Socialist Resistance in the UK ponders the train wreck that is the Labour election results. First off, as an American, it’s nice to see class interests discussed. Here in the States we of course do not have social classes, as everyone who isn’t wealthy is a “temporarily embarrassed millionaire.” But I jest. Of course we have classes. Pretending otherwise is foolish. And a fine trick by the rich to confuse the rest of us. However, back to the main point. How did Labour manage to lose so badly and what comes next?
Corbyn campaigning reminded me of the disastrous Mike Dukakis campaign against GHW Bush in 1988. It’s fine to be moral and principled. But when you’re on your back on the ground and getting curbstomped, you need to fight back. Dukakis didn’t do that, and got obliterated. And I didn’t see much fire or counter-attacks from Corbyn. Politics can be bloodsport, and if you aren’t the hunter you may be the prey.
The Labour Party may be about to get ripped apart on whether Corbyn was too far left. Or not far enough left. Or a victim of right-wing character assassination. I will say if large parts of UK working class voted against their class interests then maybe a new definition of class is needed and to figure why they voted that way.
Is the Labour debacle a message for the US left and Democratic Party? Maybe, however Joe Biden, who is as centrist as can be, remains steadily ahead in the polls. He pulls more votes from swing voters and independents than any other Democratic candidate.
I like Warren and Sanders more than Biden. However this is a must-win election. Warren’s numbers recently went sharply down after she pushed hard for Medicare For All. Voters in the swing states were polled on this and they absolutely hate the idea. They want private insurance and Warren’s idea is a deal breaker for them. So, perhaps the best way to win in 2020 is for the Democrat to not be woke. After we win, then yeah, we can be plenty woke.
UK breakup coming?
In the end the ruling class acted in their own class interest despite their dislike of Brexit, the working class in the deindustrialised north ignored their class interest and bought into the Brexit and the “taking control” rhetoric.
The SNP now holds 48 seats and is stepping up its demand for independence in an explicit rejection of the wave of English chauvinism. In the north of Ireland the DUP is now outnumbered by pro-remain MPs, prompting the leader of the unionist Alliance Party to say “it is almost inevitable that there will be a push for an Irish unity referendum.”
Britain, however, will be out of the EU by the end of January.
What could have been done differently?
First of all the decision to hold the election before a referendum was a disaster, coming as it did before the struggle in Parliament for a second referendum had run its course. The initiative for it was made by the Lib Dems and the SNP who jumped ship and left Labour with little option.
Second, Labour should have adopted and campaigned for a second referendum at a much earlier stage and made the case for retaining the benefits of EU membership while setting out ideas for reforming the organisation.