Despite managing to hold onto the seat in last night’s Erdington by-election, it seems the extremely low turnout and acknowledged lack of enthusiasm for the party encountered by canvassers ‘on the doorstep’ have Labour panicked.
The party has sent a message to all its MPs telling them to attend defensive ‘Hold your Seat’ training to maximise their chances of avoiding being ousted at the next general election – to give them and what remains of their supporters in a party that has lost more than a third of its members since Keir Starmer took over:
the skills [you] need to hold your seat at the next election, whenever it is called.
Interestingly – though unsurprisingly given that the party sacked its community organiser teams soon after Starmer’s leadership win and has offered nothing meaningful in terms of hope and vision, or even substantive policies beyond driving out the left – Labour’s preparations appear to be entirely defensive. There seems to be no equivalent campaign to actually win seats it currently doesn’t hold.
Perhaps in Keir Starmer’s out of touch view of the 50+ working-class seats his second referendum policy drove to the Tories, he thinks merely appearing more racist and eager for war than Boris Johnson will be enough to win them back. But it looks more likely that Labour recognises the unpopularity of a gutted husk of a recently-great party and is devoting what energies it has to merely minimising losses.
After all, the Labour right’s sabotage of the 2017 general election assumed even with policies and popularity that Corbyn was going to lose seats rather than the gains that the party made, so they have plenty of form and a lot more justification now for expecting the worst.
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