Monday, March 6, 2017

How to Destroy a Political Party (Jeremy Corbyn Edition)

Jeremy Corbyn speaking after the Copeland defeat - Getty Images
When David Cameron resigned as prime minister following the British membership referendum in the European Union, he was replaced by a very capable leader in Theresa May. The new Conservative prime minister has proven become very popular as she pushes through with the Brexit agenda. She also enjoys a strong economy, thanks to the policies of the Conservative government since 2010 and is a skilled debater.

As a testament to her popularity, the Conservatives scored a shocking by-election win in Copeland. New MP Trudy Harrison has defied the odds. She won a constituency that was controlled by the Labour Party since the 1930s. This only proves how popular May is in the eyes of the public. In fact, if she were to call for a general election this year (the next is suppose to occur in 2020) the Conservatives would win by landslide over Labour. A projection shows May's party with a majority of over 100 seats!

Not all of this, of course, can be attributed to the prime minister. Following Labour's 2015 general election defeat, their party went further to the left by making Jeremy Corbyn their leader..They took the Bernie Sanders route and it has been a complete disaster. In fact, it sort of reminds of me of the general election in 1983, when Margaret Thatcher decimated the older Labour leader Michael Foot.

Corbyn, who has no problem praising Karl Marx, is miles away from the British mainstream. His power base comes from older socialist who want to return to the glory days of Britain before 1979 and young people (much like Sanders here), but I honestly wonder at times if his supporters realize how out-of-touch they are. During the leadership election, a poll from YouGov revealed the following:

It's about as far to the left as you can get in British politics. Though a lot can change until the next general election, it is obvious that the Labour Party is in a crisis. Rather than move to the center, as was successful with Tony Blair in 1997 (and British lefties can complain all the way, but he did win three elections), they're basically looking to become irrelevant to the national conversation.

Some in the Labour Party have started to realize the problem. Watch this video by Owen Jones, columnist for The Guardian:

Jones is correct to recognize that Labour is in a pickle, but he made a misdiagnosis. The British people don't want a move to the left, as can be obversed by the YouGov poll. That's a drag on them. Voters aren't interested in socialism anymore, they're interested in pro-growth free market policies and they are concerned with the refugee crisis. Labour doesn't seem to be listening.

Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey is worried that there might not be any safe constituencies anymore for her party. The Conservative win in Copeland only proves that. There won't be any safe Labour seats in the age of Corbyn.

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