I thought it in June; I know it now. Labour misheard and misread this year’s general election result. They misunderstood what their relative success – it was relative success based on the polling, mainstream expectations and recent national election results because they didn’t win – they were 60 seats short of the Tories – told them. Inexplicably they are acting and sounding like they won the election – problem number one – and they are assuming that more of the same will deliver them a victory next time – problem number two.
Take a look at this week’s party conference in Brighton. Thankfully, I am watching it – and the Lib Dems and Tories – from the comfort of my desk and sofa – but the mood is unmistakable. We won in June – you actually hear people saying that – and one more push will get Jeremy into No 10. After June’s election, I wrote about Project Jeremy and Labour’s predicament now that he has confounded the critics. I believed then and even more strongly now that the result was a disaster for Labour. They have convinced themselves – not all of the party – I speak to very sensible experienced people who have seen this movie before and are already getting behind their sofas for the ending – that they just need to carry on with more of the same; more promises, more socialism, more Jeremy, John and co. Wrong.
The June election was lost by the Tories and Theresa May. Labour did better than expected because a) the Tories, Lib Dems, the SNP and UKIP all failed in their own ways – relative to their goals and potential and b) because many of the left came out and voted for the first time in a while – for many and not the few, for the first time ever. This combination of factors will not be present next time around. For Labour to win the next election they need to convert some tory voters. They need to reach out and offer them something. They need to expand their appeal. They need a bigger tent.
Instead, they are indulging themselves in their songs and their slogans and their issues. They are laughing at their own jokes, including the incredibly ill-judged outing of Emily Thornberry today who made our current excuse of a Foreign Secretary look statesmanlike. They are having a great time and the mood is fantastic but that’s because they are talking to themselves; preaching to the converted. This is the road to defeat.
Eventually, the Tories will alight on a new leader. Mrs May – the most inept, tone deaf and misplaced politician of her generation – will be gone and they will renew. Just in time for the election as they have before. The people Labour need to target for victory will suddenly be presented with a new shiny blue offer in the post at the same time that Labour will be busy manning the picket lines at the local post office. The Tory party is in a mess. So too is Labour. The difference is that one party knows it and will try to do something about it; the other is in denial, not realising they’ve already had their best day.
To many in Brighton, Jeremy Corbyn may be the absolute boy – to me he is a man who by his words and deeds is leading his party towards another general election defeat. Theresa May is tone deaf but it appears that Mr Corbyn is just not listening, at least not to the right people.
Photo taken from the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41378928