If Labour Thinks It’s All About Brexit They’re In For An Interesting Surprise

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The post-election analysis within Labour seems to be thinking that it was all about Brexit. If only the party had done whatever it was that the voters actually wanted on the subject then they’d have been home free and clear:

The partyโ€™s general secretary, Jennie Formby, wrote to the national executive committee to say a full timetable for the leadership contest would be agreed, with a recommended start date of 7 January.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, threw their weight behind their long-term ally Rebecca Long-Bailey for the top job while blaming Brexit for the party losing support across the north and Midlands.

With endorsement from the Corbynite wing of the party, Long-Bailey is now the favourite for the job even though she has not formally declared her candidacy.

One problem here is that Brexit wasn’t a problem easy for them to solve. For they’re performing a straddly. Those working class ex-industrial seats which vote Labour tribally – or did until recently. Sure, they’re largely leave and being soft on Brexit meant losing at least some of them. But being hard for leave would have pissed off large chunks of the other part of the party, the metropolitan luvvie types. For whom the goodness and obviousness of the EU is as much a core belief as the other part of the party’s inherent knowledge that all Tories are bastards.

There’s not really a policy straddle that will cover both positions.

The other problem is Overton Window territory:

The metropolitan Labour Party lost contact with, perhaps stopped listening to, that bedrock vote. There was an issue large enough that people would change those tribal votes. It’s not all that different from the manner that Trump won those union votes out in flyover country.

In English terms, the change has been extraordinary. A Conservative elected to represent Bolsover, as has just happened, is as if Washington, D.C., elected a white Republican as mayor.

That tribal vote switched, at least in part. And the roof’s not going to fall in, we’re not going to have plagues of frogs and rains of blood. The world will continue to advance in some manners, turn to shit in others, at roughly the same pace as before.

That is, once a shibboleth has been broken it remains broken. Those northern industrial seats are now in electoral play forever. And it’s not going to be playing around with Brexit that wins them back but rather more attention being paid to the desires of those voters and rather less to the metropolitan concerns of gender, race and all that malarkey.

The base coalition that was Labour is breaking, if not already broken.

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Pat
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Pat

Plus it will change the Tory party. With 50 odd MPs representing constituencies where money is short the emphasis will move away from virtue signalling and towards practical improvements.

jgh
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jgh

It’s all about the base, ’bout the base, ’bout the base.

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

“The base coalition that was Labour is breaking, if not already broken.”

Labour had many, many decades of support because of their connection to those areas, and even after they started caring more about the liberal side, could rely on deeply held views.

If Labour think they can just get these seats back, they need to look at their demographics. Anyone over 40 was born after the peak of trade union membership. The number of people who are voting Labour out of nostalgia is falling all the time.

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

There’s some really good research doing the rounds on Twitter showing the drift away from Labour going back to before 2005. If I get chance this evening I’ll try and find it.

Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

Here’s a confident prediction — what Corbyn just did to Labour, 5 long years of Boris will do to the Conservatives. What that means for the future of the UK thereafter is anyone’s guess. Boris got about the same number of total votes as Mrs. May did in 2017. What swung the election was about 2.6 million fewer people voted for Labour (about a 20% drop). But Boris’s lot did not pick up many of those votes — Lib-Dem, Green, SNP picked up most of them. along with many of those former Labour voters sitting this one out. Now we… Read more »

Pat
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Pat

The Tories and Labour have long been coalitions. And for as long as I can remember the main reason for voting for one has been to exclude the other.
If, as looks likely, the Labour coalition is bust expect the Tory coalition to fall apart.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Boris slightly increased the Tory vote, which is no small feat when they’ve been (at least nominally) running the country for the last 10 years while they’ve been sorting out Gordon Brown’s shitshow. There won’t be a BXP at the next election

Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

Tory vote up only slightly since May’s 2017 debacle — even though there was a big 2.6 million drop in the Labour vote. BXP got about the same 0.6 million that UKIP got in 2017 — and since those voters are hard-liners, Boris’s BRINO is not likely to endear the Tories to them. The huge mistake Brexiteers made after the Referendum was thinking that their narrow plurality was the end of the story. It was not — win a battle, but the war goes on. Tories would be well advised to note that lesson, and not take any support for… Read more »

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

Here it is, I saw one description as the falling domino and it started after ’97. You’ll need to follow the link to see the graph.

NEW: inspired by
@p_surridge
&
@olhe
, I looked at how the class gradient in British politics has been weakening.

Labour’s loss of the working class is not just a recent Brexit-triggered phenomenon. They’ve slowly been losing ground to the Tories with this group for decades.

Snarkus
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Snarkus

Loss of traditional labour voters seems to be a common happening in the ruins of the West. Oz and USA did the same. In Oz, back in 1998 it was obvious the rusted on voter base was shrinking. On the gripping hand, soft left have been able to swing previously rusted on conservatives away from their tribal habits for a decade before in the labour 1980s wins. In short, more volatility, which IMHO, is actually needed to keep the elected reps more concerned about the voters than the party brown paper bag deliveries and maybe, juicy post parliament sinecures on… Read more »