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Thursday, 12 November 2020

No Holding Back - And It Doesn’t

This evening, No Holding Back launches. What is it? This from Ian Lavery MP: it’s about “where Labour went wrong in the election of 2019, and how we can reconnect with … working class communities so that we are much better placed to win the election in 2024. We can only win the election with a coalition of voters right across the UK”.

Thus the problem for Labour last December: voters in Greater London and the big cities generally stayed with the party, but middling size towns and post-industrial areas in the Midlands and North did not. No Holding Back has listened to party members, former members, trades union members, and yes, those who deserted the party last year.

Some of the feedback may make for grim reading for those in the upper echelons of the party. But the authors know all about the effect that Labour’s stance over Brexit had on those areas where they lost seats. Ian Lavery saw his 10,000 plus majority in Wansbeck fall below 1,000; Jon Trickett saw a similar majority in Hemsworth drop to below 1,200; and Laura Smith lost Crewe and Nantwich, despite a committed and enthusiastic campaign.

Authors: Ian Lavery MP ...

And they tackle head-on the issue that cost Labour badly in 2019: Brexit, described as “the elephant in the room”. “Every single area we visited mentioned how Labour’s stance on Brexit in 2019 was a key reason why working people moved away from the Labour Party”.

Voters may have been sold a pup by the Tories and their press pals. But it is little use telling them that they are wrong to buy that pup. That looks like the comfortably off patronising those at the bottom of the pile. It also results in polling feedback which shows no more than 14% of Leave voters prepared to trust their vote to Labour. Despite his ineptitude, Boris Johnson’s favourability rating in the North is better than Keir Starmer’s.

... Cllr Laura Smith ...

In response to the question “Does Labour have a problem outside the big cities?” the response was around 90% “Yes”. In response to the question “Does the Labour Party need to reconnect with the trade union movement?” the response was over 85% “Yes”.

And although Labour’s overall poll numbers have improved of late, there is a growing sense of frustration among party and trade union members that there is little visibility of any fight being taken to the Tories, with one telling comment “I expected Keir to put up more of a fight for workers. Our government is not properly being held to account by the opposition. Footballers are doing more than Keir”. So is there a solution, a way out?

... and Jon Trickett MP

The short answer is that there are no quick and easy solutions. But there is emphasis on community organising, rebuilding membership in those areas where seats were lost, on talking to people and involving them, on understanding them and their problems.

There should be fewer instances of candidates parachuted in from outside, and if potential candidates find it financially challenging to stand, there should be the means of supporting them. MPs could form partnerships with candidates to enable them to learn before being suddenly pitched in to a campaign. Those are just some of the recommendations.

Also, perhaps the party should consider admitting it got the 2019 campaign badly wrong. That means the current leadership has to take its share of the blame. It needs to listen to those Red Wall areas and make them feel they matter. Then the journey home can begin.

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John Smith said...

The right of the party will not accept any of the blame, they are too busy trying blame the left of the party.
Suspending Jeremy Corbyn has done them no favours either. many people are well aware of the fact that the Antisemitism problem is being exaggerated for factional reasons, and many of the party are loyal to Corbyn and consider the suspension to be unjust.

The last 5 years have shown the party to be corrupt in many of its institutions, the right of the party seemed more intent on defeating the left of the party than they were in defeating the Conservatives.

It is no longer acceptable to vote for the lesser of two evils.
NeoLiberalism is the controlling force in all three of the major parties and the only differences are to what extreme that ideology holds sway.

Labour has died for me as a party, what it has shown is that even if the members elected a left wing leader, he or she would be destroyed from within, and therefore it is no longer fit for purpose.

There is no broadchurch anymore and the time has come for alternatives.

I will vote for a socialist party if one becomes available, but the Labour party is no longer an option, now or in the future.

Anonymous said...

It would be madness to try to shrug off the affects of Brexit and the utterly dishonest "antisemitism" corporate media campaign.

But there is now totally justified real disgust with the Starmer Quiff Gang and the internal sabotage of the McNicol/Matthews crew of quislings. The latter incredibly rewarded with looted party funds despite solid legal advice that the case was winnable.

Add in disillusion with the sickening betrayal and war criminality - check what THAT did to party membership - of the Bliar/Brown years and you begin to see this isn't just a mere matter of pr adjustment. The Labour right wing (laughably self styled "centrists") have rotted the party from the inside for decades, the most recent version being the worst by far.

People like Starmer and Nandy will never restore the moral founding principles of the Labour Party. Their CVs and current actions tell you why. They'll get worse too. For example, a couple of days ago the Starmer Quiff said the Bozo Gang should "pull themselves together" instead of properly confronting them with all - not just a couple - of their corrupt scams.

This, with the country quite literally on the brink of ceasing to exist while an ugly motley of seedy, suited up gangsters help themselves to what's left of the national economy.

The fact is this country has become a failed state at every level, with governance - including the Starmer Quiff Gang - in the hands of rotten to the core shithouses interested only in furthering their own wretched "careers" and robbery.


What price a country heading for a social catastrophe of cataclysmic proportions? All to line the pockets of a few insane thieves and hypocritical charlatans.

How to Lose an Each Way Bet on a Two Horse Race said...

Note also that pro-leave Dennis Skinner lost his seat to a Tory.
There is no way that a political Party can please all with the matter of Brexit.
If people in The North resent London yet support the tiny rich elite who stand to profit from leaving the EU, they are way beyond reason.

Anonymous said...

This all makes a lot of sense. What Labour really need to figure out though is how to reconcile the rampant racism and xenophobia that runs through many of these ‘northern towns’ (and I speak as someone who lives in one of them). I’m not trying to make horrible generalisations about northern working class people, but there is a real issue here that Labour need to figure out how to confront without just telling people “you’re a racist you are” - how do Labour persuade these folks they have far more in common with (and excuse my massive sterotypes) Polish plumbers and Pakistani taxi drivers than they do with the privately educated Tory MPs who have been parachuted into these constituencies?

Anonymous said...

(same anonymous as 18:11)

Also it is utterly depressing that 2 of the 4 comments on here are more focussed on continuing the infighting in Labour than figuring out how to win back voters.


76% of LABOUR Party is now middle class so austerity and the lived experience of working class communities groaning under austerity and never ending cuts to their services, is not part of their world.
Council cuts annually for the last ten years played a major role in Brexit as well as de-industrialisation in terms of how working class communities perceived their local economies. Plus in 2017 election the "Red-Wall seats began to crumble but a southern-centric leadership allied to privately and public school educated advisors refused to see it.

Anonymous said...

Ian Lavery and his 'people of the North' Blyth speech? Ugh. The big cities were pro-EU and he probably found his majority smashed by being pro-brexit in the area of the country that will be one of the hardest hit very very soon. Maybe Ian should have done a little more listening and a little less grandstanding. Labour did get Brexit wrong - they should have been against it from the start and campaigned from day one of the referendum for a second vote.

Unless I've missed something and Brexit has proven a fabulous idea and delivered all what was promised? We will see how that goes in the next two months.

Anonymous said...

Can we please explode the myth that it was the North which got Brexit over the line in the referendum? The pollsters will tell you that it was the tory voters in the south who turned out in sufficient numbers.

There are numerous analyses proving it, which the technique known as "5 minutes' Googling" would reveal:

And listening to Labour members is all well and good, but to win elections you have to win over people who aren't in the party. The Lincoln Project just proved that across the pond.

Anonymous said...

To 19:36.

Check out Starmer's actions since January. Then get back to me about unity.

In your own time.