked all this out last year, and

documented it

This week is not only the 80th anniversary of MLK's birth, it is the first anniversary of our (successful) campaign's formation. Coincidence? I think not!

DaveA said...

"Obama was decried by opponents as a socialist and a redistributor. But he kept making the case for expanded healthcare, for supporting the unemployed and for progressive taxation."

I don't want to wee on anybody's birthday cake but I think the liberal/left will soon tire of Obama. Like Tony Blair who was all things to all men/women, people saw through the veil of insincerety. Obama would never over tax businsess or the affluent. Hilary Clinton tried to expand Medicare for America's poor and got knocked back when hubby was in the White House. JFK started the war in Vietnam, LBJ prosecuted it to the nth degree and Republican Richard Nixon withdrew troops to leave the South Vietnamese to stew in their own juice.

And for toe curling hypocrisy, the liberals/left/BBC and its apologists are making his election to President look as if it is the second coming of Christ. I look upon Barack Obama as the President of the USA who happens to be black, and goodness me a Democrat.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Let's see what Douglas has to say...

"As the Tories found to their cost, it can be difficult for political parties to try and force their way into online social networks."

Remind me again which party has just launched a poorly-received grassroots website?

"Let's face it, it is going to be difficult for the Tories to learn too many lessons from Obama's campaigning approach because their ideological core runs so counter to his."

Indeed - Obama's opponents were a governing party in power too long, which got the country involved in a disastrous and illegal foreign war, introduced oppressive and anti-democratic domestic legislation and presided over a crippling financial crisis. Oh, hang on...

"The Right - on both sides of the Atlantic - is disoriented and diminished by recent global events."

Except in those countries where the Left is in power - and 14% behind in the polls.

That 8,621 majority must look uncomfortably small Kerry.

Kerry said...

Steve L - important though the cycle path is, I don't think that it is quite in the league of the American civil rights movement.

Bristol Traffic said...

I do not dispute the significance of the civil rights movement, especially as my son holds a US passport and it would have been illegal to marry my wife in the US state we did 40 years earlier. I was merely pointing out that the Obama campaign reimplimented many of our innovative internet-based campaign techniques.

Paul said...

Interestingly one of the main messages is don't rely on the internet you need to mobilise grass routes to win.

To do that I think Labour needs to show it has a radical alternative to revive our economy, culture and society. It needs to inspire people.

Unfortunately we are seen as the establishment when (imo)the establishment is still the privelege represented by Cameron conservatives and senior corporates (many of whom have been involved in screwing the economy and who almost exclusively vote conservative).

We need a programme of change that has to be about a lot more than managerialism, identity cards and nationalising the banks. The elements are there buried in the policy forum documents but need to be brought to the fore

Old Holborn said...

"We need a programme of change that has to be about a lot more than managerialism, identity cards and nationalising the banks"

God help us all. Do you not think people have had enough managerialism (whatever that is)?

The harder you try to control us all, the more it becomes like herding cats.

Simon said...

I was impressed by the way Obama said he would redress the balance between liberty and security. That's something Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith would do well to take on board. At least the Americans have got a chance to see a lightening of the authoritarian State. We'll probably get another half dozen laws to opress us further.

Old Holborn said...

He also said it doesn't matter what size the State, it just needs to work

I can't agree with him. The USSR was HUGE and worked for many people (all of them related to or employed by the State), but it wasn't right, was it?

Interestingly, East Germans lived under less rules and State surveillance/interferance than we do now in the UK.

7 million people work for the New Labour State. 4 Million are on unemployment/invalidity New Labour benefit. 26 million receive some sort of benefit from New Labour.

I don't call it New Labour, I call it Bonded Labour.

Kerry, you've finally got it. People come to blogs to read the comments and observe the arguments. Nobody goes to a blog to soak up the posts. Well done.

Please give my regards to Derek and tell him what you've learned.

Bristol Traffic said...

"Interestingly one of the main messages is don't rely on the internet you need to mobilise grass routes to win."

The campaign used every technique known, and invented new ones. They used the net as a channel to organise supporters, and managed their operations. In a strong democrat state: get the supporters to use their cellphone minutes to talk to possible voters in more marginal states. In a strong republican state: link up the supporters and reinforce the validity of their beliefs. And ask everyone for money. This took the limit of cash away, and let them fight in pretty much every state, outspending the republicans everywhere.

That worked because people had something to believe in: change for the better. As DaveA says, ID card's don't cut it. Though at least for me, neither does Ken Clarke.

Bristol Traffic said...

Also, look at http://www.whitehouse.gov/. Our new government is online.

Northern Lights said...

It's quite indicative of the weakness of the 'small c' conservative tradition that Obama has just won one of the most historic elections of modern times on a ticket of more investment in public services and more regulation for financial markets - policies close to the heart of Labour.

Bristol Traffic said...

"East Germans lived under less rules and State urveillance/interferance than we do now in the UK."

My friend spent his DDR military service shooting people trying escape the country. Britain is not that bad yet -people do not queue up to run the border at Dover or Crossmaglen.

The Stasi surveillance regime was more intimate; there were files on everyone. The current datacentre-state relies on technology: ANPR, internet/email logging, phone call tracking. As such it scales better, leaving an interesting data mining project. But it is also possible to opt out. Drive a foreign car or ride a bike. Get an Irish passport. Pay for your TfL travel with cash, not an oystercard. Turn your phone off. Help set up a community wifi service. There are things we can do. We can even use datamining ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Something's goin' on. Chuck D and Hitchens together on Newsnight ...

Dick the Prick said...

It's tough to know if he won because of his politics, his adversary, his identity, his predecessor or the banking crisis.

Old Holborn said...

So suddenly it's time for a novice?

Anonymous said...

"more investment in public services and more regulation for financial markets - policies close to the heart of Labour."

Excuse me, I've just wet myself laughing. Here's some of Brown's Mansion House speech from June 2007:

"consider together the things that we must do - and, just as important, things we should not do to maintain our competitiveness:

- enhancing a risk based regulatory approach, as we did in resisting pressure for a British Sarbannes-Oxley after Enron and Worldcom,

- maintaining our competitive tax regime, and having cut our main rate of corporation tax to again the lowest in the G8, today we are publishing the next stage of implementing Sir David Varney's recommendations for a more risk based approach to the administration of the system, with greater certainty on tax matters when it's needed most;

- and ensuring a modern planning system, that balances our economic and environmental needs with a more predictable and accountable decision making process, including that for major infrastructure projects."

Anonymous said...

Northern Lights, closer to the truth is that Obama won the election because he isn't Bush.

What happens when all those campaign donors start calling in their favours?

SteveL said...

Not Bush, not republican. Something different. But he also got the nomination over Hilary Clinton, where his selling point is that he was not the establishment, and that something better needed to be done. Even so, it took the collapse of the banks to put a big gap in the polls between him and the McCain/Palin team.

Regarding his campaign donors, everyone who donated little amounts doesn't get much of a favour to call in -they only get let down. The businesses with influence are medical and mass-media. One has lots of money and lots to lose by something resembling a universal health care system being rolled out, the other has lots of influence, and has strongly resisted campaign finance reform in the past because those TV companies get most of the money. They'd rather a corrupt election process that sends lots of cash their way than something fairer.

Northern Lights said...

For the Bristol Blogger:

'the challenges we face...are so profound that they will require both new institutions and new ideas and they should be built around three central truths: that for a dynamic economy we need markets not uanaccountable to government but regulated by them; that for a healthy society, we need to stand back and understand what it is that we value, which is more than markets can provide; and that as we reform our economic and social institutions, we should take the opportunity to reform our state as well and make it fit for the age we live in.'

Seems to sum up Labour values rather well I think. Now go see a doctor about that bladder problem.

The Bristol Blogger said...

NL: Obama's words yesterday and Brown's speech in 2007, just before he took office, are fundamentally at odds.

To pretend otherwise is dishonest.

Northern Lights said...

Bristol Blogger likes quotes, so here are some more:

'Those people who think that the global market can be run without regulation, or with self-regulation, or with light-touch regulation have been entirely routed, have been entirely disproved'

- Ed Balls

'It's clear we have to put in place measures to stop problems being repeated. It is clearer than ever that markets can't do this on their own'

- Alastair Darling

'for a dynamic economy we need markets not uanaccountable to government but regulated by them'

- Ed Miliband

'The Banking Bill will tighten up regulation, and that is good'

- Gordon Prentice

'regulation [is] the key to ensuring the freedom of the financial markets but also prevent them from destabilising economies.'

- Jim Murphy

I could go on but I'm bored now.

I think it's clear, though, that regulation is 'close to the heart of Labour' and to pretend otherwise is daft.

Anonymous said...

Could you give us the dates of those quotes NL?

I suspect they're all rather recent and come after Brown's Mansion House speech, which clearly promotes a market regulatory regime to the right of Bush that has now collapsed in ruins.

A policy that's a year old and made on the hoof cannot really be described as "close to our hearts" can it?

SteveL said...

The power that is Google shows us how prescient the politicians have been:
Ed Balls: Sept 2008
Alastair Darling: Sept 2008
Ed Miliband: Jan 2009
Gordon Prentice: quote not found
Jim Murphy: Dec 2008

It may have been true to their hearts, but it was clearly the love that could not be spoken, even when they were in charge of setting the banking regulations for the country.

Old Holborn said...



The Bristol Blogger said...

What am I supposed to be looking at on Dale?