How is it that people in the deep Labour heartlands of the north and midlands have come to cast their vote for the Conservative party? I think it comes down to one thing. Corbynism. The determining factor that directed those, who have voted labour all their life, to vote Conservative is Jeremy Corbyn. And I am sorry if you think that this isn’t the case, or you want to blame Brexit. But I do not think you have learnt the lesson. This a dangerous road for the Labour party and British politics.
I have read stories and heard phone-ins on radio shows about those people who had no alternative but to vote Conservative because they wanted their decision to leave the European Union in 2016 honoured. The Conservative party was the only party that could deliver for these people. Actions that produced a consequence in the industrial centres of the UK, a place that was decimated by the Thatcher years, forced to turn their back on their political home. The whole thesis of the Corbyn project was built around trying to help those getting by, the many not the few. But instead, he spoke to the few at the very bottom, which is a commendable and plausible policy, but he ignored the masses he aimed to target.
This strikes as rather poignant that the Labour party has forced those in seats like Sedgefield (who hadn’t voted Tory since 1931) to vote Conservative for the first time because the leader of their party was incapable of supporting what a vast majority of his political support wanted. And I know some will cry that Brexit is disastrous for the UK and that Jeremy Corbyn was doing the right thing and I accept and understand your opinion. But what these people fail to realise is that such a monumental issue, that has commanded so much space in current political debate, requires an answer not a straddled position. There is a disconnect between the Labour parliamentary party and the working class voters that are the basis of Labour’s support. Those in places like Wales, Blyth Valley and the midlands have felt this disconnect more than ever, so much so they have lent their vote to their political enemy. But if we take this further, 1 in 8 people who voted to leave the EU were working class labour voters. This defuncts the point that Brexit was not the resounding issue that caused Labour to capitulate to its worst post war election result.
Instead we must look to the other reasons, the Labour leader does not represent the traditional factory working, union member. He did not speak to them, nor represent them. And this is a primary reason for why Birmingham Northfield turned blue. A call in on LBC from a voter in Birmingham Northfield felt he was ‘railroaded’ into voting for the Conservatives because of Jeremy Corbyn’s sympathising association with the Irish Republican Army. The events of the 1970s in Birmingham would have created such a strong distaste for this group, that anyone seen to have even taken a photo with such people (let alone have tea with them) will instantly repel those vote he wishes to seek.
The Corbynism fever that has taken hold of the labour vote in 2015 has been bubbling away inside the parliamentary party, with a failure to notice the distance between them and the communities they claim to be representing. And as a result, labour heartlands have been turned blue and the labour vote decimated. The blame game on the Brexit issue, and Corbyn’s inability to pick a side, is only an excuse to hide Labour’s failings elsewhere. These failings lie at the foot of Jeremy Corbyn’s door and an apology for those good labour MP’s who lost their seats (like Caroline Flint) is needed.