The Labour Party
So much for the “get rid of Corbyn, put in Starmer, and Labour becomes electable” idea…not that I had much time for Corbyn either.
Labour on 36%. Not far ahead of where it was at the 2019 General Election (32.1%). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_United_Kingdom_general_election; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_breakdown_of_the_2019_United_Kingdom_general_election
My main view about Labour has not changed, which is that Labour’s problem is not a tactical one (this or that policy, this or that leader) but a strategic one.
Labour was the party of the industrial proletariat, which now scarcely exists. It kept going since, say, 1989 or so, mainly on the idea that Labour was a kind of broad, one-size-fits-all, social-democratic (though not “socialist”) party. Clause 4 (nationalization) was dropped in the 1990s, along with The Red Flag and Labour conference speakers affecting the vocative, “Comrade” (which was pretty silly by then).
One sometimes sees the saying “to be a citizen of the world is to belong nowhere” or some such. Well, Labour in the 1990s and up to 2010 was a party trying to appeal to almost everyone, which in the end meant that it appealed to almost no-one.
An exaggeration, of course. After all, over 32% of those who actually voted still voted Labour in 2019. FPTP voting meant that Labour won rather less than one-third of the seats in the House of Commons.
Labour’s strengths now lie mainly or broadly with what Woodrow Wyatt (in his Diaries) termed “the blacks and browns”, and with the public service workers generally. They, however, are relatively small minorities. Not more than about 25% altogether. In the 2019 election, that 25% was added to by the urban white English young, mainly. The under-25s.
Many msm commentators have noted that, on the arguably outdated “class” basis, Labour now finds its support more in the “middle class(es)” than in the “working class(es)”.
Even accepting that those terms still have some meaning, that can only be a partial explanation. True, I think, as far as it goes, though.
Another factor is that the “proletariat” has been replaced by the “precariat”, people who are in unstable employment or no employment, and who have little on which to fall back if times are hard. The precariat also has only the most rudimentary sense of community compared to the old proletariat.
You only have to look at Labour Party MPs. What are they, mainly? Not people from a conventional “British worker” background; there are hardly any like that. “Professional” politicians with backgrounds in (paid) charity work, NGOs etc; “comms” and public relations types; ex-civil servants and teachers; lawyers; and/or those “blacks and browns” (etc).
The Labour Party MP-cadre is well out of touch with most of the British people (and so British voters).
Nothing startlingly new in what I have said above. Labour MPs themselves have identified their problem, but they are unable to do anything about it without committing political hara-kiri, or cancelling themselves.
As I have blogged before, if Scotland does go “independent”, which is looking ever more likely, then 59 MPs leave the Commons. Only one seat at present is Scottish Labour, but the importance is that, without the SNP MPs (presently 47), Labour would never be able to get a coalition or minority government together, on present showing. As for a majority in the Commons, almost impossible unless —to state the obvious— it were to win a general election victory on the scale of 1945 or 1997. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1945_United_Kingdom_general_election; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_United_Kingdom_general_election.
Never has that seemed less likely, unless you include the Michael Foot years.
It may be that a combination of public anger at the Boris-idiot government, together with the increasing numbers of black/brown voters, and also the antipathy of younger voters to the Conservative Party, will put Labour in a more favourable position, but that is a steep hill to climb.
Well, I did much better than John Rentoul in this Saturday’s quiz: he scored 6/10 to my 8/10. I did not know the answers to questions 5 and 6 (and I only got questions 7 and 8 right via educated guesses; but they still count).
A figurehead only. “They” will be telling him what to do and what to say (when he is sufficiently compos mentis to say it).
A reminder of the passing tides of history.