Thank you Frank but no thanks

Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, is a maverick who can on occasions offer perceptive insights, but his choice of allies can reduce his effectiveness. In 2010 he was happy to accept an appointment from David Cameron to lead an independent review into poverty and life chances. Not surprisingly his loyalty to the Labour Party was called into question.
Field is a long-time Eurosceptic. In a speech on Tuesday he said that 40% of Labour supporters wanted to leave the EU but that their views were being ignored in favour of a pro-EU policy ‘designed to please a London metropolitan elite’. He called on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to listen to his working-class base, claiming that Labour voters who oppose the EU are likely to defect to Ukip. There is some truth in this perspective – however my view is that such voters have already gone and are unlikely to return. A couple of successive Saturday mornings on the Labour Party stall in North Norfolk towns have convinced me that this is the case. Most of those passing by are neutral or too busy to bother; some are pleased to receive our LabourIn material. However we certainly encounter the occasional burst of hostility from people who are just waiting for their opportunity to hold forth.
Sometimes these hostile passers-by begin by saying that they are former Labour voters and will never vote for the Party again. This is followed by a litany against immigrants, wealthy fat cats, young people who are idle, foreigners generally and often a combination of all four. Although I find this annoying I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing to be done. Such people are not amenable to reason. Arguing with them is as purposeless as complaining to the people who are spoiling my view at the Millennium Stadium by continually leaving their seats to buy beer or go to the toilet rather than watching the game; all you get in return is a load of abuse.
The real question Frank Field should be asking is how we can win back the thoughtful voters in Scotland who have ceased to identify with the Labour Party. This presents a hard challenge and will require a deal of new thinking and a different approach. His contribution is ill-advised and unhelpful and has taken us no further forward.

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