A lot of people seem to have already conceded the next general election to the Tories. It is easy to understand why. Labour’s reaction to their crushing loss has not been inspiring. The Left have an arrogance that is truly breathtaking yet understandable: the membership have backed them every step of the way since 2015. It would be strange if they suddenly gave up now given reality is never an impediment for those indoctrinated in this ideology.
I will try here to reach out to the Labour membership with the following statement: Labour cannot win the next election if they do not either unite the anti-Boris vote or come to an accommodation with the Lib Dems most importantly, but probably also the Greens, something which allows them to effectively unite the anti-Boris vote. That’s it. Labour will need to win in parts the country that they have never won, like the southwest of England, or allow the Lib Dems to win there in what would effectively be an alliance. There is no way round this.
If the next leader is seen as continuity Corbyn and more importantly, basically is continuity Corbyn, with the same people running the show, then I think Labour will lose even more seats to the Tories at the next election. Labour needs to be able to reach parts of the electorate that they manifestly failed to last week. It needs a strategy for how to do this. Since 2010, they have not even tried to come up with one. In the Ed Miliband era, we had the 35% strategy, which failed spectacularly. Then came 2017, where all that happened was Labour failed less badly than people thought they were going to. Both 2015 and 2017 saw a collapse in the Lib Dem vote, and yet on neither occasion did it result in the expected Labour majority – or even anything remotely close to it. Then comes 2019 and the Left are still making excuses.
It is all in the hands of the Labour membership now. Do they want to keep sticking their heads in the sand, sure that the country will just get sick of the Tories eventually and vote Labour out of desperation, despite all of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that this will never happen? If so, Rebecca Long-Bailey has it in the bag. Do they want to try their best to win next time out? Yvette Cooper or Jess Phillips gives them that. Do they want to hedge their bets and pick a Neil Kinnock figure who will help the party rebuild but never quite get to Number 10? I think they have that in Keir Starmer. Who do I think they’ll pick? Rebecca Long-Bailey, because I’ve become a pessimist about these sorts of things. We’ll find out in a few months time which future for the Labour Party its own members choose.