Saturday, 8 May 2021

Labour's Hartlepool debacle

CAPX has an interesting piece on Labour's Hartlepool debacle -

The modern Labour Party, packed to the rafters with radical student activists who specialise in undemocratic thought-policing behaviour and indulge in overzealous forms of identity politics, is unmoored from the traditional, undemonstrative views held in many English towns. Youthful Corbynites in the parliamentary party such as Zarah Sultana and Nadia Whittome may be wildly popular in their hard-left echo chambers, but their brand of social media savvy student politics is totally alien to places like Hartlepool. The fact that some on the Labour left genuinely see these MPs as the future of the party speaks volumes.

A sound analysis in my view, but it doesn't really explain why Labour lost so badly. However this part of the piece corrects that.

In contrast the Tory blueprint is clear, simple and unburdened with much ideological baggage – win the hearts and minds of as many pro-Brexit voters as possible through an ambitious economic plan for reducing regional inequality, pushing back on the excesses of identity politics and framing itself as an optimistic, patriotic force. Creating a well-ordered immigration system and reversing previous Tory cuts to frontline policing are two key policy areas for shoring up cultural conservatives who value both the stability and security of their local communities.

To my mind, the key word here is optimistic. Maybe this is the second part of Labour's losing equation. Boris Johnson certainly comes across as an optimistic leader and this appears to be important. It's something I tend to underestimate, but optimism certainly provides a stark contrast between Johnson and Starmer and the contrast certainly spills over into their respective parties.

Something to consider when assessing Boris Johnson perhaps. Easily dismissed as style over substance, but style wins elections. As we have just seen.


Scrobs. said...

Luckily style is also associated with the Greens and the Libdems.

Style got them 358 and 349 votes respectively, so they have a little bit to learn!

Mind you, I still think wearing sandals with socks is very, very comfortable!

Sam Vega said...

I haven't noticed Boris pushing back against identity politics. His ethnic minority cabinet members and MPs have been doing so, which is great, because it shows the issue is on the radar, and they have a strategy.

But the strategy is not bold enough. It is motivated by fear. Boris and other ministers are keeping their heads down on this because they don't want to appear racist, transphobic, etc. I think actually going on the offensive would be a vote-winner. Defund lots of university courses. Review the school curriculum. Ditto the criminal justice system, and repeal or amend the Equality Act. Make the case that he has no objections to any type of identity, but that weaponising it will not be tolerated.

A K Haart said...

Scrobs - it boggles my mind to think that there are people who vote Green. Maybe we should do our bit this summer by walking around in sandals with socks and a Greenpeace T-shirt. That should sink them.

Sam - I agree, the strategy is not bold enough. This government still seems to be bound by its own social environment. As if the chattering classes have too much influence and there is not quite enough cool political calculation to cut through it.