Labour has become party of highly educated and must communicate more like Johnson says Welsh Labour candidate
Labour has become the party of the “highly educated” and must start communicating in the “more straightforward” way of Boris Johnson in order to win over voters in deprived communities, a Welsh Labour candidate in next month’s elections has said.
Nathan Yeowell, who is standing in Panteg in Torfaen and is director of Progressive Britain and co-director of Labour to Win, said that Labour’s focus on systemic problems was alienating voters in areas where they needed to beat the Conservatives.
He said that “constituencies with low formal education and high educational deprivation have swung decisively to the Tories” because Labour’s solutions to problems as communicated to voters were too intimidating in their complexity.
He said that Boris Johnson’s appeal wasn’t his values – “people don’t really like them at all” – but a message that focuses on “personal agency and empowerment”.
Writing in the Times, he said: “Under multiple leaders, Labour has adopted ways of thinking and talking that are almost totally focused on systems.
“At best, this reflects the real complexity of the modern world and the challenge of modern issues like climate change and systemic racism.
“At worst it is disempowering, intimidating and alienating. The individual voter, or even politician, can’t do much about oppressive global power structures.
“Whether by accident or design, Johnson represents that exact opposite. He has become the master of reducing every issue, no matter how complex, to a simple, direct explanation focused on personal agency on empowerment. He will ‘get Brexit done’, he will ‘lock them up’, his government will ‘level up’ the nation.”
On Labour, Nathan Yeowell added: “We’ve been quietly converting the party into something by the highly educated, for the highly educated. People who prefer this kind of systems analysis. Our work shows that in the last decade constituencies with low formal education and high educational deprivation have swung decisively to the Tories.
“The good news is, despite what some Labour people think, it’s not an issue about diverging values. People actually generally share similar values and are getting more progressive. They just like the way Johnson expresses them more.
“To many people I speak to on the doorstep in Torfaen in south Wales, where I am standing for the council in next month’s local elections, even when they think Johnson is a liar, he seems more straightforward than many Labour politicians who tend to couch their values is systemic terms at all times.”
Panteg in Torfaen is a multi-member ward with three seats up for grabs, and the candidates include three for Labour and three Conservatives.
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