Labour needs to win over Tory voters, not Labour to UKIP switchers

I’ve seen this visualisation a lot on Twitter recently,

Voter flows in and out of the 2015 UKIP vote. Source Yougov


The response has typically been ‘OMG Labour voters from 2010 are being turned into 2017 voters by the “gateway drug” of UKIP’.

There’s a problem with this common claim, while Labour have undoubtedly lost voters to the Tories via UKIP, it’s a small number, and it’s a smaller number than Labour have lost directly to the Tories. The article this graphic is taken from actually says this, it says that Labour have lost seven times as many voters directly to the Tories than they have via UKIP. Going back to the 2005, it’s the Tories who lost far more of their voters to UKIP than Labour did,


But we still see the “Labour core vote went UKIP” nonsense. I suspect some of this is due to the fact that the UKIP vote was a bit more working class than middle class and the assumption that working class people used to always vote Labour. This is nonsense, there’s been a strong working class Conservative vote going back to Disraeli.

What we do have is a situation where Labour have lost a lot of votes since 1997, 2001 & 2005. Scotland excluded, these have overwhelmingly been directly to the Tories. If you want a Labour government then get to work winning over 3 million people who are currently planning to vote Tory. These are not the uncaring, hateful people as the far-left often portray them, and shouting about how horrible they must be for supporting the Tories won’t work. These are people who think that a Labour government will raise their taxes, put their job at risk and make a mess of the Brexit negotiations. Convince them otherwise, convince them their life will be better and their country more prosperous under Labour.

Labour needs to win over Tory voters, not Labour to UKIP switchers

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