IN THE aftermath of the by-election in Hartlepool last week and amidst the Tory cheers, Labour trotted out the same tired excuses for the voters abandoning them in droves. From Brexit to lockdown fatigue, Labour were keen to suggest external factors that led to their defeat rather than blaming themselves. A Derbyshire council leader who lost his seat said: ‘The voters have let us down. I hope they don’t live to regret it.’ Labour frontbencher Lucy Powell said that the Tories had ‘parked their tanks on our lawns’.
You can understand, with views like these, why Labour are losing the confidence of the people. Voters let US down? OUR lawns? Labour still haven’t figured out that they are mere custodians of the seats in which they are elected, and that those places and the people who reside there are not owned by them. When they are finally obliterated in future elections, maybe that thought might occur to them. Maybe not.
I wonder how the people might have viewed them had one Labour MP or councillor come out after these defeats and said this:
‘We are useless and have been for some time. As a party, we’ve lost our identity and have been scratching around for our place in the country. When this party was formed, we stood for the working people. The working class today don’t know who we are. Rather than focusing on raising the standards of housing, living and working conditions, we’re more interested in quotas and women-only selection, campaigns for minority groups such BLM, XR and Stonewall and virtue-signalling our support when people are offended at the smallest slights. I don’t want to see my leaders kneeling to pressure groups, I want to see them standing proud for the country as a whole.
‘We always talk about “what we’ve learned on the doorstep” but we learn nothing because we’re not interested in what working-class people are saying. They ask us difficult questions on migration and we look at the ground, shuffling our feet, because this is not what some activists want their Labour Party to be. To be honest, I don’t believe many of my colleagues appear on the doorsteps of their constituents at all unless they are attending a North London dinner party.
‘During the last 14 months or so, we’ve given no opposition to the government on lockdown, vaccines or how we come out of this period because we essentially agree with all they’ve done. My colleagues engage in the pantomime of PMQs but that’s all it is: a charade to pretend to the public we’re fighting for them whilst actually secretly applauding the efforts of a Conservative Party that, in government, have ousted us as the party of the State and the public sector. Where are we to go, who are we to represent? The small businesses that have been scraping the barrel, some succumbing to financial ruin, or the elderly and children who have been treated so abysmally?
‘We need to stop blaming everything else, including voters, and we need above all to stop pandering to political correctness and groupthink. A change in leader will not help. The majority of my colleagues take their voters for granted and have aided in the destruction of this party. I will not omit myself from this. I belong to this party and have kept silent until now. Well, I am silent no more, and if there are others in the party like me, they should accept what they have done, what their party has become and look at changing it back to being a party of principle, otherwise we might as well quit and start again.’
Personally, I’d find this refreshing. Refreshing but unlikely. Not one within the Labour Party is interested in retrieving old principles of justice – they are ‘progressive’ after all, as we’re reminded every time there’s a new pronoun to promote.
They won’t learn from their defeats and they certainly won’t think on their successes. In Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan, re-elected in Greater Manchester and London respectively, Labour have two politicians who believe they have been given a mandate to carry on as normal. Khan, in his victory speech, vowed to ‘build a better, brighter future for London’. Better and brighter than what? His previous few years in which all crime, particularly knife crime, has gone through the roof? In which he has spent a good amount of time and money looking to replace monuments and street names for fear of offending his multicultural voter base? If the first term of Khan’s tenure as caretaker of London – yes, caretaker, not Supreme Leader – was bad, the second, I predict, will be much worse. As for Burnham’s pledge that he’d end rough-sleeping in Manchester by last year, well, that was always going to be impossible – homelessness hasn’t ended in Manchester and in fact by halfway through his term it had increased by 40 per cent. No surprises there.
The Labour Party is lost, to itself and its voters. It cannot regain its original purpose or identity because too many of its MPs and councillors are wedded to socialism and wokeness. If there is someone in that party who shares the hypothetical response I suggested above, they should start their own movement and build from the ground, because I cannot see how they can regain what they were.