May 1994. Labour's John Smith suffers a heart attack and dies suddenly aged just 55. Having been ahead by 20% in the polls, he was expected to lead the party to victory at the 1997 election. A look back at his leadership and how he put Labour on course for power. Smith became Labour leader… Continue reading Labour’s Lost Prime Minister: The Death of John Smith
May 1997. A Labour Landslide. On a swing of 8.8%, Labour win 418 seats giving Tony Blair a majority of 179. In their worst election defeat since 1906 the Tories retain just 165 MPs, with their smallest share of the vote since 1832. The story of the campaign Labour entered the campaign on the back… Continue reading Campaign 1997: The Making of a Landslide Country
This morning Labour has its fewest number of MPs in Parliament since 1935. That election was one of progress, with Labour winning 102 seats and setting itself back on course for government. A more apt comparison is 1931, when the party was reduced to just 52 MPs. The party lost 235 seats following the formation… Continue reading After the Landslide: In 1983 Jeremy Corbyn claimed “everything had been fudged.” Now, Labour must learn from another huge defeat
The modern era of big, open, political betting began in 1963 when Ron Pollard of Ladbrokes offered odds on the Conservative leadership contest for the ordinary punter. It was a dismal start as the 5/4 favourite Rab Butler was beaten by the 16/1 shot Alec Douglas-Home. In offering the market Pollard tapped into a long,… Continue reading The Political Punt: Will Corbyn or Johnson defy the Odds as Attlee, Thatcher and Blair did?
It is rare that a government introduces a policy to near-universal acclaim. But political experts agree that the minimum wage (NMW) is the most successful government policy of the past 40 years. However, it's introduction was fraught with political vulnerability and predictions of economic catastrophe. Labour could have easily jolted from it in the face of… Continue reading The Minimum Wage at 20: How The Tories Used Project Fear To Try And Stop It
This was not a Windrush or Grenfell scandal. There was no ‘doomsday plan’ being modelled in the event of the country’s economic collapse. On the contrary, unemployment was at its lowest level for twenty years and take-home pay had risen 10% since 1997. Neither of which stopped The Sun from predicting that William Hague would become prime minister, overturning Labour’s… Continue reading Storm In A TB Cup: What A Political Crisis Looked Like Under New Labour
Before the next election the Tories will change leader in a bid to maintain their grip on power. With it, they will project themselves as a new government. Last time it happened under John Major the party turned round a 30 point poll deficit with a well organised attack on Labour's tax and spend. Could it happen… Continue reading Nightmare of 1992: How The Tories Changed PM, Caused A Recession And Still Won A General Election
Twenty years ago this week, Tony Blair hosted a drinks reception at Number 10 that seemed to capture the essence of a “New Britain” hurtling fast towards a new millennium. In the 3 years since he had become leader of the party, Tony Blair had constantly spoken of his vision for a “young country” as… Continue reading Totally Cool: Pop, Politics and the revival of Britain