Comment: Rock bottom Labour really are listening, but only to themselves

Reflecting on the latest set of disastrous election results for Labour, two of the party’s more outspoken individuals offered possible solutions.

Sir Keir taking a stroll in Birmingham last week with Mayoral candidate Liam Byrne, who lost, and deputy leader Angela Rayner, who he has since sacked as party chair
Sir Keir taking a stroll in Birmingham last week with Mayoral candidate Liam Byrne, who lost, and deputy leader Angela Rayner, who he has since sacked as party chair

For soon-to-be former Unite boss Len McCluskey, a return to the vision of Jeremy Corbyn was swiftly required. Sir Keir Starmer was already a busted flush and it was time to bring true socialism back, he opined.

Lord Adonis agreed that Sir Keir’s time was up, but it was the victorious majesty of Tony Blair that Labour needed to invoke in order for the party to become electable again.

They may well be right that Sir Keir isn’t the one, after all he looked and sounded like a broken man in the interviews he clearly didn’t want to do after his party had been battered in Hartlepool.

But like the vast majority of Labour politicians and officials, neither of them have a clue how to make Labour electable again.

Labour’s problems are many. The party is obsessed with pandering to members’ demands to the point where the wider electorate is ignored and often patronised.

It professes to be the party of the working class, yet peddles a London-centric worldview that makes such a sentiment seem laughable.

It is a sad indictment on Labour’s current state that the most enthused many of the party’s MPs have been over the last 12 months was when statues were being pulled down.

All of this partly explains why the Conservatives are now miles ahead in places such as Dudley, Walsall and Cannock Chase, and why Labour has lost ground in strongholds including Sunderland and Sandwell.

It certainly doesn’t help that the party keeps on making the same mistakes, over and over and over again.

Take the election for West Midlands Mayor, for example.

In 2017 they picked a career politician in Sion Simon, who ran a campaign so atrocious that it was almost as if he was trying to lose.

Having lost to Andy Street, Labour came up with Liam Byrne for this year’s election, another career politician who in his time as an MP in Birmingham’s most deprived constituency has achieved nothing of note.

Mr Byrne’s campaign was possibly even more wretched than the 2017 debacle (which he also worked on, incidentally), so it was little surprise that he slumped to a heavy defeat.

Meanwhile up in Hartlepool – where 70 per cent of people voted for Brexit – Labour put up staunch Remainer Paul Williams, who had been turfed out of another big Leave constituency Stockton South in 2019.

Same old Labour of the past decade, always saying that lessons will be learned, but never actually learning anything.

Heading into these elections, Labour’s main plan of attack was to hope that enough voters would be appalled by the BBC-led uproar over the redecoration of the PM’s flat.

If that is all Sir Keir has to offer, then he might as well give up now.

Here’s one lesson the Labour leader would be wise to take on board, should he stick around long enough to fight another day.

Never think you have reached rock bottom, because there are always deeper depths to plumb.

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