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Labour needs big ideas to win voters back, report warns

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Labour needs big ideas to win voters back, report warns

Labour will fail to win back voters who deserted to the Tories at the last election until it is much clearer about its core identity and driving purpose, according to a new report based on detailed interviews with former supporters.

The analysis by Renaissance, a new group chaired by the frontbencher and MP for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock, finds that people who had voted Labour previously, but switched to the Conservatives in 2019, will not be convinced to return to the fold by new Labour policies, but instead want big ideas and themes spelling out what the party actually stands for.

Referring to in-depth investigations of the views of its lost voters, said Kinnock: “We found that specific policy proposals did little to break through the cycle of cynicism, because politicians are assumed to break policy promises and they don’t address the fundamental issue of the voter needing to understand Labour’s identity and wider motives before they give the party a hearing.”

The report, while praising Keir Starmer’s recent party conference speech, found that among those ex-Labour backers who had switched to Boris Johnson in 2019, the Conservatives were now seen to have “a record of delivery” on issues such as Brexit, the furlough scheme, vaccinations and running the economy since 2010.

Also, alarmingly for Labour, the interviews showed that the party’s regular criticisms of the Tories for their record on the NHS and for following an austerity agenda were not hitting home with the lost voters. “Traditional attack lines are having little effect,” the report found.

Austerity was seen by many switchers as an unfortunate but necessary economic policy, while higher taxes on the those earning high salaries were viewed as punishing hard work and success.

The report – based on discussions with 60 switchers from different parts of the country, of different ages, backgrounds and views on Brexit – comes amid renewed anxiety in the party over its failure to make inroads into the Conservatives’ lead in the polls, despite the succession of crises that have engulfed the government in recent months. These include continued criticism of its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afghanistan, the cost of living and labour shortages.

In the latest Opinium poll for the Observer today the Tories retain a four-point lead after a party conference season that Labour MPs hoped might see a revival of their party’s and Starmer’s fortunes.

While Johnson’s approval ratings have dropped to their lowest levels since the last election, the Tories are still up two points on a fortnight ago on 41%, while Labour, also up two, lags behind on 37%. The Conservatives and Labour are each holding on to the vast majority of their respective general election voters: 86% of 2019 Conservatives and 85% of 2019 Labour voters.

While voters blame the government for many domestic problems, there is little sign that their frustration is benefiting Labour. The poll found that two-thirds think the government has responded badly to the shortage of HGV drivers and the knock-on effects for the energy market and the economy, while only a quarter (26%) think it has responded well. Even among Tory voters, 42% think the government response has been bad compared with 47% who think it has been good.

Despite this, Starmer remains six points behind Johnson when voters are asked who would make the best prime minister (26% for Starmer and 32% for Johnson). The figures are little changed since August.

Those questioned by Renaissance said Labour needed to be clearer about its central messages if it was to get them back, convince them it was a party of working people and good jobs, that it could manage the public finances sensibly, and that it had a positive story to tell about the future of Britain after Brexit.

Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North from 2015-2019 and a Renaissance advisory board member, said: “Renaissance’s report gives an important insight into how Labour can rebalance the scales reaching out to former voters in Stoke, with a focus on good jobs, security and building a more resilient, proud Britain. If Labour is to rebuild that coalition and to recast itself as a whole nation party of government then it must re-establish itself as the natural party of places like the Potteries.”

The report calls on Keir Starmer to prioritise three of his major conference speech themes – good jobs, value for money, and security. It also calls for Labour to champion a more resilient Britain – building on Rachel Reeves’s “make, sell and buy more in Britain” policy – in order to tell a wider story about how the Conservatives have left businesses, supply chains and critical national infrastructure vulnerable and exposed to hostile capital.

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I Will Soon Start Signing Death Warrants- Bala Mohammed

Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed has disclosed that he will soon start to sign death warrants.

Mohammed made this known on Friday in Bauchi while signing the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill and a bill for the establishment of the Bauchi state penal code, into law.

In Nigeria, state governors are legally backed to sign the death warrants.

Since 2012, no governor has been reported to have signed death warrants.

“We will soon be signing some death sentences because there are many and because of justice which has to be taken to a logical conclusion

“I know some governors are running away from signing the death sentences because they exercise restraints on the basis that there may be some element of error.

“But to me, I will leave it to my lord (the chief judge) who will prosecute. It’s not my fault. If it is brought to my attention, I will do it.”

“As for the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, we know that we are the first in the northern part of the country to enact the law, which is a member’s bill incidentally from the honourable speaker, and it has earned us a lot of respect in the country.

“But because of some noticed gaps, it was taken back and it was corrected. We thank the house for making the corrections.”

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Court Sacks 13 Ebonyi LG Bosses, 171 Councilors

A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki has again nullified the Ebonyi Local Government Elections and sacked all the 13 Council chairmen in the state.

The court also sacked all the councilors and 171 ward chairmen of the state.

The court had on Aug. 25, nullified the council polls of May 31.

Ruling on the matter with suit NO: FHC/AI/CS/224/2022 on Friday, Justice Fatun Riman ordered the seizure of the monthly federal allocation of the chairmen pending when rightful Chief Executives were elected into office.

Fatun restated that the councils election by the State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) on May 31 was illegal and unconstitutional.

Mr Mudi Erenede, Counsel to the plaintiff said he was happy over the judgment and commended the court.

“In the judgement today, the court has agreed that the Ebonyi State High court has no powers to override or set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court because it is not an Appeal Court.

“Those people, who are parading themselves as chairmen are not there legally.

“They were appointed by whoever that appointed them. CBN, Attorney General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance are all defendants in this suits,” he stated.

The counsel to Ebonyi State Government, Mr Roy Nweze, said there was no need responding to a judgment that had already been delivered by the court.

Nweze said that the matter would be appealed without delay.

(NAN)

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Naval College Graduates 245 Officers, Personnel

The newly graduated personnel of the Officers’ Application Course 20 of the Nigerian Naval Engineering College (NNEC), Sapele in Delta, have been urged to remain committed to the service of the nation.

Rear Adm. Monday Unurhiere, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command, made the plea at the graduation ceremony of the 245 Under Training Personnel of the Officers’ Application Course 20 in Sapele.

Unurhiere, represented by Rear Adm. Baratuaipri Iyalla, said that the call became necessary in view of the security, economic and social challenges currently facing the country.

The naval chief urged the graduands to make deliberate efforts to improve themselves on the job by way of taking advantage of modern technology and also tapping into the wealth of experience of their superiors.

“Let me remind you that as officers of the Nigerian Navy, you are charged with enormous responsibility and your unswerving allegiance is to the Nation.

“The confidence reposed in you must not be taking for granted, especially at this time that our national aspirations are being threatened by numerous security, economic and social challenges.

“As such, you may find yourself being called upon to serve beyond your technical capability due to the prevailing situation in the country,” he said.

Unurhiere acknowledged the efforts of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, for creating the enabling environment for training and continued financial support to NNEC.

According to him, this has helped the College to contribute more to the technological advancement of Nigerian Navy and the nation at large.

He urged the graduands, especially the under training personnel, to maintain the current tempo in sustaining training and other naval activities.

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