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Starmer has proved the Blairites wrong Labour moderates said they were winners — instead they've dragged the party further down

(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)


May 7, 2021   5 mins

Barely three months into Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, there was speculation of a coup if Labour lost the Oldham West and Royton by-election. Yet 13 months into Keir Starmer’s leadership and the seat Corbyn held in 2019 is now quietly accepted as a lost cause for Labour.

This is because the Blairites have got what they wished for. Having long complained that  Labour wasn’t being right-wing enough, that the leader wasn’t enough like their hero, they now have a man in charge who is advised by Tony Blair, and supported by Peter Mandelson. They haven’t got a leg to stand on.

Criticism of Jeremy Corbyn was often framed by the fantasy narrative that Labour is actually the natural party of government, cruelly denied its rightful status by some ‘hard left’ saboteurs. The most memorable manifestation of this analysis was the refrain that “any other leader would be 20 points ahead” of the Conservatives, a claim popularised by Tony Blair himself.

Corbyn was the source of Labour’s problems, we were were told, and airlifting him out would unleash floods of support for the party. So how did that work out? Under its current insipid leadership, the party languishes in the polls, consistently 10-points adrift of the Conservatives. To use Blair’s metric, we are 30-points shy of 20-points ahead.

Labour is firmly back on the trajectory from which it briefly departed when Corbyn became leader. A downward one. Corbyn, whatever other criticisms can be made of him, gained seats and increased the party’s vote share in 2017 — for the first time since 1997. He did this amid total hostility from the party bureaucracy — which has since been exposed as actively working against the prospect of a Labour government. Eight months after Corbyn became leader, there was a leadership challenge that Keir Starmer supported, with Labour MPs subsequently saying they intended to “break him as a man”.

Now Labour has a leader who is prepared to renege on his campaign promise of party unity in order to prosecute a factional war on the Left. Starmer’s commitment to unity in his leadership campaign appealed to a party rank and file that had joined Labour to make the world a better place, not fight with other members. And the Left was willing to work constructively with him, given the promises that were made in his campaign. The “10 Pledges” were widely interpreted as an intention to maintain the popular aspects of Corbynism, conveying a platform that could be described as “2017 plus”: his pitch to deliver radical policies in a supposedly more competent and “forensic” manner.

Starmer even went as far as issuing a warning in a leadership contest hustings against “oversteering” away from Corbyn’s agenda, which polling has consistently shown represents the centre of gravity of public opinion. He proceeded to surround himself with aides who are said to have unfavourably described his own 10 Pledges as akin to The Communist Manifesto.

No surprise, then, that instead of policies that capture the public’s imagination and cut through in any defining sense, Keir Starmer has announced new premium bonds. Has he offered any coherent analysis of the country, or come up with policies that might address the many issues it faces? Not that I’ve noticed. And why is he now so shy of mobilising the Left of the party?

Effective political campaigns mobilise the base and move the middle, but Starmer has sacrificed Labour’s new base of young voters, the low-waged and precarious workers — the real “working class” — in a flawed pursuit of older homeowners and Tory voters in the so-called “Red Wall”.

While he fails to “move the middle”, the party bleeds support and resources. It is yet to replace the financial benefits of an enthused mass membership organisation with donations from wealthy backers, something the leadership’s reorientation of the Labour Party was supposed to attract. The finances are in an even more precarious state given Unite’s decision to cut £1 million in funding after concerns over the direction the party has taken, commenting: “Keir and his inner circle are just not listening. There’s a lot of anger from the people who knock on the doors and man the phones. They don’t want to be taken for granted.”

With the hiding places for Starmer running out, the latest throw of the dice from advocates of Blairism 2.0 is to blame Labour’s lack of progress on “Long Corbyn” — a rather tasteless play on “Long Covid” suggesting that the party’s misfortune is a hangover from its previous leader. Proponents of this theory primarily consist of Ghosts of Blairite Past, such as former Labour MPs Denis MacShane and Mike Gapes, the latter a former candidate for Change UK. The failure of this briefly relevant and much-hyped party should serve as a stark warning about the limitations of Nineties centrism, and the need for Starmer to ignore New Labour grandees in favour of seeking to meet the demands of the current moment.

Despite Starmer being afforded the luxury of space to articulate a new purpose for the Labour Party, he has thus far failed. The foundations of his political project amount to little more than trying to convince the public he should be in charge because he’s not the guy currently in power. Even though the other guy’s approval ratings are much better than his.

Labour needs to rapidly re-energise its membership and appeal to its new base. Without doing so, it will not expand the electorate enough to compete with the demographic reality it is confronted with. The largest subsection of voters is no longer aspirational young families, as it was in the Nineties, but older homeowners who vote Conservative — many of whom wouldn’t consider voting Labour even if they were more Right-wing than the Tories.

So Labour’s focus has to be on expanding the electorate. This means going beyond merely portraying itself as more competent managers of an economic system that’s failing so many, and putting forward an alternative. Being bold, courageous and propositional. Policies in 2017 seemed radical to a political class that had for so long narrowly defined the terms of debate, but what Labour offered was popular and as a result it defied expectations.

Labour badly needs a leader that is prepared to unite the Left by restoring the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, and who has the courage to speak directly to the country’s issues. The party’s prospects at the next General Election will depend on Starmer’s ability to dictate the terms of debate around the future of Britain. Right now he’s failing to set the political agenda, and is instead splitting his time between desperately trying to appease the most reactionary elements of the media on the one hand, and on Westminster bubble stunts on the other — like shopping for wallpaper in John Lewis.

If he can’t figure out why he wants power, and how to communicate why him being in power would be good for the country and will improve people’s lives, then he should resign and make way for someone who can. Otherwise, his sole purpose as leader is to function as a useful idiot for the Blairites who briefly lost control of the Labour Party and as a result were more prepared to destroy it than allow a Left-wing leadership to succeed.


Matt Zarb-Cousin is a former spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn, and is now spokesperson for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.


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Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago

In 2017, anticipating a landslide, a sufficient proportion of Tory voters failed to come out and Labour supporters, who admitted to pollsters they had no desire to see Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street, turned out, believing they were doing little more than reducing the size of the Tory majority.

The hung Parliament that followed was entirely accidental. Corbyn’s manifesto was superficially popular but was entirely implausible. When the election was re-run two years later, Labour received the result Corbyn’s leadership deserved. Not least because of the betrayal of voters who supported Brexit.

If the writer would like to know the single greatest impediment to Labour winning power again, he need only look in the mirror. Labour supporters and activists are deluded beyond belief and seem to spend the majority of their lives on social media, insulting, belittling and lecturing an electorate, they have no connection with, about issues which have no importance to 99% of the populations lives.

Ever since Blair, the party has been like a ant taken over by a zombie parasite. The institution survives but its driven by a entity, indifferent to its survival, in the pursuit of its own goals. The Blairites and the Corbynistas are just this, two parasites fighting for control of a decrepit host. Even if they could both be purged, would there be anything left of the party now but a shell?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Very good comment, especially the second half.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Starmer isn’t ‘Wolfie’ Smith but a lot of his supporers are and he has chosen some strange people to stand for election. The earlier Labour reincarnations at least had the sense to leave the Fabians at home, though they made the policies.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Starmer has a rather unfortunate chilly manner , hopefully hes not a modern day Beria

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Maybe this sort of hyperbole – comparing Starmer with the Soviet secret police for goodness sake – are part of the problem? Or maybe it’s just meaningless “banter” from a right wing bubble?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I hadn’t thought of it before, but now I come to do so, I have no difficulty imagining Corbyn, Milne or Starmer signing the death warrants of thousands of political undesirables.
There is just something really creepy/evil about Labour.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

” There is just something really creepy/evil about Labour ” you need to get a grip

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Just take a look at the rants from their politicians and friends in the unions. They hate Jews, Christians, the family, women who want to look after their young children themselves, those that want decent schools and healthcare, those that want law and order, those that want opportunities for themselves and their children. If you are not unemployed, gay or trans, the Labour Party has nothing for you.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

And that tells you all you need to know about Mr Redman’s hyperactive imagination, and willingness to believe any manner of evil where his political opponents are concerned.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

You should be called perch

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

A bubble that’s getting bigger every day, especially in the former Labour heartlands, eh?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

Smaller, if you look at the votes for Conservatives in 2021 compared to the combined vote for Conservative and Brexit Parties in 2019.
The potential Labour vote stayed at home – that is worrying – but also kind of backs up the argument of the author. Labour lost 5000 votes, the Tories gained 5000 votes. What happened to the other 10,000?

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You should go on telly with a contrived defence of last night like that.
it’s done, it is the creature of intersectionality and sneers at the working class. Funny how the author rejects the idea of the working class being aspirational or old, as if they are traitors.
Im sure this article will go down well at the middle class dinner parties.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

It is possible that labour voters stayed at home in large numbers because, as Comrade Kathleen suggests, he reminds them of the Soviet Secret Police. It seems less improbable that they stayed at home because they had no idea what he stands for.
But truth seems to be out of fashion these days. The left and the right will believe whatever they prefer instead.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Comrade Kathleen was brought up to be a good comrade by her dad ( who was crying his eyes out when Heath got in , but was dry-eyed when tanks came in Czech 1969). My light-bulb moment was when he thought a Tory said ‘Four million is a price worth paying’ wheras he said ‘ For many it is a price worth paying’ To watch my father dancing around like , screaming his head off ‘look look they want us all dead’ just showed how stupid blind allegiance is.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Quite so.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Having lived through them all, there was no further need for a Labour Government after the astonishing ‘Blitzkrieg’ of Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin, 1945-50.

Sadly both Attlee and Bevin were unable to prevent the rise of the ‘ideological nutters’ who took their inspiration from such cretins as Harold Laski and his ilk.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago

So all is well in the world then ? – lets just allow the Tories to rule forever – see where that ultimately takes us

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Spineless supine Opposition from Labour ,Lib-dems,Greens,..SDP is only Left moderate party with A chance,Blairite &Corbyn trots are out of Kilter, The Tories disaster on first Lockdown &SARS2 outbreak, Concreting over the Countryside ARE not popular, people said they’d vote for me in Ward by election I finished 6 out of 6 .with 61 .Do I bid for World domination, No I will see if Tories housing on farmland & Countryside,brings Social Problems ..etc..Reform will dent the Tories eventually..

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

You oppose ‘concreting over the countryside’ – thereby presumably building enough housing where people want to live.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

No, off course not. Either the Tories will dissolve into internecine war, or a credible opposition will arise from the primordial swamp.Perhaps both will occur simultaneously?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Of course there will always be problems, we incrementally solve them in the real world, and thereby generate others (as for example, wholesale decarbonisation will most certainly do). Many people on the Left are on the other hand true Utopians, who greatly over-emphasise how societies can be radically changed through conscious effort, and pay little or no attention to the huge downsides of trying to do that.

The Tories have moved left economically into Labour’s former territory so making it harder for Labour. (I’m rather sceptical about industrial policy, ‘picking winners’ etc but let’s see).

There are many, many things a modern social democratic party like Labour could do much better. But the first is attitudinal. Champion the interests of your own voters, don’t disdain them. Control immigration, voters were concerned about levels for decades and essentially ignored, talked down to and told they were ‘really’ concerned about something else. Corbyn and Momentum essentially believed there should be NO immigration controls, and certainly no sanctions against any illegal immigrants (the clue is in the phrase). Don’t jump on every identity politics bandwagon and certainly not Black Lives Matter (so, by implication the lives of your largely white voters do not? ).

The Social Democrats in Denmark show how it might be done.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

The Tories stole your clothes Simon after Labour decided not to wear them anymore. When the Labour Party looked for new ones there was only the unemployed ( who don’t tend to vote) immigrants ( who don’t get a vote) gay, trans, drug abusers, students and children. In Wales you can vote at 16, some idiot even suggested lowering the voting age to 14…. Good luck Labour with uniting that lot…

maxjalil
maxjalil
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The record turnout in 2017 counters your narrative of the hung parliament. Boris is not getting any more votes than May did but Corbyn’s record vote share (the largest labour one since ’97) has now collapsed back to Milliband levels

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

Labour has a death wish. The leader takes the knee to Cenotaph-defacing BLM. The Party insists that the country is irredeemably racist, when anyone with two functioning neurones can tell how much the country has changed in the past three decades. The Party agrees with those who see only wickedness and cruelty in the country’s past, but none of its amazing achievements.
fortunately, outside the Guardian reading bubble, there aren’t enough England loathing, English despising, people warped by their hatred of everything Tory. Even the charge that Tories will sell the NHS no longer sticks.
Labour doesn’t have a turn left or right dilemma. The decision it has make us: do we like this country and it’s people? Should we sell a vision of a small but spirited island race that can achieve much under Labour, or one of a country of racist thickos who need to re-educated via unconscious bias training and white bashing?
This is a cultural dilemma more than a political one for labour.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Here’s a misrepresentation of what happened if ever there was one:

“takes the knee to Cenotaph-defacing BLM”

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Misrepresentation how? Care to explain how that is not accurate?
Keir Starmer took the knee (see his tweet) in support of BLM
Others on a march in support of BLM also defaced the Cenotaph.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

The misrepresentation is to tar anyone who supports BLM’s campaign to address racism in the police as a cenotaph-defacing rioter.
Riots should have no place in our democracy, and there are too many rent-a-rioters ready to attach themselves to any cause. But BLM – particularly in the UK – is not about riots and vandalism.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Ah, the Corbyn Evasion: when dead terrorists are honoured a few steps away, you were “present, but not involved”.
In endorsing BLM, Starmer was not in any way endorsing BLM. So that’s all right then.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Does holding a Union Jack mean the individual supports the BNP or National Front? No, of course not.
Are footballers taking the knee to indicate their support of a campaign to stamp out racism in football supporting the defacing of the cenotaph? No, of course not.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

More Clueless Garbage,A lot of Black footballers like Brentford FC, & W Zaha (C.Palace) has decided taking the Knee is pants &refuse to do it, What is Popular on BBC,Twitter, Out of focus groups,doesn’t mean it is relevant or True..hopefully Labour ,Lib-dems,Greens,Tories will continue to decline..

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

They are entitled not to – it’s a free country.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Taking the knee wouldn’t have survived 5 matches if the fans had been in grounds.
I bet the sane guys will happily play at the World Cup in stadiums built by dead slaves. Hypocritical garbage.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

sky tv,for whatever reason,seem to push and push this agenda.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

i would like to know how many footballers either don t agree with BLM or don t give a toss about them but daren t go against the herd by not kneeling.you can imagine what would happen if they did.they would be slaughtered on social media,as would their family.

R S Foster
R S Foster
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

…burning the Union Flag on the Cenotaph, scrawling abuse on Churchill’s statue and a War Memorial…and then abusing the young soldiers who were cleaning it up…looks like vandalism and yobbery to me…RSF

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

That sounds like vandalism and yobbery, and can be dealt with under the law as it stands, and the powers the police have at present.
Are you suggesting that’s what all BLM protesters do?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I don’t think you understand , BLM are in charge-both here and in other countries ( they just won an election )-the police and politicians take their orders from them.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul N

Yes. BLM is just a racist hate group.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

deluded idiot,Blm is marxist, you have millionaire footballers taking the Knee &Playing for 6 Clubs who wanted to destroy Working Class ,into ”Super Capitalist enterprise”.Sport, Starmer like other hypocrites is Part of Prawn sandwich brigade..

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

BLM is an extremist, divisive, and actually essentially racist movement. If you can get viciously attacked for using phrases like ‘All Lives Matter’ that rather proves the point. I would concede that many of the people who say they support the BLM ‘movement’, stick up posters etc, may have good intentions but nonetheless occupy the role of ‘useful idiots’.

We can’t even find our own outrage and grievance trigger but need to import one from thousands of miles away in the US, an entirely different society with a lot more violence, sometimes by the police but hundreds of times more often, by armed criminals. Not much outcry about their victims, black or white, I note.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I don’t want to sound like a pantomime dame but: Oh yes it is!

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

he wanted to make a statement but he chose the wrong one.go with the moderates or go with the left,so he went with the latter and made the biggest mistake of his political life.for that alone he should go.

John Chestwig
John Chestwig
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I suspect that’s how most people in the UK saw it.
The effect of a communication is at least as much the responsibility of the communicator, as it is of others to accurately discern the key messages.
I don’t know if I’m unusual, but the messages I got were:

  • Starmer supports an organisation which is illiberal, supports law-breaking, creates rather than solves societal division and wants to create an unlevel playing field against whites.
  • Instead of focussing on issues which affect us today, Starmer spends time grovelling for forgiveness, for crimes he did not commit, most of which occurred hundreds of years before he was born.
  • There’s a good chance that, if he gets into power, Starmer wants to take money away from us, most of whom are not racist, and give it to some BAME people, who are not currently suffering from racism.
  • This is the thin end of the wedge, so watch out, because he’ll also support the next trendy woke fad which comes along, regardless of whether that causes great harm.

Perhaps that’s not what he meant to imply, but it’s definitely what I inferred.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Chestwig
Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  John Chestwig

That’s perhaps how it was represented in most of the papers read by people in the UK, so you could be right. Your inferences are understandable given your perspective (talk of Starmer “grovelling” suggests you’re not a fan, and we often make less than charitable inferences in such circumstances).
My inference (since we cannot know the mind of Starmer) is that he made a gesture of sympathy with the murdered black American, and of support for the campaign against what is seen as police racism.
Whether some police in the UK (or the US) are racist, or there is institutional racism, or they are “merely” abusive and unaccountable on occasion – there are clearly problems with some officers. I suppose that if you’ve been subjected to stop and search several times a day, or repeatedly stopped while “driving while black” (whether or not it was for driving while black), whether racial profiling or some sort of bad luck was to blame – you can develop a perception that the race factor is at work. In some cases it certainly is – in others the perpetrator may be an equal opportunities abuser.
The thing is, as white people we are much more unlikely to see what racism there is, because it won’t be addressed toward us. We do need to listen to the people who are affected, rather than assuming that because we don’t see it, it is not there.
Overwrought rhetoric like “grovelling for forgiveness” does not help the debate (even if it’s just an inference).

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul N
steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  John Chestwig

don t worry,your third point will never come true.i know never say never but starmer is no more electable than corbyn.

David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

The moment Starmer took the knee was the moment he lost me. Called him knee-bender ever since.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

That’s a great analysis, but as Paul N’s comment makes clear, the left wing seem incapable of understanding their problems.

Richard Spicer
Richard Spicer
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

The Sewell report was clearly right and sensible to most of the population. Labour’s knee-jerk denunciation of it typifies why nobody votes for them.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

fortunately, outside the Guardian reading bubble, there aren’t enough England loathing, English despising, people warped by their hatred of everything Tory.

You need to include the FT comentariate in that bubble.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

If you think the FT and teh Guardian hate and despise England, you have worse problems than the newspaper you read. Although that may not be helping.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

This is comedy gold, great stuff. Labour arent left wing enough, so people vote tory instead? Also, the writer presents the 2017 election (which Labour stiil lost despite facing a catastrophically inept Treason May) as some kind of victory, but conveniently forgets to mention the 2019 election where Corbyn led them to historic defeat and gave the tories an 80 seat majority. Presumably that was just a tactical retreat before comrade steptoe delivered his final crushing victory over the tories in 2025 and ensured a 100 years of socialist glory?

Jim Richards
Jim Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Nothing changes.I remember hearing exactly the same in 1979 – the workers had protested against the right wing policies of the Labour Government by voting for Thatcher so therefore the solution was Benn as leader

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Richards

Tony Benn at least Was Patriotic,landowner & Anti-Common market he is better than blair,Corbyn,brown,Starmer for sure..

Al M
Al M
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

“Labour arent left wing enough, so people vote tory instead?”

Tremendous. I’ll squirrel that little gem away for future use, if you don’t mind.

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago

“Labour’s focus has to be on expanding the electorate” – Umm. Labour’s focus has to be on rediscovering the electorate and listening to what they actually say, instead of browbeating and insulting them based on pie-in-the-sky political theories and a faux belief of intellectual superiority.

James Slade
James Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Wrong Web site, too many tabs open

Last edited 3 years ago by James Slade
Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

I keep hearing that Labour are insulting the electorate, but not so many actual insults against the electorate. It’s almost as if it is a right wing myth?

Or are you going to remind us all of something that one or two people said years ago, as proof of this alleged current hatred?

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Who said hatred? The ‘intellectual’ left-wing have a well-documented habit of insulting voters such as calling them names – eg stupid, racist, uneducated – currently trending on Twitter is “Stockholm Syndrome” with regard to Hartlepool suggesting voters have been brainwashed.
Take a look at the comments BTL on the Guardian’s opinion pieces today, or the Twitter comments under Hartlepool.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Luckily, I don’t form my views of what real people think based on BTL comments in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, UnHerd or Twitter.

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The fastest and easiest source of evidence. Unfortunate that it’s so easy to find. It’s not that difficult to find even in academic literature ‘explaining’ voters’ ‘mistakes’.

Last edited 3 years ago by Saul D
Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Agitating for a ” Peoples Vote” was pretty insulting

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Really? Pretty close run thing first time – always worth a go. And the point was to have a vote on what leaving the EU actually meant as that wasn’t covered in the referendum question (Customs Union, EFTA membership etc).

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You’re talking Garbage leave Won 481 constituencies ,Remain 169 , Leave Majority 1.3 million, Even Scotland over 1m voted to leave, 33% in SNP? ( See Strathclyde university analysis) …Your rubbish is why you keep Getting thrashed, Theresa may’s attempt At EU coup d;etat to sabotage Exiting EU failed,She was booted out thanks to Brexit Party Not Labour or Fib-dunces ”Rejoin” strategy, true Boris , by not adopting WTO rules has hampered brexit but ANY attempt to ”Rejoin” will be defeated ..

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I suggest you look at Youtube, footage of Starmer’s rant to a Labour Supporting landlord in Bath,barring him from his Own Pub by two overweight Security guards ..Look at What Neil coyle, Overweight labour mp for rotherhithe said to Brexiteers,..They are part of history & rightly so..Wokeism isn’t popular outside M25…..Starmer is almost as thick as Blair ”I’m straight kind of Guy” bull…The Tories Only Win because opposition is so useless..

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

How about sticking a Remainiac up in a 70% Leave Constituency, for starters.
Or Lady Nugee’s slip of the tweet a few years ago.
They despise common people.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

yes,their choice of candidate was astounding.either they are incredibly stupid or incredibly arrogant.they probably thought they could stick any warm body in hartlepool and the locals would vote labour.will they learn?probably not.

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

“Labour’s focus has to be on expanding the electorate” – Sounds very much like suggesting that they do what Blair did by actively encouraging uncontrolled immigration who would hopefully become dependent on the state and hence vote for the hand that feeds them.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Jeremy Corbyn was on the payroll of a government that executes children for being gay. You can just stop right there.

John Chestwig
John Chestwig
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

I think that’s a fair point. Being a political leader necessarily means taking some unpleasant decisions and linking up with some pretty despicable regimes – it’s not possible to be squeaky clean.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

I was unaware that Boris, or ‘we’, were bombing anyone.
As John says there is no such thing as squeaky clean.
After all, Jeremy supported the IRA, including immediately after they had bombed a hotel in Brighton.
He also supports Hamas, a terrorist organisation which also kills civilians.

John Chestwig
John Chestwig
3 years ago

I think I agree – I was certainly of the opinion that Corbyn had a track record of supporting groups who were a threat to the UK. I think I was following the view that most UK government’s generally supported regimes which might be awful, but at least they weren’t actively a threat to us – in the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “he might be a bast^&*, but he’s our bast^&*”.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Boris bombing civilians
I must have missed that fake news.
CNN, BBC or Sky?

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Heard of Yemen, mate?

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Not personally bombing civilians – he has a flat to decorate, after all.
But you have heard of the war in the Yemen?

Janusz Przeniczny
Janusz Przeniczny
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Hang on a minute. Communism and Socialism has killed a 100 million people, and trashed economies the world over. How does a Venezuelan exist when has to deal with 10000% inflation. We whine and moan at 2%
Yes your right that UK is 3rd party in the Yemen bombings, but you are following a Dogma and Creed that is killing people now in Cuba Venezuela N Korea and China.
Leftwing are always in the middle of trouble, and the Western Lefties bleat. It’s the Lefts fault that Yemen is in crisis, helped on by Western Lefties who “fight” whilst cosseted by West Liberal Laws and Capitalist Standard of living.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Yeah, but only on a free-lance basis.
Just saying….

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

I fully agree, Labour needs to bring back Corbyn, Abbott and the whole troupe to keep the Labour party safely out of government forever and ever amen. (Not that i’m bashing Sir Kneelalot, but frankly he’s a bit lacking in entertainment value).
With that out of the way, i’m genuinely curious what “the Campaign For Fairer Gambling” is about. Equality of outcome? No gambler left behind?

Last edited 3 years ago by Johannes Kreisler
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, ‘fairer gambling’ is a bizarre concept that only the truly demented could envisage. If the writer cares so much, why doesn’t he set up a rival to Bet365 etc? That’s the thing with these people. They only ever moan or try to take down others. They never try to build their own alternative.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It’s just a badly worded way of calling for a gambling Ombudsman to protect consumers against the more predatory tendencies of bookies.

Things like banning credit card gambling, for instance. Pretty common-sense stuff. Not very controversial or interesting if you ask me.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Presumably the gambler gets all their stake back when they cash out, and has to return any winnings. Oh, and they also have to pay a 30% tax which is given to a charity for trans dolphins (of colour).

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

That is pretty much how Premium Bonds work, apart from the disabled dolphins.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Whenever I want a good laugh I just look at that picture of him & Angela Rayner kneeling

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Then you will be in fits throughout the next election campaign, Kathleen, because that photo’s going to be everywhere.
It is Starmer’s bacon sandwich moment.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I also loved Ed-stone-perhaps they are in the wrong career?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Yes and you know I was gutted to find that had been sold, as I would have loved that as an ironic garden objet. Some restaurant bought it. I’ve had to settle for a Labour “Controls On Immigration” coffee mug.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Imagine thinking anyone gives a shit about that bacon sandwich photo

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

We do have premium bonds…

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

“It’s presumably based on the insight that over the long run the house always wins”

Yes, as a Professor of Maths and Statistics once advised me, it makes its winnings from regular gamblers who will lose overall (but they only ever mention their wins). He said one’s chances of a big win are increased by betting randomly and infrequently. He did attempt to explain the maths to me but to be fair it was rather complex, and passed over my head and out through the open car window.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Arnold
As a commodity options trader once put it to m, the upside favours the punter, but the odds favour the house.
The house never wins a spin, a throw or a hand in a very big way, but on the other hand doesn’t often lose either. This means the occasional big payoff to a billy bunter is more than outweighed by the steady winnings.
The reverse is necessarily true for the billy bunter. So the punter who is only a very occasional gambler limits his losses to not a lot, and still has a chance of winning big.

Fennie Strange
Fennie Strange
3 years ago

Yes indeed – IMHO there just can’t be too much Diane Abbott in the MSM. Her comments on Radio 5 earlier today were pure gold.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Hold on I’ve just come last in Ward Election,,on” Equality of outcome”,I’d Win..Yep lets go for it!……………….

Ian Moore
Ian Moore
3 years ago

The writer is a case in point as to why Labour are, and will remain, unelectable. They have no idea how to appeal to a majority.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Moore

It might be said that to put up a Remainer, who openly attempted to subvert the wishes of his Leave-voting electorate in his last seat, as candidate in an even more Leave-leaning constituency, is not over-wise.
In fact, one of the professional writers on this site said as much the other day,

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

This article is frankly bizarre. The answer to Labour’s travails is to restore the whip to Jeremy Jewbaiter?!?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

And to get a new electorate, so only Jewhaters are allowed to vote.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
3 years ago

My guess is that Matt Zarb-Cousin voted Remain. How do I know this? Because he doesn’t mention Brexit once in this article.
What the people of Hartlepool wanted was a local man or woman, someone working class and who voted for Brexit. What Labour offered was an upper-middle class man, who grew up in the south and who had worked to overthrow the referendum decision. Labour put two fingers up at the voters of Hartlepool and should not be surprised at the response.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

But we already have Brexit – why do we need to keep fighting that battle?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘This means going beyond merely portraying itself as more competent managers of an economic system that’s failing so many,…
And imposing a system that will fail everyone.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Dats eekwal, innit.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago

A party that delivered 50 million jabs versus a party whose leader “took the knee”. A party that gave people the Brexit they voted for, versus a party that failed to respect the result and thought it ok to field a Remainer candidate in a seat that voted 69% the other way. A party that is fundamentally divided between two philosophies, both equally repellent to the electorate – socialism and middle class woke-ism. I say all this with a heavy heart, as someone who can never vote Tory again because of the Fire Safety Bill. I have no political home and voted Count Binface in desperation last night. There is a new constituency that the Labour Party – or someone – could attract. We are all consumers now. And there are many ways in which we are hideously exploited by big business. Why isn’t there a party that would stand up for us?

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Correct – except that the Tories did not give us the Brexit we voted for.
The Northern Ireland protocol, and everything else that has been radically wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement Boris Johnson signed, was caused by the large supermajority of Remainer MPs in the House of Commons REFUSING to do what they had solemnly pledged to do before the 2016 Referendum – respect its result and give effect to wishes of the electorate declared in its outcome, whatever that turned out to be.
Instead, they fought a tough destructive rearguard action. The Tories chose a Remainer to be their new chief in July 2016 – a completely dishonourable proceeding in itself – and (to boot) handpicked a specialist in doughty talk in public and total treachery behind the scenes, Treason May; who proceeded to screw things up good and proper for the foreseeable future, landing us with her version of a Withdrawal Agreement which meant we would be a serfdom rule-taking helpless satrapy of Brussels for ever.
All these problems they created.
The Labour Party’s MPs, fanatic Remainers almost to an individual, would have been every bit as bad and did all THEY could in the period 2017-19 to sabotage any real departure of this country from the European Union.
I am delighted Labour has lost Hartlepool. It deserves to sink into utter oblivion; on this and all other counts.
I am only very sorry that some other party, NOT the ‘Conservatives’, did not win that seat.

Sean MacSweeney
Sean MacSweeney
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Yes, but Bercow, May and commie “smurf” Corbyn did give us hours of parliamentary entertainment winding themselves in knots trying to foil the will of the people, it’s akin to watching the MSM meltdown when the Brexit result was announced or when Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
Every time the metropolitan “elite” get a kicking, I cheer, long may it continue, Trump 2024 and also the end of the EU gravy train

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

It is The Army,retired GPs (Cant see a current GP), nHS nurses Who deserve credit, not dopey tory hancock (A Remainer) or even bonker boris, kate bingham even, i hated Tony Blair taking credit for comparative ulster peace ,when it was Marjorie mowlam’s efforts.Now comparative Peace is unravelling blair’s &major’s fault..Border 1922 is real border,Not Larne

Neil Wilson
Neil Wilson
3 years ago

I suspect Paul Embery’s piece on UnHerd will be rather more illuminating on the plight of the UK Labour Party than this effort.
Your regular reminder that the gap in the political market is a grouping that is socially conservative and economically liberal. Not yet another imitation of the Liberals – complete with compulsory corduroy trousers and elbow patches.
There is none so blind as those that cannot see.

Last edited 3 years ago by Neil Wilson
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Wilson

I suspect Paul Embery’s piece on UnHerd will be rather more illuminating on the plight of the UK Labour Party than this effort.

Yes it is. Just finished reading it, excellent piece by Embery.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

This article is a good example of how the left is full of hate and bile for the Judaean People’s Front and the Campaign for a Free Galilee, but has absolutely nothing, not one word, to say about the Romans.
The left never really thinks about this. They are so wrapped up in hating heretic leftists that it ceases to occur to them a/ how this looks and b/ what should be their message to Conservative voters.
From its current 202 seats, to get a majority of 1 Labour needs to win 62 more. It’s no use winning them in Scotland because those are opposition seats anyway. They need to be won off the Conservatives.
The 62nd most marginal Conservative seat is Hendon. They have a majority there of 4,239. What message does the writer have for these 4,239 Conservative voters – in Hendon, remember; think of the demographics – that’s going to turn them into terrorist-supporting, Jew-hating Maoists?
Because that’s the actual task. In fact it’s harder, because the 61st most marginal Conservative seat is St. Ives, where the runner up is not Labour, it’s the LibDems. There are quite a few like that, so Hendon is not the tallest peak Labour has to scale. It’s somewhere like Norwich or Preseli (maj 5,000+).
It’s not about scoring points off Blairites. It’s about making your message palatable to people like that. How’s that going, Matt?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I had the pleasure of Turning Hendon in 2010 into A marginal of 990 Majority( Matthew Offord main speech in Parliament was about his dog) &two recounts until 8.30am in may 2010, i stood for UkiP beat the Green,Candidate even though they were on Hustings,Had A Mass Rally, I was a late Entry.I had No time for leaflets, Just A piece in ”Hendon Times,”Amazed me they put it in Twice as I think it is Trinity mirror Group?…Now hendon is full of flats so more likely to Vote tory..

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

Very funny. I presume this is satire.
Labour has an ideological cancer; Corbyn was the primary, Momentum represent the secondary spread.
Tonight on R4 a young woman Corbynite twit was again blaming the media and voters for “having failed to see through Johnson.” I do hope they keep this up; it helps to inoculate the country against their illness.
I live in a Northern working class realm. I (used to) go to pubs (pre-pandemic) and drink beer with [to borrow Embery’s phrase] people who shower after, not before, work. They are not stupid or deluded or misguided or gullible. These people know vile scum when they see it: that is why Corbyn lost. These people know writhing dishonesty when they see it: this is why Brexit was a vote-loser for Labour.
Labour will not change as it cannot see that it should – it thinks we have the wrong kind of voter.

Last edited 3 years ago by Waldo Warbler
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

Matt Zarb-Cousin is a former spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn, and is now spokesperson for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.

I can definitely see a pattern here.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Rhys D
Rhys D
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

He does a lot of speaking. Very little listening.

ckinniemcneil
ckinniemcneil
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I was looking for this!

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

dltd

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Louise Henson
Louise Henson
3 years ago

The 2017 election was an aberration caused by a weak Conservative leader, a recalcitrant Parliament and a low turnout. It was Corbyn, not Starmer, who lost so comprehensively in 2019. And that was hundreds of seats, not just one.
In this case Labour put up an ineffably middle-class fanatical remainer for a Brexit-supporting working class seat. They may as well have just stuck two fingers up to the electorate.
The author is deluding himself.

Tom Knott
Tom Knott
3 years ago
Reply to  Louise Henson

He might be deluding himself, but the electorate is not being deluded.

David K. Warner
David K. Warner
3 years ago

‘If only Labour were more Leftwing, it would be more successful’ is one of the great metropolitan myths of our time, and one of which the 2019 general election should have proven the error, although not for those whose junior common room politics mean Labour will never be Leftwing enough for their own ideology.
The point this author fails to recognise is that for many voters Kier Starmer and Labour are already too Leftwing. Starmer served in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, is closely identified with the Remain/Rejoin agenda, and has associated himself with identity politics and the neo-socialist policies the electorate rejected in 2019, while the Party’s recent intake of ‘loony Lefties’, playing at being the UK’s AOC, remind voters of just how out of touch Labour’s MPs appear.
The problem is not really Starmer. He is but a symptom of the disease, which is the disconnect between Labour’s politicians and membership and large swathes of this country outside of the metropolitan cities and university towns, and it is this disconnect that the Party needs urgently to address, but cannot while it does not represent or understand the people in those areas.
The true horror for Labour is that it is in this state despite the clear weaknesses of the Conservative government and the huge social, economic, and health costs of lockdowns. Had the Labour Party been more in touch with the needs of the many people in the suburbs and provincial market towns who have carried a heavy burden these last fifteen months, articulated their hopes and fears, and provided practical alternative plans for mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 policies towards them, then perhaps Labour would be doing much better than they currently are by trying to out authoritarian this incredibly authoritarian government and shouting ‘Nurses’ at anyone who dares to counter the lockdown narrative with alternative, less disruptive proposals.
But all is not lost. Labour will retain the mayoralty of London and control of its one-party fiefdoms, so like the Tories in 1997-2005 it will not be wiped out anytime soon, but it is unlikely it will be able to break out of those strongholds until it starts to listen and respond to the wants of the many who face continuing economic hardship, iinsecurity, and social dislocation, but are turned off by the obsessive identity politics and the cultural and national nihilism which seems to permeate Labour from top to bottom. To do this it needs route and branch reform so that it actually represents the people of the country it wishes to govern. Sir Kier Starmer is clearly not the person to bring this about, but is there anyone else in the Party who can?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Call count Binface?….I hope lib-Lab-cons-Greens-Snp-Plaid fade into history as they deserve/….?

John Lamble
John Lamble
3 years ago

What the Labour Party doesn’t understand is that the country as a whole does not want, “Labour’s new base of young voters, the low-waged and precarious workers”, in charge and telling them what to do. It is also sick of being bossed around by overpaid bureaucrats of the new metropolitan socialist ‘Establishment’, i.e. people cast in the same mould as Starmer himself.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

The author contrasts his definition of ‘true working class’ with red wall ‘Tory voters’. Seems to miss that these ‘Tories’ are overwhelmingly working class and, in many cases, ex Labour voters who find Starmer, Corbyn, Blair equally tiresome and in no way concerned with their lives or prospects. Having a deputy leader who appears to represent the TV show Shameless isn’t going to win you any votes either.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Crikey – the Tories got over 50% of the vote in Hartlepool, albeit on a low turnout. I have just been to The Guardian site for the first time in many, many months and will do so on a regular basis throughout the day.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

To offer sincere condolences btl I assume?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I am banned from btl at t’Guardian. In fact, I have been banned twice. ‘Comment is restricted, facts are selective’ as they say.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I’d say that was a badge of honour… Except its ridiculously easy to get banned from there. Did you say something controversial? For example, thatcher wasn’t evil and mass immigration might not be a good thing?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

The last time was few years ago. The ban was prompted by my suggestion that fruit and veg are very cheap by historical standards and that there is no reason for those of limited means to eat an unhealthy diet which will probably be more expensive than a healthy diet.

ckinniemcneil
ckinniemcneil
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Having lived as a pretty skint single-parent on benefits over the last year, I can attest to this being an utter fallacy. I suspect the problems in being unable to afford ‘healthy’ food lies in the unspeakable realms. Benefits life is dull, tight and frustrating and I understand our own personal circumstances may be ‘fortunate’ in it being only the two of us.
We have managed to live more or less as we would have done without the bigger luxuries such as, saving, holidays or communal entertainment etc. which no has had.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Me too. It’s simply unacceptable to undermine their echo chamber.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Me too. They’re completely blatant about it. You don’t get banned for being rude, you get banned for articulating any non-woke opinion. They actually want to be an echo-chamber.
It’s Mary Louisa “Polly” Toynbee whose take I await with delight. It will be about what a disgrace the voters of Hartlepool are, no doubt.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

The ”liberal” media Is having trouble commenting on Noah clarkes ‘Sexual advances ,mostly actresses” metoo strikes…

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I dip in at The Guardian just for fun… Reading so many utterly deluded comments there is usually a bit depressing but – like Newsnight last night – fun to see when the Left fails completely and utterly.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Ditto. They aren’t keen on the truth at The Guardian however politely it’s framed

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I might too. Its hilarious to observe the cognitive dissonance on display, and the utter contempt the guardianistas have for the plebs who consistently refuse to vote “the right way”

Rhys D
Rhys D
3 years ago

Matt proving once again that he has absolutely no clue why Labour have lost (and lost hard) in the North.

A reminder. The tories have been in power for ~11 years, and are gaining seats at local and national level. This goes against almost every historic metric on how the electorate views such a longstanding incumbent.

It shouldn’t be alarm bells in Labour HQ; it should be planetary sized klaxons. And examining the contempt to which Labour has viewed its voter base over the past decade (especially under Matt’s hero) might be a good start.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhys D

Add to that the Covid/lockdown effect and this result is extraordinary… An incumbent party whove spent the last year depriving people of basic freedoms and overseen a complete shutdown of the economy, winning a by-election in the North and local council seats? That’s unprecedented.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

But each time the incumbent party did all those things, the only complaint from the opposition was that they had not be done hard enough or early enough or long enough. The only real opposition to those things came from the government’s own benches.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Very good point. Personally I view the tories as the least worst option, and that’s pretty depressing, because they’re still awful… But at least they’re not Labour.

AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhys D

You could argue that the Tories being in power for ~11 years is misleading. Boris Johnson’s Tories have been in power since the last GE in December 2019, less than two years, and that pivot was crucial.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhys D

Tories can be Equally ”Arrogant” in the Shires,I can Assure you.Although come Next Election,Most English shires will follow mantra,”Build where you Want” Mostly Tory but Also Labour lib-dem city councils ..

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

This piece was written by an idiot with no respect for the truth. It us a nonsense from start to finish.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

Let’s go back to why there was a by-election in the first place.
The sitting MP, first elected in 2017, was forced to resign due to being a creep.
That someone like that should have been put forward as a candidate in a safe seat is absolutely the fault of the 2017 Labour leadership.
Sadly the candidate on offer this year, a former MP rejected by a nearby constituency, is absolutely the fault of the 2021 leadership.
And the author thinks this can be solved by “policies”?
I would hazard a guess that everyone who has voted more than once knows that manifesto promises have all the sincerity and durability of the promises of teenage romance (sincere yes, durable no).
Personally I am looking for a government that is not driven by ideology, that will see the problems of the UK as they are and are able to adapt to changing circumstances.
Also I want to see members of the governing party able to work together even when they disagree with each other. When Labour have agreed on what kind of party they really want to be, then I’ll be ready to give them another look.
[Edit: adding a tangential point, which is that the current Tory cronyism looks like small beer in comparison with the rampant cronyism that was displayed in Corbyn’s Labour. Might be why the Tory cronyism hasn’t cut through]

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark H
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Most Manifestos Are Like receiving Email from Nigeria telling you ”You;ve Won the Nigerian lottery”?..Total fantasy..

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

So Labour’s focus has to be on expanding the electorate”
Full marks for at least admitting that “dance with the one that brung ya'” is no longer a Labour policy. Even if the the Deplorables were still interested, which they are clearly not, they aren’t welcome anyway. Labour policies and values are now written and developed by a combination of trending social media, young wokesters that have never had to pay for anything and rich Latte Leftists that can easily afford to indulge their political fantasies.
It remains to be seen if there is sufficient ‘undiscovered’ electorate available to make the venture politically viable but they really need to change the name and move on.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago

Most commentatorsI read thought it would take a good many years to rebuild Labour, and that Starmer would likely be a rebuilding leader rather than an eventual PM.
I think the idea that Corbyn was too far left for voters is too simplistic. I think many people liked some of his ideas about renationalisation and adequate funding for services. On the other hand, they did not like the emphasis on high level state transfers of wealth while there was nothing substantial about rebuilding local economies. They didn’t like the obsession with identity politics accompanied by an abandonment of long-standing leftist concerns such as movement of labour, or calling those who talked about it bigots. They might have preferred Corbyn’s personal views on Brexit, which he suppressed, but they did not like the way he seemed keen on some pretty repressive governments like Venezuela.
Starmer might be able to recover something more appealing to the electorate, and it could involve both ridding the party of the Momentum types, and a move toward a more traditional leftist way of thinking. But he would have to be prepared to alienate many of the liberals who now are many of the party’s voters and members.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
James Slade
James Slade
3 years ago

The idea that a terrorist supporting racist was going to be in anyway a successful leader for the Labour Party explains why its still losing. Stammer the kipper hasn’t the will to fight to bring the party back from the brink. Spaffing on about nationalisation or education, education education means nothing. Labour needs to stop looking at the past and reinvent itself

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  James Slade

But we are being told how the Tories changed and nationalised Teesside airport and their spending proposals make Corbyn and McDonnell look like a pair of skinflints

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Oh wo(k)e is me’ might be a nice tweet for Owen or Polly.
Or perhaps ‘Instant Starmer’ as per the uplifting song by John Lennon.
And perhaps Labour could unite its traditional and metropolitan bases by singing ‘Land of Woke and Glory’ at the next party conference.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The first flip-flop he does and it will be Starma Chameleon.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Surely ‘Land of Woke and Sorry’?
With apologies to the Telegraph for plagiarising that one.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago

Labour has certainly lost connection with those it aims to represent. This was well illustrated before the last election when Piers Morgan interviewed Labour MP Lisa Nandy during which the subject of transgender athletes came up. Morgan cited the case of a former male athlete now claiming to be a woman who had successfully won the right to compete in women’s events and having done so already looked likely to sweep the board whenever he or she took part. By any measure that situation is unfair and I have no doubt that Nandy, who strikes me as a sensible and principled politician, would agree. Alas, mindful no doubt of the watching woke folk, she could not be persuaded to voice an opinion one way or the other.

Labour voters see and (not, alas, in the case cited) hear this kind of thing every day from their elected representatives and clearly for many of them it does not accord with their way of looking at things. I realise it is an impossibly old-fashioned view to take never mind to actually promote, but if Labour is to regain the lost millions, whoever leads it will need to broadly share the opinions and outlook of the people whose support they seek and most importantly to voice them publicly.

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago

dltd

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

There were actually 649 more intelligent, brighter and unsullied in the House of Commons at the time. It takes real skill to pick the 1.

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago

The author of this piece seems to live in a parallel universe, he seems to be suggesting that Labour were on the correct path to electoral success with Jeremy Corbyn if only he had been better supported within his party. Corbyn led Labour to its worst election result since 1935 it would take an exceptional leader (which Starmer certainly is not) years to recover from that.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago

I suspect many commentators here will dismiss this article as being the ravings of a deluded leftist, but I disagree. There are plenty of issues on which a left-wing programme could be prepared, which I think would get a lot of support. For example:
1. Education – raising standards in the State sector across the country (not just London), either by embracing the Academy system or integrating its best practice into LEA schools (this would require some tough love with the Teachers Unions of course). Abolish the charitable status of fee-charging schools – it is impossible to justify;
2. Industries and utilities – there is clearly scope for public ownership of the railways for example – look at the failure of the franchises to date;
3. Social care – the big, unanswered issue on the Tory side: a gaping goal for the Labour party to slot one home by moving first with a comprehensive and costed policy.
4. Tax – plenty of work to do on various tax avoidance schemes, and then there are the tax shenanigans of Big Tech.
I could go on – the point is that an energetic leader with a united party could present a distinct and popular programme to the voters, but the current leadership seems to be frozen in the headlights, fearful of taking a position on anything.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Well the article is definitely deluded ravings, total reality disconnect there – I is so over the top that at first I thought it was a satire on lefty delusions.
But your contribution is much more sensible, though still with “politics of envy” echoes. Parties whose platform is to attack others don’t have a good look.

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

………because any apparently popular policy might get pinched by the Tories?

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Education? Labour is hellbent to erase any standards whatsoever by pushing for the decolonisation of education.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

Are you claiming that the only thing holding our education system together is carefully avoiding anything negative about one of the most successful Empires in recorded history?
If not, could you explain what you mean by “decolonisation” of education? And how it threatens educational standards?

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Are you claiming that the only thing holding our education system together is carefully avoiding anything negative about one of the most successful Empires in recorded history?

I’m not claiming any such thing. What i’m pointing out is that the push for “decolonisation” aims to rid the education system of value, to replace it with nothing of value.

could you explain what you mean by “decolonisation” of education? 

I mean exactly what the ‘decolonisers’ mean by it. Go to the Guardian website, type “decolonisation” into the search box, it will pull up a long string of articles on the subject.

And how it threatens educational standards?

It aims to take away the very foundations educational standards are based on. That’s how.
Replacing Chaucer with Chimbuwumbu Mbobo Kekeke may sound like a laugh to you, notsomuch for the poor kid who would actually apply to Leicester uni in the hopes of getting a somewhat decent English education.

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
3 years ago

“. .. unite the Left by restoring the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.”
Oh, please do. And please, please make him leader again, or better yet some wokeoid straight out of student politics. There are still 202 Labour seats to be won by the Tories. I look forward to seeing Boris welcoming the new Conservative MP for Liverpool Walton after the next general election.

Ian Campbell
Ian Campbell
3 years ago

As usual, the hard-left miss the point and therefore their opportunities.
Starmer allowed himself to have nowhere to hide. Instead, he panicked along with this mess of a Tory Government (that I voted for). Had he ‘kept his head when all about him’ was losing theirs he could have emerged a statesman.
We are now in true lowest common denominator territory without a statesman in sight. All parties want to bung borrowed money at non-problems while allowing a technocratic bunch of spread sheet manipulators to make the decisions the politicians were elected to make.
A pox on all their houses and let’s sweep ’em all out of there and start again.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Campbell

SDP, Reform or Independents for me, Lib,lab,Cons,Snp,Greens are vacuous and not part of any promising future..

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

What we need are politicians who don’t really want to be politicians but are people who just want things to get done. What we should do is identify all the really competent doers in society and make them do a form of “Jury Service” but rather than sit in a court for a few weeks they sit in a cabinet for a few years and are then released back to their real jobs when their time is done.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago

This article really is the most delusional claptrap. Tony Blair did actually win 3 general elections, an astonishing and unprecedented achievement for Labour. Certainly something a Left-led Labour Party has never done, you could add 1983 to the charge sheet.

In 2017 Corbyn did quite well, but nowhere near well enough, against one of the worst Tory campaigns, and leaders, ever. And today, you can certainly make many valid criticisms of the Tories and Boris Johnson, but they are still preferred, probably rather sceptically, but nonetheless actively voted for, in many Northern traditionally Labour areas. How did it come to this?

As several much wiser authors have written, a complete contempt for most of your non-metropolitan voters and their values which is now deep rooted among Labour voters and activists, probably doesn’t help.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
3 years ago

A sad epitaph for two failures. “Corbynism” and “Blairism”. Each blaming the other, as they sink together into the quicksand.
Neither will succeed because both, basically, hate this country. We voters, generally, rather like our country, you see.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago

Corbyn poisoned the Labour brand. Who in their right mind would vote for a IRA, Hezbollah, Hamas terrorist supporting Communist? Anyone who had anything to do with Corbyn’s Labour is now tainted.
Then there are those dreadful racists on the Labour front bench that hate “whitey” not forgetting all those anti-semites.
Starmer kneeling to a dangerous and violent organisation that wishes to defund the police and kill off the nuclear family deseves all he gets.
Go woke go broke.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

Corbyn, whatever other criticisms can be made of him, gained seats and increased the party’s vote share in 2017 — for the first time since 1997

with apologies to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Like waves crashin' on the beach
And for one desperate moment there
He crept back in his memory
God it's so painful
Something that's so close
And still so far out of reach
Oh yeah, all right
Take it easy baby
Make it last all (election) night
He was a Corbynian guy...
PAUL SOUTHERN
PAUL SOUTHERN
3 years ago

Ostriches of the world unite. You have nothing to loose but your ………………..prospects of Labour ever being in government again.
The reason that the Labour Party became of no relevance to the vast majority of ‘ordinary’ people is because it adopted a combination of the hard left economic policies of the insurgent £3 Trotskyites, and the intellectually and morally superior identity politics of incumbent middle class wokites. The reason it continues to be of no relevance, is that Starmer has not YET managed to purge the former and silence the latter.
If Labour members are more interested in being elected, than in worshiping the idol of ideological purity, they need to give Starmer the green light to make the necessary transformation. Tragically, not enough are, with Matt Zarb-Cousin being a shining example.

Ian Wigg
Ian Wigg
3 years ago

The thing that scares me the most (and to make clear from the outset – I’m a Conservative voter) is the fact that there is no longer any foreseeable likelihood of a strong opposition.

I personally believe that, to a great extent, it almost doesn’t matter whether the party in government is left or right as long as it is a strong party of government matched against an equally strong party of opposition. That way the excesses of the former will be tempered by the latter and the population and country reaps the benefits.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

It’s not a question of Blairite vs further left. It’s a question of identity politics.
If Labour don’t distance themselves from identity politics, they will keep losing to the Tories, however corrupt or incompetent the Tories are and whatever other policies Labour offers.
The Tories have the advantage that they are at least recognisably British, while many on the left appear increasingly American in their attitudes and obsessions. That is exactly what was said by Khalid Mahmood upon his resignation: that Labour give the impression they would feel more comfortable in California than in Britain.
But try telling that to those who have convinced themselves that anyone who doesn’t wholeheartedly support identity politics must be an evil racist, fascist, white supremacist.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago

Tony Blair was a winner. Before him Harold Wilson was a winner.
That is practically it for the Labour party.
The soft-left “moderates” and the hard-left Momentum-Corbynite nutty gang are unpopular losers.
They need a charismatic, intelligent, photogenic leader who has some inkling for what people think outside of the Islington/Westminster bubble and their own party activists.
It’s not impossible that such a person will turn up in future, but I don’t see them anywhere in the party today.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

You forgot Clement Attlee surely the biggest winner of all?
In fact so successful was he, that we haven’t really needed a Labour Party since.
Consummatum est!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Nice try, Matt. Labour has lost the support of the working class voter so let’s invent a “real working class”.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
3 years ago

“Labour needs to rapidly re-energise its membership and appeal to its new base.”
A base which is largely well-educated, middle-class and in thrall to the anti-white bigotry of the wokeist orthodoxy.
So by all means continue to focus on the importance of gendered pronouns, supporting the virtue-signalling, identitarian cancel culture, regarding anyone sharing even a passing, but critical affection for his country as a fascist, or instinctively aligning yourselves with countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran in any dispute with the racist hellhole that is Britain.
Because clearly that will endear you to voters once again. Go for it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eddie Johnson
jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
3 years ago

Effective leaders are not often drawn from the advisor professions as they learn their skills behind the front line not on it. Starmer is no exception no matter how successful he was in his silk.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

Couldn’t agree more. One thing Starmer has failed to learn, is that you don’t lecture the electorate and wag your finger at them when you’re out on walkabout. You’re not in your wig now and you won’t win the argument. Even if someone tears strips off you, you thank them for their time and agree to think about their comments. Show some humility and don’t engage! The incident in Bath probably did more for the Tories than all their campaigning put together. Watched it half a dozen times in fits of laughter.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

The Labour party has ran its course now, outlived its usefulness; everything living must one day come to an end. The phrase ‘flogging a dead horse’ springs to mind

eugene power
eugene power
3 years ago

With the labour party now spending all its time discussing itself, it must be time to cut off its funding as HM loyal opposition.
ill do the job for tenth of the price.
or anyone else down the pub

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

Piketty in his “Capital and Ideology” describes the broader arc of this process (US Democrats, UK Labour, continental social democratic parties) whereby the former parties of labour have abandoned their erstwhile constituencies among the working classes in favour of educated urban elites (the “donor class”). Analyses by thinkers as various as Mark Blyth and William Mitchell have observed that this is increasingly rendering them unelectable.
UK Labour either defenestrates its neoliberal Blairite wing, or continues to wander the political wilderness.

Dan Martin
Dan Martin
3 years ago

Corbyn’s “leadership campaign appealed to a party rank and file that had joined Labour to make the world a better place,”
No thanks. I don’t need a populist demagogue to help the world along. Hasn’t Europe seen enough of that already?

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago

Fourty years of Labour elections results: Loose, loose, loose, loose. Blair, Blair, Blair, loose, loose, loose, loose. There is all the proof that is needed.

David Parry
David Parry
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

Trite, meretricious horseshit.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago

”make way for someone who can”
Who?

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Nigel farage? That might be their only hope at this stage.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

John Stonehouse?….

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

This is hugely encouraging. It suggests that after Starmer loses the next election he’ll replaced by another Corbyn-style lunatic. Good!

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

dltd

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Of course it is. Major’s government was made less effective by Blair’s opposition, not more.

David Parry
David Parry
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Major’s government destroyed itself – no help from Blair was needed.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago

I’m a staunch and serious supporter of Corbyn and his leftist policies (labour-and anti-war ones, in particular) but this author evidently missed the lessons of 2019.

Move on from Corbyn (yes, restore the whip but that’s not a central policy!)
Lick your wounds and appeal to people’s real needs: the economy and their identity in an increasingly post-nationalist world. Put more money and purchasing power in the hands of people and they’ll love you. Tories figured out how to get undying love from voters even when they didn’t help them, but first we walk before we run.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

Corbyn was greatly helped in 2017 by the insipid Theresa May – maybe not quite the worst PM we have ever had but definitely the worst woman PM we have ever had. Corbyn’s election to the Labour Party leadership and his re-election was also assisted by Tories paying the small fee to join the Labour Party to vote for him. The Labour party so is caught up in its own internal struggles there really is not a leader who could unite them in a way that the party could then stand for something the ordinary population actually care about.

Clive Mitchell
Clive Mitchell
3 years ago

“Labour needs to rapidly re-energise its membership and appeal to its new base.”

Note nothing about the electorate, which I would suggest matter a lot more than a Twitter obsessed membership.

Just one more heave eh comrade! Imagining that the policies that led to worst post war defeat in 2019, will succeed now is delusional at best.

Someone isn’t learning any lessons.

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
3 years ago

The 2019 election appears to have been air brushed from history.

Richard Lord
Richard Lord
3 years ago

The fact that Corbyn ever became leader is a sign of how outdated and irrelevant the Labour Party has become. A, virtually communist, terrorism apologist leader was never going to inspire enough to get to power – even standing against the useless Theresa May.

Having turned against a large part of their core support there seems little scope for a way back. What’s needed is a new centre left party to act as a decent opposition and check to the Conservatives. The wishy washy Liberals will never fill that role.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago

if no one in the present labour party will grasp the nettle and form a new party then they have a simple choice to make.either back starmer and reform the party or get rid of him.if they take the latter route they must think long and hard before making a choice because the wrong one could finish them.when you suggest restoring the whip to corbyn,that could be suicide because he s not well liked by moderate voters.it could pay dividends if he was kicked out altogether in an attempt to fracture the far left.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

Perhaps in more ways than one, the British Left are torn between Structuration theory and Critical theory

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structuration_theory
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory

with the former advocating agency led reform (education, education, education) and the latter advocating structure led reform (race, race, race).

Probably the former has directly led to the latter with an imbalance of acedemic education causing a middle class structuration bubble which has burst into a critical theory gloop.

What is it with the Left and sociological theories which are solely grounded in a humanism that is ungrounded from the ecological reality upon which we depend.

So the question is with the failure of Structuration theory and the mantra of education and the failure of Critical theory and the mantra of race, what sociological theory will the Left come up with next.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

It’s the dogma of humanism which the left grounds all its theories in, as you correctly pointed out. Grounding theories in fallacies will result in fallacious theories, no matter how many theories you experiment with.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago

Starmer, is as the old saying describing Blair, ‘Tory light’. I am 75 and seen Labour’s betrayal of the British working class over decades.
It is a sorry story of cruel politics. Dashing the dreams and hopes and consigning millions to a life of dull drudgery and of any hope.
Now the latest edition, a trick initiated by Blair’s third way of conning the working class and Labour supporters. A seismic change in the make up of the UK demography. I would recommend watching Lord Green’s interview with Peter Wittle to see what Blair and his henchman opportunists did when in office.
We are feeling the results now and Starmer is trying for Blair mark 2. He is even a lawyer like Blair.
https://youtu.be/XnwpuxkQWbE

Last edited 3 years ago by Clem Alford
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

Truth: Corbyn was a terrible leader, and Starmer is just as bad.
Corbyn had the youth vote for a while because he was all “Yeah, I’m Magic Grandad Glastonbury’, so while he terrified adults he made up for it by enchanting kids. Probably why his numbers were marginally better than Starmer’s.

Doesn’t matter. The truth your article seeks to miss is that Blair himself would not have lost Hartlepool.

Blair himself would be a match for Johnson in the Commons and out on the campaign trail. Blair would also have matched him for charisma. I’m not saying either man would get my vote, just telling it like it is.

Insane lefties are not interested in ‘how it is’, only in ‘how it should be’. They believe that ‘how it should be’ will be ‘how it is’ if only they are given one more chance to have one more push. It is utter madness.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

Shame Phoney Tony is a war criminal. Yes he did have a charming smile as he posed for PR shots with Jimmy Savile. Yes Labour needs to attempt to recapture the centre ground by becoming more Tory but with a nicer demeanour, but they also need to distance themselves from Blair himself and the cronies who helped him create that very convincing at the time but utterly phoney image.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago

Blair ruined the UK. Devolution (to split up the UK to be EU regions so he could be President of the EU and later of the world), Human Rights Act, opening the borders to all and sundry, destroying university degrees, the GFA and his wars based on lies.

Niels Georg Bach
Niels Georg Bach
3 years ago

as long as the internal war continues – will t ever stop, Labour has no chance.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

Most people don’t want loony-left Corbynism or technocratic Europhile Blairism. Neither wing has particularly broad appeal. Corbyn at least enthused his base, but repulsed a lot of people. Blairites meanwhile have nothing to say in the areas where the Tory government is potentially vulnerable, because they agree with those technocratic policies – with Brexit accomplished (outside Ulster). the Blairites are simply irrelevant.
In Britain’s current political configuration the only viable & media-friendly challenge from the Left comes from extreme Environmentalism, which the Greens have sewn up. Left-Libertarianism from the likes of Piers Corbyn is a genuine alternative, but is treated as beyond the pale.