Labour and 21st century class politics

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

It’s taken me almost a week to write about Labour’s result, that’s how shocked I was. Just as that exit poll plunged millions of Labour supporters into gloomy depression in 2015, the one from last Thursday was an occasion of such jubilation that it will live on in the party’s collective memory forever. I know it’s been said, but it should always be said: we have not seen such an upset since 1945, we have never seen a turnaround of its like in such a short period of time, nor have we seen a politician with such abysmal ratings rise as quickly in the public’s estimation. Labour did not win the election, but that banal statement reminds us the formalities of official politics cannot grasp the significance of what has happened. Continue reading →

What has Yvette Cooper ever done to deserve Diane Abbott’s job?

by Huda Elmi

In the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s triumph, Yvette Cooper is said to be eyeing up the position of Shadow Home Secretary in the upcoming reshuffle. This comes after resigning from the Shadow Cabinet almost two years ago, as a rebellious sign of discontent with Corbyn’s leadership. In 2016, Diane Abbott was appointed to serve in that role as the first Black politician to do so and has contributed vastly to Labour’s unprecedented comeback during the General Election. As such, we must question Cooper’s disregard of Diane’s achievements, and how this speaks to a culture of erasing, policing and silencing Black women.   Continue reading →

Labour has a six-point lead against a weak minority government propped up by extremists – we just need another election 

by James Elliott

The first poll after the General Election has put Labour ahead by six points, while Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were tied on ‘who would make the best prime minister’. Survation, who along with YouGov were one of the closest pollsters to predicting the result, had Labour on 45% (+5), Conservatives on 39% (-3), Lib Dems on 7% (-) with UKIP on 3% (+1). The fieldwork was completed on Saturday. YouGov’s poll on who would make best Prime Minister had May on 39% (-4), with Corbyn also on 39% (+7), with the fieldwork done on Friday and Saturday.

Corbyn – having been widely-expected by the commentariat to fall below 200 seats on Thursday – is now in a position of having achieved an astonishing against-all-odds result, and now leading May by six points in the polls – a result that would give Labour a clear majority were there to be another election.  Continue reading →

The Corbyn effect isn’t going away

by Mark Seddon

This article first appeared in the Boston Globe in October 2016, reflecting Jeremy’s second leadership victory. We are republishing it in the wake of the General Election as a prescient analysis of the mistakes that his critics made in underestimating ‘the Corbyn effect’.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn last month as leader of the Labour Party — for the second time in a year, this time with an increased majority — continues to baffle and infuriate his enemies both within and without his party, as it does the serried ranks of Britain’s commentariat. Even The Guardian newspaper, for so long the Bible of the typical left-leaning British liberal, has been vehement in its opposition to Corbyn. Its strictures weren’t just ignored; a proportion of its readership is angry and gives every impression of feeling betrayed.

How is it, critics ask, that a majority of Labour’s membership — now over a half million — should go against the bulk of the parliamentary party and most of a shadow Cabinet that had resigned en masse in a failed attempt to defenestrate their leader? And what of the increasingly strident warnings of a former Labour leader, Tony Blair, who helped win general elections for a party that has spent rather too much time in opposition over the decades? Continue reading →

The election is over – now the real work continues.

by Kate Landin

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they are going through…

– David Bowie, Changes

What have the last few days told us? Last year, during the second Labour leadership contest, I argued that we needed to give Jeremy Corbyn the chance to put his agenda and policies before the electorate. As a steadfast Corbyn supporter, this election night had even more at stake for me, if possible, than usual. I had heard people telling me Corbyn’s message did not connect, that this would be the end, the destruction of the Labour Party – a party I have campaigned for since I was a child.

But I had felt the hope in the air, and I identified with it, and felt more represented by this Labour party than I had ever been before. I believed that there was an appetite for the direction that Corbyn was taking the party in. For a party that employed process, rather than be blocked and hindered by it. A party that utilised enthusiasm and initiative, rather than squashing it. A party that had the courage to look at pockets of pessimism that had taken root in some quarters and challenge them. And declare that we can, and will, do things differently. Continue reading →

Who has eaten their humble pie?

by James Elliott

Matthew Goodwin eats his book live on Sky News

Before this election, Jeremy Corbyn was subjected to such incredible levels of hostility from sections of the media that even David Dimbleby, along with a former chair of the BBC Trust, former BBC politics editor Nick Robinson and a BBC investigation into Laura Kuennsberg began to criticise his treatment by some journalists.

The offices of the Guardian and Observer have been at the forefront of this, and have churned out tens of thousands of words in anti-Corbyn blogs and op-eds in the past two years. Someone has even compiled 24 of their most vitriolic anti-Corbyn hit pieces. 

Of course, much of the criticism Corbyn came in for was spurred on by fellow Labour Party politicians, who helped drive and shape a news agenda that focused on Corbyn’s apparent incompetence or unsuitability, by simply providing broadcasters and broadsheets with what they wanted to hear. Evidencing this, Channel 4 news recently published a video featuring dozens of clips of senior Labour MPs and politicos predicting doom if Corbyn remained as leader.

Since Thursday night however, our well-salaried commentariat and the backbenches of the Parliamentary Labour Party have been falling over themselves to recant their words. A huge deluge of ‘mea culpas’ and apologias have littered the pages of the Guardian and Observer, and across the airwaves of Sky and the BBC.

One pundit literally ate his words, chewing through his new book live on air. Continue reading →

Labour in Wales: A success that dare not speak its name

by Nick Davies

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones

From Bridgend to Wrexham, it seemed that no pub, club, café or shopping centre was without a journalist  looking for a Labour voter intending to turn Tory. Anyone muttering about ‘voting for Theresa May’ could be sure of an attentive ear. It was, after all, the official line put out by Tory Central Office that the Tories were going to end Labour’s century-long domination of Wales. The strategy was simple: Wales had voted Brexit, in previous elections many voters in Labour seats in the industrial south and north-east had turned to UKIP and now their vote was in freefall, the Tories were delivering Hard Brexit, ergo those Leave and UKIP supporters would turn to the Tories. To ease their passage over to the dark side Theresa May made three visits during the campaign. Continue reading →

Why did so many pundits get the general election wrong?

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

What an amazing night. We’d had hints from the YouGov and Survation polls that things were going to be close, but even those who allowed a few meagre rays of hope into their hearts were haunted by the memories of so many times the pollsters were wrong. And not forgetting that a good chunk of polling opinion still indicated the Tories could look forward to commanding a thumping majority in the House. There are so many things that can be written about the 2017 general election, but more on trying to understand the return of two-party politics, the battering the SNP took in Scotland, and the Tories’ love-in with the Democratic Unionists later. Right now I want to focus on the result itself or, rather, why so many pundits got this election completely wrong. Continue reading →

Jeremy Corbyn and the Left have been completely vindicated

by James Elliott

The results of the General Election are in, and they represent a tremendous vindication of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left, who have insisted since he was put on the ballot two years ago that Labour can and would make gains running from the left, and that there is a route to power that doesn’t involve triangulating the Tories, or compromising on key issues such as austerity. Jeremy Corbyn stood on a platform of investing in public services, standing up for workers’ rights, moving to a more just and fair foreign policy, and has been rewarded with a quite remarkable turnaround in the Labour vote. Continue reading →

The polls are inconclusive – but they do show a chance of a big upset tomorrow

by James Elliott

The story of the General Election for the past few weeks has been twofold: the formerly insurmountable image of “Team May” with the Iron Lady 2.0 gradually stumbling from blunder to blunder, while an insurgent Corbyn slowly becoming that ‘people-powered movement’ we have been building for the past two years. That story has been reflected in a series of opinion polls that show, wherever the starting point, whatever the methodology, the Tories lead has been squeezed.

The unfortunate flip side and stark reality to that story, is that Labour began from an impossibly poor starting point, and that May, even in the most unfavourable of polls, apparently remains popular with a sufficient chunk of the British electorate (especially the chunk that tends to turn out and vote) to give her a sizeable lead going into tomorrow’s vote.  Continue reading →

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