The Labour Party Needs to Reform and Fast! – Liberal Article
The Labour party is looking into the future filled with hope. Keir Starmer seems to be a strong leader, and the top of the Labour party looks bright-eyed and ready for the 2025 election.
However, Labour desperately needs those five years. The party needs ground-up reconstruction. If it doesn’t show new waves of efficiency, Johnson (or Rishi Sunak, if the rumours are true that Johnson will resign before 2025) will steamroll them.
Why are the Conservatives so strong? There are two reasons.
Firstly, it’s the Tories’ ‘middle ground.’ Not those at the top in the cabinet, and not those on the ground campaigning. It’s the backbenchers, the parliamentary assistants; the members of the party who make up the bulk of the party but who are not at the top.
Here, the Conservatives are extremely strong. They have pressure groups within their party, such as Women2Win, who move the party forward. They have strong veterans who still roam the fields of parliament, like Baroness Jenkin and Theresa May. You have Baroness Warsi tackling the Conservative’s Islamophobia. They might not be at the top, but they have the contacts and the willpower to keep the Conservatives strong. They don’t just rely on their cabinet for strength, they can draw it from below.
The Conservatives too are strong on the ground. The cabinet and their campaign teams come from the Brexiteers. From Dominic Cummings to the man on the ground handing out flyers, they know what they are doing. They have worked together and won elections. They are, unfortunately, very efficient.
The Labour party, on the other hand, are really missing this. During the Corbyn years, and now again under Starmer, we are seeing the roots of the party being ripped up. When Corbyn entered, he tried to redefine the party in his image. What happened next was an exodus of old veterans from the party. Even when you had brexiteers versus remainers for Conservatives, they were still the Conservatives. However, so many Labour veterans of the pre-Corbyn era have left. Therefore, Labour lost its middle ground.
The Labour election was seriously poor on the ground as well. ‘Only 25 constituency Labour parties achieved contact rates of more than 20%’ with the voters. They didn’t get out there.
Unfortunately, we see this happening again with Starmer. With Rebecca Long-Bailey gone, I can’t see any of the old Corbyn supporters falling to make up this important ‘middle-ground’. A strong backbencher core is needed to provide a good on-the-ground election approach. The top can chop and change easily.
On the ground, consistency is needed. With the change of leadership, the party has not only changed leader but has seen a complete overhaul in its identity and membership for the second time in five years! Such a major change isn’t healthy for political parties! The Tories have kept themselves consistent from the middle down, even with change at the top.
How to gain consistency? Build up the middle ground fast. Bring in new blood, and embrace the old. Leave succeeded as it took a chance on young campaigners who know social media. Labour needs them. Old faces have power, even Corbyn. Get them on side, and use them for fundraisers, events, and authority.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Point of Information
Now is the time to rebuild – a Labour Response
The Conservatives’ greatest strength is their ability to ideologically shapeshift. Unconstrained by rigid principles, they seem to wander nomadically across the political spectrum, their giant hoard of back-benchers content to be lugged from fringe to centre, then back again.
Labour, a relatively modern project in British political terms, has always struggled with change. New Labour may have ushered in the nation’s biggest post-war election victory, but Blair’s flirtations with the right threw the party into a tailspin, and it’s still recovering.
I must, regrettably, concur with Max’s explanation of Labour’s weakness. Although capably led by the quietly impressive Starmer, the party’s core seems almost hollow. Suffering from ideological whiplash induced by the twin storms of Corbyn and Brexit, Labour urgently needs to rebuild.
Starmer’s hands were tied with the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey. Although bound to cause a few grumbles, a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism is the only way Labour will regain the public’s trust. Sir Keir has the unenviable task of reconstructing a broken party. He knows as well as anyone that good leadership is useless without the heft and the numbers to back it up.
The next five years have to be a time of industry and rejuvenation for Labour. With a recklessly incompetent government embarrassing itself over and over again, Labour has the time and energy to focus inwards.
Starmer must bring a pluralistic attitude to his cohort, and be sympathetic to the various needs of the broad range of ideologies that now make up the party. Any attempt at division or exclusion may tip Labour over the edge.
Written by Junior Labour Writer, Max Ingleby
Labour certainly does need reform, but the Tories are not as perfect as you have made them appear – a Conservative Response
I admire Max’s pain in having to write this and openly admit that the Conservatives have done a far better job than Labour have ever done. Keir Starmer certainly ruffled some feathers with his shadow cabinet shake-up; appointing former party leader Ed Miliband, for example, which I would have to admit was a shock to myself considering his record.
An exodus, as you have described it, was one of the biggest mistakes Corbyn made. Surely when you become party leader, you want to flirt with your members to take your side especially if you’re not in power. Boris Johnson was able to drive key members of his party out for opposing his Brexit deal as he had such a strong majority. Staunch remainers never had a chance against a Prime Minister with such power.
To me, it seems that Labour set themselves unrealistic targets during campaigning and unrealistic promises in their manifesto. The Conservatives stuck to a simple message during the 2019 General Election which was “To get Brexit done.” This consistent message stuck with the public and Boris Johnson took advantage of the frustration surrounding Brexit. Former Prime Ministers Theresa May and David Cameron joined in with the campaigning and spreads the message so surely Labour needs to take this on board and move with the times.
Written by Guest Conservative Writer, Max Jablonowski
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.
A late bloomer when it comes to politics and current affairs, I first dipped my toes in the political pool at the tender age of sixteen with a bracing submersion into the AS politics syllabus, and I have been hooked ever since.
I am Max Jablonowski, a second year student studying French and Politics at the University of Exeter, and I am about to go on my year abroad to Paris to complete two internships. I was Academic Events Manager of the Politics Society in Exeter and I was privileged enough to organize events such as Question Time, co-host the 2019 General Election Hustings with MWEXE and host the Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP, the current Minister of State for Security.