Labour has gone off the rails

The Labour party has been hijacked.

Now, I’m sure some of you will be keen to tell me that it was Tony Blair who took the party off its proper course, but the opposite is true. For a party which is plagued with a lack of economic credibility, the early years of Blair are a clear example of successful Labour government. A budget surplus, falling unemployment and the introduction of a minimum wage are all testament to the virtues of a credible and progressive Labour party.

However, Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in this most recent party-defining election was abetted by the support lended to him by Communists, Marxists, Trotskyists, and even Conservatives. This in itself diminishes the significance of the majority he attained. Since when were these the values which Labour espoused?

A clear sign of the current chaos which is engulfing the party is Momentum, a grassroots organisation set up in the wake of Corbyn’s triumph which now comprises of some 100,000 members. There are members of Momentum who are not members of the Labour party yet it appears that they wish to shape Labour party policy and some cases supersede local branches of the party itself. This is compounded by the fact that Momentum is at odds with Progress, another faction of Labour closely aligned to party’s New Labour past.

For a party to be credible, it must have a clearly defined direction. Issues such as Syria and Trident have exposed the rift which threatens to tear Labour apart (perhaps the EU provides some respite but that isn’t much). I find it quite bemusing that someone who has defied his party whip over 500 times now expects his party to follow him. Jeremy Corbyn is a rebel but he’s certainly no leader. He is at odds with much of the Parliamentary Labour Party, with many supporters of Corbyn calling for the deselection of critical MPs. What these socialist types fail to recognise is that the 9.3 million people who voted for these diverse set of MPs dwarf the mandate of 250,000 which the ideologically rigid Corbyn received.

While I do no not agree with everything said in this article, I think that this piece by Joe Haines (former press secretary to Harold Wilson) further highlights how it is of the utmost importance that the Labour party reinvents itself quickly. He points out the following:

But let’s deal with reality: Corbyn’s total vote was just over 251,000; in other words, approximately one in every 183 people on the electoral register (46 million) voted for him, or 0.5 per cent. In relation to the next general election, that is the only statistic that matters and it should be compared to the nearly 9.35 million who voted Labour last May. The strength of the party lies in the nine million-odd, not the 251,000, and that figure will be dissipated at our peril.

Let me be clear: I don’t support undemocratically ousting Jeremy Corbyn. What I do support however, is clarity on where Labour is going. Will it take the more traditional moderate route which has proven to be successful or will it revert to becoming a party firmly positioned as ‘hard-left’, which is already proving troublesome. Polling in Scotland which shows the Tories challenging Labour for second place really is a warning sign that the party cannot continue as it is.

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On the road to the electoral abyss?

These days, those from within the Labour party who are critical of Corbyn are often branded as Tories. But the inconvenient truth which needs to be confronted is that the Labour party must win Conservatives over, not push them away. If you’re not keen on trying to be in Government then why enter the political sphere? There are various humanitarian organisations you can join instead. By entering the political sphere you have an obligation to fulfill the aspirations of your voters and by not doing so, you let these people down.

If Jeremy Corbyn continues to remain unpopular then he should put the interests of working people before his own, even if he has their best interests at heart. Alienating people who voted for a party that won a majority of seats is very counter-productive, especially when you realise these are the very same people whose votes you need so dearly.

 

Written by Aditya Dabral

Illustration by Ben Zombory-Moldovan

 

 

62 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike K. says:

    I firmly disagree that New Labour gave us a true Labour Government. There were some successes but the fawning adulation of the City of London, PFI and Iraq demonstrated how far from its roots the party had moved. Mandelson’s project was to make a party fit for the rich and sod everyone else. I was brought up in the Labour Party but left it in 1986 in disgust at Kinnock’s attacks on the left and the vilification and abandonment of anyone actually fighting Thatcher. I rejoined last year and have no intention of letting the spivs and careerists have their way again.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree with the misgivings that you listed about Blair above but surely you would agree that the party in its current state cannot get into power, let alone be an improvement on the Blair government.

      Like

  2. Mike Freeman says:

    Yep we’ve gone off the rails. Only polling neck and neck with the Tories despite a disproportionately negative press campaign against him.

    The political winds are changing, the old order is being swept aside and Labour are now positioned to lead the charge towards a fairer society.

    New Labour apologists will be like telephone boxes. Very soon you’ll realise that you haven’t seen one in a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry but polling has generally shown Labour to be far behind the Tories. Let’s see how the party fares in the upcoming local elections.

      Like

  3. Andrew Chapman says:

    I joined the Labour party after Jeremy Corbyn was elected because I agree with his socialist principles. He’s the most honest politician in generations and he’ll get my vote every time. The latest poll shows him now level with the Tories.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Let’s see if the polls continue to show that the two parties are level; I’m quite skeptical.

      Like

      1. telboyd says:

        If Labour does better than expected in the forthcoming elections, will you promise to change your tune and get behind Jeremy’s (and the grass roots’) vision for the UK..?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Telboyd, I’ll definitely reconsider my current position.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. New labour came close to destroying the party by following Thatcheritte policies and being more right wing than the tory party. We should never repeat the mistakes of the past and if we do not take on and stand up to groups like progress then the party is justifiably finished. A world is waking up. From Saunders to Corbyn there is a movement saying enough is enough. The old right wing politics failed and failed utterly. The very last thing labour needs is any sign of a move back to the right.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wouldn’t say 3 election victories in a row meant the party was close to capitulation. While the party had been declining from 1997-2015 I’d attribute that to the party’s perception of financial mismanagement.

      Like the rest of the world, I am very curious to see how Bernie Sanders will far and if Jeremy Corbyn will do as strongly as him.

      Like

      1. telboyd says:

        Blair managed to lose us 6million voters, and never mind ‘3 election victories’ – we’ll have been out of power for a decade because of Labour Neo-Libs delivering Austerity-lite manifestos. Also, Sanders has a very different scenario, namely, that he is (now – and this has cost him votes) a Democrat, hoping to follow a Democrat President. Jeremy has always been Labour, through and through, and, like myself who has always campaigned for Labour – even through terrible policies like ‘War On Terror’, Tuition Fees, Bank Deregulation (inc making the Bank of England independent), selling off Gold stocks, Academy Schooling, continuing PFIs…. I could go on and on – I stuck by them; and we bided our time. Now it’s time for a different way of thinking; less spin, more substance. Policies that help the many, not the few. I’m meeting with Caroline Flint later today (the first time we’ve met formally since the Syria vote), at which she will be prompted to ‘cool it’ in future, as invective only encourages people like yourself, and the media. You, we, should be ripping the Tories to shreds, not our own party. If, indeed, you are a Labour supporter, it’s time to get with the programme, or find a party with policies that suit your ideology.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it’s still important to note that he did win 3 times in a row,and while I disagree with Corbyn’s policies I will commend him on his consistency when it comes to his convictions.

        Like

  5. Shelley Nazi-Angileh says:

    Such balderdash! Where do you get this information. The movement behind Jeremy Corbyn and the reason for his success is not because the party has been invaded by a load of left Wing extreme socialists but because people are sick to death of the carnage that this government and successive right wing pro rich policies from pro capitalist leaders have reaped upon the lower classes. We pat our taxes as much as the rich. We work hard for our living to feed our children and to ensure they have a future that we had in our past. The framework that famous politicians created to ensure that the people had a strong infrastructure for education and social as well as health services, is a sign of a well developed country but this government now, is pulling it to pieces in a class war. Jeremy Corbyn is the only politician who understands this and supports us, previous Labour politicians and some current Labour politicians have lost touch and only want to cow tow to rich magnates because of their own pockets, they do not care about the principles that made the party strong in the first place, they have forgotten what they have joined the Labour Party for and their intentions are purely egotistical and selfish. This kind of selfishness and ignorance is the reason for their demise and the success of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s time to wake up Aditya and stop following the selfish members. Stop sucking up to people like Tony Blair and stand strong, support the people who really need you and not those you don’t. You are expendable and the politicians who want to get on the gravy train will leave you behind when it suits them, they have always done that and you need to be aware of that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d say the fact that people from the SWP voted for Corbyn suggests he was helped by people who weren’t part of the party. I certainly don’t condone being selfish and I’d urge you to tell me why by querying to current state of Labour and I am indulging in that. I question the Tories as you do but I think it’s equally important to focus on how successful the Labour party can be in its current state.

      Like

      1. telboyd says:

        It’s encouraging that someone so erudite for 15 is interested in the Labour Party, but you have a lot to learn about ‘real life’; wait till the Bedroom Tax hits you, or you’re waiting for an operation, or have a kid who is depressed because she’s £15k in debt after ONE YEAR at University, or your wife – ill for over twenty years – has to jump through hoops for Ian Duncan Smith to prove she’s ill, or your housing benefit/ESA was suddenly stopped/cut..? Maybe your local youth club has been closed, or council-run sports facilities shut and playing fields sold off to the housing sector…? Maybe your local comprehensive school was put into special measures for a third spell, even though becoming an academy was meant to solve all those problems…… I remember when I was 15 – stood on the Miner’s picket lines selling Socialist Worker….. it’s all very well being young and ideological, but wait till reality bites.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. paul mccue says:

        off the rails, on the rails, off their head or don’t have a head – nobody who values justice and equality gives a hoot (stronger language available on request) – the issue of whether Labour has gone off the rails is a diversion (far too much time + energy being spent on this particular discussion) – in light of yesterdays hypocritical budget announcement, the fact remains – Jeremy Corbyn remains the only hope for the working class of this country and those with disabilites. The crony culture of Westminster is at the heart of the problem – perhaps when Parliament moves out of the building for repairs we need to have another look at who should be allowed back in.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree that this most recent budget has been quite distressing.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. paul mccue says:

        couldn’t agree more that this discussion has gone on for far too long – not only a diversion but little in the way of factual evidence – which is the reason I’m unsubscribing – so long and keep chatting if you like but it has become something of a waste of time

        Like

      5. I’m sorry you feel that way, thanks for your time and your comment.

        Like

  6. Kathy Fitzgerald says:

    Yep labour has gone off the rails and may they continue. They will try and stem the tide if greed, corruption and fraud committed by the storied. My labours derailment continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s bad for everyone i’d say.

      Like

  7. Ben says:

    Knocking, knocking, knocking and I get ‘i stopped voting labour because of Iraq/Blair/there was no difference. But I will vote labour again now’ they say ‘ because Jeremy Corbyn is different ‘.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great that he’s galvanising disillusions people but that’s negated by the fact that he’s disillusioning so many more.

      Like

      1. telboyd says:

        There are 13.5million people that don’t bother to vote. I’ll warrant that the majority of those aren’t in the ‘Top 1% of earners’. These are the people Corbyn is speaking to, and who the polls aren’t taking into account. Wait and see in 2020. It’ll be a landslide because this will be the most despised Tory government in memory. Boris would do well to realise this and sit out any leadership thoughts for a couple of decades.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Let’s wait and see I guess.

        Like

  8. Peter says:

    If people want Torys they’ll vote Tory. Why do you think they would they vote for a Labour Party that defines itself as nearly Tory when they can get the real thing?
    Makes no sense at all.
    We compromised already. Ed still lost.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Because for a party to win it must appeal the undecided and wavering middle ground. Ed didn’t do that enough and Corbyn certainly won’t.

      Like

  9. Carol Milner says:

    I disagree with you. Though I’ve usually voted Labour my local Labour Party’s policies had driven me away from them and also the National Party. Jeremy’s passion and beliefs has brought me back to join the Party. It was views like yours, Aditya Dabral, that drove me away. But in consolation I’m sure you’ll be happy with David Cameron.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I’m not, so don’t speak for me.

      Like

  10. Ray McHale says:

    No doubt if you had read some Marxism, and understood the class nature of society, you wouldn’t transcribe ideas from the right-wing press, with so little argument and analysis. There are plenty of voters to be won – from the Greens, the Libdems and most importantly from the millions who don’t bother to vote because they think all the Parties are the same. As a Marxist and a Labour Party member for 35 years I think you have little perception of basic Marxist Economics or Historical Materialism. Political parties are not set up to pander to populism, but to develop ideas of principle (based on theory and ideology) and to work to win the wider public to those ideas. The mass of the Labour Party have seen the wasted Blair years (where Thatcherite policies were continued) and they have seen the defeat in 2 general elections where Labour offered “Tory Lite” policies, and were soundly defeated. Gordon Brown naively promised to abolish “boom and bust”, and ended up presiding over the biggest ” bust” for 80 years. Such is the nature of Capitalism. Labour was set up to replace Capitalism with Socialism. In 1948 the Labour Party published a centenary edition of The Communist Manifesto – celebrating its roots in Marxism. The overwhelming majority of Party members have now voted to restore the Party to the track of fighting for Socialism. Jeremy Corbyn was supported by 49% of existing members, and the Party membership has now doubled – mainly due to people rejoining after years of disillusionment, or due to young people being attracted to the ideas of Socialism. The Party has set about winning the wider public to those ideas. No one imagines that can happen over night (especially in the teeth of the Tory media and the sabotage of the right-wing of the PLP) – but nor are the put off by it not happening yesterday (as you appear to be). If you want a Party that supports Tory ideas you need to join the Tory Party because 250,000 Labour Party members are not going accept the Party being the Tory Second Eleven. So thanks for your contribution, but the vast majority of members have heard all these arguments during the Leadership election, and have not felt swayed by them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’d be right in thinking I’m not exceptionally well versed in Marxism. While you have every right to recognise how many Corbyn has mobilised, surely you’d acknowledge that when you look at the bigger picture it becomes clear he’s not appealing to enough people.

      Like

  11. Jonathan ball says:

    Blair was the hijacker corbyn has brought us home again. If we as a party don’t have a clear message it’s down to a minority of bitterites who rather sabotage their own party and see the tories get in again then see a socialist government. Corbyn has given these sore losers a chance to come on board but it’s not happening. He really needs to start throwing people out the labour party if all they are about is bringing it into disrepute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He can go ahead and throw these people out of the party, but I think is symbolic of the problem the party will face in appealing to the wider electorate.

      Like

  12. Patricia says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought Labour lost the last two elections.

    Like

    1. You’re right, they have. And as it stands I think it will be a third.

      Like

  13. Debbie says:

    I think the last poll had labour 36 and the tories 36 – Mcdonnell has great ecobomic ideas and many many people want Corbyn to lead this party and this country. .we don’t need ex Tories to vote we need non voters to vote..I am old not any of those labels u describe Corbyn supporters as..at my local labour party level. .the average new member are old educated and have a firm hatred for the current government many never having been a member of any party.

    Like

    1. You’re right that the new poll shows the two parties head to head and that’s anomalous – generally the party has been lagging behind considerable which at this point shouldn’t be the case.

      Like

  14. Maggie Bousfield says:

    The values that Labour espouse Aditya, are Social Justice, Strong Community Values, Rewards for Hard Work and Social Responsibility. I can see why you would have to ask the question. As you have no idea what the Labour Party was created to achieve. Tony Blair was elected on these values but he lost his way or went of the rails, not Jeremy. He has maintained true Labour ethics throughout his career and that is why people are returning to the party. Yes we will see in future months how the rest of the country feel, but I feel you will see true Labour voters actually going out to vote again, now that there is a choice between Capitalistic, Individualism and Social Responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess we’ll need to wait and see then.

      Like

  15. edward collier says:

    It was Hijacked in the 90s by thatcherite maniacs air lifted by blair into safe seats. Thankfully we’re getting back to common sense politics now under corbyn. Its just a shame those thatcherites are still hanging around not understanding its not the 90s any more.

    Like

    1. The party back then was successful; now I feel it will struggle to be.

      Like

  16. Colin Mortimore says:

    Corbyn was voted in fair and square. Labour are now also offering voters a real alternative, not just Tory and Tory Lite. Those who seek to depose him do so becsuse he will upset the cosy little arrangement in Westminster whete you all belong to the same corrupt club. Support your democratically elected leader!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you can disagree with Corbyn and not be corrupt.

      Like

  17. Diane Maynard says:

    Please explain if the Blair ideals are so great how come we lost the last 2 General Elections and why people weren’t excited enough by what was being promised to vote for them. It is true that in the very beginning Blair’s Government did some good things but then it became more and more Tory Light and there definitely wasn’t much to chose between the two at the last election. I rejoined the party after Jeremy Corbyn was elected because I strongly at 68 years of age believe in his ideas and what he wants for the ordinary working people of this Country. Instead of moaning about what is past you should be working to get rid of this cruel and absolutely awful Government of Cameron et al. Not want to be a pale shadow of what they are, that is why the Labour Party you want lost again last time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that the final years of the Labour government damaged the party’s economic credibility (as well as Iraq) and I believe that these past the two election losses were a because of a failure to address them.

      Like

  18. Paul Songer says:

    Utter tosh. The labour party is finally cleaning up the car crash of the 90s. At last people are starting to see hope again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I guess I just disagree with you there.

      Like

  19. phillythekid13 says:

    If the Blairites are so much more electable, why did they lose the last election?!!! It’s attitudes like yours, presuming the ability to preach about what the party should do, even though in the minority (by a long, long way) that are ruining the Labour party, and denying them more votes.
    Tory moles have infiltrated the labour party (Thatcher once admitted she saw her greatest achievement as being Tony Blair and ‘New Labour’), and denied many of us the opportunity for real democracy, and an opposition that offers anything different from the psychopathic Neo-liberal contingent (Blair and Brown are in that category with Thatcher and all Tory PM’s since, imho).
    If you don’t like what labour stands for now, go vote Tory. They’re closer to your agenda anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure Miliband was a Blairite. And don’t you understand the sheer irony of telling me to vote Tory. A lot of people will end up doing so and the Labour party will be consigned to the electoral wilderness.

      Like

  20. paul mccue says:

    The idea that New Labour was true Labour is ludicrous – as was the phony ‘things can only get better’. Whatever the gains made in the early days by NL, it will be Blair’s legacy and our involvement in the Iraq war that we will be remembered. All those Labour supporters who begrudgingly lined up behind NL are now enjoying a leader who has remained true to the ideals of the party. Much of NL was just another version of crony capitalism (the same that has hijacked the US political system). Does Corbyn have a chance of leading Labour into the next election? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean his presence isn’t imperative if Labour is to remain a party of working (and non-working – as in children and the less abled) people. Allowing a free vote on Trident showed great leadership. The idea that forcing his party colleagues to vote the same way he did is exactly what is wrong with our system. Great store was placed on this division and his ‘inability’ to unite his party – yet virtually not a word has been raised when Cameron announced his party would also have the opportunity to vote with their conscience regarding stying in the EU.
    Corbyn, not unlike Sanders in the States, is giving voice to those who are fed up with business as usual. Five years of Osborne is just too horrible to imagine. If the British public can’t see that, they deserve the government they will get.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you agree Corbyn will probably not last 5 years surely you’d prefer a leader who can govern for longer?

      Like

  21. reubedube88 says:

    Patricia ; It was ‘NEW LABOUR’ , not ‘True Labour’ , which lost us the last two elections ! Unfortunately Ed Miliband’s election campaign was not sufficiently enough removed from the Blairites to do any good . Jeremy Corbyn IS ‘True Labour’ .

    Like

    1. I doubt it will give him an election victory but we shall see.

      Like

  22. Tony balony says:

    Meaningless article which ignores everything of value Labour has ever stood for, the entire internet is dumber for you voicing your opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve really wasted your time making that comment, it hasn’t served any purpose has it? I think that I haven’t ignored what Labour stands for and I’d urge you to convince me otherwise.

      Like

  23. Jez Denton says:

    Really, you have no understanding at all of the principles of either the Labour Party movement of the 20th century that was destroyed when Kinnock decided to eject any debate with his purge of the left that then met it’s nadir when Blair and Brown sold it’s soul to the devil of unregulated big business finishing the work of Thatcher in creating GB plc.
    Get over the fact that democracy has spoken or if you can’t admit the fact you are a Tory without the balls to be a Tory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the nadir you’re talking about was no nadir at all.

      Like

  24. Linda Vaux says:

    Oh dear! What a lot of horse droppings. The only person Blair cared about was himself and how rich he could become. He sucked up to the wealthy and powerful and did little to narrow the gap between the richest and poorest in this country. In Corbyn we have a leader whose first thoughts are for those who are vulnerable, sick and deprived. As such he is precisely the leader Labour should have. It is a democratic SOCIALIST party although it has seriously lost its way in recent decades and had this become a pale shadow of the Tory party. It lost the last two elections because people couldn’t tell the difference between the Conservatives and Labour. Corbyn is staying and will be taking us into the 2020 GE. Get over it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m skeptical he will and if he does I think he won’t win.

      Like

  25. Malc says:

    Blair was a true blue i mean he used to be a tory in his early years but hes gone now and i iike a lot of Corbyns policies but theres two things that i dont that is his open door policy weve got to get control of our borders and reduce immigration. Also his policy on defence we must be prepared to defend our country and i believe we must have a deterent at the end of the day thats just my opinion and its time we stopped being divided and get behind our leader and start our fight to get these evil tories out before they get their way with new trade union laws denying labour of funds and doing the boundary changes making it harder to for labour to get elected

    Like

  26. morwennacatt says:

    It’s gratifying to see so many people disagreeing with you. Your response to these genuine and compelling Labour voices seems a little dismissive and offhand. I don’t believe Cooper, Kendall or Burnham would have had any chance of leading Labour toward a 2020 election. It would have resulted in yet more disillusioned non voters, all sensing that You couldn’t slip a fag paper between Labour and Tory. The Labour Party should be ideologically opposed to Tory ‘values’. It isn’t just a compromise to become ever more right wing to appeal to Tories, it is a betrayal of principals and of the people Labour was set up to represent. I’ve voted Labour all my life and was horrified at the direction in which Blair and his cronies took us. The only reason I voted last May was to try and evict George Galloway from my constituency. In all honesty I’m bewildered by people who claim Labour values yet refuse to get behind and support the best leader we’ve had in decades. If Corbyn is ousted by underhanded, right wing elements in the Labour Party then I truly believe Labour is finished. It’s well beyond time that those people, sucked it up, in the same way that the rest of us had to under Blair and co. Also, I must say, if you have been one of the people, as one of your replies suggests, promoting the foolish myth that Labour was responsible for the global financial crash then you shot the party in the foot. How frustrating it was, in the run up to the election, to see that row of capitulating nodding dogs, wringing their hands and apologising for something completely beyond their control….

    Like

    1. I don’t mean to be dismissive at all, I’m just voicing my concern. I agree that the other candidates for Labour leader weren’t much good either but that’s not to ignore where the party is now.

      Like

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