It is a huge irony that whilst the Left endlessly looks inwards as its factions bicker over who has the right to lead, those it aspires to lead flock to the parties of the Right. How can the Left’s natural constituency vote Right? Clearly, we must challenge old assumptions. Values and habit alone do not sustain loyalty.
The revolution which many on the Left felt to be needed – the peaceful uprising of the left-behind - has happened but not in the way any imagined. No socialist intifada; no new economic model but the rousing voices of nationalist demagogues. Same revolutionaries; different slogans. Sanders and Corbyn tried but Trump and Farage succeeded.
Political mainstreamers need to reassess how and why this has happened and is happening elsewhere. They no longer represent many of those they believed they did. The workforces of the old industries and their communities, cast out by Thatcherism, have been neglected ever since. Labour is no longer the political voice for millions in large workplaces or even their homes. With fewer workers unionised or organised, Labour’s relevance to voters is in question. The demagogues have heard, seen and had the nous to respond, not only by showing this but by applying their common touch to politics. It works.
So this is a watershed in democracy in the West, in UK, USA, France and more. Old assumptions have been blown away by a failure to listen or to keep abreast of people’s real needs. Speeches in Parliament and machinations in the capital no longer work for voters. New media can foster new allegiances. So can new parties. Labour has an existential problem but this presents Labour Coast and Country with an opportunity, to offer unrepresented voters a platform for sharing common interests. Labour Coast and Country also offers the Labour Party the means to turn attention to millions of its followers it has ignored for too long. Recognising and structuring policy around communities shared needs could be a new model for Labour; now, where are OUR demagogues to take the voters along with it?