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The Coming Collapse Of The Labour Party (Aka 'some Post-Referendum Musings')

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The Brexit referendum has turned into a toxic political debate. It has all the feel of a civil war, tearing apart families, work colleagues… and political parties. Even after the results are announced, the turmoil will contine.

That the Conservative Party is in for a fratricide row - no matter which way the country votes on Thursday - is, I believe, pretty clear.

Of equal interest is what might happen to the Labour party.

On the surface, it’s all pretty neat. The party membership is massively Remain, and so is the leadership.

And yet…

Firstly: Jeremy Corbyn has been remarkably - how can I put it - un-passionate about the whole affair. He has (finally) come out for Remain, but he has been virtually absent from the debate.

Secondly: I’d like to talk a bit about the core voters of the Conservative and Labour parties. By ‘core voters’ I mean the section of the electorate who will vote for ‘their’ party, no matter what, because they identify so strongly with it. They are often derided as ‘would vote for a turd so long as it displayed a blue (or red, or yellow) rosette’.

Traditionally, the Tories have been the party of the landowners, the middle classes, and the ‘petit bourgeoisie’ - the shopkeepers and such.

Likewise, Labour has been from the start the party of the working classes - the miners, the fishermen, the factory workers. And I’d like to add ‘the party of the ethnic British working classes’. Not because of any attempt at racial classification - but simply because, when Labour started, there were virtually no immigrants from outside the UK (there might have been plenty of Irish, but at the time Ireland was in the UK).

I started musing over the subject of ‘core voters’ after the following chart, taken from the FT, was posted on various forums:

brexit-shorthand---charts-1_1.png

It tries to break down Leave/Remain intentions according to several criteria: political views, region, social class.
At first glance, ‘Labour supporters’ are massively in favour of Remain. However - if you look at Labour’s traditional power base:

The factory workers will be mostly in the industrial heartlands - and, according to the survey, the Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside are ‘Leave’. Wales is ‘Remain’ - but far, far less than the Labour membership.
Unfortunately the survey has nothing to say about the other industrial heartlands - the North West and North East. There are several omissions in the chart that I find really annoying.

Another way to look at the data is by social class - and again, C2 (Skilled manual occupations) and DE (Semi-skilled & unskilled manual occupations, Unemployed and lowest grade occupations) are very clearly ‘Leave’.

I’m certainly not the first to realise this: Labour (the leadership and the membership) are not representing the Working Class in this referendum. This, I believe, could spell disaster after Thursday, no matter which side wins.

Each party relies on core voters; ‘me dad voted Labour, I vote Labour, I’ll always vote Labour’. They can be relied upon - taken for granted - while the Party chases other segments of the electorate. But how far can the core voters be pushed before they snap?

Already there have been clear warning signs. Scotland has most emphatically turned its back on Labour in 2015; I’d argue that in this special case, there was a clear left-wing alternative (the SNP) and that the ‘jump’ was relatively straightforward for the electorate.

Could the same disaster happen to the Labour party in the other countries of the UK? I believe that the answer is ‘yes’.

One reason is that the Labour party not only does not represent their core voters in this referendum - they no longer seem to care how the ‘working classes’ perceive them. In terms of image management, it’s pretty clear. Two recent examples spring to mind:

1. The ‘fishermen flotilla’ that sailed down to London. At first approach, image management was dead easy: the fishermen had come to listen to a stinking rich home counties wazoo who was going to tell them “I’m with you”. Simply point this out, discredit Farage, game over.
Instead - the image that will stick in many minds is that of a pleasure boat, filled with foreign multimillionaires and braying ‘meeja studies’ idiots, successfully interrupting a political meeting held by struggling fishermen.

GettyImages-540302350-640x418.jpg

2. Sadiq Khan giving a speech in Manchester. This is a powerful image because it crystallises many fears of the (indigenous) people who live and work alongside immigrant populations. In it we see how women are almost naturally found at the back of the crowd.

You could argue that Khan had no control on who would turn up to his speech, and how they would position themselves. And you’d be right.
On the other hand - if a gang of skinheads had turned up, put on their most polite and respectful faces, and waited for the speech - you can be certain that it would not have gone ahead. No matter how politely the crowd would have clapped and called for him, Khan would have refused to speak - simply because, in terms of image, it would have been a disaster.
So hate-filled racist skinheads - not good.
Followers of a religion/culture that treats women as second-class citizens - that’s fine. Can we count on your vote?

khan-4.jpg

And now I will indulge in a sweeping generalisation: working-class people are more likely to be negatively affected by immigrants, and more likely to hold negative views of them.
I repeat, this is a sweeping generalisation.
Nevertheless - a clever PR consultant for the Labour party would pick up on this kind of detail. Image is everything, rightly or wrongly. That Khan’s assistants never picked up on this detail was a big mistake, and a very telling one.

The above, as I see it, are the facts.
What happens next is pure speculation: I believe that the Labour party could face a Black Swan event where a large portion of its electorate vanishes overnight. What the trigger will be - I do not know. But the preconditions are all in place.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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I think that as the older generation die off, who voted labour no matter what, we'll see the breakup of labour into two parties.

I have lots of SJW friends who still talk in terms of evil tories vs good labour. But they would equally vote green/happylifeparty if that party hit their right buttons on things like immigration, social services.

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I think that as the older generation die off, who voted labour no matter what, we'll see the breakup of labour into two parties.

I have lots of SJW friends who still talk in terms of evil tories vs good labour. But they would equally vote green/happylifeparty if that party hit their right buttons on things like immigration, social services.

Very much agree with your assessment

and on the tory side, a similar split but along the very clear lines of exiter/europhile

Exiters being led by Boris Johnson who once he sees the tory party irreconcilably split with try and increase his new party's share with a marriage of convenience with ukip

And on the pro-europe side (which is the incumbent parliamentary party; the the "Old tories") there'll be a horrible leadership battle featuring Osborne and A.N. Other, neither of which I'm sold on

If I was a betting man, I'd happily put £1000 on this guy being a future tory prime minister though https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rory_Stewart

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Very much agree with your assessment

and on the tory side, a similar split but along the very clear lines of exiter/europhile

Exiters being led by Boris Johnson who once he sees the tory party irreconcilably split with try and increase his new party's share with a marriage of convenience with ukip

And on the pro-europe side (which is the incumbent parliamentary party; the the "Old tories") there'll be a horrible leadership battle between Gove and Osborne, neither of which I'm sold on

If I was a betting man, I'd happily put £1000 on this guy being a future tory prime minister though https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rory_Stewart

I so agree with you about Rory Stewart. Just the sort of politician that is actually able to think independently. Scottish, of course. :rolleyes:

T

In the IN/OUT campaign, there's also an age divide: those of us over 60 have lived through times when the EEC was nothing but a French retired general saying 'Non' to British membership. We had our Commonwealth to trade with then and know that Britain on its own without Europe will not suddenly disappear into the Atlantic Ocean.

Those of us [not me], who stupidly voted for joining the EEC in 1974, [my mother - 90 next month and I still argue over her believing what Ted Heath spoon-fed us] have learned our lessons about what happens when you believie politicians. They thought they were voting for a free-trade EEC. They got a United States of Europe - or very nearly. They will, overwhelmingly in my straw polls of older relatives and friends, vote OUT.

Finally, the lesson that was reinforced post-1975 for me and many of my thinking contemporaries [we voted NO in 1975] is not to believe the rhetoric, do your own research and your own thinking and make up your own mind. Try it - you won't be disappointed. :ph34r:

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I don`t know what will happen but the labour party will have to face some cold hard truth`s regardless of the outcome of the referendum as it`s looking like their "core" voters the working class are voting leave lockstock and barrel

From where i`m siting they no longer have anything on the table for the working class ,,there`s a bunch of tree huggers on one side and tories with red ties on the other

Anecdote from south martin below ,(not sure about the definitely win part) but have read many articles in the press and personal anecdotes on this subject on this site with exactly the same narrative ,the labour party has been either asleep at the wheel or just simply ignoring/dismissing their electorate

southmartin, on 15 Jun 2016 - 8:35 PM, said:snapback.png

Anecdote:

So I just got off the phone with my local MP. He's a decent man, though I didn't support him at the election.

However we are working together to bring home the OUT vote. he was telling me that the Labour MPs who are returning to their offices after canvassing on the doorstep in their constituencies, are ashen faced, and know they're going to lose. Apparently some of them have spent all day canvassing and not found a single INNER...

If we win this (and the MP thinks it's almost a definite) then it'll be thanks to the Labour heartlands!

Good to hear from inside the Portcullis House eh??

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The Labour party will not be sent into turmoil after the EU Referendum, no matter which way we vote. However, an electoral defeat in 2020 will cause a civil war within the party.

This country is crying out for a centre left party that is divorced from the damaging influence of the Unions, who seem to think that the correct response to the rejection of an openly left wing leader, is to elect one that is even further to the left.

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Good post. Its already happened in Austria (and IIRC one of the nordic countries)

The center right and left parties in austria made way for a green/independent and nationalist anti-muslim candidate.

I guess the 'centrist' (read, establishment) parties may prolong their existence a little longer by combining into essentially one party as the French establishment threaten to do should Le Pen get to the second round of voting (pretty much a certainty), but given their approach is to simply ignore the very real concerns of Islamization, I cant see them managing that beyond an election cycle or two.

Frankly, the idea that we still have a duopoly of two parties astounds me. In every other area, cartel like behaviour is treated with hostility. Half a dozen electricity companies, and people get worried, even though they account for way less than 5% of spending. Govt takes 50% of your income, and people think just two choices is 'normal'

I dont know what the answer is...perhaps to prohibit parties and have elections where candidates run as individuals?

Ultimately, unless they bring censorship of the internet ahead, im not sure what they can do. Most papers manage a measly few hundred thousand sales. Videos from youtubers like Sargon get more views than that. OK, many of his viewers may not be in the UK, but papers perhaps dont have the ability to lead opinion to the degree they think they do.

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The Labour party will not be sent into turmoil after the EU Referendum, no matter which way we vote. However, an electoral defeat in 2020 will cause a civil war within the party.

This country is crying out for a centre left party that is divorced from the damaging influence of the Unions, who seem to think that the correct response to the rejection of an openly left wing leader, is to elect one that is even further to the left.

Think you are right.....at this moment in time there is no party that very many would want to vote for......individual politicians are hijacked by other individuals idealism's.......far too many in all parties are thinking one thing and saying another without sincerity or belief....towing the party line......this referendum vote lead up has let the politicians show their true feelings, egos and personal agendas......who can be trusted to deliver for the majority?

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Can the SNP continue to take the vast majority of Scottish seats?

I think Jeremy is hoping for a Tory split, and thus be able to take power, possibly in alliance with the SNP.

At some point we may see anti EU Tories come around to supporting independence for Scotland

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Labour haven't represented the working class in decades. Back when they did represent the working class, they opposed the EU because it would clearly screw over the low-skilled working class.

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Can the SNP continue to take the vast majority of Scottish seats?

I think Jeremy is hoping for a Tory split, and thus be able to take power, possibly in alliance with the SNP.

At some point we may see anti EU Tories come around to supporting independence for Scotland

If he is, I would argue that he's playing a very dangerous game.

The Tories are heading for civil war - but it's so obvious that I believe that top Tories are already planning the next step. A merger between UKip and the Euro-sceptic arm of the tories seems an obvious possibility, and it could be a marriage in heaven.

UKip bring a clear focus ("Out!") and millions of voters.

The Tory splitters bring a well-oiled election-winning machine (both candidates and party apparatus)... and a true manifesto. UKip has a manifesto, but frankly I don't get the impression that they care about it.

At that point we have an anti-immigration party that can field candidates from one end of the country to the other - real politicians, who know how to behave in front of the camera, and how to talk in soundbites. Not like the frankly motley crew that Ukip has had to make do with so far.

This new party could be in place very quickly IMO; and it would be very dangerous for Corbyn.

Whatever the result on Thursday, there will be a very significant part of the population voting 'Out'. Furthermore, the virulence of the debate has made it clear that a lot of people feel very passionately about this subject.

The 'traditional working classes', it would seem, hold euro-sceptic and anti-immigration views. But their party (Labour) has always told them off, and, well, frankly, most people do as they're told (this is not a slight against the working class - most humans are like this). After Thursday, a lot of people will feel emboldened to talk about immigration, whereas previously they were held back by 'just a sort of bigoted woman' comments.

The traditional Working Class might well be tempted to give up their life-long devotion to the Labour party, and vote for the one mainstream party that's laser-focused on delivering them the one thing they really care about - and they'll hold their noses about the rest of the manifesto.

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If he is, I would argue that he's playing a very dangerous game.

The Tories are heading for civil war - but it's so obvious that I believe that top Tories are already planning the next step. A merger between UKip and the Euro-sceptic arm of the tories seems an obvious possibility, and it could be a marriage in heaven.

UKip bring a clear focus ("Out!") and millions of voters.

The Tory splitters bring a well-oiled election-winning machine (both candidates and party apparatus)... and a true manifesto. UKip has a manifesto, but frankly I don't get the impression that they care about it.

At that point we have an anti-immigration party that can field candidates from one end of the country to the other - real politicians, who know how to behave in front of the camera, and how to talk in soundbites. Not like the frankly motley crew that Ukip has had to make do with so far.

This new party could be in place very quickly IMO; and it would be very dangerous for Corbyn.

Whatever the result on Thursday, there will be a very significant part of the population voting 'Out'. Furthermore, the virulence of the debate has made it clear that a lot of people feel very passionately about this subject.

The 'traditional working classes', it would seem, hold euro-sceptic and anti-immigration views. But their party (Labour) has always told them off, and, well, frankly, most people do as they're told (this is not a slight against the working class - most humans are like this). After Thursday, a lot of people will feel emboldened to talk about immigration, whereas previously they were held back by 'just a sort of bigoted woman' comments.

The traditional Working Class might well be tempted to give up their life-long devotion to the Labour party, and vote for the one mainstream party that's laser-focused on delivering them the one thing they really care about - and they'll hold their noses about the rest of the manifesto.

No. Tories will loose about 10% of the lunatic wing.

These might end up as UKIP MPs, or they might wither outside of the COn political machine.

Either wasy, it'll quiten down and tidy up the Cons.

Labour, however, are facing an existential thread.

SNP has destroyed Labs core numbers Norht of borders.

UKIP appeal to Northern Labour supporters, much more than Cons.

Lab have 5 yrears to sort themselves, moving to a hard nosed blue collar type of politics.

I dont think they do it.

The SDP split from Lab because of the nuts left wing.

The new split will be along the Lab right/workging class wing.

Lab probably is they are the party of the public sector woman.

LA women are not popular with the working class.

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'No Matter What' labour voters simply don't vote when miffed with the labour party.

To hear disgustingly racist/misogynist comments have a drink at a labour club or the bar of a working class pub in a mainly white poor area. Those guys think fascist and vote labour.

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The Labour party will not be sent into turmoil after the EU Referendum, no matter which way we vote. However, an electoral defeat in 2020 will cause a civil war within the party.

This country is crying out for a centre left party that is divorced from the damaging influence of the Unions, who seem to think that the correct response to the rejection of an openly left wing leader, is to elect one that is even further to the left.

Spot on. We need a party that rewards work, taxes land, reduces the benefit system to a safety net, and is NOT the Lib-Dems, they're tainted now.

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'No Matter What' labour voters simply don't vote when miffed with the labour party.

To hear disgustingly racist/misogynist comments have a drink at a labour club or the bar of a working class pub in a mainly white poor area. Those guys think fascist and vote labour.

+1000

fact

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Can the SNP continue to take the vast majority of Scottish seats?

Not forever. But whatever eventually challenges them needn't be any of the Westminster parties we know and despise.

If he is, I would argue that he's playing a very dangerous game.

The Tories are heading for civil war - but it's so obvious that I believe that top Tories are already planning the next step. A merger between UKip and the Euro-sceptic arm of the tories seems an obvious possibility, and it could be a marriage in heaven.

UKip bring a clear focus ("Out!") and millions of voters.

A big chunk of those Ukip voters are going to be volatile, especially if it were to start to look mainstream. Two major elements are the ex-libdem protest vote (shared with greens and others) and the ex-BNP anti-immigration vote. The first will always reject the compromises of government, while the second's natural home would still be Labour if they could only manage that immigration issue.

Talking of which, could a sane green party arise in a country where the name (and in some quarters the whole concept) is tainted by its current dominance by the loony left?

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Labour haven't represented the working class in decades. Back when they did represent the working class, they opposed the EU because it would clearly screw over the low-skilled working class.

It does support the low skilled workers. Just those from romania et al as described on the BBC's strawberry topic today. Migrant workers pick our fruit (Did you see the one use his hand to wipe his nose?) yum.

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I live in a Rotherham seat, in what used to be referred to as the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire. It's been interesting to see how UKIP have eroded the Lab vote. They got ~5% of the vote in 2010, and ~25% in 2015. And ukip went from 0 Councillors to 11 (out of 61). Even nearly 30 years after Thatcher the Tories are a toxic brand hereabouts, but ukip aren't.

Up the road in Bradford Lab lost a seat to Galloway/Respect, and in 2015 appointed a very Muslim friendly candidate in Naz Shah, who has since been in trouble for suggesting Israelis be transported ti the USA. This is a lesson they have very much taken to heart and will not forget in constituencies with a large Muslim vote. And there's got to be 40+ core Lab constituencies where this is true.

But the more they try to accommodate groups like Muslims, the more they alienate many of their white working class vote. I can't see them doing anything other than lose votes to UKIP in many previously safe lab seats, as they become a party that many white working class just outright dislike.

Lab will have to put their propaganda machine into overdrive once their tribal Old Lab voters start dieing off. Probably by promising endless handouts and lots of 'free' stuff.

The joker in the pack could be the formation of an overtly Islamic party (Respect Mk II maybe) that will automatically get several million votes, once their population hits 10%+ of the overall population (which will happen sooner rather than later).

If Labour were a PLC I wouldn't buy shares in them, their glory days are over and they will stabilize at a lower level., It's only FPTP and the support of media like the BBC that keeps them as big a political force as they are.

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I think Corbyn is having a crisis of conscience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLSsvYZDxjk

That makes me think of the election that Kinnock thought he was going to win. Before it John Smith announce that 'of course there would have to be tax rises.' He did not want Labour to win as he hoped to be the next Labour PM and if Kinnock got the job he would probably never have a chance has Kinnock was pretty young at the time.

It seems to me that Corbin does not want to be blatantly an out person but in fact he really is.

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It seems to me that Corbin does not want to be blatantly an out person but in fact he really is.

I agree, but he was never a fan of the eu, much the same for much of the Labour Party, wo why back remain now? Blackmail? Threats? Or someone has shown him the UK balance sheet?

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That makes me think of the election that Kinnock thought he was going to win. Before it John Smith announce that 'of course there would have to be tax rises.' He did not want Labour to win as he hoped to be the next Labour PM and if Kinnock got the job he would probably never have a chance has Kinnock was pretty young at the time.

It seems to me that Corbin does not want to be blatantly an out person but in fact he really is.

Or Corbyn is afcking idiot. Never complicate things when there is an easier explanation.

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