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 as 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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