The British Labour Party has been left with its lowest number of MPs since the party under Neil Kinnock was hammered by Margaret Thatcher.

ONE OF THE New Zealand Labour Party's most remarkable abilities is to posture as a party that embraces the interests of ordinary folk while, at the same time, promoting polices that are hostile to the interests of ordinary folk. So you can have a Labour MP declaring that his or her party is on the side of the working class while, at the same time, its leader is trying to deny there is a working class and is assuring business interests that it indeed will be business as usual under a Labour government.

To promote this puffery, Labour needs its cheerleaders and apologists out in the media and the blogosphere. For evidence of that you only you need to look as far The Standard or perhaps something written by Chris Trotter.

It's been much the same thing with Ed Milband's Labour Party. While the Ed Miller Band liked to claim they were singing from The People's songbook, they were actually singing the Tory tune of more austerity.

But Ed's high profile friends like Steve Coogan and Eddie Izzard couldn't sell this gig to the British electorate. Even claiming that Labour might suck but it sucked a lot less than the Conservatives, as Russell Brand tried to do, didn't work. At least Brand has had the decency to put up his hands and admit he got it badly wrong. The rest of them, I imagine, will be presently hurriedly leaving the scene of Labour's wreckage - as if they had nothing to do with it.

That's what they did in New Zealand too, of course. But idiocy can be hard to stamp out and I've not been surprised by the number of New Zealand Labour Party supporters who have castigated the British voter for not supporting Ed Miliband. Didn't they understand how 'progressive' Ed was? Did someone just call British voters 'Sleepy Hobbits'?

But simply aping the Tories austerity agenda means that Labour's voters will just walk away - and that's what they've have been doing for over a decade. Labour's share of the vote was 30.6%, barely shifting from 29% in 2010 - which was Labour's worst share of the vote since 1918. Indeed the picture is actually worse because in several electorates Labour's vote actually declined.

In the case of Scotland Labour was virtually wiped out by a left reformist party. The Scottish National Party are determinedly anti-austerity, critical of the influence of the multinationals and the banksters and financiers and think beneficiaries get a raw deal.

Miliband's response that Labour had been 'overwhelmed by Scottish nationalism' made it sound like Labour had been struck by a deadly virus...


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