Upheaval within British Labor

Upheaval within British Labor

Following the rather disappointing elections of the previous week, controversy erupted in the British Labor Party, questioning the electoral strategy and the role of Keer Starr, the Labor leader who has so far lost his promise to regain lost voters in the country Have failed to meet. Develop a strategy to defeat the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Last week’s elections, which were held on Thursday, but the results that were released over the weekend, included the mayors of several cities (London, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol, among others), local parliaments in Wales and Scotland And a major party – election in Hartlepool for a seat in the national parliament. These were elections in which those already in office were ready to win: most of the mayors (all of the big cities) rejoined, as were the governments in Wales and Scotland. However, in cases where expectations have been reversed, or in some particularly symbolic votes, Labor has almost always lost.

The most notable defeat for the Labor Party was that of Hartlepul, a constituency that has very symbolic value, defined by analysts before the elections as one of the places where Starr’s party strength would be verified. Hartlepool, in fact, is located in the north-east of England and is part of the so-called “Red Wall”, which is traditionally an area of ​​residence for workers and proletarians, in which the Labor Party had dominated for over 40 years.

The “red wall” began to weaken with the 2016 referendum on Brexit, when most voters in the region voted in favor of the “Leave” (exiting the United Kingdom from the European Union), while the Labor Party claimed that the European Union Remain in, and collapsed in the 2019 general election, when Johnson’s Conservative Party managed to handle most of the region’s territories. Hartlepul was one of the few remaining colleges for Labor, not for its own merits, as did the division of the right-wing vote between the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party (the populist formation of Nigel Faraj, later called Reform Britain). for.

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The 2019 defeat was set to be a serious crisis within Labor: the then leader, Jeremy Corbyn, from the party’s leftist party, was ousted from leadership and suspended from the party (due to election-related controversy ), And in its place, a year earlier, Starr was appointed, more moderate, reassuring and institutional. One of Starr’s main promises was to retake the Red Wall, and the Hartlepool vote was to prove the success of the strategy.

Instead, Labor not only lost, but conservative candidate Jill Martimer received nearly twice the votes of the Labor candidate.

Another major defeat in the Red Wall region was a small administrative area in the Tees Valley, also in the north-east of England which Labor lost in 2017 and hoped to regain. On the other hand, the conservative mayor was reunited with 73 percent. The Scottish Parliament election was also a disappointment for Labor, which lost two MPs and got the worst result since the Parliament was established in 1999.

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Elections for Labor were not completely disastrous. The party held and won in most of the cities already organized, such as London where Mayor Sadiq Khan was reorganized; Mayor Andy Burnham, especially in Manchester, was re-organized with a solid and solid majority. It was confirmed as the first force in the Welsh Parliament and raised its majority by one seat to an outstanding result.

But on Friday, soon after the publication of Hartlepull’s results, harsh disputes started within the party, largely driven by the left wing that still refers to Jeremy Corbyn.

The former leader limited himself to writing on Twitter that the election results are a symptom of the fact that “there is no hope”, but many of his colleagues more directly criticized Starr, blaming him for electoral disappointment And that party does not have a clear policy or vision.

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Starr responded to the criticism by publishing a video broadcast on British television in which he said he was “very disappointed” with the result and took full responsibility for the defeat.

However, the video was also heavily criticized: The Guardian Spoke Along with “one of the closest allies” of the Labor leader, who described the video as a disaster above all in terms of the image: “He put it in front of lots of copies of Hansard (Collection of Parliamentary Debates, ed)” Did, “the one that looks like a dead plant in the background. He was sweating. It was utter nonsense “.

In the following days, internal conflict ensued. Starr initially reacted by evicting his deputy, Angela Rainer, from the post of “party chair”, one of the party’s top figures in charge of managing electoral campaigns, among other things. The dismissal was seen as an attempt to find a scapegoat, causing considerable unrest in management, and ultimately, after weekend negotiations, Rainer was not only fired, but promoted and important new positions within the Labor government Taken over (British politics form an informal government with the aim of responding to government initiatives in the opposition party office and relaunching with its own proposals.

Starr has made more changes in the party leadership and the Chhaya government, promoting some of his colleagues, but not necessarily strengthening them. According to the British media, the internal opposition may decide to challenge its leadership in the coming months, especially if disappointing electoral results continue: A new by-election is expected within the year in Batalay and Span’s electoral district, which is a Again this would be considered a test of Starr’s leadership.

According to analysts, there are several reasons for the Labor Party’s disappointing results in last week’s elections.

There are some contingencies, such as the coronavirus epidemic: the Conservative Party has certainly benefited from the success of the vaccination campaign, which helped it emerge from a consensus crisis a few months ago. Nationally, between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the two parties were also close in the election, and the Conservatives only returned to distance themselves with the introduction of vaccination, and are now about 6 percent ahead. (Starr is still doing better with Corbyn. Which was 17 percent behind the Conservatives in the worst cases of his leadership.)

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Other causes, however, are more structural and known. The Brexit vote caused a split among a large section of historic Labor voters in places like the Red Wall, where the party won a “holiday” in 2016, despite the party’s insistence; And even these polls have shown that Labor is now almost exclusively popular in large cities and among more educated voters, while workers and workers have moved to the right.

This change was facilitated by Boris Johnson, who abandoned the policy Austerity Has drawn a tax and policy of his predecessors who is a member of his party He defined “Conservative from the social point of view and abandoned from the fiscal point of view.”

Johnson adopts a lot of rhetoric of authority, including nationalism and the defense of traditional values, but in economics he doesn’t hesitate to go into debt to invest in infrastructure and redevelopment programs of industrial areas, among other things, it puts people in. is. Difficulty. Labor, who have always been in favor of such measures.

And then there is Starr, who according to many analysts was a good candidate in an epidemic period, for his serious and reassuring demeanor, but who is punished by his lack of charisma in a more traditional election campaign, which makes him stand out. gives. And strange. Unlike Boris Johnson, who is comfortable in front of a large crowd, the labor leader is “Woody”, She wrote Political commentator on Henry Mains financial Times.

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