Tue, 5 December 2023

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ANALYSIS: Long Bailey vows no compromise with the electorate as she pledges Corbynism 2.0

2 min read

What lessons Labour learns from its general election humiliation will define the contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

Did the Tories' 80-seat majority sound the death knell for Corbynism, a crushing rejection of his left-wing vision and a clear signal that the party must tack back to towards the centre if it is to win again?

Or was it a popular manifesto criminally undersold by a dysfunctional party machine and over-shadowed by the Tories' simplistic promise to "get Brexit done".

It is fair to say, on the basis of her Tribine article declaring her leadership bid, that Rebecca Long Bailey subscribes to the latter view.

If, as Corbyn claims, Labour "won the argument" but lost the election, the Shadow Business Secretary is determined to win it all over again next time round.

To Long Bailey, the idea that her party was roundly defeated because voters did not like its policy package is anathema.

"I don’t just agree with the policies, I’ve spent the last four years writing them," she proudly declares in a clarion call for Labour members to vote for her if what they want from their next leader is Corbynism 2.0.

Pinning the blame squarely at the door of those around Corbyn responsible for communications and strategy, she went on: "It is true that one reason we lost the election was that Labour’s campaign lacked a coherent narrative. But this was a failure of campaign strategy, not of our socialist programme.

"Labour’s Green New Deal is the most ambitious agenda for tackling climate change of any major political party. And throughout the election it was tragically undersold."

If all that wasn't enough to tickle the collective Corbynsita tummy, Long Bailey was also at pains to stress that the party's leftward direction of travel will not change under her leadership.

"Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn we’ve drawn upon the collective knowledge and experience of that movement to develop a radical, ambitious socialist vision for the future," she said. 

"This is our greatest strength, and we need a leader who comes from and will stay true to that movement."

Long Bailey's message is clear: the voters need Corbynism, and under me they will get it in spades.

It's a message which will resonate with large numbers of Labour members - possibly even the majority she needs to get over the line.

But whether it will be enough to get Labour back into government is surely open to question.

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