Some reflections from LITC Treasurer, Christian Mole
Whilst Jeremy Corbyn is correct in saying that a period of reflection is needed, the danger is that this morphs into excessive navel gazing: the reality is quite simply that we need to start thinking properly about what the electorate wants, rather than the socialist fantasyland that we seem to have targeted in an policy programme which by the time election day came around seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink thrown in.
A silver lining is that by the time of the next election Brexit will be a relatively distant memory and Labour will no longer be hamstrung by a position which, whilst entirely pragmatic and the best compromise solution to try and unite the warring factions, was simply inadequate in a political landscape where anything other than snappy slogans (whether “Get Brexit Done” or “Revoke Article50”) seem to be portrayed as confusion. Whatever the retrospective view on the 1997 manifesto, the focus on five key pledges had a simplicity which really cut through and which we need to be targeting again.
Of course, however snappy the messages may be, if they – and the messenger – are mistrusted by the electorate then they are, to coin a phrase, dead in a ditch. We may not like it but we need to face the reality that the nature of modern media is that elections are increasingly presidential in nature and hence the choice of leader is absolutely critical. I can’t see the choice of another leader from the far-left leading to anything other than further electoral disaster – although a formal party split before we get to that point would seem more likely. Once we accept that criterion, we must surely apply the common sense principle that the underlying beliefs of any Labour candidate should be acceptable to the wider party (we are a “broad church”) and the key factor must be: who would be most likely to appeal to voters when compared to Boris Johnson.
Despite their large majority, there is I believe no great enthusiasm for the Conservatives – the result was overwhelmingly a rejection of Corbyn himself and more importantly the baggage he comes with – so there is a core constituency of voters out there that, with the right leader and a more realistic – whilst still progressive – policy programme, will come back to Labour.