Labour ?

I am of no political persuasion, i am very distrusting of politicians in general and promises they make and break.

But in my humble opinion, the country needs an effective opposition party?

But in my memory, i can not recall a time when the Labour party has been in such a decline. 

Does Mr Corbyn actually know what he is doing and what is best for his party?

Does he still have the support of long term labour members?

Will the labour party ever again become an effective opposition, let alone lead the country again?

With some crucial by elections coming up, it will be interesting to see what happens?

Any thoughts?

Original Post

I think that there will be two particularly interesting potential developments once article 50 is finally triggered:

1) Which direction will the disaffected labour supporters who voted to leave the EU take? Will they return to the Labour fold, or have they simply burned their bridges and, and if so where will they find a home? I can't see many of them voting Conservative. It's certainly possible that most of the labour supporters will move back into the Labour fold with the exception of a few who will continue their journey to the right with UKIP or other right wing fringe groups.

2) Will the UKIP Party try to re-invent themselves as a far right alternative to the Conservative Party, or will they simply fade away once we have left the EU? If they do continue and continue to have a prominent position in UK politics, then undisputedly our country's politics will have lurched significantly to the right. Will they be able to gain seats from the Conservatives with a far right manifesto. Possibly, but probably not very many.   

At this point in time, I really have no answers to these questions, having got my predictions so badly wrong in the lead up to the EU referendum.

One thing I do know is that it will be very difficult for Labour to recover in Scotland, and without the Scottish seats it will be next to impossible for Labour to challenge the Conservatives on their own.  

Unfortunately, I don't see anyone but the Tories wining the next election.

   

The future is difficult to anticipate. It will probably be significantly different to the recent past.

I had sort of summarised the recent past as "a few years of Conservative Gov to create the wealth, then a couple of years of Labour to redistribute it." Not a very scientific or accurate summary, but it seemed to work - sort of.

Now, I don't see the Labour Party effective at anything, whilst the Conservatives are being driven by extreme right-wingers, getting pretty close to a dictatorship. No effective opposition at all. I have never voted Labour and doubt that I ever will. But at present I would find it hard to support a party that seems so determined to ignore the legitimate concerns of 48% of the voting electorate.

If I lived in Scotland I would probably vote SNP at the next General Election, but would not support a call for a further independence referendum.

Difficult choices all around IMHO.

I don't think ukip have the ability to overcome their own internal party issues to become an effective political voice.

I would like to think labour endeavours to unite itself, but under Corbyn that seems very unlikely.

Is their an answer to the Labour dilemma ? 

Just thinking allowed

Green politics maybe the answer:

At least the Greens recognise the need for global sustainability. World population levels are expected to rise up to 10 or 11 billion and this will become ever increasingly apparent, no good ducking the issue.

The need to promote a good quality of life to all human beings around the world, instead of exploiting them with wealth disparity, deliberately keeping millions in poverty to provide billionaire making capitalism for the few. It's all looking so tired and so old 20th century now : (

Debs

It is hard to see a good scenario for Labour now really. I am not a Labour supporter but I want a strong coherent opposition.

The structure of the Labour Party and the way it elects the leader would appear to be a fundamental issue. Corbyn was essentially chosen by the membership but unfortunately they do not appear to be in touch with the broader electorate. So you have a leader who spears unelectable but is basically immovable unless he chooses to resign, leading a parliamentary party that voted against him by about 85%. Whatever you think of his politics he appears incapable of leading the opposition, of setting a media agenda etc. I don't believe Corbyn will ever do enough to be thought of as a future PM by the marginal and floating voters he must convince.The continual flux of his shadow cabinet (where 3 of 4 whips voted against him last week) is becoming a laughing stock. How can they honestly pretend they could form an administration?

So if Corbyn continues (as I think he will-if he was going to fall on his sword surely he'd have gone long ago) I think Labour will be roasted at the next election, and you are maybe looking at 2-3 election cycles (if they are lucky) to get close to forming a Government. If Corbyn resigns will Momentum and the Unions agree on a candidate that is acceptable to all and also actually electable? Even then the mathematics mean that Labour have little chance of getting in next time and the LD vote is hardly likely to recover enough to create a coalition.

So what do we have? UKIP is losing traction surely. LD's are lost in the wilderness (sadly, in my opinion). Labour unelectable.

I reckon the next election may have the lowest turnout in history!

Bruce

Bruce, Unfortunately I think your analysis is spot on.

The question is I suppose,  is their a suitable candidate to displace Corbyn and unite the party?

I don't think their is  at the moment.

......... the only person I think that would be up to the task is David Milliband , maybe he needs to be persuaded to come back and become the Labour saviour ....im sure he would relish the opportunity ? 

As for the LD, it seems very sad they have been treated like traitors after jumping in bed with the Torys, I believe they did a really good job despite the obvious restrictions they were under.

Maybe a staunch  labour supporter needs to be vocal and tell us what we are missing? 

Another factor in the recent past applies in the UK too, is that we are in a "Post Truth" era. Even if the Labour party had an electable candidate, it seems the chance of victory would be faint. No support from the press or at least a much louder voice against any left wing  media.

How do the LP get the message out? Brexit campaign shows that  any tactic  or lie is now OK, how can the electorate make an informed decision?  I find it amazing that with the NHS for instance people apparently trust the Tories more to save it than Labour, how can this be when it is glaringly apparent that the TP are lining it up for selling off, and LP are the traditional saviours of the NHS.

Unfortunately electable for the Labour Party seems to lead to Tory Light and that doesn't help really, do we really want another TB?

David M and Chuka U seem to be "good" guys but have burnt their bridges I think, I don't know enough to say if there are any others that could do the job, I'm sure there are many who could do a better job than Corbyn, but good enough for victory I don't know.

Ex Labour party member still affiliated.

As a one time labour,  now (for a long time) tory, it looks to me from my unattached place that there is a significant disconnect between the labour party membership - the 'paid up membership' (the voters) are left wing idealists -  & the centre left parliamentary labour party are/want to be centre left.  The Corbyn problem is a result of this, via the method the party elects the leader,  & that is something that needs to be reconciled before labour can be an effective opposition let alone be re-elected.  Bottom line to me is labour need a charismatic leader & that leader needs to occupy centre left ground.        

Other factors at play are UKIP,  it might be they are in a lost with no objective mode and/or maybe self destructing since the brexit success,  but they do have some support & I feel do attract enough of the floating labour vote to prevent re-election.   Add to that SNP have numbers enough to keep labour out of government & LibDems (bless'em) & forgiveness of their sins will also add to the elected seat numbers to further displace labour seats.

Its only my disconnected tory opinion,  so what do I know ??  I know we need a serious opposition.  Labour is toothless with Corbyn,  the only teeth on the opposition benches are scottish & like the terrier from those parts,  they might not kill you,  but they can sure do a lot of damage.

BigH47 posted:

Another factor in the recent past applies in the UK too, is that we are in a "Post Truth" era. Even if the Labour party had an electable candidate, it seems the chance of victory would be faint. No support from the press or at least a much louder voice against any left wing  media.

How do the LP get the message out? Brexit campaign shows that  any tactic  or lie is now OK, how can the electorate make an informed decision?  I find it amazing that with the NHS for instance people apparently trust the Tories more to save it than Labour, how can this be when it is glaringly apparent that the TP are lining it up for selling off, and LP are the traditional saviours of the NHS.

Unfortunately electable for the Labour Party seems to lead to Tory Light and that doesn't help really, do we really want another TB?

David M and Chuka U seem to be "good" guys but have burnt their bridges I think, I don't know enough to say if there are any others that could do the job, I'm sure there are many who could do a better job than Corbyn, but good enough for victory I don't know.

Ex Labour party member still affiliated.

I've always assumed that TB essentially made a pact with the disparate parts of the Labour movement. His deal was to give them power at the cost of socialist/left wing ideals. Now, out of power, Labour really does not want to be New New Labour and Corbyn's Old Labour (reclaimed by Momentum) looks unelectable. Where is Modern Labour?

As an aside, Alan Johnson looked to me like the leader you should have had. Too late now.

Bruce

Labour are in a difficult position.  To win they have to both keep their core supporters while also attracting the "middle" ground.

(All of this is IMO ...)

Back in 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn was first elected, he offered an alternative to "New Labour".  If the PLP had got behind him then it could have been possible for Corbyn to lead a successful Labour Party but they didn't.  From Day One various members of the PLP were back biting and second guessing; they could have supported and given help but they didn't. They are as instrumental in Labour's poor position as Corbyn.  A campaign to remove Corbyn was essentially started on the 14th September (they rested on Sunday).

Fast forward though Corbyn's first 9 months and while the MSM were targeting and belittling Corbyn, the Labour party were still making modest gains - perhaps not as much as they needed to to retake power; but there were gains.  Corbyn was starting to find his feet as a leader.  Then the referendum and the sky feel in for Labour ... instead of fighting the Conservative party and their divisions and difficulties, instead of taking advantage of their floundering the PLP turned on Corbyn: Corbyn who (in my opinion) was the only one who recognised that the EU wasn't the utopia that the rest of Remain were portraying, but actually presented some facts about what the EU had brought core Labour supporters as well as realising that life outside the EU was going to be far from rosie.

As a result, there was a leadership challenge.  The eventual challenger Owen Smith essentially ran on a platform of "I'm quite like Corbyn in my politics (despite my previous employment) but I'm not Corbyn".  As a result, Corbyn dug in deeper and the failed coup has essentially made Corbyn unremovable as leader unless he steps down (IMO) while showing how truly divided the party is.

The problem at the end of the day is do you support principles or need a more pragmatic approach.  Corbyn sticks to his principles and is criticised as only being interested in protest; Nick Clegg takes a pragmatic approach in joining a co-alition and he is a traitor to himself and his supporters despite his attempts at moderating the worst "excesses" of Tory cuts.

@BigH47 above comments "electable for the Labour Party seems to lead to Tory Light and that doesn't help really, do we really want another TB" but if you exclude the biggest issue (the unequivocal support for George W. and the Iraqi invasion) which admittedly was a REAL BIGGIE; didn't his government do a lot of good for the people of the UK?  BigH then goes on to suggest David Miliband (he couldn't be leader as he's not a member of parliament) or Chuka Umunna ... are both of those not just TB clones in their policies and therefore Tory Light?  

As Blair campaigned on ... a Third Way is exactly what we need ... I'm not suggesting that Blair got everything right ... but there needs to be a middle ground and Labour jumping back left will not gain power.

There is a big problem though in this country (and it is similar to USA) is that while the country is (or was) prosperous; that prosperity wasn't benefiting everyone and Labour's core supporters were the ones loosing out.  As I've likely commented before, this goes back a long way before TB and into Thatcher's regime.  With the closing of the pits and large swathes of manufacturing (and I'm not arguing that moving away from minings and heavy manufacturing is in itself bad) a large group of people have moved from having jobs which while hard work did give them a purpose and give them the opportunity to care for their family.    Unless you are university educated, these just isn't many of those possibilities these days.

People like UKIP (and the Tories to a lesser extent) would have you believe that these problems are caused by immigration.  But they aren't in the main.  The Labour Party tried to put that opinion out there and failed - Gordon Brown's comment about Gillian Duffy in 2010 was the pinnacle of that failure.  Remove immigration and there will still be a housing crisis, will still be a lack of investment in the NHS, still be failings in the railways.

So what is the answer to Labour's problems; what will make the middle ground vote for Labour - and this is just my opinion of course based on what I read and people I talk with - again?  Well first off (and this goes for LibDems if they hope to gain seats at the 2020 election) they need to set out their vision for UK outside of the EU.  Article 50 IS going to be triggered (and I'm not sure fighting harder against that would have been of benefit - personally after their amendments were all defeated I feel they should have abstained but equally I don't think that would have played well with their current fights in Stoke and Copeland nor helped in the long term fight against the Tories "hard" Brexit strategy) so they have to look at this as the starting position.  Show up how poor Tory's planning is.  Set out hard limits; things you believe in and stick to.  And stop with the "if you don't do this we'll be worse of" ... show how we (the UK) will be better off with your plans; people want to know the positives of your plans not just the negatives of the opposition.

Labour also need to concentrate where they are strong ... the NHS.  Never let people forget how bad the Tories are managing the NHS.  But you also need to try to get the message across the Labour party can be trusted on the economy - Labour are still loosing that battle and loosing it badly.  The 2007/8 crash / recession is the main obstacle Labour have to get over - even though in the main it was nothing that Labour could have prevented and Labour policies didn't cause it.  You can't ignore it.

The answers are not simple (I'm not even sure if there are answers); however if the answer to a complex question is simple, then its likely not really answering the question.

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

I've always assumed that TB essentially made a pact with the disparate parts of the Labour movement. His deal was to give them power at the cost of socialist/left wing ideals. Now, out of power, Labour really does not want to be New New Labour and Corbyn's Old Labour (reclaimed by Momentum) looks unelectable. Where is Modern Labour?

The thing is though that a lot of what "New Labour" did did support left wing and/or liberal ideals.

Minimum wage; freedom of information and human rights act; peace in Northern Ireland; investment in education and health; reduction in child poverty and a narrowing of inequality to list just a few all of which are put under increasing threat by the Tory government since.  For the most part TB and GB governed over a long period of continued growth, kept unemployment low and inflation in check - now to give balance the world economy was good at that time but they did their part to ensure the UK benefitted.

But all Labour concentrate now is on the bad parts - especially Iraq which was a huge misstep.

Eloise, you make some good points....its interesting to consider just what the way forward is....

An effective opposition is essential....it helps keep the party in leadership stay grounded to a degree ...

The upcoming by-elections will be crucial in deciding Corbyns future or does he need to fall on his sword now for the good of the party?

Eloise

This thing with labour and the NHS needs unpicking. Just because Bevan set up the NHS I think it cannot be assumed Labour are trusted as the future guardians. TB started a huge thrust or privatisation of clinical services and created the burden of PFI too. New Labour did not do the NHS that much good, and we are still burdened by harms it caused. Just 'not being Tory' is not enough to convince many people that they will improve the NHS. It does not convince me that is for sure, but then no party for decades has been prepared or willing to really grasp the issues properly.

Bruce

wenger2015 posted:

The upcoming by-elections will be crucial in deciding Corbyns future or does he need to fall on his sword now for the good of the party?

I think Corbyn should fall in his sword now; but not because he is a bad leader (though he isn't a good leader) but because he has no support.  And without support you can't lead.

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

This thing with labour and the NHS needs unpicking. Just because Bevan set up the NHS I think it cannot be assumed Labour are trusted as the future guardians. TB started a huge thrust or privatisation of clinical services and created the burden of PFI too. New Labour did not do the NHS that much good, and we are still burdened by harms it caused. Just 'not being Tory' is not enough to convince many people that they will improve the NHS. It does not convince me that is for sure, but then no party for decades has been prepared or willing to really grasp the issues properly.

I don't disagree with you Bruce ... I do hope my comments didn't come across as unequivocal support for TB as that was definitely not intended.  I do think generally he had more socialist motivations than some people give him credit for; though he was (as all politicians are) trapped between a rock and a hard place.  

PFI in particular was relied on too much.  But then I've never worked out (maybe I'm naive) how outsourcing core public services to a private company can ever cost less while keeping standards and levels of pay for the staff at a constant level - the public sector should always be able to undercut private companies with the same management / staffing level as the private company has to make profits.  

The whole NHS needs to be discussed and debated but no one is willing to do that and the problem is that currently it is not funded sufficiently.  One of the ironies in the whole debate (to me) is one week we will be being told that the government wants there to be more local decision making and local accountability; then the next week they are "agreeing" with how the whole "post code lottery" of NHS care is a bad thing.

As for if Labour or Tories are more trusted on NHS ... I can only speak to the 3 governments I have experience with ... care got worse under Thatcher (and Major); improved under Blair (and Brown) and had got dramatically worse under Cameron.

It would be fair to say that the ingrained standing of right wing Tory with left wing labour has become too outmoded to really deal with issues. We need a system that can respond more dynamically in picking through the best and discarding the worse aspects of either.

Pfi will always cost more than public sector financing. That's because the special purpose vehicle has to finance the capital with commercial debt, whereas there public sector can get money far cheaper. But the big attraction for government is that the spending is off balance sheet and not included in public spending totals. So it looks as though public spending is being reduced while knowing all the time that massive repayments will be required over the next thirty years or more. 

TOBYJUG posted:

It would be fair to say that the ingrained standing of right wing Tory with left wing labour has become too outmoded to really deal with issues. We need a system that can respond more dynamically in picking through the best and discarding the worse aspects of either.

Thats what "New Labour" was attempting I think ... balancing left wing socialism with right wing capitalism.  For a time it worked.

Hungryhalibut posted:

Pfi will always cost more than public sector financing. That's because the special purpose vehicle has to finance the capital with commercial debt, whereas there public sector can get money far cheaper. But the big attraction for government is that the spending is off balance sheet and not included in public spending totals. 

It wouldn't necessarily be a bad method of funding too if the private / commercial funding also took some of the risks. But it appears that (as with many private / public collaborations) the commercial side takes all the profits while being supported in the venture and the public finances covering any risks.

Its the same with all the G4S and Capita sell offs.

Back to the original question ... I do think the split in Labour is inevitably coming and perhaps it would be better if the PLP and the rest face that.  Band aid solutions are not going to endear the public and get them to vote labour.  And they need to do it quickly if they are going to stand any chance in 2020 ... but now is also not the time to do it with the monumental changes that Brexit is going to bring to the UK.

If some "good" can come out of the EU referendum and Brexit, perhaps it could be the opportunity for a (quiet) revolution in the UK.  

You need a war to solve your leadership crisis. It does not really matter if that Corbyn stays or not.

Alternatively, this could be an option but will never happen:

- birthrate needs to be higher - or selective immigration (preferably hard working people from Poland) needs to be allowed to be able to serve all elderly people (NHS) and also support this item:

- production needs to be partially brought back to the UK to ensure that lower or uneducated people also have a job.

- it is extremely naive to think that climate issues / environmental things can be solved whilst any production is outsourced to Asia.

- invest in Education, Education, Education, Education. The rest follows.

Clive Lewis has a good chance of being (a good) leader at some point IMO, but two things currently stand in the way.  First, that I think he feels he needs to serve his time for a while yet, and two, I don't think he'd challenge Corbyn while he was still in post.

But he's definitely on the radar.

Eloise posted:
TOBYJUG posted:

Then resigned for no explicable reason

Well she decided not to continue when Ed Milliband stood down.  Suspect that, given she will be 70, she may be planning to stand down at the next General Election (if in 2020).

67 wow she looks great. Thought she was younger than TM.

I havent voted Labour in a long time - the last time was when I voted for Blair.. and I came to really regret that.. but I agree the country needs a strong opposition - and I kind of feel the one party with the strongest effective  opposition to the Government currently is  the SNP.. 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

I havent voted Labour in a long time - the last time was when I voted for Blair.. and I came to really regret that.. but I agree the country needs a strong opposition - and I kind of feel the one party with the strongest effective  opposition to the Government currently is  the SNP.. 

Not enough of them, so not an effective opposition.

If Labour split, they would split their vote in each constituency and hardly win any seats at all. They need a clear policy and a strong, charismatic leader with integrity. I think it's called a "pipe dream"

Looks to me like John Redwood and Michael Gove look-alikes could sweep to victory with 500 or more seats in a nightmare election worse than Brexit !

RLB is said to be the favoured candidate of the shadow chancellor. As such, given the internal state of the PLP, I can't see her getting sufficient nominations to be on the ballot.

Then again, no ballot is necessarily happening until 2020, so who knows?

Contrary to popular opinion in my view for Labour to ever be a strong opposition and to have any chance of forming so government they do need another TB, or at least elements of what he had to offer.  I think labour were lucky in their leaders with TB and those who preceded him because they were each able too offer a vision that went beyond the narrow left and appealed to voters who wouldn't usually vote labour whilst standing up to and controlling the more extreme elements of the party.  Whilst he may have got some things wrong Tony Blair was able to give direction and offer leadership that has been very badly missing since he left.  Whilst Corbyn may appeal to the unions and his left wing, and even that support is drifting, he doesn't appeal to the country at large who see him as a throw back to the 70s and 80s, and a weak leader with it.  Frankly it pains me to say that with the current leader election process labour is doomed to keep repeating its mistakes as the unions put in place those they see as the best fit whilst ignoring what is required.  I still think we got the wrong Milliband for similar reasons too.  Unless labour can reconnect with the general public and introduce policies that remain labour based but deal with modern issues and concerns I doubt they will survive

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