Many people now doubt if the Labour Party has any chance of long-term survival after a humiliating defeat by the Conservatives in the UK’s May 2015 General Election. Even on the actual day of the Election there seemed to be a realistic chance that Labour would indeed regain power – but at the twelfth hour the fickle electorate scuppered their chances and sent them down to the sewers, don’t you think?
Now the Country’s Labour loyal activists are having to suffer the added mortification of ritual blood-letting from the top, as leadership and deputy leader aspirers vie to kick the final breath out of the potential corpse, denigrating honest policies and making mad excuses including crass talk about failing to feed voters’ ‘aspirations’ indeed. These over ambitious men and women expecting to seize the crowns of power, seem intent on rubbishing everything sound about their Labour Party including its roots. Why can’t they accept being just losers, pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and live to fight another day?
Then it seems that there has to be a scapegoat to be hung from the rafters and ridiculed as incompetent – their erstwhile ex-leader Ed Miliband. He seems cast now in the role of Lord Cardigan in the forlorn Charge of the Light Brigade, and accused by his team of fellow travellers as the sole cause of their demise; surely the same people who as senior powerful executives must carry collective responsibility for any perceived failures of Labour’s campaign?
The truth of the matter is that the Tories got their very unexpected Election result with the aid of some very dirty political tricks and subterfuges; that was combined of course by Labour’s inexplicable incapability over five years to avoid the blame for the worldwide recession (they even successfully got tarred with the brush of ‘overspending’ in their last government – despite the fact that the Conservatives had just doubled the national debt and borrowed more in their five years from 2010 than Labour had done in thirteen years beforehand!). The Tories were deemed by the UK electorate to be the ones to be trusted with the economy, whereas their Plan A had stalled miserably with its severe austerity failing totally to absolutely clear the annual deficit in four or five years as promised (and they say now it requires yet another four or five years!) – where were all these ‘all-knowing’ potential leaders when the voters were peddled the con?
It was clear to many of us in the last couple of the weeks of the Election, that policies themselves were no longer going to be the deciding issue, but getting the Labour vote out certainly was going to be a critical factor, but did any of those at the top recognise that and do anything about it? No, the lazy Labour potential voters again stayed at home to watch the soaps, didn’t they?
The main protagonist behind Labour’s abject failure with the voters was ex-PM Gordon Brown who’s obsessive jealousy destabilised the ‘New Labour’ image in his attempt to erase a PM Tony Blair legacy. Blair had recognised that the demographics in Britain had moved on and that the strong traditional Labour voter of the past had been replaced by a new breed – ones who had moved up the ladder a bit (while non-enfranchised immigrants come in at the bottom lowest-paid tier). When a worker is one of a million or more on a thousand pounds a week (Tube driver, Offshore driller, Council senior employee, Freelance personal trainer, Major charity manager, Armed Forces officer, Footballer in lowest league, Bank business manager, and all such like), they have a different outlook to someone on the minimum wage getting two hundred and fifty pounds a week, don’t they? The evidence was all there and plain as day for Labour to see – for example, the Unions themselves for decades have been suffering from falling membership.
The Unions tackled their survival problem through a process of progressive mergers, so larger more powerful unions emerged able to compete with the might of increasingly larger organisations, corporations, and multinational employers. [For example Unite with one and a half million formed from Amicus (itself created from three unions) and TGWU; Unison also with nearly one and a half million formed from Nalgo, Nupe, and Cohse; GMG with over a half million formed from General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade union with Sex Workers as a branch!].
The Labour Party’s only hope of political recovery is to employ such a strategy also, as there can be no revival now of new labour and no major resurgence of the power of the working man. A simple name change (as ex-President Sarkozy of France is doing there – UMP to The Republicans) won’t cut any ice with us cynical Brits, will it? Neither does Labour gain by being more leftwing or by espousing new rightwing polices, but instead it needs to retain and promote its historic socialist group base, its middle-class and intellectual foundations, as well as its basic democratic values that formulated the Party a hundred and thirty years or so ago – it was after all never simply about labourers was it?
So, therein lies the solution to Labour’s dire problems of course – a full political and grassroots merger with a social liberal party, the LibDems. They need defibrillation just as much as Labour – having predictably been annihilated over the last five years through becoming mercenaries for their Tory enemy and a misplaced lust for power under the egoistic leadership of smooth talking Nick Clegg. [They lost forty-nine of their fifty-seven MPs, lost fifteen percent of their twenty three percent popular vote, and lost being third largest and a credible Westminster party. Some hundred years ago Labour replaced the Liberals in power politics, so it would be only fitting now for them both to join forces to defeat the sick ideology of the self perpetuating rich and powerful Conservatives, wouldn’t you say?
[There has to be a new name of course. How about the Labour Liberal Union Democratic party, to be known as the LabLibs?]