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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
6 months ago

“The party can change”

Yeah, but the party *has* changed. Shame Labour has pretty much nothing to do with labour anymore. The number of Labour MPs from the 2019 cohort who previously had a working class job is, um, 7. The party you are handcuffed to, is no longer the party you think it is. It died sometime between 1997 and 2005, then started turning into a zombie around 2015, and is very clearly now eating the brains of anyone in it’s ambit. The same doesn’t apply to the Conservatives. The Conservative party has been a corpse since 1924. It’s just that Tories don’t mind.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 months ago

There are lots of people who vote Labour as a vote against the Tories. Your vote, your choice.
But voting against something (or someone) means that you have valued a negative choice over a positive expectation – that’s bound to lead to disappointment when your heroes are shown to be inadequate in some way too.

Richard M
Richard M
6 months ago

Electorally speaking, under FPTP the youth vote isn’t very important. They are least likely to vote, those that do mostly already vote Labour, and typically they live in city or university constituencies which Labour is going to win anyway.

The outcome of the next election will depend far more on winning back Red Wall and provincial target seats directly from the Conservatives. With a substantial majority to overturn, Labour need to flip blue seats red, not rack up bigger majorities in constituencies they already win with youth friendly “radicalism”. Starmer understands this.

2017 is rapidly taking on a mythical status for Labour’s left wing. Their own Revolution Betrayed.

In reality the only real lesson from 2017 was for Theresa May: don’t call a general election when you have the political instincts of a rock, your party and the country are angry and exhausted by politics, you have no manifesto, and you hate campaigning. The electorate will take it as an insult, which they did.

That’s not to deny Corbyn did well, of course. He loves campaigning, enjoys telling people they deserve better, and, with the help of McDonnell’s more pragmatic instincts, found a position on Brexit which was vague enough to mean whatever anyone wanted it to mean.

The big mistake was that they mistook anger with Theresa May with endorsement of Corbyn. The trick of 2017 was never repeatable, which they found out 2 years later.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Sherlock Holmes has got nothing on you, pal.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Waste of space as well as rude remark. Well, he is talking sense, which is quite a lot more than be said for some of the rants you get on here!

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago

Even though I disagreed with everything that came out of his mouth Corbyn was a brilliant campaigner and had the air of revolution about him, and for that he garners respect.
Starmer, like Sunak are management consultants devoid of character, depth and ideology.
It’s said people vote on emotion, but I feel nothing for either of them, I simply cannot raise anything positive or negative, such is my disdain.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Leaders should be proven competent, skilled managers. Ideology has no place in the successful running of anything.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago

Perhaps for a private enterprise. Politics without ideology is what we have now – a wasteland of ideas and direction with logos such as ‘long-term decisions for a brighter future’ and Labour’s new one ‘Let’s get Britain’s future back.’

Chris Carter
Chris Carter
6 months ago

Ah the solipsism of the left.
Corbyn was a loser. A loser with terrible ideas whom the voters decisively and rightly rejected.
But he made the author feel good.

glyn harries
glyn harries
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Carter

The 2017 Corbyn Labour manifesto included
respecting the Brexit vote nationalising the railways as the Tories have been forced to doincrease spending on the NHS which would have prepared us for Covidrecruit 1000s more policean national investment fund for industryetc etc. It was a good manifesto

Richard M
Richard M
6 months ago

Another way to look at all this is that Starmer hasn’t drunk the Corbynista mythology Kool-Aid. And just as well for Labour that he hasn’t.

When Corbyn became leader, lots of people said he would be an electoral disaster for Labour. All the polls agreed.

Then came the Brexit referendum and Theresa May’s suicidal 2017 general election. In the chaos and confusion of that election Corbyn did a lot better than anyone expected. Followed by some modest gains in the 2018 local elections.

Aha! Said the Corbynistas. We were right all along, the country does secretly yearn for socialism. One more push and we’ll be in Downing Steet, comrades!

2017 became the lodestone for the Labour Left which “proved” they would win if only the despised media would give Jeremy a fair hearing.

Of course, this was nonsense. 2017 was a unicorn. An election nobody wanted, called by a PM who didn’t know what she was doing, leading a party tearing itself apart in public.

By 2019 the red mist had cleared and we all know what happened next. Corbyn led Labour to their lowest number of Westminster seats since 1935. Not to mention net loss of hundreds of local councillors over the 4 year cycle, which is normally where opposition parties do well. To cap it off, he also led Labour to their worst ever result in a national election in the European Parliament elections in 2019.

This is why Starmer has turned his back on Corbyn and Corbynism. Because viewed over the 4 year cycle Corbyn was exactly what we thought he was: an electoral liability responsible for some of the worst results in Labour’s history. For people who want Labour to win elections, that is the only lesson which matters from the period. Forget 2017. That was a meteor strike which came out of nowhere, not affirmation of Corbynism.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
6 months ago

Yes Corbyn captured and bottled something that Starmer has thrown away. I remember being awoken at about 1am by young herberts walking home from the pub singing “Oh, Jeh-rer-mee Cor-bin” and reflecting that maybe some sort of sleeping giant had finally been awoken. Corbyn’s “magic” message was founded in positivity. My sense now is that political motivation among young-uns is negatively rooted in pure distilled hatred of tories, rather than a vision of what could be a better world. Credit where it’s due; “Levelling up” was a genius pitch (and I fell for it) but it’s hard to imagine anybody in Starmer’s team coming up with a better catch phrase than “For the many, not the few”.

Richard M
Richard M
6 months ago

The problem with “For the many, not the few” is that people aspire to be part of the few, however they understand that term, even if they pretend otherwise.

2017 wasn’t an outburst of latent socialist solidarity. It was a combination of anger at Brexit, incompetence, and May’s high-handed refusal to engage in the election she called.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

It’s ok to be a member of The Few; there’s plenty of wealth to go round. It’s just that the differential has become too extreme. That’s pretty much where my “socialism” begins and ends.

Tim Molloy
Tim Molloy
6 months ago

“For the many, not the few” was nicked from Game of Thrones, said many times by the charismatic priest played by Jonathan Pryce.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
6 months ago

“…Even his opponents seemed to recognise a decent bloke…”

Yeah, a decent bloke, with a bit of an antisemitic streak. On occasions. All faults are bad of course, but some faults, it seems, are cuddlier and more forgivable than others.

Last edited 6 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Peter Kettle
Peter Kettle
6 months ago

Corbyn, senior fascistic Lefty, was a serious threat to this country. With the prospect of Labour allowing 16 year olds to vote we could face a Corbyn Party again. Don’t vote Starmer!

Tim Molloy
Tim Molloy
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Kettle

Relax. The idea of droves of sixteen-year-old children heading to the polling station is for the birds.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
6 months ago

Some of the young may stay at home but by and large it’s a given anti-Tory vote. There’s a smaller constituency of Millennials who might see the Lib Dems as a more moderate, more transparently pro-EU alternative, and then for the radical socialist youth there is always a protest vote to register with the Greens.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 months ago

“Those of us who voted for Corbyn . . .“ and I stopped reading right there.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
6 months ago

Whatever else was wrong with Corbyn at least he never tried to force the party to pretend that a woman has a pen*s

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Dr. G Marzanna

That wasn’t a thing when he was leader. The mind boggles at how he would have answered that question.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
6 months ago

A delegate opposed to the privatisation of the NHS was slow handclapped from the floor, before being dragged offstage by the hired help. There is no political reason to vote for either party unless you would vote for the other. I for one would not.

Rae Ade
Rae Ade
6 months ago

Great article.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago

“Oh look a labour shill story. The comment section should be good.”
I always get a kick out of progressive hysteria about what the youth will cheer. My natural inclination was to stand apart from youth group think. Now I come by it from nature and experience.
I have to admit though I did cheer when Corbyn couldn’t manage to find a seat on a half empty train.
That said, you seem to be a little down on labour. Buck up, the international revolution is still pending. As soon as everyone decides they want less of everything for everyone and holiday camps with large fences it will be a go.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bret Larson
glyn harries
glyn harries
6 months ago

Excellent! We desperately need Labour in to dispel the Tory chaos but the Starmer offering is paltry.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
6 months ago

“God, being Labour’s hard work.”

1. That apostrophe in Labour’s, don’t look right.
2. If it’s hard work, don’t be Labour. You should look right.

Dulle Griet
Dulle Griet
6 months ago

Corbyn was sabotaged by right-wing members of the Labour Party, and the treachery they resorted to get rid of him was confirmed by the Forde report.
False accusations of anti-Semitism were used to purge Corbyn and his left-wing supporters – if you want to know what really happened, see “The Crisis“ and “The Purge” in “The Labour Files” documentaries series on YouTube, and if you get the chance, the film “Oh Jeremy Corbyn: The Big Lie.”
“The Big Lie” isn’t available via mainstream media, unlike the sort of ad hominem attacks and distortions that appear in this article. 

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
6 months ago
Reply to  Dulle Griet

Thank you for cheering me up. Your post did make me giggle.

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Dulle Griet

For a brief second, I thought that post was serious. Fair play on a good joke.