After the dam breaks, a flood of analysis and recrimination. More than ten days on from Labour’s catastrophic defeat in the general election, the pain is still raw, and many in the party don’t seem to have realised the enormity of what has happened.
Most comment on Labour’s defeat has been of two varieties. First, there are the Corbynites who blame Brexit, and in particular the conference resolution last year which prompted the party to explicitly back a second Brexit referendum, in the teeth of Corbyn’s opposition. This alone, they argue, cost Labour so many of its leave-voting seats in the Midlands, the north of England and North Wales. Second are the ‘centrists’ who say that Labour’s support for a second referendum wasn’t the culprit at all. Instead, they argue, the defeat was down to Corbyn’s weak leadership, a far-fetched and incoherent manifesto, and an over-ambitious electoral strategy which saw resources diverted to unwinnable targets, away from seats Labour that Labour had to defend.
Let’s start with the first group. Many pathetic excuses have been given for Labour’s dire performance. Laura Pidcock, defeated in North West Durham, argues that “Blair’s legacy still hangs around this party like a millstone, especially in the North East. I heard it time & time again”, suggesting that a Labour leader who won three elections before retiring 12 years ago is somehow to blame for Labour’s current disaster. Continue reading