Jon Cruddas MP and Searchlight editor Nick Lowles:
"The New Labour project relied on the assumption that its traditional support, although declining, had nowhere else to go. But this is now changing, and the BNP has emerged as one beneficiary. The party received more votes last month than Labour in seats such as Dagenham and Rainham in east London and the new Morley and Outwood constituency in West Yorkshire...
It is no coincidence that the BNP is doing best in those communities, often overwhelmingly white, where there has been the greatest economic change, such as the former coalfields and car manufacturing areas. For too long a basic formula has underscored much New Labour thinking - a counterbalancing of so-called aspirational, Middle-England swing voters with our traditional supporters. Its adherents have remained tone deaf to both the aspirations and insecurities of those who fall outside this tight political calculus.
Ministers' rhetoric of 'aspiration' fails to address the real aspirations of voters across huge tracts of the political landscape, where even decent housing or good jobs are in too short supply. So our language, policies and tactics all fail to hit the mark."
I'm starting to regard the prospect of a Conservative government much as I do my deepening middle age: there's not much I can do about it, maybe it won't be so bad, and being in decline can, if nothing else, encourage fruitful reflection about the future. Labour's leadership should to reflect on this thoughtful piece. It might have a rejuvenating effect.