Since David Cameron transformed the Conservatives into a moderate, “compassionate” party, Labour has faced two blockages to electoral success: its perceived credibility, and its appeal to nationalists and "floating" voters.
Credibility is instrumental to success. At home, Labour have been cast as unreliable, even dangerous, by other Parties – the Government often says both borrowing and immigration levels were too high. They are still reeling from foreign policy too; even Alistair Campbell acknowledges that the disastrous Iraq War led to the selection of the pacifistic Corbyn as Leader. Yet Corbyn’s leadership has swung Labour to a further extreme.
Vital ‘floating’ constituencies won Blair three elections. Cameron’s government, which favours gay marriage, grand-parental leave, and a thriving private-sector, are ostensibly continuing Blair’s domestic legacy. Centrism is responsive; pleasing swathes of the electorate. Corbyn’s fiercely ideological stances, which most Labour MPs fundamentally oppose, promote an introspective, out-of-touch approach to basic hot-button issues like defence and the economy.
Moreover Labour must confront the new nationalisms, manifesting in UKIP, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. These parties promote specific ideals, and since Parliamentary devolution, the Conservatives mainly seem to represent English constituencies. Labour are now as relevant as the Conservatives in Scotland, with one seat each. Remnants of working-class nationalists feel alienated by the Blair legacy, so Labour lacks the credibility of the aforementioned parties on issues relating to immigration and sovereignty.
Labour is undergoing an identity crisis, having alienated middle-ground "floating" voters and working-class communities alike. The former flocked to the Tories, the latter to the likes of the SNP and UKIP. Labour should listen to the modern voter, by being more progressive than left-wing. It must appear as a forward-thinking alternative to the Conservatives, instead of a protesting voice for a marginal group. Corbyn’s intransigence has ensured their defeat in 2020, at least.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS