The independent London newspaper

Remember a political Holy Trinity

10 January, 2020

• I HAVE only had time to read a small proportion of the many lines written trying to analyse what wrong for Labour, but so far I have yet to see mentioned the name of John Prescott.

Surely it was the absence of him and what he represented, or a successor with a similar heritage, that explains the mass switch of loyalties.

For the decade John was deputy leader voters from the constituencies that changed hands could identify with at least one of the triumvirate that led their party, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John were the equivalent of the Holy Trinity.

When this fell apart it did not take long before a downward spiral became the order of the day. The mass disaffection of Labour voters in Scotland ought to have been a wake-up call to the party, but it wasn’t.

The voting changes instigated by Ed Miliband were resisted at the time by most Labour MPs, for good reason. They could sense that these would cause difficulties. How right they were.

Within the space of a decade the Labour Party, from being an organisation reflecting and responding to the very varied opinions and needs of electors across the country, suddenly became “captured” by London-based ideologues with little to offer by way of new thinking, relying instead on promises of mass renationalisation, something that in itself would do absolutely nothing to rejuvenate the economies of the “post-industrial” towns of the midlands and the north.

I suspect, however, that the coming debate about who should replace Jeremy Corbyn as party leader will focus on personalities, rather than policies.

And demonstrate once again a failure to grasp that what is needed is state investment in production capacity serving the needs of tomorrow’s economy, not yesterday’s.

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