From the early results in the local elections – which were primarily in leave-voting areas where the Tories expected to do relatively well – a pattern seems to be emerging in terms of who is winning UKIP’s collapsed vote base.
Leave areas like Plymouth and Swindon, which Jeremy Corbyn has visited often, have seen Labour pick up a major share of UKIP’s losses compared to 2014. Labour took control of Plymouth council – and won more than half of the former-UKIP vote share in Swindon and Portsmouth.
A small group of back-bench, right-wing Labour MPs have ignored party policy to push calls for a second referendum – along with the idea that electoral success lies in abandoning leave voters to appeal only to remainers by nailing Labour’s colours to the mast of ‘defeating Brexit’. The voices of those MPs have been massively over-amplified by the ‘MSM’.
In leave areas Corbyn has not been able to spend as much time – and where the dominant perception of voters will therefore have been driven by the media/press – the Tories have hoovered up a majority of the ex-UKIP share.
Last year the SKWAWKBOX highlighted – and even the ‘MSM’ had to recognise – Corbyn’s intelligent and skilful handling of the Brexit issue. Labour stunned the Establishment by making gains in leave-voting constituencies as well as remain.
But in these local elections, the damage done by undermining back-bench MPs shouting about the idea of preventing Brexit can be seen.
That damage has not been accidental.
Labour MPs who are, intentionally or idiotically, helping the Tories by making a big noise about Brexit – instead of letting the Tories’ incompetence bring them down while Labour focuses on the NHS, jobs, wages and other more important matters – have no place in the party.
Last year, the SKWAWKBOX lauded Corbyn’s handling of the thorny Brexit issue – and he was proven right at the General Election.
Where he has been able personally to carry that message across to voters, Labour have performed strongly in eating up former UKIP votes – a situation that would be far more widespread in a general election period with its more impartial coverage.
The responsibility for the areas where Labour took less of those former-UKIP votes sits squarely on the shoulders of the same right-wing ‘usual suspects’ who have taken every other opportunity to undermine Labour’s electoral prospects, just as they have done in this case.
They cannot be allowed to continue – but the way forward for genuine Labour activists and supporters is clear as far as the Brexit issue is concerned:
Focus on the immediate, societal issues and pains that people are suffering under the Tories – destroyed services, a collapsing NHS, increasing insecurity, soaring crime, the deaths of our vulnerable and the anguish of those who need help.
Let the Tories drown in the Brexit mess of their own making. Anything else prolongs the torment of our most vulnerable by driving leave voters to the Tories.
To do what undermining back-benchers have done was always – and probably wilfully – foolish. To continue to do it, now that the results have been demonstrated, will be unforgivable.
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