Headline News » News » Op-Ed


September 15, 2015   ·   0 Comments

So in between getting into scuffs on Twitter I am going to do my annual post. Do I think Corbyn’s Labour can win in 2020? That’s a big question about something five years in the future. The short answer is that he is as likely to win in 2020 as he was to win the leadership where the odds were more firmly against him. It’s all about the challenge of extending this movement in the face of media onslaught. Getting elected leader was a walk in the park compared to what will come, and in the first headlines after the weekend we have seen an idea of the kind of thing that’s going to go on.

I see a lot of people talking about the facts, the statistics and “where are the voters going to come from” – well,  we lost them,  and not to the Tories, contrary to popular belief.  There are things to get enthused about from 2015 results. The lack of engagement with the youth, the massive popularity of the SNP ( bear with me), the collapse of the Lib Dems, and the blokey-ness of Nigel Farage.  So we should start with the competitors for our votes. Because, let’s be clear with a majority of 12 – it’s not really the Tories.

The big initial challenge is the SNP. Winning them back in their entirety is not going to be easy but winning a sizable chunk of SNP back to where their new followers really want to be is not difficult. Scotland is socialist, clearly, but it is not clearly nationalist and whilst the SNP won overwhelmingly it is difficult to see how they can compete in the same way against an engaged Corbynist Labour. We can take 50% of those seats back with a clear strategy for Scotland.

The Lib Dems are interesting and we  should not discourage them at this stage. If they won all their marginals we would not be having a Tory government. It is this battelfied that Lynton Crosby exploited brutally . Hats off to him, he did a grand job. But it is soft territory and I doubt it can be won again in the same way. The Lib Dems will occupy the middle ground, as they historically have. As the Tories move further right and Labour stays left. This is old school territory. In order to win Labour needs a reasonably sprightly Lib Dems. Disaffection of both major parties will see the middle ground slide back to the Lib Dems providing they can get their act together.

UKIP. They will be dead and buried once we are out of the EU. In fact whichever way the referendum goes it is a disaster for UKIP because this is what they campaigned for and this will be done and dusted. It’s hard to see how they will recover from the referendum as a serious force. Either “they have won” or people will give up on them for failing to win the referendum.

The young and disengaged. Well they seem to be supporting Corbyn but we cannot take them for granted and also we cannot discount that there are a lot of the young  and disenfranchised out there who have supported the alternatives. SNP and UKIP for example. Only 55% of C2- D2 and the unemployed voted against 65% nationally. If we get 75% of them – as is the norm – to vote Labour it will be a massive boost.

So there are a lot of battles ahead on many different fronts and Labour  must not confuse tactics with strategy. It has worked incredibly to just be honest and straight about things. It works for Farage, for Sturgeon and it will work for Corbyn. Labour voters won’t be lost on Corbyn being straight, in fact they are coming back in droves and non-Labour in the categories above will warm to that.

There are some battles that we can postpone. UKIP until after the referendum. Lib Dems, until they sort themselves out picking up the Blairite slack. The pressing one is Scotland which will also be conflated by the EU referendum. Personally I would go for the traditional method of simply stealing their clothes, i.e Trident so that they seem less relevant to the independent thinking Scots.
The hurdles Labour have to win, when broken down, are not insurmountable and don’t require enormous effort. But they do require a focus and a strategy that the party cannot move away from. There is also the economic wild card – We are headed for a big slump in the next 2-5 years. If that happens, worse than 2008, then the only Silver Bullet the Tories think they have to stop Labour will be useless and unlike last time, Labour will be presenting clear alternatives that make sense to the majority of people who sit in the centre -left.


Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.