Comment Editor Samuel Pennifold on how the Labour party can win again.
The Labour party has not held power since 2010 when the party chose to purge itself of Blairites or members of “New Labour”. Since then the party has struggled in a rapidly polarising country, whilst corruption and greed have been driven into the public domain by the all-conquering Conservative party.
Labour has surrendered itself to a small but vocal minority fronted by Jeremy Corbyn. This petition signing, university educated, suburb dwelling minority of social climbers and the middle class has broken the Labour Party. Time and time again the party has had to pander to social issues that only feeds into the conservative narrative, to lurch from one image crisis to the next—not be able to offer a realistic or electable alternative to the conservatives who have become the masters of politicking.
More recently, another crushing defeat for Labour came in the recent U.K. by-elections. Labour lost in the Hartlepool constituency which they had held since its inception over sixty years ago. Kier Starmer now has no choice but to purge his party of this far-left minority and remake the party not in his own image but in that of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. If the party wants to win the next election it must drive a strong economically moderate to conservative and socially liberal campaign. It has worked well before. In fact, this strategy won three elections for Tony Blair. Winning is now all but a distant memory for the parties last three leaders who have come at best close and at worse been annihilated in every election since 2010.
Despite Blairs electoral excuse Iraq War Blairites have become the skeletons in the closet, the bogeyman of the Labour party. But why? Tony Blair is the man who can be called a war criminal, he is the one who took this country to war over false information and for poor reasons. Socially liberal and economically conservative policies did not. They won elections. The Tory Party wins because they do not run away from Thatcher-era politics, the party embraces them, celebrates them because Thatcher’s policies did the one thing that matters —win.
Historically, the Labour is the party of workers rights; the party of the labourers, the party that favoured market regulation, and the party that vows to protect the NHS and adhere to traditional leftist values. Labour was the party that stood up to Thatcher as she gutted the welfare state and set up an economy that has been systemically disadvantageous to the working class. The current Labour party though has lost this working-class backbone to pander to social issues. Equality should be the ultimate goal for our and any society but Labour can shout about these issues from the opposition benches all they like but it is not going to get them elected anywhere. After the Brexit vote that saw many of the traditional northern Labour heartlands, who felt they lost out to the globalisation driven by the EU that took away industry, voted to leave the EU the party has failed to reconcile its self with the simple fact that the working class voter cares about social issues a lot less than the party wants them to.
The Conservative party has committed daylight robbery of Labour’s core voters and labour has offered no opposition. The Conservatives have hidden, lied and spun away the thousands of deaths caused by austerity, the thousands more caused by their failure to manage the initial Covid-19 pandemic and the thousands of jobs lost year on year in this country. They look out for no one but themselves as the gap between the rich and poor grows ever greater. But the Labour Party has been too busy arguing about the best way to be the Labour party.
The answer is easy, look to your past. Go back to the New Labour era and when the party have won three elections in a row. Move far-left social policy to the centre of public discourse until it is no longer considered far left and only what is good and natural. But until such a time Kier Starmer needs to make Labour, Labour again.