The Future of the UK’s Labour Party: Electoral Oblivion or Dawn of A Socialist Revolution?
Throughout 2016, the UK’s Labour Party has very much been battling internally over doctrine and it’s future direction. During crucial stages of the referendum vote that resulted in the majority of the country choosing for brexit, it was still lacking in strong leadership and was very much divided and out of power.
So as the dust is still settling from a UK summer of political discontent, what is the future looking like for the UK’s biggest opposition party to the governing Tories? Much like the 170 questions posed to the Tories by Labour recently, there are many more unanswered questions that remain, according to a panel of experts who gathered in London this week.
A debate organised by the School of Politics at London’s Queen Mary University took place today and featured some leading experts attempting to provide some prospective answers on behalf of the Labour Party.
Dr. Lee Jones who is a Reader in International Politics at Queen Mary’s University in London, chaired the debate and provided Vin Sharma📚🎥📸📻💻with some highlights from the conversation:
“The Labour Party is very much a victim of it’s own demise that has been on the cards for some time. There are deep-rooted reasons to why they have lost in two general elections and many panelists speaking today are of the opinion that they just cannot win any future elections either because they are not popular enough anymore.”
With the recent leadership win by Jeremy Corbyn, he is said to have undertaken the mammoth task of almost ‘rebuilding’ the party and taking its members as well as its supporters towards a new direction.
“There are many factions of Westminster who take a society-centred perspective and feel excited by a previously disengaged public re-engaging with the Labour Party again. The other political stance taken mainly by critics of Jeremy Corbyn, is that in the aim of what happens in parliament Corbyn’s left-winged political vision for Britain is just doomed to fail in the long term due to lack of wider support.” Dr Jones explained.
Members of the panel also felt that Corbyn’s vision of a socialist future would consign his party to a guaranteed electoral oblivion, and namely because all similar attempts historically have never previously worked.
“The Labour Party can only revive itself fully from grass roots participation and Corbyn is attempting just that. The challenge he is faced with however is in translating enthusiasm and being able to build something that is seen as viable for the country as a whole. That’s the difficulty, and it doesn’t bode well if latest polls are an indication.” said Dr Jones.
On the question of a likely split of the Labour Party, as has been suggested as a strong future possibility by many political commentators in the UK, the panel felt this was unlikely for a number of reasons. They felt that firstly Labour MP’s have simply ‘run out of steam’ from the recent party leadership challenge against Corbyn, and that the party was also very much afraid of repeating historic consequences of party splits such as happened with the SNP in Scotland. Risking any further rising support to the other political parties in the UK such as UKIP or the Greens is also of great concern.
“We are currently witnessing Labour MP’s simply getting on with the job of fulfilling their duties as the main opposition party. During a very tumultuous year in western politics as a whole, this is very much the immediate duty of any opposition party, and Labour seem to be getting on with finding enough stability to do just that now.” Dr Jones added.
So in the immediate short term, holding the Tories accountable for their yet-to-be clear vision of what Brexit will actually look like is of paramount importance not just for the party, but on behalf of the British public.
Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters in the mean time keep faith that the time may have come for him to lead a new dawn for Labour’s long term future. The dawn of the progressive left, or the dawn of an anti-capitalist, socialist revolution.