political

This quote from a Labour constituency secretary sounds pretty grim for Labour’s election prospects

What makes a political party different from a pressure group is that a political party participates in elections. Which makes this attitude rather grim for people who think beating the Tories in elections is better than losing to them:

Garry Parvin, High Peak constituency secretary, reported an increase in membership from 100 to 463 – with 259 joining after the May election before and 30 September. “In the main, yes, they are Corbyn supporters,” he said.

Asked whether remaking the party to reflect leftwing values was more important to them than winning the 2020 general election, Parvin said: “Frankly, yes. There are a lot of ideologically driven people who feel that we’re going to lose anyway so we may as well lose on principle.”

One related factor which is worth remembering is that with the Tories now set to push ahead with plans to reduce Parliament to 600 MPs (probably), widespread boundary changes will force widespread reselections on Labour MPs, even if Jeremy Corbyn and his team put the dampers on deselection movements.

With Labour party members taking the line of ‘it’s better to be pure and be losers than to stop the Tories winning’, how many moderate MPs who are not of that view will find themselves struggling in selections against candidates which do reflect the attitudes of new Labour members?

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5 comments
TonyRobertson
TonyRobertson

Agree with grauniaddict, there is something going on here that is very dangerous for Lib Dems and our supporters and members will be drawn towards it if Tim Farron does not become more radical and less moderate. I am disappointed in Tim to date, too timid and seemingly looking for the middle of the road instead of the radical way. Missed a trick over trident and right to die.

grauniaddict
grauniaddict

There is more going on in Corbyn's Labour than these comments allow. It's not about "purity", it's about having a party which makes the case for what its members believe in - such as cutting Trident - rather than just saying "Oh, that's too difficult, let's play it safe and say what we think people want to hear." See Simon Jenkins' article in today's Guardian for an excellent summary - including how Blair failed to speak against Trident.  


If you make the case for good, left-liberal policies, then surprise surprise, often more people agree than you expect. The right-dominated media make such a noise deriding the policies they don't like that the rest of us can't hear ourselves think. That is the what the "new politics" is trying to overcome and why it is proving so popular.  


I heard Tim Farron making much this point in the leadership hustings but sadly he fell at the first hurdle with the line he chose to take on Syria. The LibDems will suffer even more unless they wake up to what is happening.

Peter Kemp
Peter Kemp

It is a fine balance between ideological purity and the 'real' politics of being elected and the world of compromise that brings. I agree with Tony below, Labour should return to its roots. It is our role to then provide a coherent opposition based on our principals

nvelope2003
nvelope2003

@Peter Kemp it was being based on our principals that led to the disaster of May 2015. Perhaps you mean principles ?

TonyRobertson
TonyRobertson

Labour really are in a hole. They either return to being a true socialist party which has more limited support or they try to ape Blair and continue along the road of being 'Red Tories'. Gaining power as capitalists with a conscience was successful if you term gaining power by being what you most oppose a success. Clearly many Labour Party members want their party to socialist as a first principle.


Having worked in the trade union movement for many years I have numerous friends who are socialists who left the Labour Party long ago. However, they are now rejoining because Labour seems to be returning to socialism. I have always felt for them as in recent times they have not really had a voice in the party they see as their natural home.

My view is that Labour should return to its socialist roots as that is where it really belongs and I say that as a Liberal who can't abide socialism,

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