ThoughtStorms Wiki

Traditional left party in UK during 20th century.

Suffered a serious defeat in UK election 2019 : Labour2019

Purging the left in 2020 : Labour2020

Interesting TonyBenn comment : Labour's years in the wilderness are routinely blamed on the left and the unions. But the 1951 defeat was due to inflation caused by rearmament; the IMF-enforced cuts in 1976 triggered the winter of discontent and our 1979 defeat; while in 1981 the SDP split gravely weakened us.,9115,1378403,00.html

When the EHRC found that Labour "broke the law" on anti-semitism it was considered a huge scandal and cause for harsh censure of JeremyCorbyn

They also seem to have found the Home Office "broke the law"

Are we seeing proportional opprobrium focused there?

See also :

Quora Answer : Is the Labour Party in danger of Pasokification under Sir Keir Starmer?

Nov 2

Labour was definitely under PASOKification before Corbyn.

But whatever else we might think of him, I think Corbyn managed to derail that train. So Labour might be in a "post-PASOKification" moment. Although there are no guarantees as to what that entails in practice.

The other major issue is that the world has now significantly changed from the days where the shape of PASOKification was starting to become visible to us. Many countries have now had a fling with far-right populism, and the price and damage from that is becoming more apparent.

I don't think that means that far-right populism is anywhere near over yet. Unfortunately. I think it's still possible for Trump to win on Tuesday and the world to be headed into a yet darker, more extreme and dangerous phase.

But I associated PASOKification with a public feeling that that the left-wing parties had become the corrupt complacent establishment. And I think in the 2020s, it's going to be harder for anyone to sustain that myth. However much fake news is spewed by the media, maintaining the pretence that the Tories are still cleaning up a Labour mess, as they move into their second decade in power, is going to be harder and harder.

In particular, next year, the weird limbo where everyone talked about Brexit, but no-one actually felt it, is going to be over. The reality of Brexit is smashing into us in less than two months. And a lot of people are going to be genuinely shocked by what that is like.

Again, there'll be scapegoating of others. There'll be excuses that the economic hit is all about COVID. Or due excessive measures to deal with COVID.

But there's gonna be very concrete unignorable effects. When truck drivers start protesting about the collapse of the road haulage industry and infrastructure, it's going to be very hard for the Tories to pass that off as not due to Brexit. (As an aside, where I live, we had major truck-driver protests, including the blockades of petrol to the petrol stations last year. And that sure as hell got everyone's attention and threw the city into chaos.)

What is "post-PASOKification" likely to mean in practice?

Harder to say. It doesn't necessarily mean that Labour bounces back in popularity. And while I take Ian Young's point that there's no scope for a new party to cannibalize Labour's vote from the further left, that doesn't mean that the Labour left is going to reluctantly fall into line. Labour might still wreck itself infighting, and lose more members, supporters and seats. It's just that that won't be a process that still fits the "PASOKification" model.

Quora Answer : UK politics: Is the analysis correct in the paper, Stuck: how Labour is too weak to win and too strong to die?

Jan 4, 2017

Well, it's certainly good to see that the right-wing of the Labour party have finally moved beyond claiming that it's all Corbyn's fault and that all it takes is a comfortable shift back to the right to make everything OK.

Yes, Labour's problems are deep and epochal. Ultimately Labour is a product of industrial working class solidarity. And the UK hardly has any industry left. The working class is now fragmented, de-industrialized, casualized and any kind of stable job is about to be automated out of existence. (By definition, stable jobs require a lot of repetition, and repetition allows automation.)

Brexit is another symptom of that problem. It's true, Labour has no idea how to respond to Brexit. Not because its leadership are too stupid or personally conflicted to come up with an answer. But because there isn't a viable answer for Labour. Labour is meant to represent the interests of the working class, if the working class come to believe that their interests are best served by right-wing populism, then Labour is stuck between a rock and hard place ... it can be an irrelevant left-wing party or a populist right-wing party. Labour's current inertia is due it not liking either of these options.

Now. I'm not going to try to pretend that Corbyn is brilliant. He, and his circle have obvious flaws and failings. But here's where I think that Corbyn ultimately has the right intuition, and his detractors don't :

Any renewal of Labour - or even the left as we know it, under a new banner - can't come from the Labour Party or Parliamentarians. It isn't going to come from "fine-tuning the offerings to the voters", or better marketing or better communication of Labour's positions. Or wizardry with electoral calculus and tactical alliances. It's not going to come from MPs chattering with each other.

It has to come from a left-wing movement, outside of parliament, that discovers a new purpose for the left. That discovers what people actually want from the left. It's fine for a bunch of privileged middle-class do-gooders to worry about those worse off than themselves. That's admirable. And they should be welcomed. But that, by itself, has never in history created, and can't possibly sustain, a mass-membership party that's strong enough to win national elections. Only a party which represents the self-conscious self-interest of a sufficiently large / powerful segment of society can hope to form a parliamentary majority.

That's what's needed. A movement that discovers what it wants, and creates / appropriates a party as a vehicle to get it.

Maybe Momentum can evolve to be that movement. It has some characteristics of it. But it also suffers the flaws of being a loose-ish coalition of small special interest groups that have little in common except defending the promise of radicalism (represented by Corbyn) within the Labour Party.

The unions (potentially) still have a big role. It's the unions who should be figuring out how to create a platform that helps the working class fight for its interests and dignity in the face of an extremely casual and fluid labour market. The unions should be creating institutions and campaigns that weave together workers suffering common problems despite doing so for different employers, under diverse contracts and at different time-scales.

The GMB did a good job last year, fighting to get Uber drivers classified as employees. We need all the big unions to be analysing work patterns, to be articulating and highlighting the problems people are facing, and proposing laws that could fix them. That is where Labour would get the ideas for its next manifesto.

If it's NOT Momentum, or the unions, then it will have to be someone else. Some other cause that arises and unifies a sufficient number of people to want to make a difference in the next election.

Without that, Labour is doomed anyway. Marketing and coalition building are just rearranging the deck-chairs.

Update : As a basis of comparison, let me invite you think about the last 6 years in a slightly different way.

Despite Labour's unpopularity under Brown, the Tory Party wasn't particularly popular. Cameron could only beat Labour by entering a coalition with LibDems. That was hardly a stunning victory in 2010.

But look what happened since.

Despite continuing unpopularity and doing a crap job, the Tories were basically reinvigorated by a populist outsider movement : UKIP. UKIP have never had more than one MP (who was basically stolen from the Tories). But they've effectively managed a reverse-takeover of the Conservatives. They forced Cameron to promise an in/out referendum. And with the energy of just that promise, Cameron was able to win the 2015 election outright.

Then Brexit energy won the referendum, and rolled right over Cameron and his clique, establishing a new order within the Tories. Theresa May is no Leaver, but a shrewd politician who knows the way the wind is blowing. Conference proved it to her and to everyone else. The Tories are now the Brexit party. And, look, they're 20 points ahead of Labour in the polls.

People are still assuming that these are somehow unrelated. That the story of the polls is all about Labour's weakness. But what if it's really about Tory strength? About the fact that the Conservatives are seen to be buzzing with right-wing populist energy. Brexit is new and bold and daring and Theresa May is the one carrying that flag forward. (In the US, of course, it's the outsider Trump who has reinvigorated the moribund Republican Party despite themselves.)

That's what I mean when I say that Labour needs an outside movement to bring it ideas to bring it back to life. Just as UKIP and their xenophobia has done for the Tories.