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.