Why the Left voice we now have in the Leadership contest is so badly needed

Hurrah for Jeremy Corbyn, now safely past the 35 nominations hurdle.   And not a moment too soon.   The mountain to climb that now confronts Labour demands a refreshing new voice that acknowledges the ideological weakness that has crippled the party over the last decade and is prepared to confront the hard underlying structural issues that are relentlessly pulling this country down, notably austerity, an unaccountable banking sector, a market fundamentalism that has run out of control, a highly damaging privatisation of nearly all public services, and an explosive inequality between rich and poor.   Unless Labour presents an alternative vision to the failure of the last decade to confront these central issues, it is hard to see how the party can regain the nation’s confidence, particularly on economic and financial issues.

Labour now faces an enormous task.   Unless the party recovers significantly in Scotland, where only 3 SNP MPs have majorities of less than 6,000, it would require a swing of 11.4% in England and Wales to win in 2020.   That is actually larger than the swing achieved across the UK in 1997, which was 10.3%.   Nearly all the advantages which Labour hoped would see them through to victory on 7 May have evaporated.   Contrary to expectation, the party increased its majorities in safe seata but lost out in many target marginals.   There are now only 25 marginals with majorities less than 3,000, though the Tories now hold 23 of them.   If the Tories now push through the boundary changes which the LibDems vetoed in 2013, which they will, it is estimated that Labour will need some 106 seats to win a majority.

This will be harder than ever given the Scottish debacle, the mishap in key marginals, the decline of centre-left tactical voting, the inequality in funding, and an electoral system that was previously believed to favour Labour but which now favours the Tories.    There are other factors too.   The introduction of individual registration will enable the new constituencies to benefit the Tories, particularly in urban and socially deprived areas, i.e. Labour’s key zones.   The Tories will no doubt also seek to extend the advantage they already have with expatriate voters, who largely vote Tory, by abolishing the current 15-year limit and increasing the right to vote to their whole life, even if they have had no direct connection with the UK for decades.   By contrast, trade union members will be required to opt in to paying the political levy, which will widen the funding inequality between the two parties still further.

Huge though these barriers are, they are certainly not insuperable.   Labour could still win power, for example, with the support of the SNP and the LibDems if it were the second largest party in a hung Parliament after a swing of 5%.   But what matters far more is an ideological re-awakening on the Left and the robustness of a new vision and a commanding narrative to promulgate it.   Jeremy Corbyn is the ideal figure to lead that renewal.

9 thoughts on “Why the Left voice we now have in the Leadership contest is so badly needed

  1. Scottish Labour needs to rebrand – divorce from the party and be a scottish unionist/left wing party in its own right. It’s the only way Labour can save the union and form a government.

  2. Brilliant news, and a giant step in the right direction.
    Much more work to be done though.

    Education is the key; more people, including your fellow MPs, must learn more about how the economy really works. I think JC understands but others also need to if he’s to have the backing and support he’ll need to go further. There is a chance that he’ll actually get voted in on a popular vote; this’ll be no good if others in parliament will be against him, especially others in the Labour party who should be on the same side!

  3. Sophie Warns, in The Mirror of 12th May 2015, worked out that Labour were only 901 votes away from depriving the Tories of a majority. So, due to our rather weid system, the election was far closer than it seems.

    She added up the differentials in the seven closest fought seats where Labour came second: Gower, Derby North, Croydon Central, Vale of Clwyd, Bury North, Morley & Outwood, Plymouth,Sutton&Devenport. Gower was only lost by 27 votes!

    “In these constituencies, you only need half of those people to switch from Conservative to Labour for the Tories to lose their majority in government.
    In Gower, for instance, if 14 people who voted for the Tories had voted for Labour instead, Gower would have become a Labour seat. Just 14 people!
    If that happened in all of these seven constituencies, the Tories still would have won more seats than any other party but, at 324 seats, they wouldn’t have managed an outright majority. Tallying up the switched votes needed for Labour to get these seven seats, we end up with a total of 901 people.

    So less than a thousand people effectively decided the outcome of the election.”

  4. I went to my local 38 Degs meeting this evening. Other people there used to be Labour supporters, even party members, but refused to vote Labour in the GE. However, they were all very excited about the prospect of having Jeremy Corbyn as leader and said they’d vote for him and may even re-join the party!

    So JC could attract many others, hopefully millions, of previously disillusioned non-voters, plus disabled people and others who felt Labour had nothing to offer them so didn’t vote for anyone .

    He also seems to understand the economy and the harm that austerity and financial inequality are doing to the entire country. As we know, Ed Miliband’s team failed to explain these to the electorate, which I think was the main reason people voted for the Tories. Had people realised the truth many would not have done so. JC’s team could learn from the mistakes of the previous election team.

    What a pity the next G/E is 5 years away!

  5. No the election is has far away has the people want it there could be masses out showing this lot no more but then the lies have been believed and this party hasnt shown them to be wrong but they onky in power has long has thos ninty nine percent who aint rich want em to acorn grow into oak trees but one wonders pinning much hope on one person hum dont forget there are too many blair babies who can and will prune that tree down sorry to say jeff3

  6. I tend to agree with, (there’ s a surprise,) you, that “one Swallow does not a sumer make,” and this far from being the resounding victory for the left that people pretending. Nonetheless I still think his is important and even reassuring; that they’ve managed to muster even the required number of votes to get JC nominated, now we can expect him to lied about, ridiculed and caricatured by media even before he’ started and as you rightly say he represents everything the post Blair caucus believed they’d eradicated and would like to.

    The problem for these unpleasant people like Burnham, Liz Kendell and their equally unattractive, (certainly to voters,) hangers on is that they no longer command the respect, confidence or support of much of Labors traditional constituency, (those less well off for what ever reason,) many of whom they have deliberately offended and alienated in the arrogant belief that we’d support them no matter what they did, A belief that has proven that once again they are now so completely divorced from reality as be unelectable.

    I really think that it’ s well past time that the B;air and post Blair babes finally did the honest thing and crossed the floor of the house and joined real friends where they all really belong on the conservative benches.

    Few people would really miss them any more than we miss Balls or Laws for example.

  7. Meanwhile in another part of the forest so to speak; once again this tells it’s own tale about the real nature and extent of the Tory economic miracle also be inference the number of unemployed people current chasing any and every job.

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