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We need a new ‘New Labour’

Let me begin this by saying, Labour cannot win an election this decade if they maintain leadership on the traditional Left wing of the party; they must move back towards the centre of the spectrum if they wish to have electoral success. Four successive Tory victories in amongst some of the most volatile economic times in recent years is unprecedented, but is no doubt down to the lack of competent leadership of the opposition, specifically within the Labour party.

After recently talking to well intertwined members of the party, they claimed there was too much in-fighting within the party concerning everything from a gender imbalance to pseudo-socialism. With Jess Phillips now withdrawing from the race, the chances of ending up with a Corbyn-like or even Corbyn-lite candidate are ever increasing. The party must unequivocally make the shift away from Corbyn’s leadership; while my support of his tenure varied, the next leader must be able to develop their own policies and move the party in the right (pun intended) direction.

Pursuing a Blair-esque candidate may seem futile, however I see no other way of Labour securing electoral victory. The issue that the softer Left within Labour face, is that they are forever associated with New Labour and the policies of Blair; someone who remains controversial still to this day. The predicament that the party faces now is that it must understand that Corbyn’s policies were outdated, reflective of a society we haven’t lived in for nearly forty years; that is a society of trade union domination, a higher dependency on the secondary industry, and inefficient private sector operation of utilities. For Labour to act as a formidable and competent opposition, it must design policies that are applicable to the present day that we live in and cannot turn its back on the evident successes that free market economics have had in specific sectors. 

With Keir Starmer being the only moderate candidate remaining, he is likely to gain a fair number of transfer votes from those who initially supported Jess Phillips. However, if he aims to win the leadership, he must continue to run on the platform of re-branding Labour for this new decade: we need a new ‘New Labour’. I can only imagine a Rebecca Long-Bailey led party as one that will so closely resemble Corbyn’s failures that Labour could risk digging its own grave. Furthermore, with Brexit now done and dusted, the Conservative party have shifted towards rebranding their own party as socially responsible, paternalistic and most pertinantly of all, a party that can increase government spending. This will no doubt tear voters from the centre who may be undecided at subsequent elections. At this turning point, Labour must attempt to win the support of those on the centre instead of isolating itself further from realistic politics. 

The right of the Labour party must make itself heard once again as well as distance itself from both the Blair and Corbyn eras. While they will struggle to achieve this initially, in the long run, a soft Labour opposition would have the best shot at tackling the Conservatives at the next election. What must be clarified though is that a centrist candidate does not mean turning backs on workers, nationalisation or rights of individuals; it just will allow a better synthesis of socialism and capitalism in our present-day society.

Image: Peerybingle via Wikimedia Commons 

By Milad Sherzad

Senior Writer