Have a look at the part of this leaflet issued to new members by the Labour Party, overseen by general secretary Jennie Formby. Literally no mention of Labour general election victories since WW2 and no mention of the only Labour prime ministers since then, namely Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair. All Labour did, according to Ms Formby, who – and it’s time to put the boot in here – is the mother of trade union baron and Labour fixer Len McCluskey’s child, was to deliver the national minimum wage and introduce the Human Rights Act. Jeremy Corbyn’s great achievements were the Labour Party having half a million members, losing the 2017 election to a robot and, in 2019, overseeing the worst election performance since 1935.
Last night, I attended my first local Labour Party meeting for many years. I am still trying to get my head around the state of the party. There was certainly a level of acceptance of Labour’s problems from some, there were still feelings of shock (why?) and, it must be said, there were those who clearly want the Corbyn project, whatever that was, to continue. Labour’s leaflet unquestionably comes into the latter category.
The truth is that the comrades, the basket case hard left, still put political purity above winning. To some – to many? – there can be no compromise. If Labour cannot win as some kind of 1980s tribute act, campaigning on policies – or rather slogans – that have been decisively rejected by the electorate, not least in 2019 when voters knowingly elected a liar, a shyster and a huckster as prime minister. If it ain’t working, don’t fix it.
It is time to not just remember but to celebrate the achievements of Labour governments. When it comes to Tony Blair, instead of saying, “But yes, but what about Iraq?” to recognise the stunning achievements of New Labour. Britain was a better, fairer, happier place from 1997 and things did get better.
There is nothing to celebrate by being in opposition. To continue the absurd cheering on of Jeremy Corbyn is nothing short of a political sell-out. Labour can do nothing about anything in opposition and when the opposition has been as bad as Labour under Corbyn, we need to look back at what Labour did pre Corbyn and forward to what Labour can do again.
Labour does not need to be a “broad church” of opinion. It needs to be a dynamic, modern, ambitious party, offering not just fairness and equality but also rewarding and encouraging aspiration and ambition. Nothing, as they say, is too good for the working class, whoever they are. We can have both, as Labour proved from 1997.
The comrades, for some bizarre reason, are shy of Labour’s achievements. We know why. They hated New Labour which won, but they love the yesterday’s failed ideology as expressed in the most vague terms by Magic Grandpa himself. This, in case you don’t remember, is what Labour actually did in office. Not bad, is it?