So yes, Labour is going to have to talk about immigration and welfare. And I believe that we have it within ourselves to do that in a way that speaks to voters concerns without pandering to the whims of those who want us to abandon our beliefs to the politics of the right. But we must also talk about the kind of change we want to see in Britain – on housing, jobs and wages – where our ambition is currently too limited.Personally, I don't give much of a toss about any of this. My bare minimum requirement to start voting Labour again is the full re-nationalisation of the railways; a mild, sensible policy that would be a token acknowledgment that the party is prepared to break with the Neoliberal consensus. Airy, speculative talk about a "partial" renationalisation isn't close to being good enough. That's just a start, by the way. How about a dedicated effort to bring shipbuilding back to the Clyde, or to the Wear? It only seems impossible because we've never tried it.
There is absolutely no way the Labour hierarchy will seriously consider any of this, because in the narrow avenue of thinking they have confined themselves to, such policies would be tantamount to heresy. And because they operate within such confined strictures of possibility, they, like the other mainstream parties, operate almost purely in the realm of perception management, "reaching out to voters' concerns", "allaying fears", "pointing out the consequences" etc. The policies that could re-connect with Labour's core vote are unacceptable to Labour, and neither immigration nor the EU need come into it.
All the mainstream parties are suffering from what Charles Tart called "consensus trance". They have hypnotised themselves with their own mantras of what is economically and socially possible, and are literally unable to see any options that exist outside their self-imposed definition of reality. This is why charismatic tricksters like Salmond and Farage can garner so much mileage from tormenting them.