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General Election 2019

Fompous Part

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Labour erred by overpromising in their manifesto and then compounded the error by making expensive pledges (e.g. WASPI) after the manifesto and its costings had been published. Nevertheless, this election was not, first and foremost, a battle of competing economic visions. To the best of my knowledge, Blythe Valley, Bury South, and Barrow and Furness are not hotbeds of fiscal conservatism. We can safely assume that they turned blue for other reasons.

I would not recommend a significant shift rightwards on economic policy. Perhaps the single most impressive achievement of the Corbyn project is how far left they managed to move the Overton window for economics. Rail nationalisation, a National Care Service (especially for elderly social care), massive investment in social housing, etc. – few would have suggested these 15 years ago, but now they’re broadly popular. They can reign in their ambition (just don’t try to do so much at once) without reverting to Blair/Brown type economic policy.

If a significant shift rightwards is required, it’s on socio-cultural stuff.
 

Stringy

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That's an interesting point about the Overton window shifting on the economy. One thing I noticed when reading the Conservative manifesto was that they were promising the same kind of spending they were ridiculing Labour for not that long ago.
 

smat

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Apart from anything else, I don't see any evidence that it would be a successful electoral strategy. Labour has been steadily losing support in those Northern Leave seats for decades, going back to Blair. We even lost a few seats there two years ago but no one really noticed because of gains elsewhere. Centrists need to face up to the fact that Labour's opponent is no longer the tough but fiscally responsible Conservative Party - it's basically now rightwing populism, and any new direction needs to have a plan for that or we will rerun Hillary vs Trump.

I absolutely accept that the left has some tough lessons to learn and may need to compromise to rebuild an electoral coalition. But the idea that Labour needs to improve on 2017 and 2019 by returning to the blueprints of 2010 and 2015, where we received an even lower vote share, is basically incoherent. We need to work out another way to win.

hartlepool.png


Well fancy fucking that. Absolute fucking idiots who voted for Starmer. Credulous, Guardian fucking idiots.
 

Chief Rocka

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The fact they chose to parachute in a pretty incompetent ultra-remainer into a constituency that voted 70% for leave, who crumples under an iota of media scrutiny, enjoys discussing top tory milfs on twitter and is a paid shill for a brutal dictatorship is absolutely a failure of leadership.
 

shoddycollins

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The fact they chose to parachute in a pretty incompetent ultra-remainer into a constituency that voted 70% for leave, who crumples under an iota of media scrutiny, enjoys discussing top tory milfs on twitter and is a paid shill for a brutal dictatorship is absolutely a failure of leadership.
Not the first time I've seen them pick the wrong candidate. When they lost Copeland they had a choice between a woman who had slept rough in her twenties before becoming a successful businesswoman, setting up a homeless shelter and taking local businesses along on her campaign for social responsibility... or a former council officer and career politician... guess which one they chose.
 

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I don’t think Labour are going to be anywhere near power for quite sometime.

The damage is long and deep rooted.

The only danger to the Conservatives is themselves.
 

Stringy

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I should have spoiled my ballot but didn't.

This is my gut feeling. I didn't vote during these elections because I wanted to send a message that I was unhappy about Labour leaks and the political attack on Corbyn. I couldn't bring myself to offer unity to the right of the party when they couldn't offer the same. I wonder how many people who identified with the party under Corbyn, leading to the big electoral turnouts at recent GEs, felt the same.

Once that is compounded with the party being entirely devoid of any ideas other than not being Boris/flags (the Conservatives are better at flags and you can clearly see it's a cheap ploy to gain votes - why would you vote for flags lite if you like flags?), as well others factors such as standing unsuitable candidates, then it's a perfect recipe for not winning many votes.

I can't see how there is a way back from this right now. This might be controversial/pie in the sky but I am honestly coming to the opinion that the party should split in two. It would settle the argument and allow the left to move forward so long as they form productive alliances/pacts around elections and candidates.
 

TractorBoys

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I don’t think Labour are going to be anywhere near power for quite sometime.

The damage is long and deep rooted.

The only danger to the Conservatives is themselves.

This.

I have never hidden my allegiance to the Conservative party and my contempt for Labour, in recent years though they have cemented themselves as completely unelectable for perhaps decades to come.

I have members of my close family and acquaintances whom were Labour for 30 years and have now begun to consistently vote Tory.
 

smat

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This.

I have never hidden my allegiance to the Conservative party and my contempt for Labour, in recent years though they have cemented themselves as completely unelectable for perhaps decades to come.

I have members of my close family and acquaintances whom were Labour for 30 years and have now begun to consistently vote Tory.
And I mean, this is a perfect case in point. You're exactly the sort of prick Starmer has been chasing for the entire year and you still aren't even thinking about voting for him. The Labour right are so thick.
 

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Electoral vote by the majority sour grapes by the minority springs to mind.
 

smat

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Why is it sour grapes? I said this was going to happen. And it's a serious point - they are chasing votes they are never going to win (why would you vote for the lite version when the full fat is right there?), and they're bleeding out to the Greens at the other end. The Green Party more than doubled the number of councillors they started with. Because people know what they stand for and they're not some fucking 90s tribute act. Honestly, if Layla Moran had won the Lib Dems leadership (and not the irrelevant austerity dinosaur Ed Davey), Labour would probably be looking at 25% at the next general election.

Not even going to start with Epstein's friend and the weekend's nonsense.
 

Fompous Part

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I don’t think this debunks Matt’s point but it’s worth observing that Corbyn-led Labour only held Hartlepool in 2019 because that idiot Richard Tice gobbled up 10,000 votes that otherwise would have (mostly) gone to the Tories. The 2021 result is basically the 2019 result without a split in the pro-Brexit vote. Yes, Labour held the seat comfortably in 2017, but that was a strange time when the party was basically fudging the biggest issue in British politics and (somehow) getting away with it.
 

smat

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I don’t think this debunks Matt’s point but it’s worth observing that Corbyn-led Labour only held Hartlepool in 2019 because that idiot Richard Tice gobbled up 10,000 votes that otherwise would have (mostly) gone to the Tories. The 2021 result is basically the 2019 result without a split in the pro-Brexit vote. Yes, Labour held the seat comfortably in 2017, but that was a strange time when the party was basically fudging the biggest issue in British politics and (somehow) getting away with it.
It is true, but I would observe that between 2019 and 2021 the Tories only gained 3,500 votes while Labour lost 7,000 (as well as dropping 10 percentage points) so it can't just be attributed to the Brexit Party. Whichever way you cut it, Starmer's result is substantially crapper than even Corbyn's worst. I also see the latest Westminster voting intention poll gives the Tories an 18-point lead. Corbyn came back from numbers like that in 2017 but I can't see a Starmer manifesto inspiring the same kind of remontada.

I would also push back on the dismissal of 2017 as a 'strange time'. Labour was able to hold (in fact peel off!) Hartlepool's UKIP voters in 2017, achieving a huge swing towards Labour - the only swing towards Labour achieved in Hartlepool since 1997. This can only in part be explained by Brexit. The other explanation is being memory-holed by the current leadership because they don't like it.
 

Fompous Part

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Turnout was significantly lower in 2021 (as you’d expect for a byelection) so we should analyse gains and losses by vote share. Yes, the Tories gained approx. 3,000 votes, which doesn’t seem much, but that equates to a 23% increase in vote share, which is huge. Every other party suffered a decline. The biggest loser was the Reform UK Party (formerly the Brexit Party), which reduced its vote share by 24.6%. So, a pro-Brexit party lost roughly 25% and the pro-Brexit Tories gained roughly 25%. Go figure, as our annoying American friends might say.

You're right, Labour did very well in Hartlepool in 2017. I’ve never been a Corbyn hater (always had a soft spot for him, actually) so I’m not pathologically averse to giving him credit for things. Clearly, he had an excellent GE2017 campaign. But how do you explain the rather poor Labour result in the same constituency just 30 months later? I mean, I know they won, but their vote share was down nearly 15% and, again, they wouldn’t have won without Richard Tice splitting the pro-Brexit vote. What happened between 2017 and 2019? Genuine question, not rhetorical.

P.S. We have no quarrel on the Keir Starmer being rubbish thing.
 

smat

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But how do you explain the rather poor Labour result in the same constituency just 30 months later? I mean, I know they won, but their vote share was down nearly 15% and, again, they wouldn’t have won without Richard Tice splitting the pro-Brexit vote. What happened between 2017 and 2019? Genuine question, not rhetorical.
A bit of Brexit (ie toxic People's Vote policy), a bit of Corbyn's opponents having another 30 months to demolish his reputation, 30 more months of savage infighting, but mostly - I think - Johnson and the Tories learning the lessons of 2017 and adopting quite a lot of Labour's rhetoric (as far as public spending went, anyway) to stop the punches from landing. I think that very successfully neutralised Corbyn's best weapon from 2017, which was giving a voice to a big section of the public who wanted the cuts to stop. Also Boris Johnson is very well liked and that's really not nothing. Just my O, interested to hear your thoughts.

The 2017 thing is a conundrum because it's not only the high watermark of left (electoral) achievement in this country for 40 years, but it's also the only time Labour has gained votes in places like Hartlepool since 1997. And yet it still wasn't enough. And even if it had been, I'd be kidding myself if I thought there's any chance in hell Corbyn would still be Prime Minister today. I think there is a route to power for Labour but it's going to involve both serious, radical solutions to the problems of today (not the 1990s) and something that looks a bit like unity.

There was a slick guy with a nice haircut running in the leadership election in 2020 who explicitly promised those things - wonder what happened to him?
 

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