UK Labor lost Brexit, then reversed course away from extreme leftism

UK Labor lost Brexit, then reversed course away from extreme leftism. By Maurice Glasman.

Brexit was the fault-line that destroyed the Left and created a one-nation Conservatism that would push Labour back to its progressive comfort zone in the big cities, sealing it off from the small towns and working class heartlands forever. …

[The Tories] didn’t notice when [Labor leader Keith Starmer, the man in the mask sitting alone on the frontbench opposite,] said that the issue of Brexit had been resolved and Labour supported leaving the EU by the end of the year.

  • The biggest issue in British politics had dissolved into a previous era and the Covid response was centre stage.
  • They didn’t notice when Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked and all links with the Corbyn camp were severed.
  • They didn’t notice the hundreds of letters of suspension that went out to people who had said strange things about Jews.
  • They didn’t notice that he was writing articles on VE day in the Telegraph, on Memorial Sunday in the Mail and whenever he liked in the Sun — an act considered treachery by Labour leaders for more than a decade.
  • They didn’t notice that he was tapping into a form of modest Labour patriotism that once had deep roots in the Party, and still does in the country. …

Tuesday’s speech was the first time that Starmer could speak directly to the nation about who he was and what he stood for. Labour is under no pressure to develop a manifesto, it needed a general direction of travel, a sense of mission and of vision. A sense of the temper of the man who was leading it. And he seized the opportunity to express the ethics of a profoundly conservative person in a way that no member of the Conservative front bench possibly could.

His credo was that “the greatest contribution we can make is to care for one another”. This puts relationships at the centre of it, and to emphasise that, he followed it up with the wish to live in “a country in which we put family first”. He actually used the word joy and family in the same sentence — I can’t remember any other Labour leader doing so. He spoke about Grandparents, and sacrifice, care workers, cleaners, shop workers, life savers.

He spoke about trust being lost and concentrating on security, jobs and community. He concluded with the thought that “the conservatives don’t conserve very much”. Which has the virtue of truth.

He did talk of a plan. It was related to the economy and skills. He spoke about a partnership between businesses and trade unions in a clean economy that “didn’t force people to move hundreds of miles to find a decent job”. The idea of regional economic renewal based upon a partnership between business, workers and the state was precisely the ‘plan’ the Government was elected on. Starmer’s stress on the “everyday economy” gives a clue to its future development.

Who would have predicted this reversal of Labor’s direction while Corbyn was still leading?

If the US left lose the US election decisively, and acknowledge it, perhaps they too will abandon their extremist edge and move back towards where most of us are.