All the ‘what went wrong for Labour’ hot takes in one place

Corbyn, Brexit and a messaging failure on the policies are the main things blamed.

Since Thursday’s crushing election result, there’s been a spate of post-mortem hot takes.

We thought it was useful to put 16 of them together in one place and see what themes come out of them.

The two most common themes emerge as Corbyn’s personal unpopularity and Labour’s Brexit policy – which is considered either too pro-Remain or too ambiguous.

Several commentators also say that, while Labour’s manifesto promises are popular as individual policies, voters didn’t think Labour would or could deliver on them. Plus, there were too many of them and they came out of the blue – Labour should have spent years arguing for them. Nobody though said that they were too left-wing or radical.

Others make the point that Labour’s decline in the seats it lost goes back decades – with New Labour occasionally blamed for taking these areas for granted, failing to invest in them and parachuting outsiders like Tony Blair or the Milliband brothers into them.

Sienna Rodgers also makes the point that Labour’s hordes of enthusiastic activists are disproportionately London and big city based – perhaps partially explaining why the London vote held up better than Northern, Midland and Welsh towns.

  • Simon Fletcher, who ran Corbyn’s leadership campaign, blames the leader’s unpopularity and how individually popular policies were packaged together in the manifesto.
  • Caroline Flint, who lost her seat in the Don Valley, blames Corbyn’s unpopularity and Brexit.
  • Lisa Nandy, the Wigan MP who will run for the leadership, says Labour hasn’t listened to Northern towns for years. It should have focussed on buses not trains, for example.
  • Jess Phillips, who may also run for the leadership, says Labour isn’t trusted to deliver its radical policies.
  • Sienna Rodgers, LabourList editor ,blames the Brexit Party standing down, the effectiveness of the ‘Get Brexit Done’ message, geographical disparity of activists and ineffective messaging
  • George Eaton, of the New Statesman, blames Corbyn’s unpopularity, Labour’s ambiguous Brexit policy and a lack of credibility to deliver the party’s popular policies.
  • Duncan Thomas says Labour weren’t considered credible – voters thought they wouldn’t or couldn’t make peoples’ lives better.
  • John Harris says Labour lacks roots in its supposed heartlands and hasn’t got involved in working-class self help groups.
  • Nesrine Malik says many Leave-voters feel Labour/Remainers look down on them and accuse them of xenophobia.
  • Richard Seymour says Labour’s radical policies felt abstract because we’re not used to hearing about them.
  • Adam Ramsay says Labour failed to rage against the hated political system.
  • Aditya Chakrabotty says Labour has taken the areas it lost for granted for decades and Corbyn failed to reverse this trend.
  • Jonathan Freedland blames Corbyn.
  • Gary Younge blames a lack of message discipline and a failure to shift the debate away from Brexit.
  • James Mcash, a councillor in Southwark, says that neither Brexit or ‘too left-wing’ are convincing explanations – although he says he doesn’t have the answer himself.
  • Kate Proctor, of the Guardian, blames Corbyn, not making the case for long enough for the manifesto’s policies, Brexit and Labour’s frontbench being too London-centric.

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22 Responses to “All the ‘what went wrong for Labour’ hot takes in one place”

  1. nshgp

    1. Two fingers up at the electorate on the referendum
    2. Free policies, ignoring who pays.
    3. For the many not the few, is the philosophy of gang rapists.
    4. No consideration of consent
    5. Anti patriotic views
    6. Anti English nationalism
    7. Pro nationalism for others.
    8. Friends of terrorists
    9. Antisemitism
    10. Rubbing the noses of people with mass migration.
    11. Incompetence. Think Diane Abbot.
    12. Dithering. Trying to play both sides on Brexit.
    13. Living in a Westminster Bubble. Thinking that’s the world.
    14. Not a clue about value for money
    15. 220 bn a year going on the socialist debts – causes austerity, lack of investment, wealth inequality and poverty.

    There’s 15 more accurate reasons. Reading your list, its all presentation and zilch about content.

  2. Andy C

    I think all your people citing summary reasons for Labour failure omit that good people do not like anti-Semites and will not put them in power.

  3. Julia Gibb

    Amazing how this theme of respecting the Referendum is pushed. Scotland voted by a huge margin to Remain.
    Every day since the election I keep hearing “The North, The North”. You do realise that Newcastle is in the Middle of the U.K. Once again politics and geography relates to England.
    We have Neil Kinnoch on the Politics Show rabbiting on about Patriotism. Once again appealing to the old Empire mindset and fuelling rascism.

    In the interim if you must refer to the North of England can you consider how offensive that is to those in Scotland.

    I don’t remember all this coverage and discussion when Labour lost Scotland.

    Do Labour voters in Scotland join stick with the new English Labour Nationalists or move to the Scottish National Party.

    What will the Scottish Labour Branch Office do? Their votes at Holyrood this week regarding support, or not, in requesting transfer of power for a Referendum will determine their future.

  4. Andy C

    Oh, and for good measure, why would an electorate which loves the country install a leader who will not sing the National Anthem, nor attend a state dinner for a visiting democratically elected leader of the USA (at which presumably, he could have attempted to persuade that leader of the virtues of Marxism.

    Then again, maybe your people above also missed the fact that so many people are just sick of wokeness.

  5. Nye Attllee

    Its quire simple really . Labour are viewed as the NASTY PARTY

    You tell us the working class that we are bigots, fascists, brexshitters, thick , old and stupid, then wonder why we dont vote for you.

    The working class do not want

    To remain in the EU
    Woke , identity politics
    Middle class talking head kids telling us what to think, do and be
    anti semitism

    There fixed it for you. If Labour is ever to return to power and represent the working class you need to understand that the majority of working class want a job NOT benefits, an affordable lifestyle not government taxes, social democracy not extreme marxism, an NHS that is free to use but that works

  6. Jo Swash

    NATO/ 5 eyes immediate re-appraisal of a core member going rogue nation. Life might have been very much more dangerous here due to kowtowing to our enemies.
    A zombie parliament, a rotten speaker and a useless indecisive ‘opposition’ now means a Boris domination that might make Thatcher’s seem mildly brisk.


  7. randy fulcher

    Rather than concentrate on what went wrong, maybe consider the things Labour got right, and build around them.

    For instance,
    (1) i’ll get back to you

  8. Matt London

    What went wrong: the decision of a handful of “useful idiots” to nominate Mr Corbyn at all.

  9. Zarb

    When is Shami Chakrabarti going to be sacked. Her role in the publishing of the whitewash report into anti-Semitism really needs to be looked at. Either she lied and failed to report what she uncovered, or her investigation was a total failure. Either way, it means she lack integrity, or is incompetent, both of which preclude her from holding an important position such as shadow Attorney-General. You can’t hide Shami, we need to know whether you’ve hidden this or were just useless.

  10. ExLabour

    In traditional Labour areas Corbyn goes down like Nish Patel at a charity dinner. Telling 17.4 M voters, many of them Labour to F Off because we don’t care what you think. Or maybe it could be the old man himself with his anti British, pro-terrorist, anti-Semetic, tax and spend, back to the 70’s policies that pushed moderates to defect.
    I defected years ago so I don’t give a toss really, but the words ‘chickens’, ‘home’, and ‘roost’ spring to mind in this self inflicted, self indulgent episode in Labour politics. However, I see a Corbyn Continuity candidate being primed (Starmer, Thornberry etc)….goodbye Labour.

  11. Rishi

    Not promoting marriage was a bit mistake. The silent majority value the security of established family structures that Corbyn seemed to want to disband.

  12. David Brown

    Farage cost a lot of votes. Withdrawing from 317 Tory seats. Look what happened in Hartlepool. Against all the odds Labour won , the Tory vote and Brexit party vote was split. In my opinion he was bought. Corbyn has to go and quickly. This country will never elect a left wing government. We need to be in power to help the very people who depend on Labour. Corbyns stance on Brexit was ,well what was it ? I think Johnson will pour money into those northern towns who voted Tory. But for all that Johnson will tell one lie to many.

  13. James McGibbon

    The House of Lords, should be subject to a referendum.

  14. James McGibbon

    Any Labour Mp who actively voted against brexit and ignored the referendum result would be wasting his her time. The lost votes to the Tories wil remain lost unless a democrat is elected leader.

  15. 60022Mallard

    “We need to be in power to help the very people who depend on Labour.”

    I am sick of hearing that line trotted out like a broken record

    Just who are they? With the lowest unemployment rate for years, the gap between richest and poorest narrowing noticeably since 2010 and most pensioners I know – just ordinary people – looking to see where they will be going for their next short break etc. etc. and a Metropolitan centric Labour Party represented by “Do as I say not as I do” people like Polly Tuscan Villa Toynbee and Emily Lady Nugee Thornberry are you surprised there is a disconnect with those we like to think we represent.

  16. Tom Sacold

    Labour has lost its working-class roots. It has become a party for the metropolitan, middle-class, champagne socialists.

    Until we reconnect with our old traditional British working-class supporters and address their interests the Tories will always have an opportunity.

  17. Matt

    Yet not a single mention of anti semitism, although it didn’t take long for the likes of Livingstone to explcitly blame the Jews again.

  18. Blissex

    The Labour defeat is really not a big deal: there was a fall in votes, to abstentions and Brexit Party/Conservatives in the north mostly (and a small one in the south to LibDems), but the big deal was it was amplified in the north by FPTP, as Labour could afford to lose vote to the LibDems in the south but not to “Leave” parties in the north.

    The big deal, which our Mandelsonian Tendency entrysts have to explain, is why despite the FT, the Guardian, and Tony Blair himself guaranteed that most voters are “centrists” for “Remain”, and want a “talented” “popular” leader like Jo Swinson or Chuka Umunna, the LibDems still got less than half of the Labour votes, with a very “centrist” for “Remain” message, and zero hostility from the right-wing tabloids and huge support from the “centrist” for “Remain” press.

    I have read so many times the usual deluded or malicious mandelsonians claim that if Labour declared for “2nd ref” they would get a landslide from the now-55-60% of “Remain” voters, and after Labour did that, that if Labour adopted a “centrist” for “Remain” (not just “2nd ref”) message they would get a landslide or else be wiped out by the LibDems.

    What happened is that a tory for “Leave” message got a large majority of seats, and no landslide for the LibDems; all the ex-Labour (and ex-Conservative) “centrists” for “Remain” were defeated, despite their claims that their previous mandate was not due to the party, but to the personal support of their voters for their personal “centrist” for “Remain” message.

  19. 60022Mallard

    “Yet not a single mention of anti semitism, although it didn’t take long for the likes of Livingstone to explicitly blame the Jews again.”

    Almost at a stroke “The Nasty Party” crown has been transferred to us.

    At least with Jeremy gone the new leader will claim we have turned over a new leaf when the doubtless condemnatory report is issued, but will we have?

    Peerages for whitewashes might be a continuing embarrassment too.

  20. Agent Smith

    “Nobody though said that they were too left-wing or radical.”

    Well maybe political commentators thought that but the average centre-left voter certainly did not i.e. all those who voted for Blair and got a Labour in government in for once.

    It seems that many of these pundits have a blind-spot, they really don’t understand that Marxist socialism is a turn off for average voters. They don’t want to conduct what is essentially an experiment with this country’s economy. They want to tweak and adjust what we’ve already got.

    Until these people understand that, along with the left-wing politicians who peddle this ‘radical” and ‘progressive’ agenda they will be continually disappointed at each election.

    Radical is a scary word. Progressive always seems to be regressive when you look at the detail.

    Stop scaring us. Try words like ‘aspiration’ and phrases like: ‘keep more of your money to spend as you wish’. After all we work hard enough for it. Why on earth would we want to hand it over to a bunch of incompetent politicians or faceless bureaucrats to divvy it up according to their own political wishes?

    It’s not rocket science.

  21. Alice Aforethought

    One thing that always cracks me up is when people say the older generations don’t vote Labour because of their accumulated wealth. Conservative dominance is entrenched in this group well beyond just its “wealthy” element, however.

    Surely the better explanation of why older voters don’t vote for Labour governments is because older voters can remember Labour governments.

  22. Neville Ball

    In all the accusations that Corbyn and the Labour Party are antisemetic there is never any proof produced. The accusation is a lie and has been weaponised to destroy Corbyn and the chances of Labour getting into power. Yes there are other reasons to criticise Labour, but the antisemitism charge propagated by the Israeli lobby and magnified by the media has made it nigh impossible for a Labour victory.

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