10 delusions about the Labour defeat to watch out for
Which is itself delusional
1. THE MEDIA DID ITNo left-wing account of this defeat will be complete without a reference to the Tory press (bonus drink for “Murdoch-controlled”) and its supposed inexorable hold over the political psyche of the nation. Funny: the day before the election everyone decided The Sun was a joke and nobody reads newspapers anyway.The London Media were nearly all anti-Lsbour portraying\Miliband has hapless the idea that months of such vitriol has no effect is laughable . True the reverse effect happened in Scotland as people there saw it as a xenophobic attack in them Just as they saw the 2010 vilification on Gordon Brown,
2. THE ESTABLISHMENT STITCHED IT UPObviously related to (1). but with a wider scope. The forces said to be ranged against a Labour victory will be described as powerful and subterranean. They will include bankers.Harder to prove or disprove but the establishment more or less backed the Tories lies we are getting out of the recession due to their policies and contributed in the demonising of those on benefit.
It will be said that the Tories, in their ruthlessly efficient way, pinned the blame for austerity on Labour and Labour allowed it to stick. Clever Tories. Few will mention that the Tories were, for the most part, a hubristic and directionless shambles, divided amongst themselves, the authors of several howlingly stupid own goals that would certainly have sunk them had they not got so lucky with their opponent.
4. VOTERS ARE STUPID AND VENALYou will hear much wailing about the selfishness of voters, their hard hearts and closed minds. This tweet from Hari Kunzru expresses the contempt for ordinary people that eats away at the soul of many a bien penseur:
5. THE SNP STOLE OUR VICTORYIt is true that nobody, but nobody, foresaw the SNP tidal wave. But it’s not true that Labour would have won or even done OK without it. Labour saw a net gain of one seat from the Tories in England. One. Seat. One seat, in an election where everything favoured them. One seat, after five years of a shabby and meretricious government making unpopular decisions and a third party that virtually donated its voters to them. An epic failure.Well the NS is right here but expect Labour ti use it over the next five years.
6. LABOUR WASN’T LEFT WING ENOUGHMany of your drinks will be prompted by variations on this perennial theme. Labour accepted the austerity narrative. Labour weren’t green enough. Labour weren’t radical (which has somehow come to be used as a synonym for left-wing). Given that the last time Labour won an election without Tony Blair was 1974 it’s hard to believe people still think the answer is to move left. But people still do. I sort of love these people for their stubbornness. But I don’t want them picking the next leader.
The myth that Blair won in 1997 by abandoning the left persist. The Major government had limped on despite splits on Europe and Scandal after Scandal will this be repeated under a minority
Cameron Government with Europe set to dominate the mrxt two years for a start.
Rule number one of left-wingery: it is always, somehow, Tony Blair’s fault.But Blsir led the party in such a way that no honest socialist could see themselves backing Labour they have been replaced by the Red Tories and this will carry on under the next Blair Clone and this brings me on to
8. POLITICS IS TOO SUPERFICIALThis seems to have been Ed Miliband’s understanding of the problem. He made a speech last summer in which he bemoaned the primacy of image in modern politics. Then last Sunday he stood for the cameras in front of a giant limestone monolith. So perhaps he’s ambivalent. But undoubtedly we’ll hear his supporters declare sadly that we live in shallow times. A man can’t even talk about pre-distribution any more without being pilloried. This one is essentially a variation on (4).But its all too true from Michael Foot and his "Duffle Coat" to Miliband bacon sandwich the image of the leader of any party is sadly important and rather than a variation ogn ( 4) its really of (1).
9. ED WAS THE WRONG MESSENGERThis explanation will be expressed with ruefulness and come garlanded with references to the former leader’s decency and integrity and intellect. The thing is, they’ll say, he really wasn’t suited to TV (refer to (8) here). In person, my God, it was like Elvis was in the room. Now, this is a tricky one to stand by because the day before the election everyone agreed that Ed being weird wasn’t a problem any more. People who cling to this reason are committing the very sin of which they accuse the voters and media. Labour lost (mainly) because of the message, not the messenger.Loking at the Labour Party at the moment I can'r see any inspirational leader who can inspire people the way Sturgeon and Salmond have done in Scotland and to some extent Leanne Wood did in Wales (which may pay of next here). Perhaps its two many politicians who have spent their working life in politics . A careful groomed and manufactured personality ids no match for the reality.
Ed Miliband somehow ran smack into a wave of anti-political sentiment that David Cameron somehow managed to sidestep. Mystical visions of a new kind of politics rooted in the real lives of working-class people will abound.
The non-delusional explanation is simple. It was proffered, some time before 7 May, by a former Labour leader. When a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, you get a traditional result.
So basically the left should give up and lets have a rerun with New Labour where you get a result where the parties are indistinguishable .
Although a Plaid supporter this fills me with despair . Unless Wales wakes up and follows Scotland we are faced with a choice between Tweedle -Lab and Tweedle-Tory and the victims of a right anti -welfare establishment will be complete.