Labour debacle remains far more serious than most realise

The Conservatives got a jibe in during the week that they were trying to unite the party while Labour was splitting up even among itself. We will see just how cocky the Tories are a year or two from now when they have collapsed the economy pursuing a completely pointless exit from the EU, but their point stands.

What is happening in the Labour Party is being described in terms of “splits” and “realignment”) – standard political talk, in other words. However, it is far from standard. The party’s MPs, activists and supporters are now three entirely different sets of people and the consequence is that the party has ceased to be a serious competitor for government.

Corbyn’s Labour is a mere left-wing pressure group now. This has serious ramifications for the Left, and for politics in the UK in general.

The failure of the Corbynites’ analysis is simple: they believe Labour is a left-wing party. However, it was never that. It was a centre-left party – i.e. a home for everyone from centre to left, not just left. Once it ceases to be that, it cannot seriously compete for office at Westminster. This does not mean it loses relevance completely – it will continue to compete for urban city halls across England and Wales and perhaps for office in devolved government in the latter – but it does mean it is not a political influencer at the same level as the Conservatives.

Indeed, as the Conservatives fail to deliver the “Hard Brexit” many thought they were voting for, UKIP will make a comeback to the same level of influence as Labour – and with a similar level of coherence.

The game has changed. Quite what the outcome of that change is, is anyone’s guess. But it will be a long time before anyone even slightly to the left of centre will be occupying Number 10 – and all democrats should be concerned about that.


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