Friday, 14 August 2015

The Demonisation of 1983

I don't think the comparisons between Corbyn and Labour in 1983 are valid, but it's true to note that between the 1979 and 1983 elections Labour lost just over 3 million votes. 

Was it a clear indictment of Labour's manifesto? Or was it due to Thatcher's bounce after the winning of the Falklands War – and the impact of the Liz Kendalls of the day defecting to form the SDP, splitting the party and the electorate?

What happened to the 3 million votes lost by Labour in 1983? Well, the Liberals, in alliance with the Labour defectors of the SDP, just happened to increase their vote by 3.5 million that year…

So you have a prime minister coming off a successful war (in the country's eyes) and a recently-split Labour Party. And, yes, Michael Foot wasn't from central casting... Clearly, it would have been hard for *any* party with *any* manifesto to win under those conditions. 

Given this, New Labour's use of 1983 as the final, damning argument as to why left-wing policies would make the party forever unelectable is disingenuous, at best.

And, in any case, the idea that the Labour Party should be reduced to patching up the wounds inflicted by the excesses of the free market instead of working to reform and manage it properly has to be resisted. And Corbyn's the key, right now, to that resistance.