Skip to main content

Editorial: Labour can win an election if it ups its game

THERE are signs that parts of the ruling class are prepared to resort to an election to resolve its crisis of leadership, despite the threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn. 

The defenestration of Britain’s ambassador to Washington, a trusted former security functionary and EU specialist, is evidence of how divided it is.

The media bias against Labour is increasingly pronounced. It is inconceivable that the Panorama “investigation” into Labour’s problems in dealing with allegations of anti-semitism could be aired during the election purdah period when broadcast media have to be more balanced.

That a publicly funded nominally public service media organisation should commission a partisan attack dog from a publishing stable so compromised by dirty dealing as the Murdoch empire illustrates just how degenerate the management culture of the BBC has become and how programme commissioning has become the unchallenged domain of people committed to preventing Labour coming to office.

It is not surprising that a radical change of leadership and political direction in the Labour Party should produce a body of malcontents.

Political machines are by definition partisan and Labour’s apparatus and its parliamentary contingent have been filled through the New Labour years in part by people whose political project now lies in ruins, following the manifest failures of the Blair and Brown years and the extraordinary renaissance that Corbyn’s election signified.

But only in part. There are legions of Labour people who supported candidates other than Corbyn but whose loyalty is principally to their party.

Among Labour’s supporters and staff a natural commitment to party democracy is a powerful factor underpinning this loyalty. This was strengthened by the extraordinary advances the party made in the last election campaign.

It is the deep fear in our ruling class and among its servants and satraps that this could be repeated that explains the intensity and pace of the assaults Labour presently endures.

Labour’s response to the Panorama broadcast has been robust and the pretensions of the people who lent their names to this programme have been exposed in detail. 

A measure of how media bias against Labour is systematic and systemic is revealed by the inadequate coverage of Labour’s rebuttals.

Labour has nothing to fear and everything to gain from a general election. But only if it ups its game and is successful in shifting the political debate onto the issues on which its winning formula of radical manifesto commitments and political integrity can come into play.

Opinion among Labour Party members and for many Labour voters favours remaining in the EU. And for some, most especially the most bitter opponents of Corbyn’s leadership, reversing the referendum result has become a political priority over all others.

Labour is committed to negotiating its own Brexit deal but its new pledge to call for a second referendum in the event of a Tory Brexit without a deal or one on unacceptable terms — and to campaign for Remain in such a vote — is one reflection of the reality that the Tories are in government and that, short of an election, Labour’s leverage is limited.

The intervention of the Brexit Party renders much existing psephology as redundant as a compass on a trip to the moon and is a real threat to Labour — not just in seats where Leave had a majority.

The entire labour movement must take account of the fact that a substantial part of the party, including many MPs, drawn from a wide spectrum of political opinion, consider continued retreat from Labour conference policy to respect the referendum result a real threat to the party’s chances of winning the next election.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 2,777
We need:£ 15,223
30 Days remaining
Donate today