It's time for the party to get serious about winning, after a brief interlude of pleasing itselfby Philip Collins / May 11, 2015 / Leave a comment
It is early in the argument, but there is at least a signal in the noise. Labour’s needless experiment with the proposition that Britain had made a significant shift to the political Left has ended in predictable disaster. The vast cloud over the Labour party does, though, have a silver lining. The defeat is at least so emphatic that it is not credible to argue that its approach has worked. Or that a similar venture may work in 2020. Or indeed, ever.
To continue the metaphor (a pathetic fallacy being precisely what Milibandism turned out to be), there is a sense in the Labour party today that the storm has passed. There was a night of terrible and incessant rain, thunder and lightning but morning arrives with a feeling of freshness. The authors of the disaster have gone, either resigned or despatched, and the Labour party can at least begin again. Unfortunately, it will have to.
So far Chuka Ummuna, Tristram Hunt and Liz Kendall have offered their analyses of the defeat. Dan Jarvis has done so too although he will not be standing for leader. So has Tony Blair and neither will he. All of them share a basic thesis, which has been echoed by Peter Mandelson. Labour talked incessantly about the top 1 per cent of the country and often about the bottom 10 per cent but hardly ever about anyone else in between. The party gave the impression either of not caring about wealth generation or of being actively hostile to it. Labour seemed incapable of crafting a message for anyone with aspirations to become moderately prosperous. Its political message was a zero-sum fallacy—we are in favour of the poor who are being swindled by the rich.