Thoughts from Labour in the City Membership Officer, Dave Clarke, on the General Election.
The result was widely heralded as a triumph for the tories, but their vote share only increased by 1.2% over the result of the 2017 general election under Theresa May’s leadership.
In 2017 the combined share of the Tory and UKIP vote was 44.3%. In 2019 the Brexit Party stepped aside in hundreds of seats and the combined Tory and Brexit Party vote was 45.6%.
In 2019 the Lib Dems added nearly 50% more votes increasing their overall share by 4.2% and the greens share increased by 1.1% up to 2.7%. The Labour vote share, however, dropped by 7.8%.
As a consequence of this and the vagaries of first past the post the Tories won 56% of the seats and a big majority.
Was it purely about Brexit? Brexit fatigue was certainly a factor, but remain/second vote parties won 53% of the vote.
I had the sense during the campaign that we drifted into the election and had no real strategy which led to a lack of clear direction, messaging and focus.
We do not win when we are on the back foot.
On the doorstep in Wiltshire where I live and in Swindon, the nearest marginals, a few messages came though loud and clear.
1. Jeremy Corbyn was not trusted by the voters we needed to convince.
2. People did not know what Labour was really for and the policy promises weren’t credible.
3. Most people are not or do not identify as victims.
Moving forward we need positive leadership and a unifying message about our aspirations for the people of this country.
It is also time to look outwards rather than inwards and take the job of opposition seriously both in Parliament, and across the Regions.