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Labour Party: Peter Mandelson issues fifth State of the Race memo

Peter Mandelson, Labour's Chair of Election Strategy, has this evening issued his fifth "State of the Race" memo to Labour Party members and supporters. Sign up to receive future memos

From: Peter Mandelson
To: Labour members, supporters and other interested parties

The final weekend before polling day is always an important stage of the campaign. All around Britain, party activists on all sides will be stepping up their efforts to win every piece of support they can find. The party leaders will step up the tempo once more. And the many undecided voters – more than in any campaign any of us can remember - will make up their minds.

This campaign is very much a three horse race. But one thing remains clear – only two parties can form the next government and give Britain its Prime Minister. Labour or Tory. Gordon Brown or David Cameron. The TV debates are over. Now is the time to decide.

As Gordon said in the debate on Wednesday, if the polls stay as they are, Mr Cameron, with or without the help of Mr Clegg, will walk into Downing Street within less than a week.

Walk into Downing Street and immediately start implementing his plan to shrink our economy by £6bn at a time it needs continuing support. The implications for jobs, living standards and public services are dreadful.

That is why we the remaining few days of the campaign will be fought under the banner ‘Fighting for your future.’
Yes, we are certainly in a fight. A fight for the future of British jobs, schools and hospitals, and the living standards of British people. A fight for fairness against a Tory Party whose policies show it to be the same old Tories.

It is a fight we can win. It is a fight we have to win to deliver the future fair for all that we have promised.

If there is one thing that has been clear from the Tories’ failure to race ahead, it is the deep public resistance to the idea of a Tory government. People remember what happened the last time. And as this is an unchanged Tory Party, they need to be reminded of the record interest rates, the repossessions, the dreadful state of our public services.

In 1997, we promised to save the NHS. And we have. But it is under threat again.
We promised to rebuild our schools and drive up standards. We have. But those gains are under threat.
We promised to get crime down. We have. But the Tory cuts will harm every part of our public services.
Just compare the Tory recessions of the past to the one we have just gone through. Ask yourself why Britain was able to steer itself to recovery? Because we have the right values. And because we have the right leadership.  Gordon Brown is a serious man for serious times.

Cameron and Clegg may do the spin better. But they don’t have the substance.

The Tories have the wrong values and the wrong policies. The Lib Dems have the right values – or some of them – but their policies are either unaffordable, unfathomable or just plain daft. Together or alone, they are a risk to your future. There is only one serious choice on the ballot paper: Labour.

I can tell you from our polling that Mr Cameron may be seen as ‘change,’ but it is change that alarms the public. He is also seen as remote, out of touch from most people’s lives. People think he is fighting for the rich and the privileged, not the majority of decent hard-working families.

Mr Clegg soared to prominence after the first TV debate. But real doubts have set in about his inexperience, about exactly who he is and what he stands for, about his ill-thought out policies on jobs, tax credits, immigration and defence.
Two reasons we can be confident are the two issues most often cited as people’s main concerns. The economy. And public services. We are strong on both fronts. We need to press home that advantage in the days ahead.

The real story of this campaign is that David Cameron entered the race with a huge poll lead, which shrunk as his policies came under scrutiny. People are alarmed at his plans to withdraw support from the economy. They believe this has less to do with cutting the deficit than getting on with the Tory task of cutting public services.

We have gone from recession to recovery, and can now lead Britain to prosperity for all. We can re-build our economy in the regions. We can take the tough decisions that will be fair to  families. We can protect our public services and turn them from good to great.

We do not have the Ashcroft millions to put up negative posters around the country. We do not have a right-wing media behind us, trying to create an unstoppable momentum, as they are for Mr Cameron’s unchanged Tory Party.

But it has already been clear that this is the people’s election, not the papers’ election. It  is too important to be decided by Ashcroft buying it, or media barons trying to announce the result before people have gone to the polls. They will be fine whoever wins. The people we are fighting for are the people who need a government on their side in these times of insecurity and peril.

I want to thank all of you for what you are doing to make sure Britain sticks with Labour.

You will see Gordon and the rest of the team all over the country in the coming days. But what you do is just as important. This is a word of mouth campaign. We have been contacting half a million people a week. Activists are talking direct to more than 100,000 people every day. And in an election that is so untypical in many ways, one thing is unchanged from previous elections – it will be decided in 100 or so Labour/Tory marginals.

And to those flirting with the Lib Dems in these seats, we need to make sure they know that a Lib Dem vote is the surest route to a Tory government, with devastating consequences for anyone who really believes in jobs, fairness and good schools and hospitals.

This campaign has shown clearly that there is a progressive not a conservative majority in this country. But the only way to keep Britain on the road to recovery, and on the progressive path, is with a majority Labour government.

Let’s win the fight for it.


  • Politics, general


  • peter mandelson
  • labour's chair of election strategy