LAbour is doing what Labor does best after a defeat: get up, dust off and start over hitting the light of day. Since last Friday’s disastrous outcome in Hartlepool, the blame has spread in all directions as bile-filled civil wars resume. Whatever happens, Keir Starmer’s appearance as Angela Rayner’s scapegoat with a failed fire and rehire was a bad response. As always, the most divisive faces in Labor have resurfaced: blame Jeremy Corbyn, blame Tony Blair. “Tips” are spilled: Andy Burnham says the party has lost “an emotional connection with the people.” TO Conservative focus group finds that voters think the Labor Party is “too self-conscious.” Correct.
In general, the local election results They give the Tories 36%, with Labor at 29%, only slightly better than the 12-point deficit it ran in the 2019 general election. Is all the work to blame? Hardly. Consider this: never again will there be such a golden moment of electoral victory for Boris Johnson, this great talker of a salesman, who gets credit for releasing vaccination as the country explodes with optimism. Labor never had a chance in the face of the country’s growing growth predictions, a house price boom That’s cash for homeowners, ready to spend the extra billions that some households have saved during the pandemic, and here comes the return of travel and hugs. You only need to look at the chill of an election week naval showdown in Jersey to see that Brexit remains Labor’s killer, analysts warned that it still underlies the onslaught of Tory votes.
Hear the contradictions: A front-line MP argues that Labor must now “completely change the way it does things” and yet come up with “an authentic political offer that matches the challenges facing the country”, while Nathan Yeowell and Luke Akehurst of Labor First, the moderate Labor, prescribe attractive to the “large part of the public that is older, or a car driver, or an owner, or who voted for Brexit.” Well yes, but what should I do, change, or be authentic? Authentically what? The heart of Labor’s core support beats strongly in public services, pro-poor, anti-colonial and pro-poor. They have no problem with the flag and love of country, but Labor is patriotically proud of things British other than Tories.
I have no useful solutions for the identity of the upside-down Labor Party: it was founded to serve a working class that has changed. But it doesn’t help to hear Labor spit contempt at their new backbone of supporters because they are not traditionally considered “working class”: thanks to the young, graduates, urbanites, remnants, liberal-minded and socially concerned “metropolitans,” Labor Now has many mayors in fortresses like Bristol, Manchester, London and the west of England. Many of the people joining the Labor Party are civil servants, NHS workers, teachers, charity and non-profit employees, union members, public interest lawyers, researchers, food bank organizers, social workers, and assistance. The only downside is that there aren’t enough of them.
Governments fall, oppositions do not win: it was not “the time for a change.” This will prove to have been Johnson’s peak. Once Covid is over, the prime minister must deliver on his hot air promises. He won by sprinkling IOUs on everything, stealing Labor lines on inequality and replacing them with “leveling”, and making foolish promises to just about everyone. Can you be as generous to all the needy regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as you were to Ben Houchen’s Teeside? Johnson’s rural and coastal MPs in the south are uneasy about losing. Your green goals for Cop26 sound good, but you have yet to explain what tough steps will reach them. Here’s how his promises collide with the Treasury’s reality: To those trapped in floors with dangerous coatings, he promised that “no tenant should have to pay unaffordable costs,” but got MPs to vote against the aid. No one would have to sell their home to pay for welfare, He promised: However, there will be no welfare bill in the Queen’s speech on Tuesday.
Johnson has promised an educational upgrade and an additional lifetime education guarantee, but the money is not there. The recent budget didn’t even come close to the funds needed to back up its Ponzi promises. Instead, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warns that austerity plans mean 8% cuts to most departments. Meanwhile, spending on the NHS should increase by £ 102bn over the next decade. Johnson can’t fool enough people forever.
What if he actually does it? Hopefully it will, but the faces in their pews don’t seem ready to reverse the Tory creed. Labor’s job now is to make it deliver on all its promises and plan an anti-austerity alternative the size of Joe Biden that would make the green and “leveling” promises a reality. The party should bring together those good city leaders and mayors to lead Labor politics, exposing the broken Tory promises on their own turf.
There is a need: Labor must start working now in a progressive alliance that openly embraces outside ideas, with proportional representation to show that it is no longer trapped in counterproductive tribalism. Dare you abandon old internal selections of competing candidates and instead try open primaries by inviting all local voters to choose new talent?
As for Labor self-laceration, stop it now. The party will win at the right time when the flag it plants in the ground attracts enough people from all walks of life to live up to all those expectations that were raised, and later thwarted, by Johnson’s false promises.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism