Analysis comment

Labour’s road back to power lies through leave towns. No MP who pushed remain can lead it there

Working-class towns have long memories and the media and Tories will be helping them remember. Hoping that ‘Brexit won’t be a factor’ by 2024 is wilful delusion

Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips have both launched their leadership bids with slick videos that attempt to put a working-class sheen on their campaigns.

Starmer’s, bizarrely, features narration with a strong northern accent talking about striking print workers in London’s Wapping and striking dockers in Dover.

London-based northerner Lewis Cox summed up his opinion of the impression it creates:

Starmer’s video majors on his legal career and is light on his political activities as an MP – his participation in the ‘chicken coup’ series of resignations aimed at driving Corbyn out of his elected post as leader wouldn’t play too well.

But even his pitch to lead can’t resist a tribute to his efforts to stop Brexit. And there lies its fatal weakness.

Jess Phillips’ launch effort manages to avoid the topic of Brexit – but her own recent history puts her firmly in the ‘stop Brexit’ camp, too:

There is no path back to power for Labour that does not involve re-taking the seats in ‘leave’ towns that the party lost last month by abandoning its 2017 commitment to enact the referendum result.

Some try to argue that by 2024 Brexit ‘won’t be a factor’, as if ex-Labour leave voters will simply forget their sense of betrayal and abandonment by Labour MPs who pushed and pushed for another referendum and for Labour to campaign for remain.

MPs like Keir Starmer, who said at last September’s annual party conference, that:

If you want a referendum – vote Labour. If you want a final say on Brexit – vote Labour. If you want to fight for Remain – vote Labour.

Millions of Labour’s ‘heartland’ voters wanted no such thing – and that push to remain cost the party their support last month. But even if Brexit is ‘done’ by 2024, the memory of Labour MPs trying to trample on their vote – their winning vote – to leave the EU will not simply evaporate from the minds of those voters.

Even if it might on its own, it will not be allowed to. The media and the Tories will have a field day if Labour goes back to those voters to ask for their support under a leader who did everything to negate the value of the votes they cast in 2016.

A Labour Party led by an MP who helped push the party into its disastrous abandonment of its 2017 manifesto commitment to leave the EU will be a Tory wet dream.

If Labour wants to be back in power, it must show the leave towns it lost that it has learned its lesson and will respect their voice and vote. Electing a leader who did the opposite will look like doubling down on the disrespect instead.

No MP – from left or right – who participated in the push to make Labour adopt a remain stance and throw out its 2017 promise to leave voters can lead Labour.

Not if the party and its members care about getting into office for the sake of the many millions who will continue in misery under the Tories.

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  1. What nonsense from Skwawkbox!!!

    Leaving the EU will be an unmitigated disaster for Britain and those who advocated it will be guilty of promoting massive self harm. Those on the left who were not Lexiters but who foresaw the calamity will be vindicated.

    1. Well, you have a lot of campaigning to do son. Better get out and about in the north east knocking on doors and telling them all how stupid they are. If you start in the morning you can cover quite a lot of ground in five years. Good luck with the job.

      1. The only reason why anyone will be discussing Brexit as a significant issue at the next GE will be if it turns out to have been a disaster. Are the Lexiteers getting cold feet now.

      2. OHHHHH goood grief Remainers/Leavers, ITS OVER WE LOST , you lost, every fucker lost except for the billionaire class , now ffs can we concentrate on where we are now and stop going back over a lost battle .
        No matter what anyone thinks of the intelligence or otherwise of those in the mainly Northern leave voting constituencies where we got hammered , they have spoken , JC listened , but he was swamped and out manoeuvred by the RW Blairites who successfully cost us the 2nd election again !
        I don’t give a shit about adding up all the remain votes being more then the leave votes , the simple irrefutable FACT is we lost because they didn’t trust Labour to deliver brexit , and who can blame them , how do I know this , cos I effing well door knocked for days in Skinners old constituency and that’s what I got in my face on the doorstep when they even bothered to answer the door .
        The Tories didn’t need to win big , they just needed to win in the crucial Northern leave constituencies by small margins and they did.
        And we can already see with gobshite Phillips screaming she’s going to fight to rejoin the EU , Christ on a bike can you believe it , just what does that say to those very Leave voting ex Labour Northern towns we have to try and win back ,, other than FUCK YOU !
        Apologies for the foul language but exasperation over comes me

    2. Of course leaving the EU wll be a disaster. But that really isn’t the point. The point is the voting intentions of Labour supporters, past and future.

      And Skwawkie may see through ‘Leave’ tinted glasses, but that simply allows him to empathise better with the hundreds of thousands of voters who see things the same way.

      The rights and wrongs of Brexit are no longer relevant; winning back those voters is.

      1. Exactly heenan73 but the likes of JackT and SteveH simply refuse to understand that.They are still operating as though the election never happened,that voters in Northern and Midland constituencies voted Tory in enough numbers to give them a substantial majority.We must allow the Brexit drama to unfold for the time being as it will,Labour’s task is to win back those votes,and continuing to campaign for a lost cause is not part of that process.

      2. “The point is the voting intentions of Labour supporters, past and future.”

        Precisely. They voted overwhelmingly ‘Remain’.

        Now square the circle.

      3. RH;
        Continue campaigning for remain by all means. Advertise ‘remain’ far and wide. Just like Thornberry went on tv and announced “labour are the party of remain” to the uk. Then watch labour’s chances forever disappear down the shitter….

    3. Of course, the effects of Brexit go far beyond the immediate issue of economic relations with Europe.

      The most obvious is, of course, the tight binding to the US. So, I guess our Lexit fans have factored in the following example of the wisdom of Brexit :

      “Dominic Raab has said Britain is “on the same page” as the US in relation to Friday’s assassination of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.”

      Just the entrance gate to the promised socialist paradise, I suppose?

    4. I voted leave but never confuse me with those who jumped from Labour to vote for cheap and nasty Tory/Brexit/National White Peoples party
      When disaster of No Deal hits then its a plague on both extremes,
      Ignorant and Racist verses anti democratic snowflake remainiacs
      Fuck em all
      And before you start under FPTP it does not affect the next GE, you forget the Tories had less seats not that long ago
      Throw in Scottish and Irish Independence votes
      Perfect time to realign and get rid of enemy within

  2. Hoping that ‘Brexit won’t be a factor’ by 2024 is wilful delusion

    This article is complete and utter nonsense.

    As there is no possibility whatsoever that any new Labour leader will be able to influence whether or not we leave the EU I really can’t see why it matters one way or t’other. We’ll have been out of the EU for 4+ years by the time the next GE comes around so surely the only logical reason for anyone to still be obsessing about Brexit by then will be if Brexit turns out to be one of the biggest mistakes this country has ever made.

    If anyone casts their vote for our new leader on the basis of whether they supported Brexit or not they really needs to have a long hard look at themselves and sort out their priorities.

    1. If a remainer wins the leadership it WILL be used at the next G.E by the Tories. They will use it to remind the electorate how the new labour leader wanted to ignore their vote to leave the EU and put massive spin on that. Loathe the Tories as much as I do, I have to admit they’re bloody good at getting short messages out and getting those messages to stick & that is exactly what they will do with any remainer labour party leader at the next G.E

      1. …. if that’s the case and in the unlikely event that Lavery should win they’ll just remind everyone that he can’t be trusted because he flip-flopped over Brexit.

        However given the likely impact of the Tory’s Brexit a far more likely scenario is that the Tories will seek to avoid even mentioning Brexit and if they do it will only be in an attempt to share the blame.

      2. Foggy is correct here. If there’s a smear to be found, it will be found and made!

  3. If “leave towns” were genuinely Labour heartlands they’d never have voted Tory.
    Nobody voted Tory to achieve left wing objectives as some here claim – they voted Tory to ‘get brexit done’ and brexit in those towns was entirely about immigration – to pander to them over brexit now is to surrender the world to Trumptlerini populism.
    Political education is needed more now than ever – whatever it takes we have to show the people how they’re being conned – otherwise do we get down in the dirt with them over immigration? Because stopping it’s what they’ll be on Johnson’s back for very soon.
    When Blair commodified, narrowed and dumbed down education it may not have been a worse crime against humanity than Iraq – but setting socialism back by a generation is definitely up there.

    1. Yes,of course David,I return to Blairite identity politics is just the recipe to win back those lost voters.What we have to do,and it isn’t “pandering to racism” which undoubtedly exist in some.What we need to do is show that these communities ,that have been abandoned by Tory and New Labour alike, are central to Labour party thinking.If we succeed in doing that,the racism will go back to being the background noise it was before these people were abandoned.Any residual racism will be much easier to tackle at that point.In other words improve peoples lives,and they will stop casting around blindly for someone to blame.If the left put opposing racism front and centre now,it will have the opposite effect to that intended.

    2. “If “leave towns” were genuinely Labour heartlands they’d never have voted Tory.”

      Yes, David – Sometimes the bleedin’ obvious has to be stated and restated.

      I lived in one for most of my working life, and the caricature painted here bears no relation at all to the reality and the distinction between habit and political commitment. I’ve watched the Mails, the Suns, the Expresses etc. being sold in piles. I’ve heard the antagonism towards ‘benefit scroungers’ and the ‘they’re all the same’ tropes.

      This always had the potential to happen, and the idea that the floaters voted on the basis of political analysis around Brexit would be a hilarious joke of it wasn’t so serious.

      The actuality, of course is that it was indeed the SunMail ‘what dun it’. A steady drip drip drip of unremitting poison in susceptible ears.

      Furthermore, the Brexit issue (sadly for the Lexitories) was a side issue that was part of a wider campaign that focused on rubbishing Corbyn – and, by extension, the Party. Corbyn was *the* main focus of antagonism, not Brexit.

      What supporters of Brexit don’t grasp is that if Brexit was such a great idea, and the Party position a mistaken, then, by extension the election of Corbyn and the whole manifesto was a bigger one. The wisdom of the ‘Labour Heartlands’ says so, You can’t just pick and choose one particular Tory line for convenience.

      In fact, the Brexit case made by Skwawkbox is the ‘New Blairism’ : adopt Tory policy and all in the garden will be lovely. The original version went well, didn’t it? It’s a right-wing, regressive case masquerading as ‘left’.

      Actuially, a bit of intelligent analysis would see that the mistakes were made way back when the Party tail-gated the Tories on the rubbish of ‘honouring’ a totally flawed referendum and rushing to Article 50 in order to back a right-wing Tory policy. It was a massive mistake that undermined the Party’s role as a credible opposition and hobbled Corbyn right from the start (as well as giving the PLP malcontents political leverage – not to mention the Tories.

      All one can say is ‘Doh!’

      And now – as we enter the era of picking up the mess from Brexit, Labour is left in the position of having no solid platform from which to attack the Tories – because it didn’t come out and speak the truth – that Brexit was a rubbish idea that will harm its voters.

      Bottom line for me, and a lot of others : any leader who still witters on about the Tory ‘Leave’ being a good idea and the cause of failure hasn’t got the judgment or foresight for the job.

    3. “Political education is needed more now than ever – whatever it takes we have to show the people how they’re being conned –”

      Agree wholeheartedly, but how do you suggest we do that? I feel sure that the likes of The S*n and Daily Fail won’t be willing to offer up a single paragraph on the truth. I do my bit by pointing out the obvious lies and smears on my very limited social media, providing proof and evidence which cannot be argued with by ANY thick, gullible fool but it doesn’t reach a wide enough audience. Tories own all of the They have the upper hand.
      I will say something though, during the last war Goebbels used to print and distribute propaganda for his people. Nowadays people actually PAY for their own propaganda out of their own pockets in the form of the Daily Heil!
      Goebbels would have been very proud had HE thought of that!

  4. The article is correct. Labour lost because it betrayed the electorate. Because it knew better. It understood more about economics and sovereignty than the people who voted to get out of the EU. And it thought it-see above- knew better-because the people aren’t very well educated, most of them have never been to University like the PPE graduates the NEC selects as MPs, don’t read The Guardian and wouldn’t know Adam Smith from Jack the Ripper.
    And thus it was that, so sure were they that leaving the EU was a bad idea, the Remainers MPs cheated the membership of the Party by winning approval for a cunning plan to convince the Brexit voters that they would have a second chance to vote against the EU. That was the fudge at Conference which, followed by loud assurances by Shadow Cabinet members that they would campaign against Brexit what ever happened, sealed Labour’s fate. And, not coincidentally, ruined the reputation of the one MP that the people trusted above all-Jeremy Corbyn. For the Blairites it was a coup.
    The Remainers-led by the MPs now running to take Corbyn’s place, first told the people that they were wrong, and frankly shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and then told the Labour Party that the policy of respecting democracy was also wrong and that the electorate is so dumb that they will believe anything that we want them to.
    Make no mistake: Starmer and Phillips may think that they want to lead the Labour Party but what they really want to do is to turn it into PASOK, or Hollande’s Socialist Party or Ireland’s Labour party. Retracing the steps since 2010 and getting right back on the track to oblivion, just another imperialist cheering section which sets up its stall among the poor- rough work but the money can be good.
    Those who voted to honour the referendum vote remind us of Labour’s real origins in the tradition of working class democracy, the ‘populism’ that frightens Tories, Blairites and PPE lecturers alike, the tradition of representatives acting as stewards for those they represent, doing what they are instructed to do, not latter day Burkes fancying they know more than the people who made them.

    1. How does Trump and his fascist base fit into your analysis Bevin – given that in your world ‘the people’ are by definition always right?
      He’s about to start a war with the support of ‘the people’ to deflect from his inadequacy.
      Boris is from the same mould. The people elected him so we must honour that and not challenge him?
      Populism – rouse a rabble, get elected, do whatever it takes to look tough and blame your enemies for the consequences.
      If there was a referendum on hanging after a famous murder the death penalty would be back.
      The volunteers to fight in WWI were typical of ‘the people’ – mostly gullible and uneducated, just like the ‘heartlanders’ who voted for Boris in a Santa suit.
      Brexit was the Tories blaming the EU for the pain the people suffered from Thatcher’s enabling of neoliberalism by deregulation – a lie that won a referendum and that you treat as holy writ. ‘Honouring’ such a lie is pouring stupidity on gullibility.
      African princes, gambling websites and Tories prey on the gullible.
      Their victims almost never believe themselves gullible – blaming others for not protecting them from the consequences of their own stupidity is one of the characteristics that define the gullible.
      It’s the education, stoopid.

      1. It is still the case, though, that the EU’s restrictions on public debt, taxation and nationalization make any genuinely socialist policies impossible- you can’t have socialism if you can’t deficit spend(at least at times) if you can’t raise tax-especially on the rich- and if you can’t nationalise- there’s no way to turn any part of the economy over to workers’ control without being able to nationalise it- and all EU economic and fiscal policies are unchangeable. and none of you Remainer obsessives have ever even tried to address that. The EU benefits the already-wealthy and no one else. EU membership and genuine Labour policies cannot coexist, everything that’s happened since the Seventies through the humiliation and destruction of SYRIZA proves that. Time to move on and build something else- something which will probably require the construction of denocratically-run alternative European-wide trade body that does not mandate Thatcherism and can be changed from below.

  5. Is it just a co-incidence that Ian Lavery, who SB is backing, is the only potential leadership candidate who flip-flopped over Brexit. (potential because we are still waiting for Len to make up his mind about who he will support for the leadership)

    1. Since rational argument seems unable to reach you SteveH,does piss off have more resonance?

      1. John – I wasn’t aware you’d put forward an argument, any argument, rational or otherwise. Is there anything in my comment above that you so ‘eloquently’ replied to untrue?

    2. SteveH , just what is your fear of Lavery , ?
      On many occasions you have stated you wanted a DS lead Govt under Corbyn and yet here we have af ull throated red blooded DS who hopefully will lead , unlike some warm wet drips like starmer / RLB or Clive Lewis .Just what is your issue here ?

      1. rob 05/01/2020 at 12:09 pm

        My answer to that is quite simple. I don’t think he is up to the job and I don’t trust him.

        Before the referendum this is what Ian Lavery said
        Our membership of the EU has given our region some protection from the worst excesses of right-wing Conservative governments. It has maintained investment in our region, whilst Tories in Westminster have cut our funding, time and time again.

        “Those advocating that we leave the EU are not being straight with the people of this region. They are making promises they can’t deliver on and spending money that simply wouldn’t exist. A vote to leave, together with the economic shock that would follow, would mean cuts to spending in this region, harm to our NHS and will cost North East jobs.

        “A quick look at the track-records of those arguing for a Tory Brexit, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan-Smith, confirms they don’t have the best interests of our region at heart. Their policy agenda has seen our local communities hit whilst money has been moved to more affluent areas of the county. They’ve overseen the soaring use of food banks and punitive sanctions on some of the most vulnerable in society. They’ve made no secret of their aspiration to cut back the rights of working people. These aren’t politicians driven by the goal of a fairer and more just United Kingdom.

        “A vote to remain is the best route to the economic growth our region needs. Let’s not turn our backs on future inward investment, new jobs and the world’s largest single market.

        “Let’s put the North East first and vote to Remain next week.”

        and after the referendum it was a case of I have principles but if you don’t like them I have alternatives.
        A substantial proportion of the electorate in his constituency (probably from both leave and remain) obviously didn’t trust him either so he barely clung onto his seat by his fingernails.

        Plus as others have already pointed out that the Tory’s and MSM will latch onto any failings. How do you fancy the likes of this being repeatedly pushed on social media for the next few years?

      2. Corrections
        I don’t think he Lavery is up to the job and I don’t trust him.

        Plus as others have already pointed out that the Tory’s Tories and MSM will latch onto any failings.

      3. Thanks for the reply SteveH , you will appreciate if I have the same misgivings over RBL and for sure Starmer , the others imo are not even on the radar .

        The issue is how to rebuild trust in the Northern constituencies and despite the change of tack by Ian Lavery post 2016 referendum result ( i’d call that listening to people actually ) .Then I trust him more so than RBL who as far as I remember did not stand up against the AS along with many other MPs and threw Chris Williamson under the bus .
        Lavery is solid working class and a miner , you can’t get more salt of the earth than that. We want to connect with our base in the North where we got hammered , fine , then he’s the conduit to do it .

        Re the MSM and failings being picked up or “pushed” then lets be honest here , ANY leader on the “non approved list ” will be slaughtered whether its true or completely fake news , its a given and we should not be swayed by that inevitability .
        I feel that Lavery will perform better visibly at the despatch box and his passion will shine more than Starmers dead fish style and RBL baby doll image .It’s shite that one has to be so shallow in the qualities of a what makes a “good” leader but that is what our democracy has been reduced to by the MSM and the hollow false shallow ” game show” that now passes for parliamentary debate .
        We need now imo a bruiser and Lavery is it.

      4. Actually Lewis is far more consistent than the windvane old right Lavery, the NUM bureaucrat – if it’s a case of choice.

      5. … and

        “Lavery is solid working class and a miner , you can’t get more salt of the earth than that”

        … what a load of old cobblers. Apart from the fact that working down the pit doesn’t confer sainthood – any more than any other occupation (it was simply a relatively well-paid shit job that most miners I’ve kown didn’t wish on their sons) – it’s not relevant 20 years on.

        Besides which, Lavery – sensibly – moved out of an underground job to office work relatively quickly.

    1. That article is spot-on! All here should read it and learn from it. It was the same scenario here in Norwich N, 2017 within a gnats wisker of unseating a tory. This time tory had an enhanced majority!

    2. Great post. I doubt the Labour Right will ever get it because they don’t go back far enough, and focus too much on results of Brexit — ‘We’ll end up like YOU!’ – and not enough on relationships, ie. ‘we’ve ignored communities for decades.’ Betrayal by those who claim to represent you — Guardian, BBC (stopped viewing) Blatcherism (stopped voting for it) — is ultimately intolerable. If I were in red wall, I’d just not vote. I understand that was a big part of the problem.

      I find a similar blindness when warning Centrists that it seems that social democracy collapsed post-2008, and austerity, aka. economically illiterate stagnation and death, will lead to nazis. It’s a well founded fear, rather than a prediction, but the response is typically, ‘yeah, whatever — only Centrism is electable.’ I can only assume the people saying this are A) not knowingly affected by austerity, and B) expect to be badly affected by Brexit (aka.revenge) and C) don’t realise on the whole, austerity is much more economically destructive than Brexit, which in a Labour Brexit, could have been a neutral or positive option. A Tory majority Brexit will be pretty bad tho, which a lot of us — those in North and those on the Left — feel has ultimately been forced by Labour Right, who chose to stop Corbyn rather than stop Brexit. ‘We win or we burn it down. Keynes is dead forever.’

  6. Sorry Danny,but thats no excuse for setting the most right wing shambles on the people of the UK and allowing them to destroy the welfare state that our parents and grandparents fought for.Their is never any excuse for treachury as the Labour party have just found out.And the man of Irish parents and a Labour party member should be ashamed of himself.Double treacherous behaviour and a sign of moral decay in the hearlands.No excuse whatsoever and I hope that they are prepared for the demolition job Johnson’s Will begin when he gets back from his 2 week free holiday in the Caribbean.

    1. Loyalty has to work both ways. There was little loyalty from the metropolitan labour party towards these northern voters. Labour has to EARN votes, not merely expect them. It failed this time.

    2. “Labour has to EARN votes, not merely expect them. It failed this time.”

      That’s a fair point. The damage done by many disloyal Labour members, in Parliament, here, and elsewhere was a gift to the tories and the MSM, and allowed them to present labour as confused, dishonest and unreliable.

      It’s no coincidence that having lost the most honest politician I ever met, one of his potential successors is able to promise ‘truth’ after three years of lying and conniving to unseat him. All this let the party down, diluted the message, and lost us the election. Our supporters – traditional or otherwise – deserve better.

  7. So the strategy for dealing with disillusioned Labour voters in the North is to call them ” traitors ” say….you’ll be sorry” and then “we told you so” . when the fully horror of this Tory administration kicks in .

    Well that just great it’s bound to work an absolute treat – I can see them flocking back to Labour in their droves,

    As a native of the North East I can tell you that the disillusionment with Labour in that region is a process that has taken over 30 years and that it is closely associated with the destruction of major industries and the communities surrounding them. Brexit was initially presented to these people as a politically neutral issue on which they could have their say. Following the referendum Labour however made the mistake of challenging the result and effectively invited them to pick sides. As an issue Brexit highlighted the inability of the Labour Party to recognise the huge social change that had occured in the area and provided a vehicle for those who were becoming increasingly disenchanted with Labour

    “Traitors” you say … where are the pitmen shipyard and steel workers to betray the cause ? What’s left of them are very old men. People in the North East who are younger than their mid 30’s have never seen a pit head or a shipyard in their lives and those in their 40’s have only vague memories of them. Labour has allowed things to pass them by in these areas and believed that the historical support of the people was permanent and has taken it for granted. Unfortunately workers in flat caps no longer abound there and time has not stood still there since 1930.

    The “they’ill be sorry” reaction is symptomatic of Labour’s problem. In addition people rarely own up to being wrong.The day Nissan closes its factory in Sunderland I guarantee that you will be hard pressed to find anyone in the city who voted to leave who will then agree that it had anything to do with Brexit

    1. Quite right. Contributors here would also do well to remember that the last lab govts were not wholly perceived as golden years for northern areas either, more a continuation of tory policies of dereg, outsourcing and privatisation. Any concept of “loyalty” was lost then.

      1. Precisely. To people like Blair, working-class northerners were peasant scum, not worthy of any respect or any solidarity. The Blairite feeling towards such people was always “you owe us your votes- we owe you NOTHING”.

    2. Albert – you are partly right : the term ‘traitors’ is a pointless nonsense in this context. As in others in which it is used. And, yes, the decay of a committed Labour vote has been a long time in the making.

      But no, it wasn’t the case that “Brexit was initially presented to these people as a politically neutral issue” … from years before, it was pushed by the far right.

      The effect of the Brexit issue was a classic case of misdirection by the right of the Tory Party an exercise in kidology by the exact forces responsible for economic decline.

  8. As someone who lived for many years in the north east and now lives in London I find the emphasis on geography disappointing. We are a class based movement and so when I hear,as I did this morning,people like Lisa Nandy talking in such disparaging terms about London based Labour voters I fear for the future of the party. I now live in a borough listed as one of the twenty most deprived in the country,that has never elected anything but a Labour MP or councillor and borders the constituency that elected the first Labour MP. To dismiss the people who live here ,as Nandy did,as “metropolitan elites” is extremely narrow minded. As Mr McNiven said earlier many deserted Labour to vote for a Trumpian agenda,for Labour to mimic that populist agenda now would be to undo all the good work of the last four years,to win the argument we need to find a way to bypass the power of the media,so electing a good communicator as leader is vital. Come on Mr Lavery step up to the plate.

    1. Thank you, Jim, for stepping outside the self-reinforcing MSM tropes about false generalisations about ‘THE North’ and ‘THE Labour Heartlands’ that are so much reflected here.

      I’d also point out the disservice done to the ordinary voters in London and other urban centres who weren’t conned. The idea that London is just the metropolitan centre is plain ignorant.

      You’re right about class politics also – but tt’s not about class structures gleaned from the 19th Century. In occupational terms (the commonest understood usage), half of Labour support comes from the middle classes.

  9. Lexiters will never accept that their call to leave the EU, based upon some airy fairy notion that our colleagues in Europe are our enemies rather than our partners, will turn out to be a calamity. They therefore defend the voters, especially in the less well off areas, who voted Leave, by patting them on their heads and telling them they understand their anger and frustration.

    They pay no attention to the fact that the Leave message was sold to them by Farage and others on the back of a pack of lies about the EU and immigration, tactics incessantly used by the far right. Lexiters dare not accept this because to do so destroys their argument.

    This is relevant to Lavery’s bid for the Leadership, he is a weather vane who has shifted his views depending upon where the wind blows. At one stage he was against Brexit but when he was incapable of presenting a convincing argument against Farage he caved in to the Leave views of his constituents. Do we want someone as Leader who is so easily swayed?

  10. Interesting article (in the academic sense) in the Groan, mainly about The Mouth, but also covering other leadership contenders.

    Interesting because The Elephant In The Room (blanket media bias) is ignored *totally*.

    It’s almost more scary than the fact of the bias – the pretense of ‘move along – nothing to see here’ – the ducking of THE issue.

  11. An important article from Craig Murray reminds us of the depravity of the Blair regime and his influence in LP which still runs deep.

    Many members may not know these and other details but I suspect they sense the deep rot. I am left wondering why the great legal brains in the party have not explained (and pushed back against) such things to members and the public. Starmer and Thornberry immediately spring to mind.
    Anyone remember R2P doctrine?

  12. There are several comments on this blog that rightly point out that several northern constituencies have felt deserted and ignored by both national and local government.

    Unfortunately many of the voters in these constituencies have fallen hook line and sinker for the Tory con trick and have blamed their local Labour councils and by extension the Labour Party for many of there misfortunes and the lack of services instead of recognising that it was the Tories that robbed local councils of the funds to provide their services. Cuts that were notably more severe in Labour areas. Labour failed miserably to expose this blatant gerrymandering.

    The thing that surprised me is that for the first time in decades Labour were offering them the opportunity to improve their own and their communities future with proper investment in well paid jobs, education and training in their areas through our GND and national/regional investment banks. Also a massive council house building program and bringing existing properties up to the best energy efficiency standards practical. In addition were also committing to an immediate increase in the minimum wage to £10ph and an immediate 5% increase in public sector wages. Unfortunately we failed miserably to get our message across and the electorate therefore rejected all the above+ for nothing more than vague promises from a buffoon and a party that had shafted and lied to them for the last decade.

    Whilst I acknowledge that much of Labour’s time was unfortunately wrapped up in (ineffectively) countering the nonsense of a rabid AS problem and the ridiculously embarrassing prevarication over Brexit which destroyed the electorates trust in Jeremy’s USP of being an honest and straightforward politician. It is undeniable that our both our communication and campaigning strategy has been an absolute f…ing disaster on all counts for the last 3 years. Heads should role for this failure.

    1. SteveH, taking back the party from the right when they were so deeply entrenched was clearly just too big a task. Until Corbyn was elected leader the left was moribund – now it’s probably back to that – business as usual.
      The hope was nice while it lasted.
      It’ll be our friends’ heads rolling now, judging by the vitriol coming from the right.
      Corbyn had them scared shitless for a while though, didn’t he? 😂
      All the world’s powerful raging against one quiet, gentle man.
      We weren’t worthy.
      Maybe one day we’ll actually deserve socialism.

      1. I hadn’t expected such defeatism from you David.

      2. David McNiven, agreed, but why have we found ourselves in this situation? I believe it is because we failed on solidarity.

        There were too many self indulgent members and MPs on the left wanting to go their own way over Brexit and tried to make leaving the EU a left wing cause when in fact it was a tactic by the far right to divide and rule. Left wingers who recognised the folly of leaving the EU where lumped in with those on the right of the Party and scorned as ‘Centrists’ by Skwawkbox and others.

        Then of course we had the A/S smears and NOT ONE of the supposedly left MPs came out in support of Chris Williamson, cowards to a man/woman, this must be one of the greatest stains ever on the left in our Party. When we have such a bunch of low class Labour MPs, how on earth can we chose a Leader from any of them?

    2. It wasn’t *just* the anti-semitism scam, Steve – the media campaign in general was that of a second-world country where communications are entirely compromised by a command establishment – Turkey or Egypt comes to mind. Even this old sceptic was surprised by the degree of distortion and omerta.

      How many here have been blanked by various organs as soon as uncomfortable truths about Israel and Zionism are raised? That is a litmus test of the degree of control, rather than the entirety.

      All respectable academic research paints a picture of bias and censorship that should make any real ‘patriot’ ashamed.

      And I keep banging on about it because this most significant feature of the election is – like the truth in general – largely ignored in public political discourse. It’s like trying to cure cancer by focusing on the common cold.

      1. RH 05/01/2020 at 3:05 pm
        All respectable academic research paints a picture of bias and censorship that should make any real ‘patriot’ ashamed.

        Does that also apply ‘progressive patriotism’ 😏

        I tried to express that it was a complete failure of the communications strategy in my comment. There is also a profound need for a change in the party’s decision making structures which are both clumsy and undemocratic as well as giving way too much influence to a small factionalism that place their own agendas ahead of that of the members and supporters. Unfortunately I don’t see much chance of change any time soon, those who have the power have already demonstrated their reluctance to give up their undue influence.

      2. No essential disagreement, Steve. I was thinking of the most recent abuse of the term ‘patriotism’ when I wrote that. There is nothing wrong with the term – it just gets distorted and traduced with abandon, and confused with narrow minded xenophobia – as with the Brexit scam.

        In the face of the existing control of the media by the plutocracy, I’m not sure what Labour could have done. We just don’t have access to significant alternatives – and antisocial media is as much a handicap as an alternative.

        I guess one thing is indesputable – the communication advice at the top was pretty amateur. At least Alastair Campbell knew what he was doing and was effective, whatever else. And yes, the lack of strategy in dealing with the Israel/Right Lobby was pathetic, as we all know (or should do) now that it can be seen in retrospect.

        More importantly, now that the election is done, I see little evidence that lessons have been learned, with all the totally irrelevant and inaccurate chatter about ‘Labour Heartlands’ and Brexit.

        The ERG mob are laughing all the way to the bank whilst the plastic Tooting ‘left’ and the friends of the Tories are agreed on one issue : how to make Labour irrelevant.

  13. I think some on here underestimate the seismic change that has happened in the Labour party and socialism when we lost the election.We are in danger of a wipe out for labour if we don’t elect a good leader.Scotland was lost a long time ago because of being ignored by the Labour party with unrepresentative RWing mps.,and ignored generally speaking.So the scots voted for the scots nats because they outlaboured the Labour party and we will not get them back..And in our northern vote they turned to a entitled Bullingdon boy of the right wing Tory junta,which is completely different to the Scots who are still mainly anti Tory..I am not convinced that the Labour vote in the North hasn’t finished off the Labour party as the main opposition party to greed,war and the establishment.Self harm is not pretty but the unleashing the mad dogs on society and crushing the socialist Labour party is a price too high for the vulnerable people of Britain.Its not a case of you will be sorry,Its more a case of we will all be sorry…..And I hope I am completly wrong for all of our dreams of a welfare state and a free NHS…..and of course pensions for the elderly.All up for auction everything has got a price….I am not scaremongering and like many others frightened and disillusioned with the pure evil that self harm of an angry electorate has voted this lot in……We are looking for a hero tomorrow courtesy of the PLP and the NEC?…what hope for the socialist Labour party?

  14. Labour did well in the 2017 election with great support from Sky News.
    But with the change of ownership of Sky, support dwindled.
    Labour will never be returned to power without the support of Scottish Labour and mainstream media!!.

    1. You are right, Michael. Difficult to assess the ‘Sky’ effect – but the overall negative media campaign was unprecedented in my lifetime.

      As to Scotland : it isn’t just a local issue. At the lowest level, the electoral deficit has been crippling, but at a deeper level, it signified a profound problem with the local base of Labour machine politics that has been brewing for a long time.

      Of course, the SNP doesn”t face the same hostile media as Labour – and this creates a virtuous spiral – so that Nicola Sturgeon *looks* competent alongside the competition.

      The idea that simply adopting Tory policies like Brexit will mend this electoral deficit is – at best – naive. As said previously – it’s the ‘New Blairism’, and in Scotland particularly, it’s poison

  15. The majority voted Leave and did not want another public vote thank you very much.
    Led by the right and followed by the niave of the left, Labour did not respect the democratic result, and with 400 Leave constituencies and 200 Remain, it wasn’t really rocket science.
    I knew in my heart a year ago Labour had lost the GE when it was first mooted that it would ditch the 2017 commitment to honour
    Leave, although we at least tried to give the new position some credibility, at least to give us a bit of a chance.
    The Right are always top down and can only offer crumbs FOR working people whilst allowing Neo-Liberalism a free reign and MPs seeking rewarding careers for themselves.
    Capital and their right wing media want a Labour Party that keeps socialism and socialists down plus keeps working people and their trade unions in their place; and then it may toss a few crumbs.
    But the Left including Momentum were to an extent still stuck in their bourgeois wheeling and dealing days and Momentum was captured by top down bourgeois socialists, meet the new boss, same as the old boss; they failed to understand grassroots, bottom up, participatory left wing democratic socialism WITH working people and not FOR.
    For example why don’t CLPs and unions have local conferences on elements of labour policy (such as housing) for labour voters/potential voters where ideas could be discussed?
    We can win again by getting out amongst the poor with political and practical support (including in Leave areas).
    But perhaps some have long memories such as when Blair and Brown took working class areas for granted and neglected them.
    And the Miliband regime stabbing the poor in the back by abstaining on welfare cuts because they were too politically dim and lacked the political courage to counter the dominant right wing narrative on welfare as the upper class welfare state thrives (corporate welfare £79b a year=£3,500 per household) and now some of these political charlatons pretend to be the left behind’s friends.
    Are only 3 left wing democratic socialists worth considering for Leader & Deputy in my view (unless we have a male and female deputy) Ian Lavery, RBL, Richard Burgon.

  16. The Right in Labour have a problem respecting democratic results – Leave 2016, Jeremy Corbyn as Leader TWICE and now unelected Lord Hattersly says if a Left Leader is elected Right Wing Labour MPs should not cooperate.
    Perhaps Labour should have 3 strikes and you’re out for Labour MPs, Lords and Ex-Leaders who attack the Leader in public?

  17. Re-reading Skwawkbox’s post it seems close to calling for MPs who voted remain to be deselected.
    “Blame the remainiacs” – really, Steve?

    1. It doesn’t go as far as that, but it has the barmy weirdness of trying to exclude candidates who most accurately represented members.

      You have to laugh at this being portrayed as ‘left’ – it’s totally reminiscent of the old Right machine politics.

  18. What if Brexit turns out to be a total disaster?
    Has anyone thought of this?…Particularly the Northerners, who it appears overwhelmingly voted for it …Admittedly, I’m just a Southerner~ so what do I know eh?..

    1. “the Northerners, who it appears overwhelmingly voted for it”

      The *conservative* northerners did. Labour supporters didn’t.

      Lots of misinformation around to try to bend reality to the LexiTory case.

  19. For me any potential leader much commit to introducing open selection its the best (only?) way to unite the party and get grassroots & PLP in alignment

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