After the Labour Party conference in October I decided to take a break from blogging on the fortunes of Jeremey Corbyn and the Labour party. I know quite a few people seemed to appreciate some insights but others took offence as the constant negativity! I did try to find something positive to say (when Corbyn probably won a couple of PMQs for example) but generally I was depressing myself as much as many others.
Well I’m back. Nothing has changed for me in the Labour camp. Things look just as depressing for the future electoral chances of the Party. I will continue to make the case (as it seems Len McCluskly has this week) that Jeremy should consider going when things don’t get better. I do this precisely because the people who are suffering most under this Tory government *need* a Labour government more than ever and the thought of another Tory majority in 2020 frightens me. We can’t wait for it all to go wrong in 2020 for us then to say well we did warn you. This will allow the people we say we want to represent and look after exposed to another decade of Tory/ UKIP light government. For me this is a two stage battle. To get Labour into shape to win the confidence of the electorate and create the coalition necessary to win an election in 2020. Then we battle to maintain ourselves in power by learning the lessons of the mistakes we made in 97-2010. I know there were many. But the battles of 2020-25 will be very different and we need to stop looking back to the Blair/ Brown era. Time has moved on.
Many of my former colleagues in parliament have taken a vow of silence so as to avoid being accused of dividing the party and giving the Corbynistas another handy excuse as to why they are doing so badly. I obviously don’t have the same kind of profile or pressure as there is no chance of me returning to Parliament (thanks to everybody who still asks weekly! I will do a separate piece on why it can’t and won’t be happening soon). So I think there are those of us who can see what is happening around the Leadership and heart of the Party need to speak up. It is a little bit of necessary pain for some very real long-term gain.
The difference in 2017 is that I hope there will be a little more balance in the blogs also exposing the disastrous handling of #BREXIT by this government and the potential consequences of a decade of uncertainty in politics. I am one of the 48% who now seem under attack for having any views at all by the #BREXTITEERS. They narrowly have won a referendum (more on the inadequate use of referendum on single issues) and expect us all to go home quietly. It certainly didn’t stop them banging on about Europe since the 75 referendum. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be any different for us. There was no plan from the #brexit campaign and everything at the moment seems to ride on a hope that things will be ok. I think those of us in the 48% have a duty to battle to save as much of the best deal for the UK inside the Single Market as possible.
The other difference is that because of the current state and flux of politics in the UK, Europe and the US amongst others there will be a few more ‘big issues’ discussions. Clearly the rise of the right, populism and the response of the liberal establishment is worthy of comment in a more general sense rather than just a narrow party positioning perspective. I think all mainstream parties in the UK are trying to find their feet in a post BREXIT world where the traditional left/right economic battle lines are being redrawn. I will try to take a global look at this and bring it back to what it means in a marginal seat like Loughborough that will decide the electoral balance of the country. I always said Loughborough was a microcosm of the country – with its urban, rural, student, manufacturing, BAME, High tech, University, poverty.
So lots to look forward to in 2017. Not much is likely to very good but at least we can try to make sense of it together.