2017 General Election Round Up: Result Proves Corbyn’s Critics Wrong

Nationally the Labour Party made striking progress in the General Election. It punctured Tory arrogance by wiping out their majority in the Commons, it shocked the newspaper owners and hinted that their power has waned and it revealed the stupidity of many Labour back bench MPs who couldn’t and wouldn’t see that change was coming. It was the Labour Party manifesto and the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn that did it.

Why was Waveney result so bad for Labour?

That didn’t do Labour in Waveney any good. Remarkably Waveney can boast the biggest swing from Labour to Tory in the country (6.44%). Now Labour Party members are casting around for explanations. Was it the big Brexit vote, was it the large number of elderly voters, was it the rushed way the candidate was selected, was it their candidate’s defeat in the County Council elections? Was it “the bridge”?

Lowestoft Coalition Against the Cuts can contribute to the debate – the campaign was awful. Labour Party candidate Sonia Barker acknowledged that she was no fan of Jeremy Corbyn and it showed in the campaign. The Labour manifesto stated that taxes would be raised on the rich and on  corporations to properly fund the NHS and public services and it would borrow to invest in infrastructure. The message was clear, bold and innovative. That message had little place in Labour’s campaign in Waveney. On the NHS, for example, “We will fight against further cuts and closures” was simply tame and lame.

Corbyn’s secret visit

Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Lowestoft could have had a real impact. Instead Labour Party HQ  determined on a secret visit to stage a photo opportunity with 30 “reliable” party members as supporting cast. A golden opportunity to inject energy into the campaign and to let the electors see and hear Jeremy Corbyn was spurned. Why?

LCAC doesn’t know if a different campaign would have had a different outcome but the next election, and it could come at any time, has to be different. Importantly, Labour members and Labour councillors must publicly join and lead public campaigns against the cuts that are coming down the road, and for the big changes that have to be made. They must campaign to stop cuts, not just complain against them. More of the same won’t work.

One thought on “2017 General Election Round Up: Result Proves Corbyn’s Critics Wrong

  1. We in Lowestoft Socialist Workers Party recently issued a statement/open letter which tries to address the disappointment at the result here, but also, rather than indulge in recriminations, tries to outline a positive way forward. The text follows:-

    How Can Labour Win in Waveney?
    Corbyn’s earthquake has confounded the critics and commentators. For the first time in decades a serious repudiation of austerity, inequality, racism and war is on the mainstream political agenda. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party polled nearly 13 million votes on a 9.5% swing. This has transformed the political situation in this country.
    May and the Tories are on the ropes, depending on the neaderthals of the DUP to secure a majority, while the whole cabinet plots against each other.
    It is a commonplace to note how Labour’s huge, enthusiastic rallies, drawing tens of thousands of people have energised millions, especially the young, to aspire to real progressive change. This helped created the largest growth of the Labour vote since 1945.
    We in the Socialist Workers Party are enthusiastic about this development. We stand with Corbyn and his supporters against the detractors in the media, big-business, the Westminster bubble and, lamenably, even with the Parliamentary Labour Party itself.
    Having trashed the Labour Party’s reputation with their mendacious wars, triangulation and privatisation and provoked wide-scale anger, scorn and derision, even now the Blairites continue their plotting. Their weasel words insincerely offering unity disguise their continuing hope to destroy any prospect of Corbyn becoming PM. Clearly there is no case for compromise with these back‑stabbers.
    But it would be a mistake for socialists to expend all their energies in internal party manoeuvring. The Tories may be on the ropes but the fight against austerity, pay-caps and the NHS crisis cannot wait for May to fall.
    With Labour’s national successes in mind, we in the SWP share your disappointment with the failure to unseat an obnoxious Tory in Waveney. Any alleged short-comings in the Labour candidate cannot explain the result as weaker candidates were elected elsewhere. Neither can the collapse of the UKIP vote or the age profile here be the reason—both these factors were in play in other consituencies where Labour won.
    Where Labour did best they had tapped into the “Corbyn Phenomenon”: mass visibility on the streets; an unapologetically radical manifesto and a willingness to aim high, with a “whiff of insurrection”.
    Labour can do the same here in Waveney by getting on the streets, helping build a movement with others to fight the Tory austerity agenda and push for real change.
    We all need the whole left, in Waveney as in the rest of the country, in Labour and without, to unite to fight for these things today, just as we have united to fight war and racism before now.
    In this way, the reality of a serious fighting agenda is made tangible for masses of people and will enhance the prospects of a local Labour victory.
    In the immediate future there will be a Scrap The Cap rally called by Lowestoft Coalition Against the Cuts and Waveney Trades Union Council on Saturday 23rd September at 12 noon in Lowestoft Town Centre.
    On Sunday October 1st, there will be a National Protest at the Tory Conference in Manchester called by the broad-based Peoples Assembly for which bus transport is being organised.
    A clear and visible presence on these protests with LP banners mobilising your many newly‑won supporters would help re-establish the Labour Party’s relevance here as elsewhere.
    We in the SWP are not members of Labour, because of strategic differences about how to create radical change. Despite our differences, no doubt we can all get behind the fight to defeat austerity, inequality, racism and the Tories to create a better society for all.

    Issued by Lowestoft Socialist Workers Party,
    lowestoftswp@gmail.com facebook:@lowestoftswp tel: 07999 093258

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