Digging Deep, Building High

Last night was in some ways worse than expected. We must take time to mourn hopes dashed and care for each other.

But if we are honest there are so many deep weaknesses in progressive party politics, something like this was bound to happen. So now is not the time to point fingers and blame this or that person or policy. It is time instead to step back and for progressives to explore the big issues about what’s gone wrong and what we do about it.

We can’t do that in one email. Compass will now help lead a huge conversation about real progressive renewal. We will dig deep because we want to build so high. Watch out for a series of blogs and meetings across the country that we will organise.

But it is critical to recognise that what’s gone wrong is big and it’s mostly about the political culture. 

A culture that thinks it knows what’s best for people, that feels entitled to represent people and not the privilege to serve them. It’s a culture, found throughout Labour in particular, that believes in the monopoly of its own wisdom and position. A culture that does not seek to persuade or understand – that wants all of it or none of it.

Today that politics has ended up with nothing.

Instead of a future that is imposed, only a future that is negotiated really works. People don’t want things done to them or for them. In turn, this means an end to divisive binaries of Leave and Remain, the town or the city. Instead we need a really inclusive and creative politics of both.

And because a good society can only be created by us and for us, it demands respect, tolerance and openness to others. It means meeting the complexity of the world we face with an equally complex political response. Compass has worked as hard as anyone to bring the progressive political tribes together and to build a culture of compassion. But change can no longer be left to people who don’t want to change themselves. Today, it might feel like we have failed.

But there is hope – deep and emerging reservoirs of it.

Beyond the tribal walls of the party system something amazing is taking shape. People are collaborating as never before. There are isolated bubbles of resistance that need a political narrative and organisation to transform the whole system.

Serious questions now arise about the ability of the progressive parties to really renew themselves and be relevant and vibrant forces in the 21st century. But the scale of the climate crisis and the extent of wasted lives demands we dig deep but move fast.

Compass will work tirelessly to help accelerate change – to show what 21st century leadership really is, to help set out a compelling vision of a good society. We will run with big transformative ideas like basic income and a citizens’ convention to renew our democracy. On these issues, and more, huge movements for change have to be built.  

We will be humble and bold, and work with passion and a sense of keen inquiry – especially with people we don’t necessarily agree with.

But more than anything, we will go where the creative life and energy is – with the people and organisations that want to work collaboratively to address the climate emergency, create a more equal society, defend human rights and know that how we behave with each other is everything.

Compass lives and breathes the progressive politics of the 21st century – we get it and we can build a better future. But we need you to do it with us. Tell us what you think happened and what you feel.

In the days, weeks and months to come we want to host the debate about progressive futures on our new site, and take to the country to create the space to discuss what has gone wrong, why and what we do next, and to build the networks of new leaders that can help us flip the old system.

Today in the rubble of a historic defeat we vow to focus, dig deep and build high. Nothing less will do.

69 thoughts on “Digging Deep, Building High

    1. Need a very strong focus on positives to policies showing what they will achieve and how they will be implemented and how they will be paid for and how quickly they will pay for themselves. I am very sad about the result and can’t believe people actually vote for the nasty conservatives. I think Jeremy Corbyn is excellent and would like to say thank you to him for turning labour back into a party for the many not the few as they say. Before Corbyn labour had become very similar to the conservatives and Jeremy has done an amazing job taking Labour back to it’s true and proper values. I think the public who have voted for conservatives are very stupid and shortsighted and unfortunately believe a lot of untrue things.

    2. I agree with much of what you say Neal. But I don’t think you should have singled out the Labour Party for direct criticism, especially at this point, when so many of us Labour members have worked flat out for transformation, and the many wonderful policies in the Labour Manifesto.

      We are gutted. I personally feel a sense of bereavement & deep despair about what lies in store, both by the draconian policies we can expect from now on, and how Leaving the EU will change our way of life for generations, and very much for the worse I fear.

      There are glimmers if hope. Your email is one of them. Corbyn’s email I received today is another….he sounds sad, and yet hopeful for the future. He says we have all made a stand for a kinder, more caring society.

      We are potentially a very big community…….Remainers are very much in the majority now, despite the GE results. Sadly, many people think the results indicate the country overwhelmingly wants to Leave the EU…..but FPTP has blurred that. Johnson would have been terrified of a second EU referendum because he knows Remain would have won.

      But, we are where we are, as they say. I’m hoping that pressure to #ReleasetheRussiaReport will grow and, even now, a Legal Challenge to the 2016 EU referendum could be mounted. I always hope for positives!

      1. The other thing I want to mention is Social Media and the way it was used by the Tories to spread a campaign of hatred and lies towards the Labour Party and Corbyn in particular. An independent fact-checker company found 88% of Tory Facebook ads contained misleading info and/or lies. 0% of Labour ads contained lies.

        These micro targeted ads, together with the constant character assassination of Corbyn in the right-wing press, have I think, brainwashed vulnerable people. It needs investigation…..and perhaps legislation. Ha Ha….by whom now?

  1. I have been a Lib Dem Councillor since 1996. At last night’s count in a safe Labour constituency I had been discussing the comparison with 1983 and Neil Kinnock’s subsequent ‘Never, ever again’ speech with Labour’s Council Leader. A few seconds later two Momentum Councillors approached him and said that ‘You shouldn’t be speaking to him’ ‘You shouldn’t even say hello’. It was said of the Bourbons that they remembered everything and forgave nothing. I am against such Bourbons and so today, I joined Compass.

  2. I agreed with all the aims of your manifesto and with a return of nationalisation. The NHS has done wonderful things for me and I don’t want it privatised. I disagree with the profit motive (if someone can do it cheaper it must be better). When I spoke to an old friend about this he didn’t trust that the party would do what it said and claimed there was not enough money. Yet he didn’t trust Boris Johnson.
    I think we need many more council houses. Why does everyone think he must own a house? My son says because it will always increase in value. Money, money, money!

  3. We need proportional representation!
    It’s as simple as that.
    Look at how the number of seats did not tally with the number of votes cast.
    Conservatives and Labour did better than they should have
    Labour don’t support Proportional Representation because first past the post works in their favour.
    Stop pretending you have the moral high ground.
    We now are leaving the E.U. based on a 45% share of the votes.
    This is less than the referendum.
    At least that was 52%!
    Campaign for PR or stop campaigning at all.
    We are the only large democratic country that uses First past the post.

  4. Less tribalism, mroe collaboration. Tactical collaboration within the current system, for example during elections, and true collaboration on things that really matter: tolerance of diversity (soemthing B Johnson may even be OK on now he’ll be freer from the extreme right); the benefits system, the NHS, state education, and most important of all, climate change, biodiversity and human environmental impact of all kinds.

  5. It was a totally horrendous night. I strongly feel that the most
    important act now is to try to bring together ALL non-Tory groups into a close collaboration. The next important is to
    understand very clearly how Labour has lost its “red wall” in the
    North East and Midlands working class districts, and then what needs to be done to repair it.

  6. What happened is that Johnson won a huge majority in the Commons despite winning only a minority of the votes. Most people didn’t vote for the Conservatives and that’s why we must make this the last general election conducted under First Past The Post.

  7. Elections are now more about personalities than politics. They have become a cross between voting for your favourite on the X factor and a presidential election.The majority of people do not engage with policies, do not listen to tv debates or read in depth articles. Most get their opinions from right wing newspapers and right wing Facebook posts. The only news they hear is the hourly bulletin on Heart fm. The Tories understood this and fed people easy slogans that did not need thinking about and that they didn’t question.The question is do we dumb down to match this approach or do we somehow get the general public to take more than a passing glance at the deeper issues that matter more than personality?

  8. A combination of factors led to this election result: Tory lies, lack of an effective campaign by Labour and LibDems, desire by the public to “Get Brexit Done” even if they don’t know what that means or that it is not possible, right-wing media bias including, incredibly, the BBC, refusal of Labour to deal with anti-semitism, possibly bad choice of leaders (but this includes the Tories)…

    Ultimately there are swathes of the population that feel that politics isn’t working for them. The EU and immigrants have been demonised and Brexit pushed as the solution. It is diffciult to see how this narrative can be chaged especially with our current media setup.

    A complex landscape of economic issues and leave/remain left many people with little choice than to vote for their least-hated option, rather than a party that could fix their problems.

    As for the final vote, Tories won far more seats than the overall number of votes should justify. Our first-past-the-post system is no longer fit for purpose in this complex landscape and we should move to a national proportional representation system that will force parties to compromise and work together. However with our current system biased towards two parties there is little chance of this happening.

  9. I see these results, like the nationalistic urge to Brexit, as the consequence of decades of very insidious and aggresive misinformation in the absence of an educational system that would enable people to grow in discernment. A good part of the British public is easy to manipulate, because ill-educated (and I don’t mean the spelling of Pinnochio, but at least they should have been taught in school about the EU!).

    On a more immediate level, I think Corbyn has been the great enabler, and by far the best ally the Tories could have hoped for. They shoud give HIM a knighthood!

    Finally, and obviously, FPTP cries out loud to be replaced by a proportional system.

    1. Every time Johnson said “Get Brexit Done”, Corbyn should have issued another simple, straightforward, memorable 3-word reply…. “At What Cost?”
      He should have kept repeating it. And spelling out that cost in a wrecked economy and lost jobs, lost jobs, (and to camera) YOUR lost jobs. YOUR lost jobs. (Did I mention your lost jobs?)
      We need a Labour Leader who knows how to play the Media.
      Corbyn is great at the stump, hopeless in the Commons and on TV.
      Tories as a result of this, would have hesitated to support Johnson.

  10. The opposition parties didn’t run a simple, clear, united campaign so didn’t get their message across. Corbyn is not a good leader. He should have hammered home an attack on all Johnson’s weak points – of which there are many!- and appealed simply that Britain can be better.

  11. I think there were two major problems with the progressive attempt: firstly there were too many groups, with slightly different messages, and no clear story about who worked with/for who (peoples vote, European movement, compass etc etc). As the first and most vital task was to stop Brexit, there was a missed opportunity to create just one voice. This was made far worse by the reports of discord and infighting within the People’s vote group which made progressives appear to be as hostile and uncompromising as the members of the Brexit party for example. Secondly, why wasn’t anyone talking about how beneficial our partnership with Europe is? The campaign was focussed on negativity, on what the consequences of leaving would be, without explaining and celebrating the positives.
    Hope that helps.

  12. I feel fear and despair.
    It seems to me that a major reason for the crazy result – ie turkeys voting for Christmas is Brexit Fatigue

  13. I think our media are divisive and utterly biased. Regardless of what went wrong with Johnson anyone reading most of our media would have the impression that he was wonderful.

  14. We need collaborative politics not the aggressive adversarial politics we increasingly see in the UK. Our current First Past The Post voting system, which should be known as our Dominant Minority voting system, leads to adversarial politics, indeed it encourages it. The Electoral Reform Society (of which I am a member) has been spectacularly unsuccessful in achieving “representative democracy fit for the 21st century”. Compass should advocate the Alternative Vote system as a first step towards a fairer voting system, and at the same time get rid of ‘tactical voting’ which increasingly makes a mockery of our elections. The ERS does NOT favour AV as they argue it does not achieve Proportional Representation, which is true, but it does eliminate tactical voting which would be more than the ERS has achieved in it’s 135 year history.

  15. 1.The wide range of policy change was not positioned well enough, or for long enough with voters. It appeared incredible and was easy prey to the jibe that Labour ruins the economy. I did not see Labour mention even 0.75% government borrowing interest rates. It felt finally, with Angela Rayner’s announcement about free school breakfast, like throwing mud, any old mud, at a wall and treating voters like fools. Comms were awful.
    2.Jeremy’s personal status should have led him to stand down. I supported him, but he has shown himself incapable of persuading the undecided. 3.where to source honest information? Not at BBC for sure.

  16. Reaching out to others only works so long as people are willing to listen, but sadly a lot of concerns about Brexit over the past several years made by Remainers have constantly fallen on deaf ears. “When they go low, we go high.” is something progressives are guided by, and we need to get nasty. Today we saw that people are willing to vote for a party that lies to their faces, to vote for a PM that doesn’t take on challenging interviews (And thus ends up looking better because there’s less clips of him failing out there).

    So there needs to be several actions taken.

    1) Mass movement of city people to rural areas, they are ripe with potential that doesn’t get used, and under the current system it is the only way to get voters.
    2) More personality, and reaching out with it. Corbyn’s numbers started to improve a little bit when they saw more of the man, rather than the myth. A good way to circumvent the old media is to set up livestreams, tv stalls and make it funny, almost like a comedian’s show. If people want bread and circus we must provide that in some fashion if we need them to pay attention to what we are saying.
    3) Less fancy language, we have to stick to being simple and emotive. It frustrates me but few are interested in the ideas a party may have to deal with Tax Havens, but they do understand “Immigrants are taking the jobs and devaluing us”
    4) Get ahead of the points the Political Right make, loudly, clearly and often. Don’t skirt around them if they come up either, face them head on and make a mockery of them. Mockery is one thing the Political Right truly fear as it makes them look weak, show their insecurities and the mask will fall off.

    Optics is key. Corbyn and Swinson failed on this regard, the bad stories kept piling up in a way that Boris could easily brush off or use as an equivilency for what he does, and therefore it doesn’t matter.

    Create and control the narrative before the BBC do.

  17. What a sickening election result! I know the media odds were stacked against Labour and they had made a mess of handling the antisemitic situation, but they are still so tribal. Not being prepared to co-operate in any way with other anti-tories, even opposing Caroline Lucas. They mainly brought this disaster on themselves. But will they ever learn? So many in the Labour Party remind me of dinosaurs. They don’t realise the political climate has changed. Labour majorities in the past relied heavily on Scottish successes. Those days have gone. To win a majority in England and Wales, and just as important keep it so that the Tories cannot destroy what has been built, as so often happens, electoral co-operation is essential. Going back to Caroline Lucas, I think it safe to say that no one did better than her in trying to halt the Tory dismantling of the welfare system. SO WHO MADE THE DECISION TO TRY TO DESTROY HER FIGHT AGAINST THE TORIES? I Left the L.P. when Blair and Brown privatised London Underground. Even under J.C. I see nothing to make me want to return to the Labour Party with its antediluvian tribal arrogant ideas.

  18. What happened – a combination of factors.

    For years the electorate have been fed a load if lies by the fat cat owned press, and you can fool some of the people all of the time…

    Labour have always had to contend with the accusation that they will spend big and bankrupt the country. While the evidence points to the current government having borrowed more than Labour ever did that message did not get through. I believe that the Labour manifesto was too radical and left the public wondering how it would be paid for. They would have been better to have stuck closer to the centre ground and pushed the message of the tories and brexit being bad for workers, business and the economy.

    The brexit messages of the progressive parties were not helpful. The liberal position seemed undemocratic while the labour position was muddled – they were trying to please everybody and ended up pleasing none. Better to have been bold from the start and re-educate the electorate about the pitfalls of Brexit but that would take time.

    Of course the claims of antisemitism in the Labour party didn’t help

  19. The progressives were at their worst: Lib Dems were too militant in their personal aspiration; Labour were too athritic in their responses to dirty campaigning from the Tories; SNP were too blinkered in their nationalism, and the Greens…well, whatever (I love them but they’re just so angry all the time, kind of like me right now). They need to do what the right-wingers seem much better at doing: put their differences aside. There is more that unites them than separates them, and yet they stood tragically divided at the expense of the greater good. They will all need to do away with their tainted tribes and reform as a Progressive Alliance… or face decades of Tory rule. Oh and the electoral system is rigged. My vote counted for nothing.

  20. Labour cannot continue to believe that slogans and ideology are all that is needed. I hope very much that Keir Starmer might lead the party. He is not arrogant or egotistical. His reticence and shyness, along with a very clear mind, might begin to counter the aggression and narcissism that has taken over at so many levels. I am glad that Norwich South, where I live, has continued to vote Labour and in this election the Green Party doubled their vote. There is a feeling of community here that London, and its centralised politics, continues to lack. The ability to speak with people of every political persuasion matters, especially when those in poverty or people sleeping on the streets, grow desperate for someone to see them, really see them for real. Political platitudes do not serve.

  21. I just can’t get it out of my head that the country has elected lying, fraudulent, socially and economically elitist people to form the national government. I want there to be an effective solution that works for all. Whether that is Compass I don’t know. I just hope there is something. At 71 if something could happen In my lifetime it would be a bonus!

  22. I second David Jones. Here’s to STV. In Bury with the biggest provincial Jewish Community (20k, and 10 k in South Manchester) we lost Bury North by a 100 and Bury South by 400. If we all know Ulster Troubles meant a lot of work stopping ill feeling boiling over at random Irish in GB why can Corbyn NOT understand that unlimited anti -Israel bad mouthing tips the wink to guttersnipes to kick the nearest Jew?

    Silver lining? In 1992 the Tory press rubbished the moderate Neil Kinnock and the Tories fell all the harder in 1997. Come 2024 all the eggs for foul ups will be in clarity on Tory faces and there will not be any diverting Brexit nationalist flummery.

  23. Unfortunately, Boris Johnson’s considerable “success” was largely due to widespread apathy, ignorance, impatience with the Brexit process, and a form of charisma which appealed even to some long-term Labour supporters.

  24. Pity we can’t reply to individual posts, because I’d like to remind someone above that is was actually around 37% of those eligible to vote who actually voted to leave, and based on that, the ‘get brexit done’ brigade have taken us all out, including many many who weren’t old enough to vote at the time.

    But what went wrong? My very first thought was ‘the BBC won this election’. I think I had that belief renewed when listening to feedback on the way home – sorry, I don’t know who the political editor person (?) was. But when asked if interviewers should challenge politicians who are clearly telling lies, he said that ‘we can’t get into their minds’, and ‘we don’t know what’s motivating them’. What’s going wrong if an important bbc figure can’t distinguish between lies and opinions. Surely, there are grey areas, but lies are lies, facts are facts, the truth is the truth, and opinion is a very different thing. We will never get to the bottom of how to put things right unless the whole of the media cleans its act up, closely followed by the politicians themselves. The behaviour of all concerned (with, perhaps, a few notable exceptions) has been growing steadily worse, and has now reached a point beyond belief.

  25. We lost in two ways and I think it was a failure in persuading Jo Swinson to forget her high ambition for the Prime Minister role it was never going to happen, the election didn’t need to happen if Swinson had backed a vote of no confidence in Johnson. The next big mistake was over the reluctant partnership failed to look closely at the leave and remain factor, Corbyn tried to sit on the fence and pretend to be the honest broker, no one fell for that and he didn’t need to do it, from the start a clear policy of new deal or no Brexit option would have satisfied everyone who was waivering, finally and again I blame Swinson she encouraged the media assassination of Corbyn if my constituency had a clean run I would have had a Labour MP and a chance to get another referendum, what we have is another failure on the part of the remain leaders to lead, only in Scotland was the message clear and uneqviable and the result was spectacular, I wish the PC in Wales would either ease off the Cymraeg insistence and embrace more the bi-linguall approach with The Party of Wales, I pushed Compass or Progressive Alliance on social media for weeks, but the message didn’t get through the three worded catchphrase king get Brexit done, one nation Tory kept drowning it out.

  26. It’s quite easy to feel isolated by such a swath of Blue. This is dangerous as Blue lies and cheating could start to seem normal and engulf us. We need to keep these groups supporting and talking. Johnson is already painting himself as the “peace maker” and that people can now forget about Brexit and heal ; Therfore if we don’t agree with Governmet we don’t want peace or to for the country to heal. I can only interpret everything he says as decisive and opaque.

  27. I think Momentum and JC did a wonderful job getting the Conservatives elected. First past the post helped to ensure Boris got the victory he did not deserve. I found most people believed the lies of the right over the Manifesto of the left or voted without listening to the words of the right, including Boris, without reading the Manifesto of the parties.

  28. We have to accept that the only democratic way forward is through PR and if we cannot get official PR we must have unofficial PR. Again, we have a government elected with 31% support. This is just not good enough.
    Labour must change it’s stance on never negotiating electoral alliances because, for example here in Lincolnshire, we have six constituencies that have only seen conservative MPs for almost 100 years. Every election sees competition for these seats and the opposition is just not strong enough and I’m sure most of the rural shire counties see the same thing. we have to change attitudes.

  29. i tried talking to a Mail reader friend, i gave examples of the lies and she replied “theyre all as bad as each other” she accepted bj lied but believed they all lied, she accepted the Mail lied but believed ALL papers lied, and she remembered bj s message and couldnt remember the opposition messages. i echo what others said, simple short message and promise on one topic only and spread the information about papers with and without honesty factors.

  30. By inclination and voting history, I have been a life-long Labour supporter although never a card carrying member. In May 19 I gave my vote to the Lib Dems for their clear Remain position (although I think the later Revoke position was a mistake – a Peoples Vote being the only credible way forward). This GE always was about Brexit and the failure of Labour, Lib Dems and Greens to agree a strategic alliance has led directly to this disastrous result. I’ve omitted the SNP as they were always going to clean up in Scotland. Here in Bury North a mere 100 or so votes separated a hard working, visible (non Corbynite) Labour MP from the new Brexit supporting Tory. Even accounting for the Brexit Party votes; if the Lib Dem & Green votes had gone to Labour – the seat would have remained Progressive. I imagine similar examples exist up & down the country; perhaps not enough for outright victory but maybe enough to make life uncomfortable for Johnson & co.

    Why the failure to agree a strategy? I guess this will come out in the wash. I suspect the anti-Corbyn stance adopted by the Lib Dems was a sop designed to attract disaffected Tories; while Labour remains in the grip of Momentum it will always be tribal (it’s what Trots do best). I’ve very much admired what Caroline Lucas has done in this campaign though and thought she would have made an excellent figurehead of any alliance.

    The way forward? PR has to be the starting point. Under the current FPP too many people are unrepresented & frustrated at the lack of a voice.

    Something needs doing about the media too but I’m not sure what? I’ve been very saddened at the way the BBC has covered this campaign. Perhaps it’s just perception but they did seem very biased. Perhaps worried about Licence renewal negotiations?

  31. You clearly do not understand the scale of the Climate Emergency. This is not an addendum to a ‘more equal society’
    We are on the course to complete societal collapse across the globe.
    Without a programme even more radical than in the Labour prospectus we will exceed 5 C by 2100.
    By the time we wake up it will be too late – if it is not already

  32. The constituency I am in has a couple of largish Asian communities but is very much a white English constituency. In 2015 Labour had an Asian candidate who lost by over 5000 votes. In 2017 the candidate was a white English person, who lost by around 1000 votes. In this last election the Asian candidate was recycled, and lost by over 5000 again. Without being racist it is clear that an Asian candidate could not win here. It would make more sense for Labour to select a candidate more in line with the majority of the electorate. I know that Asian politics is riddled with favouritism and bribery (baksheesh) as we have seen in Tower Hamlets. So why do the Labour members here try to insist we have a minority candidate that we don’t trust? It really doesn’t make sense. In an ideal world this would not matter, but in my constituency it clearly does. More joined-up thinking needed

  33. Compass is in the business of political education as a means to bring about “a good society”. In tandem with this approach, consideration should be given to pointing out the incoherence of contemporary economics.

    “Groupthink” is not exclusive to journalism but infects many professions. Schools of economics teaching is inadequate to meet the challenges of the climate emergency. I have made a somewhat amateurish attempt to begin a dialogue with a letter entitled ‘A sad indictment of contemporary economics’ published in TruePublica (link) – but there is much more that could be contributed.

  34. Firstly, far too many (relatively) privileged young-middle-aged men who say they ‘listen’ but actually never respond except to tell the rest of us that we aren’t listening. (Sorry, but it’s true… they never take up other people’s ideas; they want us to support theirs.)
    Secondly, virtually NO acknowledgement that human rights requires constant vigilance: https://hilaryburrage.com/2019/10/18/our-human-rights-and-brexit/
    Nobody anywhere focused on the International Day of Human Rights – on 10th December, just before GE19.
    Next, a simple failure to acknowledge the human aspects of our lives, often perceived more directly by women at the interfaces of personal interaction, than via instrumental transactions – so that excludes almost all politicians when ‘in role’.
    AND, vitally, a pathetic failure by even progressive and well-meaning powers-that-be to demand uncomfortable truths, such as might have been revealed by the #RussianReport and this: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241848
    It is totally beyond my comprehension that NOT ONE MP-member of @HoCPetitions was willing even to reply to our repeated pleas that this Petition for a #PublicInquiry be ‘considered’ – my guess is that a few of them now wish they had been a bit more honest and brave, not hiding from difficult challenges, as they ALL did.
    I could go on… but are you listening even now to those on the outside???? I rather doubt it, though I’d be genuinely delighted to be proven wrong.
    Thanks for asking anyway,

  35. A majority, some 52%, voted for pro-Remain or People’s vote parties, but we’ve got a hard-right pro-brexit gov’t that will drag us out of the EU to an uncertain but inevitably diminished future. Because of the distortions of FPTP. Because Remain-leaning parties failed to present a united front based on a confirmatory people’s vote. From Thatcher and probably before Tories have clung to power because progressive votes have been divided. Under PR we would have near continuous progressive gov’t and still be in the EU.

  36. I agree with comment above. The focus now should be the Climate Emergency. We need a Climate Alliance of the progressive parties with a unifying simple and postive message that the public can get behind.

  37. I’m sick to my back teeth of the “Corbyn is antisemitic” lies. He is certainly not unquestioningly pro-Israel. He is very principled in his support of the plight of Palestinians – in this, he is joined by many across the political spectrum. Of course there are antisemites in the Labour Party – as there are, more, in the Tory Party. Having said that, I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1987 and I have never actually met one of these antisemites, so they must be hiding pretty well. Antisemitism is detestable, as are antisemitic tropes which are commonplace, but no more in the Labour Party than in society at large – in fact, quite a bit less.

  38. In summary, Jeremy Corbyn lost the election and the Labour party failed to form a progressive alliance with other parties.

    Jeremy Corbyn should have stepped down from leadership after the 2017 election. He is tainted by antisemitism and perceived as being too left wing. He made unrealistic and unbelievable promises. He doesn’t come across well in interviews or debates and gave no clear message on Brexit. In many ways, Corbyn lost the Brexit vote in the first place. Corbyn is basically a left-leaning Brexiteer and didn’t challenge Brexit. I wanted to scream out ‘Stop blaming Europe for the evils of the Tory government!’ but that message just didn’t come across from the Labour Party.

    The Labour Party should have stepped aside in constituencies where other parties had a better chance of winning against the Tories. We desperately need voting reform. Don’t give people another referendum – just put it into the manifesto! In today’s world there are multiple fault lines in politics: Left-right, Brexit-remain, socially liberal-conservative, radical vs. slow action on the environment, and of course devolution vs. UK union. All these differences cause the rise of multiple parties. FPTP is no longer fit for purpose. Any other system (STV, AV, PR) would be better.

    When are you going to learn that you can no longer govern on your own as one big monolithic left-leaning party?

    I’m slowly going broke because I have to keep bailing out broke relatives on low wages with high living costs. I beg of you, get your act together before I die!

  39. Plenty of heat here! What we need to remember is that while the Tory and the Brexit Parties attracted 46.5% of the vote, the Lib Dems, Labour SNP attracted 51% – a clear lead for those wanting a second referendum. I suspect that little can be done about this but we must shout loudly about the popular will represented here in future campaign for an EU friendly deal.

  40. Labour needs not to “renew its contract with the base” (Aditya Chakrabortty in the Guardian today) – but to be its base. There is still the idea that Labour is for the workers, rather than being the workers. For all the good bits, isn’t that the problem New Labour and Corbynism share?
    If family, community, country is not at the centre of things then there’s no point. Because when the shit hits the fan, lay-down-your-life commitment is to family (mine), community (us around here), country (land and law).
    Before we all shudder at the -phobias of it all: Labour is liberal (meaning each to their own, mind your own business); social (meaning not selfish or anti-social); international (meaning neither transnational nor nationalist/racist). Above this, real commitment is to family, community, country – and if we in Labour do not rebuild from there things can only get very very much worse.

  41. Have found it encouraging to read lots of sensible comments.
    I feel like I live in a progressive bubble we re-elected with an increased majority, a Labour MP who understands the urgent need for climate action & has started several initiatives during his short time in Parliament. He also supports PR.
    I am a Green Town Councillor who works with LibDems who hold most of the seats & having declared a climate emergency we are currently seeking to remodel our streets to reduce dramatically short car journeys & open them up for safer, healthier cycling & walking & just relaxing!
    I organised a hustings on climate action which all the candidates attended except the Tory (he was apologetic & sent a statement). The discussion was considered & constructive without any tribalism evident.
    We hope to build on this political Cooperation during the next 5 years alongside a community led initiative to create a better & carbon neutral town by 2030.
    It all sounds rosy but of course the bubble can be punctured by a complacent & free market obsessed national government that believes climate action can wait until 2050. That can’t see the need for a third industrial revolution based on renewables to become world leaders in eg tidal while creating many jobs in climate proofing our homes & communities. I’m optimistic however that it won’t be burst & we’ll keep going.
    We know that most people want something better whether Brexit voters or Remainers. I hope this is the last time I use these labels – we need to outgrow them, find unity not in some false messiah as Boris is being projected but by moving on, listening to each other & cooperating on what we share in common.
    If the progressive parties including crucially Labour, could all put electoral reform top of the list at the next general election in 5 years we could then create a national context where cooperation on shared objectives like protecting communities from climate impact, public services & transport based on meeting need etc etc could thrive.

  42. We will have to wait and see whether any real learning and change comes out of this ‘period of reflection’ in the Labour Party. I think the party needs someone to do what Kinnock did in the ‘80’s, but more than that in terms of developing a new purpose and credibility beyond just eviscerating Momentum. I do wonder whether it’s possible. A new centre alliance party spanning Grieve to Lammy and with a local regeneration agenda may have more chance, and Labour as a political movement may have to be consigned to the fringes of the ideological left. It is little more than a brand now, and may not be worth trying to rebrand owing to the current legacy. The next leader of the Labour Party must accept their purpose on these terms, with no expectations of assuming power, simply creating the conditions for power to be a possibility again. It must also embrace PR and stop pretending that FPTP will ever be in its interests to retain again.

  43. Labour lost for one very simple reason: this was a one issue election and we had no policy on that issue.

    Because the Labour leader and his inner circle are stuck in an anti-EU 1970s time warp, and despite the fact that approaching 90% of members and 70% of Labour voters are Remainers, the leadership effectively sat on their hands for three years.

    Had the Corbyn team campaigned vigorously for Remain during the referendum and afterwards, many of the Labour voters who turned to the Tories this week could have been persuaded that they had been sold a lie in the Referendum and continued to back Labour.

    Instead Corbyn and his team came across as lacking in authenticity – made worse by the shambolic series of press releases and unrealistic promises during the campaign.

  44. What lack of PR had done to us: an extreme right-wing populist govt on under 45% of vote. Contrast Finland, where in recent election the Perussuomalaiset – equivalent of Tory/Brexit – got an even higher proportion of vote, but still just under 50%. And now they have one of the most forward-looking and left of centre governments, led almost entirely by women under 35. All because they have a truly representative system.
    Labour’s failure to fight for fairness in representation over many years – for all Corbyn’s pretense to be the epitome of democratic principle – has come home to roost.

  45. The sheeple have voted to visit the slaughterhouse. Believed the MSM lies and disinformation. Goodbye NHS. Goodbye all publicly owned assets. Hello more mass genocide of the sick, disabled, unemployed and poor. Hello more foodbanks. You get what you voted for. Enjoy!

  46. The combined number of votes for Conservative and Brexit parties (45.6% anti second referendum)) was less than the combined number of votes for Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and Green (50.1% pro second referendum).

    How does this make a second referendum anti democratic?

    The problem lies in our electoral system and it needs reforming to a form of proportional representation as happens in the European elections. 29.3% of the electorate (67.3% turnout) voted for the party which has an 80 seat majority or 43% of votes leads to 56% seats.

    Lets get voting system reform done!

  47. Who expects the present Government ( or Labour ) to push for PR? Why would they?

    Who expects that Mr Corbyn will resign soon enough to allow a new Labour leader to effectively challenge the Tories on bad policy decisions from day one of the new parliament.

    Who expects that Mr Corbyn and followers will not try to influence the choice of a new leader thus delaying the new leader’s opportunity to establish a positive image in the eyes of us all ( see above ) ?

    Who expects the right wing press to be fair any time soon ?

    Who expects Labour to canvas its’ supporters any time soon and to act on the response.

    Labour should stop prevaricating and get rid of antisemitic members at all levels of the party transparently and quickly. There will never be a better time to accomplish this than now.

    Stop internal feuding if it is holding the party back. Talk to the unions and get them onside for a positive and sensible program of reform. Push the program at every opportunity.

  48. The next election, assuming 5yrs hence, will be about how to survive the Climate Crisis. The writing will be well and truly on the wall. Labour have moved to a strong green agenda, surely it’s time for a Green Alliance? The increasingly irrelevant LibDems, with the loss of their Remain cause, would be wise to get on board too. It would need compromises but the prospect of an ongoing right wing government demands it.

  49. Especially now Brexit will certainly happen, the climate emergency is the number one issue and one on which there is a chance of progressive parties co-operating.

    The comment by Geo Meadows, with the snide remark on the Liberal Democrats, shows why this is difficult. The LD vote went up and the party has plenty of councillors. The manifesto highlighted the climate emergency. The party would willingly join an alliance to fight global warming, not because it was scared of being irrelevant, but because members thought it right. Of course, he’s right that Brexit could no longer be the defining issue for Liberals: it wasn’t until 2016!

    What happened? People were tired of the Brexit wrangles and wanted it over. Many people who were unimpressed by Johnson were scared of Corbyn. None of the progressive parties managed to push a domestic issue to the forefront and that was the biggest LD failing.

    In addition to climate change, wider discussions would be good, especially on political reform. That was a big missed chance: people were actually fed up with our political system, they didn’t hear enough of how it could be changed and they’ve got more of the old ways only worse.

  50. Only by rebuilding from the grass roots level up will any type of a ” Fairer ” society be achieved.

    The Red / Pink Left need to abandon political doctrine and re-engage with real needs of local communities.

    14 odd million survive below the Official Poverty Line … half the family / kinship carer army … 4 out of 8 million … still used as slaves to the System for all and sundry ( Anyone recall the infamous John Battle thread back in 2010 … still stands as a record on this site to date ).

    What does political doctrine mean to them ?

    The way forward is to work towards a Common Goal DESPITE any political differences … in that respect , the Red / Pink Left has always been it’s own worst enemy.

    In economic terms … let the rich get richer but only more slowly … and protect those who cannot work … the disabled / the senior citizens / the family / kinship carers … from the ravishes of the free market economy.

    On the health front , re-combine those ugly twin sisters … OUR NHS and social care … and fund through GENERAL taxation just like the NHS is today.

    ( A cancer patient with dementia … cancer treatment is free , dementia care isn’t … many need to sell their house to fund such
    care … why the discrimination between one illness and another ? )

    Still … 5 years left to change the habits of a life time ?

    Or , most probably , a generation … or two ?

  51. Why Labour lost …….. ‘GET BREXIT DONE’

    and unrelenting abuse of Corbyn across all media and from within
    the parliamentary Labour Party.

  52. Progressive politics lost because it challenges the status quo. An enlightened status quo does not resist change, though it does try to minimise it. An unenlightened status quo resists all change and does not allow the disadvantaged to make their lives more bearable. That is the road to rebellion. To avoid rebellion, some change is needed.

    First is a revamped Code of Conduct for MPs, one that prohibits mendacity, lying and deception, and a Commissioner for Standards who is able to enforce the CoC. We have neither of those at present. The ability of MPs to lie and deceive without being held to account is the oxygen that allows populism to thrive.

    Second, we need a non-partisan MSM. Democracy relies on people making reasoned decisions based on authoritative information, and it sinks when the MSM is partisan as is the case in the UK.

    Third, we need an elected Upper House that is empowered to attend to the longer-term strategic interests of the country and can serve as a counterweight against the Executive which will always be focussed on short-term operational matters. And, of course, an elected Head of State who also has meaningful powers and can constrain the Executive when it becomes tribal.

    There’s three things for a start.

  53. I’m responding quite late so I have to apologise if I am repeating any of the other comments (I couldn’t read them all). When I was out knocking on the doors for Labour last week (admittedly in leave voting areas)- two things kept coming up amongst traditional Labour voters Brexit and Corbyn.

    In a sense Owen Jones was right when he said the two were intertwined – Brexit would have been a major problem for any leader. However part of the problem was that at pretty much every stage Corbyn – and I suppose in a sense Labour – lacked the decisiveness to take a clear position which could have been communicated to potential voters.

    First he should have played an active role promoting Remain in the referendum back in 2016 – instead he chose to virtually sit on the sidelines which I think left many thinking we’d never really fought it. It may not have made a difference but had Labour been properly led we might have convinced some of our traditional supporters that Brexit was the last thing they needed. Once that ship had sailed though many (understandably) felt it was more important that their vote was respected regardless of how difficult Brexit was turning out to be.

    After the referendum I personally feel he should have stuck to the position of honouring the referendum result – which is what we did say in 2017. However again he wasn’t prepared to show the leadership needed to convince members of this – even after he got May to compromise her own deal by putting in place protections for workers and environment. There is no way it would have been better than staying in the EU but it would have ensured many working class leave voters didn’t feel they were being ignored – and it was a better deal than Johnsons.

    But finally when we did adopt a second referendum policy we didn’t have the leadership needed to do it properly. Instead of advocating a position where we would just put the latest withdrawal agreement (a Labour Government could have always improved upon it when negotiating a free trade agreement) against Remain he insisted on this stupid policy of promising to negotiate a “Labour Brexit” (whatever that was meant to be) and put it against Remain – and couldn’t even say which way he would vote.

    It would be wrong to pin all the blame on Corbyn. It was Swinson and Sturgeon who basically let Johnson call the election at the time of his choosing – largely for opportunistic reasons. Brexit aside Corbyn and his allies have been tremendously successful in drawing in and motivating many otherwise apathetic people to campaign for Labour. But his lack of leadership skills and limited ability to communicate beyond rallies (also apparent in his failure to properly tackle anti-semmitism in the party) was a huge problem and one that should have been obvious when he first stood as a candidate.

  54. Agree with much of the above so won’t repeat.
    1. Tories did not increase their vote much – but Brexit Party standing in Labour seats meant that Leave supporting Labour voters could vote against Labour Brexit position without voting Conservative. Much of this vote can and will return. (Thats the only “good news”.) But Remain leaning Tories could not vote Labour for 2 reasons: (1) Labour’s position was just nonsensical and had no guarantee of delivering Remain anyway and (2) Labour’s manifesto was perceived far too dangerously left wing (see comment below for qualification). Most Pro EU Tories felt Labour Govt was more damaging than Brexit so stuck with the Conservative party despite Brexit.
    2. Its no use complaining about the bias in the media (and financial markets). This is just what we have to deal with. You also need to remember that most people are conservative (with a small c) and nervous about change. So you have to play smart – it is no good going into an election with the most left wing manifesto for decades and hope to win. You have to start from a less threatening place and then once you have power then you can shift the centre ground. Once the population see that the sky does not fall in with some increase in public spending then they might give their trust next time for another modest tack leftwards. The manifesto was a program for 10 – 15 years not for the first five years. It is a great manifesto but starting from where we are this just looked like an idealistic wish list.Thatcher started from the centre right and relentlessly moved right thereafter. Kinnock/Blair had to come to the centre to get elected – but Blair did not tack much leftwards after he won power (which was a huge disappointment ).
    3. Be inclusive. Corbyn the man claims to be inclusive as if he respects all. In practice his Labour Party is very divisive. (a) Unless you are a true believer you are vilified, marginalised and in many cases ejected. (b) Labour refuses to work with progressives from other parties – no truck with electoral alliances (see zillions of comments above). Labour’s sense of entitlement to the progressive vote is outrageous. (c) Labour fought a naked class war – vilifying the wealthy and big businesses. Of course a progressive programme is going to hurt these vested interests in the short term but the language used was nasty.
    4. Campaign was shambolic. Tories had a sharp focus to their campaign with a ridiculously simple message. Labour by contrast had no coherent narrative or overarching strapline (e.g. Get Britain Moving). It was unclear what the top three or five priorities are. As a result every day was a different message and so there was no coherent thread. The campaign focussed far too much on Corbyn and senior (some more respected) figures were absent. A radical programme has to have a well laid path of the months and years ahead so that all the scepticism has been covered before the election when the programme comes together. You should not keep dropping in new policies on a daily basis that surprise even the long standing MPs. This becomes chaotic and fed the narrative that this was not costed or thought through.
    5. Corbyn the non-leader. He is a principled man and impatient for change for the better. But he has no idea what it means to lead a political party in opposition (in the face of the establishment and media hostility). Its no good just “doing the right thing” – you actually need to play a strategically smart and decisive game. Any successful leader will tell you that there are times that you have to do things that are in the best interest of the organisation but which you personally feel very uncomfortable about. Coming to the centre ground to get power initially is one issue; dealing with anti-semitism is another; sorting out his divisive acolytes is another; attitude to Russia and other foreign policy matters. He is just too honest. (I am not for a minute advocating outright lying such as Trump/Johnson are doing but really the Labour leader needs to play much more smart.)
    6. Given the problem that Brexit split the two main parties down the middle – since it was obvious from the outset that this was a Brexit election this was the one time it was vital to try and appeal to Remain voting Tories – so the manifesto and the language should have been as emollient as possible to attract Lib/Dem and liberal Tories but Labour just ignored them. (I could never understand why Corbyn/Swinson agreed to the GE in the first place- they should have resisted and insisted the only way to break the Brexit deadlock was the 2nd referendum and just held out for that. Had Corbyn not been so stubborn he would have permitted a coalition of MPs under a temporary centrist leader to ensure that happened following a vote of no confidence. But he and his acolytes were to arrogant as to believe they could actually win a GE on Johnson’s terms. Back to point 3 above – if he had been more inclusive within the party he would have realised that he could not win and he should have stood aside. As has turned out, his time is up anyway as leader.
    1. Work with other parties (includes PR)
    2. Focus on values and public services and environment BUT….
    3. Be inclusive – clean up the party governance, listen to people all over the country and devise a programme for the whole country.
    4. Hound the Tories on their record relentlessly
    5. Be media savvy – no good vilifying them (I don’t mean cosy up but no good being openly hostile to them)

  55. Labour declined to join an electoral pact with the Lib Dems and Greens. Had they done so the Tories probably wouldn’t be in power. Next time we need Labour to join a pact and have a policy of true PR.

  56. Fair voting for goodness sake, PR. And an electoral alliance between the progressive parties. I’m a Green and believe me we tried, but Labour are so unresponsive to date, so I appeal to all Labour members –

  57. Labour lost for three reasons IMO – skewered by Brexit, Corbyn has too much baggage (hence an easy target) and the manifesto wasn’t credible. For 2024 Brexit as a political choice will be behind us. Labour will have a new leader and hopefully the message will be clearer, more concise and credible. Wales should be recoverable but Scotland (if it’s not gone by then) won’t be. With boundary changes it will be very difficult to get into power.

    I think it is time for a merger of the “traffic light” parties. The Greens have made their point. The LibDems having got any policies and are going nowhere. A new party of progressives would do really well. The divided is now between young and old, internationalist v nationalists. Labour is not going to win back the old-school “god-save-the-queen” types and what’s more doesn’t need them. Climate will be the main issue of the next ten years and there is a big opportunity for the left.

  58. A proper bicameral system where a subset of (existing) peers are given ‘voting status’ for a year or two via INDIRECT election by local councillors across the country – they are a more diverse bunch: for I would not want to directly elect ‘senators’ who could then become too powerful…
    Apparently BJ is planning to flood the Upper House with sympathisers…

  59. Am coming to this discussion a bit late but just wanted to say that this email from Compass was the most comforting and positive sign I have received in these bleak post election days which are so full of blame. I have been shocked in the past three years not only by the divisions all around but also by how easy it is to be pulled into them myself. Divisions between Leave and Remain both of which became increasingly rigid. Divisions between north and south. Divisions within the Labour party by those who should be working together and an increasing inflexibility both from those supporting Corbyn but equally from those who from day one wanted him gone. It has become so easy to focus on these separations rather than on the issues which surely anyone on the left believes in – the urgency of the climate crisis; homelessness and the need for social and affordable housing; how to bring an end to the disgraceful level of poverty. I support everything Compass is doing to bring people together to focus on these issues, listen to each other and begin to create new and relevant solutions.

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