Labour’s Long Road

Posted on May 6, 2021

As the by elections approach, it has been very interesting watching various columnists trying to work out why the Labour Party aren’t making inroads into the conservatives. In fact, they are losing ground if the opinion polls are to be believed.

There are several plausible theories but nothing that can be regarded as definitive. Therein lies the problem Labour are faced with. However, I did follow a thread that suggested with regards to former red wall areas driven on by Brexit, Labour should give up bothering. The theory being that until places like Hartlepool take their punishment, they won’t learn a lesson.

Hartlepool and Denialism

Let’s face it, Labour would have lost Hartlepool in 2019 if it hadn’t been for the Brexit Party splitting the vote. The tide had turned on Labour before this week’s polls. Johnson ‘Got Brexit Done’, so until they feel the impact of that, nothing will change. Even then it probably won’t. When denialism sets in, the chance of going back to ancestral voting patterns becomes increasingly unlikely.

The Brexit Party saved Labour from the Tories in 2019

Denialism is a formidable and cruel human condition. It reminds me of when a chap I used to work with said (half in jest) “I should have realised my wife was having an affair when I found those condoms in her glove box”. We have all suffered it at some point. It is when we invest a lot of emotional energy in a person or an ideology, then stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the emerging failings. We see it presently with people who believe that Jeremy Corbyn would now be doing better than Kier Starmer as a Labour leader.  


That’s not to say that Starmer is doing an outstanding job (he is struggling) but it is delusional to think that those who abandoned Corbyn in 2019, would now be flooding back. After all, they got what they wanted. An exit from the European Union in the belief it was our membership of it that made their lives so shit. Starmer is faced with the fact that these people aren’t coming back any time soon.

The other problem Labour have is an inability to unify. We could argue all day long whether it is the centrists or the hardcore socialists causing this ongoing self-flagellation and it wouldn’t matter. Until a leader is found to hold it all together, Labour is nothing more than a protest group with no power. There are those who would rather see Johnson in power than Starmer become leader, so he has his work cut out.  

Remainer Hatred

Finally, here’s another thing to consider. What if the people in those red wall areas don’t care if their lives don’t get any better after Brexit? What if they are just happy to see the lives of those in metropolitan cities who voted Remain, get worse? I am not saying they are all like that but a look at some of their social media groups demonstrates (despite a referendum victory) a rabid and irrational hatred towards remain voters. An attitude that says, “If I’m going down, I’m taking those bastards down with me!”

One thing is for sure. Cheering on Johnson, flying flags and trying to start wars with French fisherman, won’t make Britain a safer and more prosperous place.

Quite the contrary.

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