A few words on Labour

My own particular ‘lefty-Labour-Twitter-Bubble’ has been enjoying itself in the aftermath of the surprisingly non-depressing election result. I mean, who could possibly not have enjoyed the humiliation of Theresa May?

The analyses of Labour’s performance has been a little less straightforward – which is not surprising given the seemingly enormous divide amongst the people I follow, which include strong Corbyn fans and equally strong Corbyn enemies. Most have been able to simply enjoy the result, but there have been two other analyses offered, both on that Labour could and perhaps should have done even better (more of which later).

Firstly, from the pro-Corbyn people, if only the Blairites hadn’t been undermining Corbyn for the last two years, Labour could have won.

Secondly, from the anti-Corbyn people, if only Labour had had a decent leader, Labour would have won.

Both these arguments have two clear virtues: they’re entirely unprovable and they totally vindicate the positions that had been taken by those advocating them for the last few years.  I have more sympathy for the first argument than the second, but neither, for me, is very helpful. The past has happened – the sniping (and worse) happened. And the idea that this result leaves open the possibility of ousting Corbyn is as much a denial of reality as Theresa May claiming it’s given her a resounding mandate. Corbyn will be leading Labour for quite some time!

The key now is to think about what happens next. This is a massive opportunity for unity – and MPs (and commentators) could and should swallow their pride and acknowledge Corbyn’s success. Yes, Theresa May inflicted a lot of wounds on herself, but that’s not the whole story. And don’t forget that this election was set up by May, for May, for the maximum disadvantage for Corbyn. Labour was rock-bottom in the polls, riven by division, caught unprepared, faced by a massively hostile media – and still put together a fine manifesto and a coherent and principled campaign. There were hiccups and messes – there always are – but relatively few. The enthusiasm and positivity- and the competence overcame them.

It would be great to see Labour take this chance to unite. For apologies and acknowledgement rather than point-scoring and revenge. 

I for one was quite wrong about how this campaign would go. I’ll happily admit it, and that I was wrong about a whole load of details as well as the big picture. Sometimes it’s great to have been wrong.


8 thoughts on “A few words on Labour

  1. I’m a Green but quick search on Google returned this,
    Leadership: A Definition. According to the idea of transformational leadership , an effective leader is a person who does the following: Creates an inspiring vision of the future. Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision.

    Seems to me Corbyn has these qualities and more. Paul, have you also been ‘poisoned’ by the right wing Torylites?

    Under Blair Labour set out many of the Tory ideologies and were instrumental in beginning the privatisation of the NHS. Over time Labours problem was that it was becoming difficult to separate some of their MPs between them and the Tories, hence the term ‘Torylite’ was born. Many of their current MPs fit into this definition and it seems to me they that they have ‘poisoned’ Corbyn as much as the right wing press. There are many good voters within the ‘centre ground’ who would probably see the great humane social policies of Corbyn and those of the Greens for what they really are given half a chance. The problem is that Labour have in their ranks many MPs who would be comfortable sitting on the Tory benches.and they have inflicted as much damage on ‘left wing’ policies and Corbyn alone as much as the Tory press. More so possibly because they influenced some of their own members.who acted out their part. Some of the crap I have seen on twitter from so called ‘loyal’ Labour supporters beggars belief.

    I truly believe Labour have two options. Get fully behind Corbyn, keep pinching Green policies and get elected with a man with ‘Caroline Lucas like qualities’ or get rid of Corbyn, go back to Torylite policies and never get elected again. Lets face it, when the Daily mail writes 13 pages of lies against Corbyn pre-election he must be doing correctly lots of things to worry them.

    People generally don’t get elected on policies alone, emotion and personalities rule the game. Labour can now start again from a much stronger base than seven weeks ago and because they seem to have a leader who matches many of the election needed leadership qualities but with election winnable policies to match.

    The Tories are now very vulnerable and seems to me it would be very sensible for the Labour Party to support their elected leader fully so that when the next election comes in the not too distant future they start from a much better position than that of seven weeks ago. Yes Theresa May run a poor campaign but if I was a supporter of Labour I would be looking at their percentage of the vote.

    With boundary changes I would also be pushing for PR. Labour would have had roughly the same amount of MPs under PR in this election but the Tories would have had a lot less.

    1. My apologies, slight error, On reading my post again I realised a line should have been written as
      ‘Paul, have you ever been ‘poisoned’ by the right wing Torylites?’

    2. In many ways I agree with you – but I’m starting to think Labour’s choices aren’t quite as stark as you put them. Listening to some of the MPs yesterday admit that they had been wrong about Corbyn felt like it might be opening the door to something different. The left has always been best as a broad church – it could still be.

  2. Thanks for this post, Paul – it’s helped me get a bit of perspective. I must admit I’m enjoying how the Tory team completely miscalculated the effect of the increased exposure Corbyn would get in a GE campaign. His obvious candour versus May’s caginess was disarming.

  3. Corbyn put free university tuition before everything, including ending the benefits freeze, scrapping the benefits cap and putting real money into Sure Start, to make up for savage Tory cuts since 2010. Corbyn and his supporters have been revealed as self serving hypocrites. The fight goes on …

    After all, Jeremy would not expect anyone opposed to his not committing Labour to reverse more than £2bn of the £9bn Social Security cuts, over which IDS resigned, to do any less, would he?

    Or has he now become a fuly fledged Red Tory?

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