The problem with most Labour election postmortems…

… is that they are focusing on the seats Labour lost in the 2019 general election.

At first glance, that may seem sensible.

But even if Labour had not lost a single seat in the election, it would still have lost badly.

Indeed, if it had not lost a single seat, and on top gained back all the seats it had lost through defections and the like, Labour would still have been 64 seats short of the magic 326 seat tally.

Worrying about why Labour went further backwards makes sense asĀ part of a postmortem. But if all you are worrying about is how to win back those seats lost this time, you’re still working on the basis of Labour losing again and again.

There’s a much weaker form of this problem the Liberal Democrats should guard against too. Wanting to figure out how the party can get back to its 2005 heights is understandable, but even at that peak the party only had one-tenth of the MPs in Parliament. (And the 2005 result came with its own problems too.)

For the Liberal Democrats at least wondering how to get back to fifty-plus MPs is sensible as a big step in the right direction, but it needs to be done in the context of how those MPs can both survive in a hung Parliament and be the basis of future majorities.



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10 responses to “The problem with most Labour election postmortems…”

  1. Some of the candidates in seemingly winnable seats looked very young so lacking gravitas and one in a seat we had often held throughout the latter part of the 20th century and most of the time before, was fought by someone who posted unpleasant (to put it mildly) twitter posts and lost a lot of support instead of gaining it as most candidates did. Was there that much of a shortage of suitable people ? To be fair some older ones were defeated. It was Brexit which both damaged the party in its traditional areas and helped it in newer places. We do not have to abandon remain as an idea but a referendum and 2 general election losses must be respected or we will lose respect and we need to move onto the issues which ordinary people really care about or the party will be ridiculed. The Conservatives have clearly become the English Nationalist Party like the Scottish Nationalist Party and will like them drive Labour out of its heartlands but it is all based on sentiment and fantasy as they no longer have any real contribution to make to political debate except for personal gain but need to stay in business somehow.

  2. Your warning about 2005 (just because a defector was against the Iraq War did not mean they were in tune with our principles) applies just as much however to recent events.

    Just because a defector was against Brexit doesn’t mean they were/are (if they hang around post election defeat) in tune with our principles now. Yet Remain mania seemed to blank out all else.

    As for your continuous strictures about the 62 MP’s elected in 2005 (or the 52 in 2001 or the 46 in 1997) it moved us a damn sight closer to achieving what we want than the 8 in 2015, the 12 in 2017 and the 11 in 2019.

  3. Of the 91 2nd places. Are we able to target 50 of them to build up a core vote in them .To obtain activists in those areas by knocking on doors and discussing our aims and policies .That goes with leaflets explaining same. A lot of door knocking effort into those 50 could reap rewards for the next election.
    A war chest should be built up to help fund the next GE.

  4. Until we move on from Remainia we will continue to appeal to only a tiny minority of the electors.

    A LIB DEM post-mortem had better show some rigour and honesty about the strategic failure of the 2019 election.

    • Unless we are wrong as to how damaging Brexit will be then we want to make sure that we are identified as the Party which was right in wanting to stop Brexit.

      That does not stop us campaigning on other issues.

  5. We should never give up on our internationalist principles, and the logic that leads us to being pro-EU.. However in planning our strategies we should stop looking at our own navels, and Labour are doing the same..
    We must not ignore that our system revolves around the binary election system and the preference by the media for a simple two-party state. That generates political tactics which aim to squash any smaller party and then to defend such action as ‘democracy’.
    What we should be doing is working with all other opposition parties to make reform the priority. Yes, it’s a long game but we shall never be the largest party in this system, the Lab/Tories and their media dominance will make sure of that.. but at this very moment the Labour Party should be able to see that too, and come on side with establishing a reform programme.
    Labour also look likely to stay in the doldrums for a while yet, fooling themselves that they will take power ‘next time’, but our growth will ensure that doesn’t happen.. Yet can we overtake them? Even when it looked likely, the off-shore owned press moguls ensured that our Jo was taken apart, and the frightener messages of the Tories were publicised and endorsed daily for free..
    Reform has to be our number one, and persuading others to that agenda is vital.. but lets start with holding the Electoral Commission to account for allowing a flawed and fraudulent referendum to stand, when it should have been declared void; and to have to justify why they dropped charges of illegal payments and over spending…

    • I agree totally with Peter Tyzack. Stay true to yourself, stand up for your beliefs, but learn to LISTEN and CONSIDER what your opponents say. Look for possible truths that must be addressed…

      For their integrity there are a few MPs I shall always respect: Barbara Castle, Mo Mowlem, Shirley Williams, David Penhaligon, Charles Kennedy, Paddy Ashdown, that very tall, toothy contender for recent leadership of the Tory Party – and Frank Field. Oh – and that affable Labour Lord who got his dog to write ‘Who goes Home?’ (At 89 names sometimes escape me – I shall remember in 30 minutes.)

  6. I certainly had doubts about some of the MPs from the Change Group that Jo welcomed into our Party. Just as the incoming President gets a copy of Mill’s “On Liberty”, I think that all those MPs wishing to join should be given a copy of Conrad Russell’s “The intelligent person’s guide to Liberalism” and asked if they would be willing to argue strongly for the modern Liberal principles that he expresses in it.

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