Labour 'made mistake' on Brexit stance says Campbell
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The Labour Party has once again been shrouded in shame in the wake of a disappointing election performance in May. The party led by Sir Keir Starmer has been labelled out of touch in a new damning poll with respondents claiming Labour is most likely to back ‘woke’ ideology ahead of the Conservative Party. Express.co.uk speaks to a Labour Party expert about why exactly the party is struggling and if too much damage has been done for the party to reverse its devastating losses.
Political commentators are split on the reason for the Labour Party’s dismal performance in the recent local elections in England with some claiming it is due to Sir Keir’s abandonment of the party’s socialist principles and others believing the leadership has not changed enough.
However, most political pundits agree the party has suffered crushing humiliations in quick succession.
The Conservatives made huge gains in the Labour “Red Wall” heartland, winning Hartlepool in the by-election earlier this month.
In December 2020, a group of Labour MPs warned Labour faced continuous decline in its traditional heartlands unless it challenged “an enduring perception of us as ineffective, complacent or indifferent”.
The study by the group Labour for the North found some of the Red Wall seats lost in 2019 to the Tories “may be lost for good”.
University of Wolverhampton professor Roger Seifert is a specialist on industrial relations; particularly strikes, trade unions, pay determination, Labour Party trade union relations, and public sector employment.
He believes Labour’s crushing defeat in 2019 and 2021 can be traced back to the party being out of touch with a lot of its potential supporters.
He told Express.co.uk: “The party is out of touch with some potential voters including lower professionals, such as teachers and nurses, as well as the self-employed and small business community.”
However, he does believe the party still holds some sway with its core voters, members and activists and its red-wall votes.
A national parliament voting intention poll compiled by Politico found as of May 17, the Conservatives were solidly ahead in terms of support with 43 percent of voters supporting the party.
By comparison, the Opposition was 10 percentage points behind with 33 percent support.
The gap between the Tories and Labour has widened over time, with approvals getting close late in December 2020.
However, as the coronavirus vaccination has ramped up, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party has seen a correlating rising trend in performance, popularity and support.
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Professor Seifert said the Conservative Party is “riding high” on its management of the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath of the Brexit deal which came into force on January 1.
The party has faced continued positive performance, with the exception of the Dominic Cummings row and social care reform, according to the industrial relations professor.
He told Express.co.uk: “The Conservative’s position is fragile and we can see this from across the world where support for incumbents is rather free-wheeling.”
The global leader approval ratings’ tracker from Morning Consult Political Intelligence shows Boris Johnson’s approval began rising at the end of March and then declined, but has been steadily increasing in the past few weeks.
By comparison, the Labour party has struggled in approval ratings with the Politico poll showing the party’s highest approval rating was 39 percent in October 2020.
Professor Seifert claims the party is facing an identity crisis.
Many social media users have echoed this sentiment.
One person tweeted: “Labour has an identity crisis but its biggest issue is there just aren’t enough cities in the UK to win.”
Another wrote: “The devastating results for Labour at the Hartlepool by-election, an existential crisis. But it’s not the first time that it has been confused about its identity and purpose. What can Labour’s past tell us about the party’s future?”
One social media user added: “Labour are at an identity crisis juncture and need to choose a version of themselves which they think will be the most successful. This might be Starmer’s long term goal, slowly picking off the Corbynites but it needs to coincide with a personality.”
Alongside the identity crisis, Professor Seifert claims there is a lack of upbeat storytelling connected to the Labour Party.
Recent crises over the past few years including the 2008 financial crash, foreign uncertainties and now the coronavirus pandemic has seen an uplift in support for right-wing parties.
However, social democrats and left-wing parties have generally suffered more during these instances.
Professor Seifert told Express.co.uk: “European style social democrats are languishing in no-man’s land.
“Labour’s approval is low due to a lack of fight, coherent politics, unity and endless doubts about the quality of the parliamentary leadership.”
But the future is not entirely bleak, according to Professor Seifert, who claims both Tory triumphalism and Labour defeatism are ill-judged.
Rapid changes in voter intention trends and real-world events can have a huge impact on party popularity and, therefore, the end is not written yet for the Labour Party.
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