Updated: Jul 3
The Labour Party is still regrouping after it suffered its worst electoral defeat since the 1930s. Though, what is becoming clear in the Leadership campaigns, is that some at the top of the Labour Party hierarchy have not learnt a thing.
I consider myself a diehard Labour supporter. I was raised on left-wing values & I continue to view the world through that lens. Though, I’d like to think I’ve become increasingly critical of the left as I’ve progressed through my political education.
On the 29th of February, I cast my vote in the Labour leadership elections. Despite being ideologically aligned with the likes of Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon, I found myself unwilling to vote for them. Instead, those two were at the bottom of my list (Labour leadership elections use a preferential voting system). Lisa Nandy and Angela Rayner got my vote, because of their desire to unite a party so deeply divided.
It is here, that I find fault with the ‘Labour left’. Unfortunately, too many left-wing Labour supporters are hostile to the idea that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party led directly to the bitter blow in the last election.
What’s more, many senior figures, Burgon amongst them, have since come out to say that voters will rue the day they chose Boris Johnson over Jeremy Corbyn.
The thought of a senior figure in the Labour Party condemning the decisions of the electorate, who in an emphatic manner, decided to reject Jeremy Corbyn and support, for the first time for so many, the Johnson-led Conservative Party, made me feel incredibly uneasy.
For those unaware, Burgeon made this comment in the Deputy Leadership hustings in Glasgow.
To insinuate, for just a moment, that the electorate did not realise what, or whom, they had voted for, is a sign of the Labour left’s cognitive dissonance. The idea that a man, so incredibly popular amongst their own circles, could be so unpopular to the everyday voter, could not possibly be the case – the voters must be out of touch.
If the Labour Party is to ever get back into power, we need to remove this kind of thinking from the party.
Indeed, Johnson is, in my view, unfit to be the Prime Minister. Yes, we should criticise and condemn him for actions we deem unjust. No, we should not just roll-over and submit. We need to listen to voters.
What will become abundantly clear to anyone who glances at this period in political history one day, down the line, is that this is when the people said “enough”. The people had seen the economy crash in 2008, their economic position was tangibly diminished & their leaders decided to continue with the status quo. The majority paid for the sins of the few.
Subsequent rounds of austerity and failed attempts to rectify the issue have only served to exacerbate it. Whilst the economy has improved, vital services in the UK have been removed, reduced or defunded. The British people can feel the pinch still to this day.
People are angry. They voted to leave the EU, not because they hate the French or the Germans, but because the post-crash era saw their public services slashed. It’s no coincidence that the famous ‘Brexit bus’ said what it did. It was a deliberate attempt to tap into this undercurrent.
Similarly, the electorate chose Boris Johnson because he was conventionally unconventional. He knew what the electorate wanted & kept on saying he’d do it. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn decided to fight the good fight; free fast broadband for all, pensions for WASPI women & a four-day working week. Nice ideas, but really Jeremy, who cares?
The Labour Party in 2019 failed to even come close to reflecting what the people of the UK wanted. This is reflected no better than the dismal return of seats in the North – who were massively swayed by Labour’s reluctantly-anti-Brexit stance.
Now we have the Labour Left, spearheaded by Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon claiming they’re the ‘continuity Corbyn’ candidates?
If the Labour Party continues down this path of blind denial and electorate-blaming, they’ll go nowhere. I emphatically believe that the socialist message can be electorally successful in Britain – polling after the fact does support that – but it has to be done with consideration for the issues of the day.
Blind ideology will return you 205 seats in the House of Commons, on a good day. Listening to, and reflecting the public’s voice, will get you a majority.
I would like to make clear that I was a supporter of Corbyn’s Labour Party & don’t for a second wish to appear as though I was not. Politics is about being in power and affecting change and if Labour continues to deny the voters’ motives, they are doomed to electoral obscurity.