The election again

As the dust settles, Labour is embarked on one of its usual tugs-of-war, between the left and the right. It’s as old as Labour. Gaitskell vs Bevan. Benn vs. Healy.

Blair-Brown was the exception: a clash of personalities, not policies.

Milliband-Milliband.

But it is absolutely and crushingly irrelevant to the problem at hand.

Labour didn’t lose because it picked the wrong point on the political spectrum. Too Left? Too Right?No, just too dull. It lost partly because it didn’t inspire anyone – its campaign was based on waiting for the Conservatives to screw up.

But mainly, it lost because of the Lib Dems.

And the Nats.

Let’s deal with the Nats first. The Nats won because of the independence referendum. It created a momentum. The momentum didn’t stop with the referendum. There are thousands of disappointed activists, many of them young – the 45% – and the 45% won the election for the Nats. 45% loses a referendum but it’s a landslide in a general election.

Labour mostly lost because of the LibDems. Lots of LibDem voters either didn’t vote, or voted Labour. But they were in LibDem-Tory marginals. So as the LibDem vote collapsed, the Tories took over. The Tories didn’t increase their vote share by much over 2010. It’s just that they were by far the largest beneficiaries of the collapse of the LibDem vote. Disillusioned lib-dems didn’t switch to the Tories, they switched off. Even if Labour had targetted them, it is unlikely to have made much difference to the outcome.

I hope Labour gets some passion for real politics back. I am sure it would win with a charismatic leader on the left or on the right; I suspect its new leader will be Mr Umunna and that despite his being another shiny hollow thing he will win in 2020. Against BoJo.

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