If working class voters have lost faith in Labour, is there still a place for the party? And do labour still have working class interests at heart?
According to news sources, the popularity of the Labour party by the working classes is now at an all-time low. This is lower than working class faith in the Conservative party, and even UKIP! But for a party that was built on supporting the views and wishes of the working classes (those that labour!), if that support is lost then Labour will be losing its core voter-ship. But the result is not only that Labour have lost these voters, it’s that the same voters will now be ticking the ballot of a different party.
The typical buildup of political competition during elections has always been Labour on the left and Tories on the right. Until the disaster of the 2010 elections it would have been the Lib Dems in the centre. The issue they had in 2010 was the colossal failure of Nick Clegg, making promises he couldn’t keep to the nation’s young voters and then not making good on a single one of them during his four year stint in the coalition government. He in fact did so little, that I look back and just remember that we’ve had a Conservative government since that particular election.
I come from a working class background, and both my parents voted labour throughout my childhood. The difference is now that only one of them do. The other now votes UKIP. I am not scrutinising somebody’s freedom to vote and choose a party that they wish to support, all I am highlighting is that this change has come from somewhere. Be it more successful campaigns by UKIP, less successful campaigns by Labour, or the policies the leaders of the respective parties are claiming they will implement, somewhere down the line there has been a switch. Many could accredit Labour’s failings of late to the new leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and his leftist lean but regardless of its leader, Labour was to be crippled by Brexit anyway. Many Labour MPs decisions regarding Brexit contrasted the votes of many its constituents. Whereas UKIP MPs views tended to run in the same line as its own voters, as well as Labour’s. So if Labour’s MPs are conflicting with its constituents, are the party’s views still in line with that of its constituents?
For those who believe that this loss of confidence is in part because of Corbyn and the various coups and factions that have come to fruition since his takeover in leadership, you’re not wrong but you’re also not right either. Corbyn has had a mixed impact on the general public, to the stage that the campaign strategists for Labour have advised him against visiting the Labour/UKIP torn constituency of Stoke (dubbed ‘Brexit Country’), effectively saying that his presence will not aid voter-ship in the area. What also doesn’t help with the tit-for-tat mentality that Paul Mason (a passionate Corbyn supporter) seems to have had towards UKIP. It does your party no favours when schoolyard insults like ‘toe-rags’ and ‘scum’ are being used to describe political opponents.
To maintain a secure place on the political platform Labour need to become more airtight. If MPs within the party do not agree with their leadership then in my opinion it is them, and not the party leader, that needs changing. For the controversy around the public opinion of Corbyn, for the first time Labour actually have left leadership and not centre. You can’t argue that your party has lost its values by returning to its values! Just change party and let Jezza get on with it. We can only hope that the working classes realise that Corbyn is actually more on their side than any Labour leader I’ve seen in the last since the turn of the century, but if Labour don’t serve their purpose then utilise democracy to find the party that do.