“When a party wins 44% of the vote, as the Tories have done, saying “get Brexit done” and literally nothing else for the whole campaign, to deny the centrality of this issue to the outcome is wilful blindness.” Unite boss hits nail on head
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey’s column in today’s Huffington Post squares up the real – and unmistakable – reasons for Labour’s defeat in the general election and lays out what Labour needs to do now.
McCluskey observes correctly that Labour’s pummelling in leave-voting seats puts beyond question the fact that the party’s move away from its 2017 commitment to enact the EU referendum result – the only significant variable compared to the 2019 campaign – was the reason for Labour’s losses.
“When our losses are concentrated in former coalfield constituencies and other post-industrial communities that voted heavily “Leave” in the 2016 referendum, and yet we happily retain our position in London more-or-less unscathed, it is staring us in the face.”
McCluskey also points out, entirely accurately, that there is a move underway by the very centrists that demanded the policy shift that caused such damage are now trying to exploit that damage or avoid responsibility:
Others will try to make a different case, either because they have volubly hankered after the New Labour past throughout the years of Corbyn’s leadership of the party, or because they lack the honesty to accept the consequences of their advocacy of keeping Britain in the EU at any political price.
This has been borne out in comments from numerous so-called ‘moderates’ today – and exemplified in a thread by Hove MP Peter Kyle, one of two co-authors of the main parliamentary attempt to bind any Brexit deal to a new referendum, the very concept of which has been so toxic in Labour’s heartlands.
“Kyle’s co-author in his ‘confirmatory vote’ amendment was Phil Wilson, whose leave-supporting Sedgefield constituents voted him out on Thursday – and yet Kyle still denies reality.”
Kyle’s denial of obvious reality is staggering – and matched only by the sheer arrogance with which he delivers it, launching a call for a take-over of the Shadow Cabinet by centrist MPs at the same time as claiming he only wants ‘a conversation, not a fight:
But that’s just the beginning of the arrogance.
Kyle claims that he and his clan have ‘heard what voters have said and what is expected of us’ – yet in the same thread he ignores the Brexit-related outrage so obviously demonstrated on Thursday and instead tries to claim that abandoning its Brexit commitment was not the driver for Labour’s losses being concentrated in leave seats.
Kyle’s co-author in his ‘confirmatory vote’ amendment was Phil Wilson -whose leave-supporting Sedgefield constituents voted him out on Thursday by more than 4,000 votes after giving him a majority of over 6,000 in 2017 when Labour pledged to respect the leave result.
And yet Kyle still denies reality.
McCluskey’s article and Kyle’s thread are a perfect illustration of the choice facing Labour supporters in the aftermath of the election result.
In the blue corner, wilful, centrist denial of reality that is all about shifting blame onto those who tried to respect working-class communities and perpetuating the disrespect that has cost the UK’s vulnerable so dear.
And in the red corner, authentic working-class voices who’ve never looked with disdain on their brothers and sisters and will not start now – and who intend to take Labour back toward the people who feel the party moved away from them.
Working-class people need Labour – and Labour needs them. The Kyles in the party must not be allowed to repeat and extend the damage they have caused.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.