Hear the one about the ScotLab leader who thinks Corbyn unelectable?
Kezia Dugdale is a Scottish Labour leader who was not even able to win her own constituency seat in the recent Scottish parliamentary elections. A leader who didn’t bother to produce a manifesto for said election until after the postal votes were cast. A lady, whose most stunning achievement was to take Labour to third spot in a two horse race. A person who was deputy leader in 2015 when Labour won only one Scottish Westminster seat. There is not a sane person living in Scotland who would have predicted quite how badly Labour have performed under Dugdale; yet her view that Corbyn is unelectable is taken seriously enough by the Guardian to merit a massive headline on the top of the front page of their website.
As a lapsed Labour voter myself I might be able to lend a hand here. I can confirm that the reason Labour are not electable anymore is because sometime between 1997 and 2005 the public realised that Labour were not Labour anymore. They realised that Labour were pretending to be Labour while enacting policies that Thatcher would have considered a tad on the conservative side. As a consequence the Labour vote dropped by four million during Blair’s time in office. People decided that if the only game in town was conservative then they might as well vote for the party that is up front about it.
Labour have struggled to position themselves since the Blairite polish came off. The quote from Dugdale in the article shows just how lost they are.
Owen understands that to have a chance of implementing Labour values, we need to win over some of those who didn’t vote for us at the last election. We can’t pin our hopes on a leadership who speak only to the converted, rather than speaking to the country as a whole
It is not only Owen that understands that in order to get elected Labour will need to win over people who didn’t vote for them in the previous election they lost; a potato could probably grasp that concept. However, it may come as a surprise to Dugdale that a lot of the people that didn’t vote for them are those who are genuinely interested in ‘Labour values’. Those people who are now coming back to the party in their droves and turning up to meetings in their thousands to support Corbyn. The same people who left during the Blair years.
The phrase ‘Labour values’ when used by the likes of Dugdale is absolutely meaningless. What she means is that in order to get into a position whereby Labour can help their core working class base the party should appeal to the section of society who benefit from keeping that base down. She talks of appealing to the country as a whole as if the ‘Labour values’ of socialism and collective bargaining are ever going to be enhanced by pandering to the right. It’s a focus group ideology that positions Labour in the no-mans land that Dugdale has placed the Scottish branch. Right wingers are turned off because labour have a whiff of the left about them, left wingers are turned off because they reek of the right.
The truth is, unlike Dugdale who has failed more proficently than any Labour leader in history, nobody knows if Corbyn is electable or not. Lets face it, it’s not that hard to win an election, you can do it with less than a third of the popular vote. He seems to be doing ok considering the constant attacks from the spineless, convictionless drones that have for the last 20 years controlled his own party. He would be doing a lot better if his comrades hadn’t been a more effective foe than the Conservative Party.
The reason the Blairites are stabbing Corbyn in the back is not because they think him such a liability at the ballot box, they are doing so because they worry he actually may be elected. Corbyn is the antithesis of everything they believe in. There is a substantial and powerful element in the Labour party who think that Corbyn is dangerous. To them he is a grave risk to the economy, to the established order, to the defence of the country and even to world peace. They would much rather have a Tory in power than someone who would actually implement instead of just spin traditional ‘Labour values’. They know that elections are only won from the centre ground in a world where half the electorate are not energised to vote and the last thing they want is Corbyn providing the incentive. They are aware that if that vote comes out the system they benefit from is threatened.
They are blind to the searingly obviously fact that their way has failed because for decades it has provided nothing for massive swathes of the electorate. You can see it in Britain where a disillusioned section of society voted overwhelmingly for Brexit and in America where the ideas of Trump and Saunders are mopping up millions of those that have been left behind by the type of policies championed by the Blairites. Corbyn’s ideas, if supported could appeal to that lost demographic, many of whom are disenfranchised former Labour supporters.
Dugdale knows this more than anyone as the demise of Labour is more advanced in Scotland. If the party had embraced Corbyn from the beginning they would have started the process of winning back the many people with ‘Labour values’ who are now voting in their droves for the SNP. However, Dugdale does not have the vision or strength to overrule the might of her PLP overlords. Maybe when Corbyn wins the leadership contest she will have the sense and dignity to admit failure, step down and let someone with ‘Labour values’ have a go.
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