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

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