How many times must it be said: a left-wing Labour leader cannot win an election. It’s been proven over and over, most recently when Jeremy Corbyn led the party to catastrophe in its most humiliating defeat since 1935, presiding over a near total wipeout in Labour’s industrial heartlands. The public have made it clear – again – that they simply have no appetite for the economics of the loony left, with its pledges for 1970s-style nationalisation, silly spending splurges on student fees and expensive follies like taxpayer-funded broadband for all. Only one Labour leader has been able to win a parliamentary majority in the last 50 years, and his name was Tony Blair. Labour’s chance at victory will only come when the party drops the left-wing fantasy politics of Corbynism and returns to the pragmatic centre ground. Otherwise the party risks being permanently locked out of power, unable to serve the voters who need it most.
So say the centrist Blairites. But what about the fact that pollsters have repeatedly shown left-wing policies to be popular with the electorate? From renationalising the railways to higher taxes on the rich, the public is much more supportive of socialist initiatives than the right-wing press would have you believe. Long gone are the days of cuddly cross-party consensus that we saw under Blair, Brown and Cameron – in an age of rising populist sentiment, voters are crying out for a real alternative to the neoliberal economics of the last thirty years. And let’s not forget the real reason Labour lost the 2019 general election: Brexit, and the divisions it caused in Labour’s electoral coalition. Forget a return to the stale centrism of the past – if Labour wants to win, it must embrace true radicalism.
To be announced.
Speakers are subject to change.