With a deafening blow the exit poll didn’t just ruin Theresa May ‘s political career, it also abruptly halted any attempts by ‘moderates’ within the Labour Party to oust Jersey Corbyn as leader.
Corbyn is secure in his role as leader, at least for the moment, and now his task is to continue reforming the party. He is aiming to take control from the elected deputy Leader Tom Watson and award grassroot momentum greater say at the party’s governing body.
Neil Kinnock faced similar problems as Labour leader in the 1980s. If it wasn’t for his triumphalist attitude in the latter stages of the election campaign, including the infamous Sheffield rally, many believe the socialist leader would have stormed to victory — even against the Sun‘s famous: ‘last one turn the lights out’ front page.
In his thought-provoking speech Ashley Walters, quoting Neil Kinnock, talks about the ‘strength of care’ and how Thatcher’s vision of privatisation would prevent poorer working-class students getting to university. The line that sticks out to me is ‘collective responsibility’.
I only wish that the Labour of today truly promoted collective responsibility. There is a reason why Labour went backwards in working-class areas like Scunthorpe and Grimsby and lost the mining town of Mansfield, whilst winning Kensington and Canterbury. This is because Corbyn appealed to liberal students and angry remainers.
If Labour were truly about ‘freedom in being able to get where you want to be’, whether university or vocational, then they would not have neglected Us — the white working-class northern labour voters. The average resident in Scunthorpe is poorer than in Kensington and with that comes a different set of fears and concerns. The neglected have seen their towns transformed by uncontrolled immigration, whilst their wages were being undercut. The neglected have seen their chance of social mobility diminish, as more and more schools closed or were forced into special measures by Ofsted. The neglected have seen benefits cut, and their dreams of owning a house destroyed.
These neglected voters had no voice. Labour, under Ed Miliband, ignored them and sadly so did Jeremy Corbyn. Vote Leave listened and thus won.
I myself, am an anti-establishment advocate. I see the oligarchy of Westminster punishing the working class each day. Corbyn’s anti-establishment rhetoric was appealing, but unfortunately not aimed in the right direction.
Instead, Labour defends the liberal remainers. The cries of the working class fall on deaf ears. A valuable lesson in politics is that those who have been silenced can be the most dangerous, and the working class showed this last June in the EU Referendum.
There is a reason why Labour lost the election, because they didn’t attract the support of the neglected and angry working-class voter. Collective responsibility? When will someone take responsibility for Scunthorpe, Mansfield and many more — ?
The video is part of the Figures Of Speech project run by the Almeida Theatre