Labour has stepped through the looking glass

by John Slinger

Imagine if David Miliband had won the Labour leadership on 2010 and had taken the party to the right of Tony Blair, or even just continued where Blair left off in 2007.

Imagine if he’d led a centralised operation focused on the theorising and advice of a small group of advisers.

Imagine if he’d turned out to be an unpopular leader who had stuck to his central message that Labour needed to move to the right, entertain radical reform of public services, tackle the deficit through cuts and be avowedly pro-business, even though many commentators and many in his party thought that the cost of living crisis and pre-distribution were more important themes.

Imagine if he’d made some major tactical and PR blunders but that he managed to keep the party united and left-wingers had remained supportive and loyal (if ultimately unconvinced).

Imagine if he had stuck to his key narrative on the deficit and business before switching to the cost of living crisis with just a month to go to polling day and put it on page one of the manifesto.

Imagine he’d been level pegging in the polls for a year but in the end, led the party to a crushing and surprise defeat.

Imagine if, in the aftermath, rich backers from the right of the party were saying threatening things about leading left-wingers and spending their money to sign-up non-members to sway the next leadership race.

Imagine if his supporters, the so-called “Blairites”, argued that we lost because David hadn’t been allowed to be “Blairite” or right-wing enough and had been prevented from doing so by the lefties even though the lefties had been loyal.

Imagine if the right foisted an extreme right-wing candidate on the ballot and coalesced around him or her?

Imagine if silky voiced right-wingers took to the airwaves and spoke with utter confidence about the rectitude of their cause as if they’d won the election.

It’s hard to imagine but if you switch “right-winger” for “left-winger” then this is the Alice in Wonderland world being constructed by some in the Labour party now.

Sadly, it’s not fiction.

John Slinger is a strategic communications consultant and Chair of Pragmatic Radicalism. He blogs here

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14 Responses to “Labour has stepped through the looking glass”

  1. John P Reid says:

    And imagine if a centre left blogger or someone described as on the right of old labour like a fan of Wilson or Denis healey wrote up to, labour uncut, saying that anyone who disagreed with this Analysis, was secretly a Trot,or should go off and join the SWP, and blamed the Morning star, for causing people to not vote for us, then formed a website, Make jeremy Corbyn the SWP leader,plus a load of new youngster joined didn’t know the history of our defeats in the 2010 election as being ,too authoritarian , and said we should have 180 days detention for arrest over terrorism, and then blamed the electorate for not voting for us,saying the public (who voted SWP)were mistaken for not wanting a even more blairite party, and any criticism, of a blairite is replied with,shouldn’t you be expelled, infiltrator and join TUSC

    And didn’t realize the endless criticisms ,based on denying the centre ground had shift.

    The irony is over on labour list, the bloggers, when told that we swung to the left,and Corbyn,or Bunrham,or now even Wtson won’t win it back for us, shout ‘tory’

  2. Matthew Cole says:

    I chuckled. 🙂

  3. Dave Roberts. says:

    Actually John, I think those who pose the ” not left enough ” argument will mostly be found on Left Futures.

  4. AMBxx says:

    This Tory’s for Corbyn 😀

  5. Ex labour says:

    it’s very sad to see and hear some of the utter tripe coming from the loons on the left of the party. Apparently, we the electorate, were unaware that we really wanted policies that were far more left wing. Their logic defies belief. Some of the things written on Labour List are utterly bizzare.

    Surely they cannot be so dense as to think a crushing defeat was the fault of the voting public……but there again they put Corbyn on the ballot.

    I feel a Michael Foot moment coming on.

    Bye bye Labour.

  6. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Humpty Dumpty Labour sat on a wall
    Humpty Dumpty Labour had a great fall
    All Corbyn’s lefty policies and all Corbyn’s lefty union members
    Couldn’t make Humpty Dumpty Labour electable again.

  7. Salisbury says:

    A big opportunity looms for the Lib Dems if they care to take it.

  8. Rallan says:

    Looking at the Labour Party from the outside is like watching a badly dysfunctional marriage approaching its final crisis point. Talk of a broad church, unity and loyalty isn’t fooling anyone. There are huge irresolvable contradictions between the “wings” of the Labour Party.

    Why don’t you just get on with the divorce? Put everyone out of your misery. Maybe let the Labour Left keep the Labour Brand, and the apparently unloved Blairites form a new Liberal party with the ruins of the LibDems.

  9. Tafia says:

    The rumours within the Labour Party of suggestions within the leadership that it completely splits into three totally separate Labour parties – one each for England, Wales and Scotland, persuing individual policies for each of those areas, up to and including Labour Scotland becoming pro-independence and Labour Wales persuing a more devolutionist position are I am assured, 100% true.

    They feel in the upper echelons that a Britain-wide one size fits all party persuing unionist/national policies is doomed to fail from here on in irrespective of who wins the leadership or whether they stand still, move rightwards or move leftwards.

  10. swatantra says:

    Yep! Liz must the Alice character and Yvette the Queen of Hearts and JC surely the White Knight and Andy the King of Hearts. The Labour Party is in fantasy land, again.

  11. John P Reid says:

    The deputy leader campaign is more interesting, a Cooper /Bradshaw teams about the best we can hope for

  12. Ho Hum says:

    But since Cameron has now, with the Living Wage, well and truly claimed the mantle Heir to Blair, and since the Tory right seem unable to do anything about it, where now for the forces of Balirism within Labour, even if they were to defeat McCluskey et al and retake control of the party from the Dinosaurs of the left?

  13. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “Labour Scotland becoming pro-independence”……..

    That’s the end of Labour then – they seem to have forgotten there already is an independence party in Scotland.

    Why would Scottish folk vote for a party that has even been rejected in England, tarnished by the Iraq war and responsible for trashing the economy which has created the austerity we now have to deal with.

    So funny…Labour pushed through devolution for Scotland. We were told by George Robertson: “A Scottish parliament inside and strenthining the UK would kill the SNP because the majority of people in Scotland want control of their own lives, over domesticate affairs but don’t want to wretch Scotland out of the United Kingdom.

    How wrong could Labour have been? – Labour the architects of their own downfall.

    Labour…….Disunited we stand – disunited we fall.


    On a brighter note!

    Isn’t it wondeful that we British folk South of the “border” have credible alternative parties to vote for.

  14. John P Reid says:

    Roland, I thinks it’s more like the left are the mistress,who’s desperate to get the husbands name nd make him a widower.
    As for Blairites going over to the liberals, is it a case of they should do it, but they shouldn’t take 4 million votes wither the way the SDP did

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