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Category: Labour

Corbyn’s critics must go back to their social democratic roots

Written by Steven Fielding. 

It is a year since Jeremy Corbyn unexpectedly denied Theresa May a Commons majority. According to his supporters the 2017 general election vindicates Corbyn’s leadership: had the campaign been longer, they argue, he would have ended up prime minister. Whatever its merits, Labour members have taken this interpretation to heart and given those closely identifying with Corbyn a majority on the party’s national executive committee. As Labour prepares for its ‘democracy review’ this body has the power to entrench Corbynism for a generation.

All this has left shell shocked those unconvinced by Labour’s new management. Immediately after the election, one they predicted would be disastrous for the party, most were struck dumb. But recently some have expressed concern over Corbyn’s response to the Salisbury attack, anti-semitism and Brexit. Such random acts of criticism have however not diminished the Labour leader’s support: in fact the more he is attacked the more Momentum’s membership increases.

Labour in Brighton: it’s not a cult, it’s too big for that now

Written by Tim Bale .

If you’ve ever been to a party conference – maybe any conference actually – you’ll have experienced that disconcerting feeling you get when you walk out of the building it’s being held in and re-enter the real world.

Lessons from history for Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘government in waiting’

Written by Steven Fielding.

History, as Henry Ford once claimed, is bunk: and that is what many Jeremy Corbyn supporters now believe. Prior to the 2017 election, Corbynites were told by supposed experts like myself that, as Tony Blair had it, when a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party the traditional result will follow: defeat for the left.

Our Friends in the North: Nicky as Jeremy Corbyn

Written by Steven Fielding.

When Peter Flannery’s Our Friends in the North was broadcast in 1996 TV critics fell over themselves to praise the series. Tracing the lives of four young working-class characters from 1964 to 1995 the nine-part series aspired to say something significant about the politics of those times and explain the sad state of mid-90s Britain. Subsequently showered with awards Our Friends in the North remains one of the most highly regarded of television dramas.

Labour’s lost voters and attitudes to immigration

Written by Paula Surridge.

At the weekend, Tony Blair expressed his belief that new tougher immigration rules could be a way to satisfy voters without requiring the ‘sledgehammer’ of Brexit. Whilst being met with disdain by many within the current Labour party it appears to be more in tune with those voters who have stopped supporting the party at general elections since Labour last won power and particularly with those previous Labour voters who voted for the Conservatives on June 8th 2017.  Using data from the British Election Internet Panel Study, we can identify those who either voted Labour in 2017 or had previously voted Labour in 2005 but failed to do so in 2017. Data are included for England only and excludes those too young to vote in 2005.  The groups identified and their sample sizes are

Young voters and their “never Tory” mindset: the making of a Labour generation?

Written by Anja Neundorf and Thomas J. Scotto.

Beyond the tallying of votes, elections serve as important events which heighten the importance of politics in the minds of many citizens. For young people, the event of their first election can leave behind an endurable mark on their future voting behaviour. Given the apparent increased mobilisation and massive Labour support among young voters, we speculate here about what to expect from this generation in future elections.

For Jeremy Corbyn, the hard part of being Labour leader has only just begun

Written by Steven Fielding.

Suddenly, the Labour party is in a much stronger position than even many of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters believed possible. Only a few weeks ago, Unite leader Len McCluskey said if the party ended up with just 200 seats that was good enough for him. Others argued that if Labour only slightly improved on the 30.4% of the vote it received in 2015 Corbyn should remain leader. It wasn’t just the media predicting disaster for the party when Theresa May called an election.

But having added a remarkable 9.5% to its 2015 share and with 30 more MPs, what should Labour do now? For while Corbyn campaigned unexpectedly well, Labour remains 64 seats short of a House of Commons majority.

Jeremy Corbyn will explain Labour’s 2017 defeat by going back to 1983

Written by Steven Fielding.

“… for the first time since 1945 a political party with an openly socialist policy has received the support of 8½ million people. … the Labour manifesto commanded the loyalty of millions of voters and a democratic socialist bridgehead has been established from which further advances in public understanding and support can be made. …It is no wonder that the establishment still fears the Labour Party and its ideas so much. For they know that it is the only real challenge to their privileges.”

No, this is not a leaked draft of Jeremy Corbyn’s concession speech, one all the polls suggest he will need to deliver on June 9th. It is an excerpt from a Guardian article written by Tony Benn published within days of Labour’s cataclysmic 1983 defeat. That election – coincidentally held on June 9th – saw the Conservatives win a 144-seat majority and reduced Labour to 27.6 per cent of the vote, just 700,000 ahead of the Social Democratic Party-Liberal Alliance, and to a mere 209 MPs. It was Labour’s worst result since 1935.

Corbyn’s Labour and the general election: is it to be Heaven or Hell?

Written by Steven Fielding.

When Theresa May called a snap election she did so for two reasons. The early summer is her last chance to hold a contest before the start of Brexit negotiations. And the Conservatives’ commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party meant May was confident she could win a big Commons majority that would see her through the tricky Brexit process and beyond.

Labour could do nothing about the timing of Brexit negotiations but has only itself to blame for the weakened state in which it currently finds itself.  The 2015 election was devastating for Labour: the polls had incorrectly predicted a hung Parliament. But the silver lining was that David Cameron’s unexpected Conservative government had a majority of just 12 seats and was about to hold a referendum on the EU about which it was seriously divided. If Labour members had elected a more adept leader to replace Ed Miliband, one with greater credibility in key voters’ eyes, the party had some hope of rebuilding itself during the new Parliament. For while Miliband’s leadership was flawed, his talk of the ‘squeezed middle’ and ‘One Nation’ resonated with the public.

What’s Left of the Left?

Written by Simon Toubeau. 

The paradox of the contemporary European left is that while many of the burning issues defining political debates- growing economic inequality, employment precariousness, the sustainability of health spending or pension entitlements- are traditional left-wing concerns, Social Democratic parties seem incapable of credibly addressing them either in office or in opposition.

So, what’s left of the left? The origins of the paradox stems from the mis-match in the architecture of authority between democracy and capitalism, rendering the notion of democratic capitalism ever more hollow. This tension has compounded broader demographic and economic transformations to divide the electoral base of the left. In France, the UK, the USA and elsewhere- there is a split between those in favour of regulated openness and those in favour of nationalist closure.