[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”2/3″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]We are not only preparing for the end of the year, but the end of a decade. A decade that has seen a rapid and sad decline of what was, once, a proud and serious political party.
Since 2010 Labour has gone on a perpetual journey of self-harm, lurching from one crisis to another, electing the wrong leaders and adopting policies for the fairies.
Following its trouncing and humiliation at the General Election last week, you might expect that a period of mature reflection and a dose of self-awareness would be the order of the day for Jeremy Corbyn and the group of misguided acolytes who he has surrounded himself with since he became an unlikely leader back in 2015.
However, the delusion that led them to creating a Manifesto that offered everything other than a complimentary Unicorn in your back garden for Christmas has continued as they look to deflect blame from themselves and their shambolic management of the party over the past two years onto the shoulders of others.
The media, Brexit and the failure of some MPs to fully get behind St Jeremy have all been cited as the reasons for Labour’s worst election result since 1935.
What a load of baloney!
The media, even during the halcyon days of Labour’s most successful leader Tony Blair, were never on Labour’s side, as we have been reminded by the posting of many headlines and images from the press from the New Labour period over the past week. In addition, it must be conceded even by the most ardent of delusional Corbynites that the mainstream media have less influence now than ever before, given the explosion of social media platforms.
In terms of party splits, can anyone seriously argue that Corbyn has had to endure worse internal divisions that have been very publicly aired from the Conservative Party? Not only did Boris Johnson expel more than twenty high-profile Tory MPs just prior to the election, but he had a previous Conservative prime minister and a large number of Tory Grandees actively campaigning against him.
In terms of Brexit, the challenge for Labour in the election wasn’t the issue but its muddled position – a compromise forced on the leadership by Trades Union leaders – and Corbyn’s bizarre decision to announce that he would stay ‘neutral’ during any second EU referendum.
Labour is now at a crossroads. It can return to sanity or continue its leftward lurch and become a pressure group rather than a political party.
The suggestion that a leadership ticket of Rebecca Long Bailey and Richard Burgon is anything other than a free pass for another five years for the Tories is naïve and negligent.
In terms of those who organised the campaign, a selection of disaffected Trots, middle class gesture politicians and far left outliers, they must be removed from the party’s hierarchy at the earliest possible opportunity – send them back to student politics where they belong.
So, what should come next? A return to New Labour? Absolutely not. Just as it was madness to fight on a platform of 1970s policies to win an election in 2019, it would be equally foolish to adopt a late twentieth century agenda for a twenty-first century campaign.
A more socially responsible approach to business, the environment, investment and economic growth is not only the right thing to argue for, but in the right context popular too.
The irony of what Labour has just suffered is that the country was ready to support a different type of politics. A pragmatic, realistic left wing programme would have won support, particularly had it been fronted by a credible leader.
Up to now, only Keir Starmer has begun to address some of the key issues that Labour must resolve if they are to win back people’s trust and credibility. I hope that Lisa Nandy, my preferred choice at this stage, begins to develop a more sophisticated narrative than simply saying Labour needs a northern voice to lead the party to win again. Its much more challenging than that.