Why it is a case of out with the New and in with the Young for the UK Labour Party
The past five years of the Labour Party have arguably been some of the most fragmented in its history. Weak opposition, constant infighting and losing touch with its core values have dented any chance of defeating the Conservatives.
When Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader following the 2015 election, he brought with him the most left wing ideology the party had produced in years. New Labour and Tony Blair had produced Labour’s first election victories in over 20 years, but this was done by moving the party towards the centre. The heavy election defeats suffered by Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock were hard pills to swallow for Labour, but in Blair they would have their opportunity in government.
Many of the traditional Labour voters would not accept a return to this New Labour style. In fact, under Keir Starmer, this has occurred already. Abstinations to votes in Parliament has riddled the party with squabbling and unpredictability. The remnants of Corbynism within the party threatens to derail any progress made by Starmer, showing that both the radical left and the centre of the party are still struggling to unite.
The Conservatives have held power for a decade now, and although they have been met with brutal criticism at almost every twist and turn along the way, they have been helped by weak opposition. The current government is one of the weakest in recent history, but it is still a government which was formed thanks to a devastating majority victory last December. Labour’s inability to pick a stance on Brexit helped to hand some of the safest seats in UK politics over to the Conservatives for the first time in decades, in some cases for the first time ever. As the Red Wall crumbled, the Conservatives capitalised.
Labour has within it politicians and members who can stand up for what the party stands for, and we have seen this recently. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham fought the government in order to secure more financial backing for the area if it was to be placed in tier 3 of the coronavirus lockdown measures. He was in a lockdown showdown with the government and has now seen tier 3 imposed on him by the government, despite a refusal of a ‘generous’ financial support package for claims that it doesn’t go far enough to help the poorest in Manchester.
With the failings of Corbyn and the faltering start made by Keir Starmer, the future of Labour needs to look different. To be put simply, it needs to be younger. New and fresh ideas from idealistic people who have lived under a decade of Conservative rule and want to craft Labour into a force which can be in government once more. The days of Corbyn and his cabinet have come and gone, but his leadership hangs over the party.
In Keir Starmer, Labour have an altogether different approach to leadership, but it is one which offers minimal opposition. He may be a step up from Corbyn, but Starmer has his work cut out if he is ever going to take up residence in number 10.
The political appetite in the UK is not pleading for radical left-wing socialism, but merely a system in which the poorest in society are not prevented from bettering themselves. We need to take a stance against unfair employers and hellish landlords who rinse their tenants dry. Who better to stand up against these people than younger people who are most likely to have first hand experience?
The Conservatives will be uprooted one day, but it is up to Labour to make sure they are up to the job when that day comes.