Let's be fair, it's not a great time for Labour. Social conservativism and UKIP are eating their votes in the North and a resurgent liberal metropolitanism and the Liberal Democrats are doing the same in the South, and it seems Labour have no place to turn in their bid to escape electoral oblivion. The doom-mongers suggest Labour is finished completely, unable to appease both their social conservative Northern and their liberal metropolitan Southern bases, and to an extent they are right. In 2020 Labour will not win. This month's by-election in Copeland they will not win, whatever way they pitch themselves.
Yet the path Labour must take; the base they must appeal to; is remarkably clear, to me at least. Labour must well and truly reaffirm their commitment to liberalism and to Europe if they are to survive long term. Yes, they will lose some seats in their Northern heartlands. Yes, they will lose the General Election in 2020. But, no; they will not be electorally annihilated forever. For one, they'll hold their seats in London and other metropolitan areas instead of handing them to the Liberal Democrats.
With a base in the South to build upon, Labour can once again vie for government once more in 2025. As the full effects of Brexit become clear, the lies that UKIP and many Tories sold to the electorate show themselves, Labour can be the voice of reason, of I told you so.
The North will come rushing back to the party that put common sense and economic facts over petty nationalism. Labour will once again be a credible force, and prevent a Tory one party state.
The alternative is for Labour to jump into bed with the Tories and UKIP in their denunciation of the progress the world has made since the Second World War. In doing so they may well stem some of their losses in the North, but they'll lose their long term hopes of government in the process. After the reality of Brexit becomes clear Labour will be blamed as much as the Tories and UKIP will be; for not standing up above the lies. That means no long term recovery, no return of the lost voters’ long term; in short an eternity in opposition, possibly worse than that. All of that simply to lose less badly in 2020, hardly a price worth paying.
So when Burnham and other figures are gambling the future of the Labour Party on the social conservatism that will only make a brutal loss mildly less brutal, let us tell them no. No, we do not want to turn back the clock to the days of empire. No, we do not want to scold foreign expats for choosing to build their lives here. Only Labour can stop a Tory one party state, but they'll have to cut their losses in the North and 2020 to do so.
Labour will have to temporarily lose the North if it wishes to govern again | Callum Gurr Reviewed by Student Voices on 20:10 Rating: