As the week rolls on, the recriminations just keep coming. One thing is for sure, its still not Jeremy’s fault. So, despite the best evidence to the contrary, Mr S has decided to update the list of reasons given by Corbynistas as to why their leader fell so flat.
The ‘print media’
Dawn Butler was asked on Sky News on the night of the election whether voters’ dislike of Jeremy Corbyn was responsible. Not so, she said. ‘The media contributed to it,’ she insisted. Butler also suggested that adverts placed by the Tories didn’t help matters. Meanwhile, Corbynistas on Twitter were more specific in who was responsible: the Observer. In a damning leader just before the election, the paper called out what it described as ‘Corbyn’s disgraceful anti-Semitism crisis’. Corbynista cheerleader Aaron Bastani said the Tory victory in Kensington was down to the Sunday newspaper.
Voters ignoring the ‘winning argument’
To much consternation, Jeremy Corbyn penned an article in the Observer (yes, the same sheet that lost the party Kensington) in which he claimed that Labour had ‘won the argument’. A casual reader might think that suffering the worst defeat since 1935 might be considered losing the argument. Not a bit of it. The policies, we read, were popular when looked at individually. Perhaps someone needs to remind Mr Corbyn that voters, quite reasonably, tend to look at a party’s policy offering in aggregate.
Not only are biased right-wing rags like the S*n to blame for Labour’s crushing defeat but so too is dear old auntie. The BBC (and don’t even get them started on Laura Kuenssberg) obviously and deliberately undermined the Corbyn project. Shadow transport Andy McDonald told the Today programme earlier this week: ‘If the BBC are going to hold themselves out as somehow having conducted themselves in an impartial manner [then] I think they’ve really got to have a look in the mirror.’ He went on to tell BBC presenter Justin Webb that the BBC had ‘consciously’ played its party in Corbyn’s defeat.
‘A lot of this was Brexit fatigue and it put Labour in a very difficult position’, said shadow chancellor John McDonnell. ‘It was always going to be difficult for us to straddle those positions (of leave and remain),’ he added. Other members of the shadow cabinet agreed. Richard Burgon said the big difference between this election and the one held in 2017 was ‘that it was an election in which Brexit overshadowed traditional party loyalties’. So nothing to do with Corbyn then?
‘The culture war’
Owen Jones has been one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most loyal followers, so it’s no surprise he was not keen to point the finger at the Labour leader. The Guardian columnist and Labour activist also suggested Brexit – and a broader ‘culture war’ – was to blame:
‘Was it about the people saying the top five per cent shouldn’t pay more in tax? Was it about people objecting to public ownership? Was it about people thinking tuition fees were a good thing?…No, it was a culture war which has ripped this country apart. Brexit…the lightning rod of that culture war. I know people are saying you’re coming up with excuses here, it’s about Jeremy Corbyn the man….in 2017, that was just two and a half years ago, Labour had the biggest increase in the share of the vote because of those policies which he was associated with.’
Right-wing Labour MPs
Of course, it was Labour MPs who desperately wanted the Labour party to fail. Nevermind the fact that many of these supposedly ‘rightwing’ MPs lost their jobs at this election. And perish the thought that they might have been trying to make a principled stand by criticising Jeremy Corbyn.
‘The Jewish vote’
Fears about anti-Semitism within the Labour caused many voters to turn away from Corbyn’s party. But Ken Livingstone appears to have failed to learn any lessons. The former Labour leader told Press Association that ‘the Jewish vote wasn’t very helpful’.
It had to happen. Blair, as all good Corbynites know, may have been the most successful Labour Prime Minister in living memory but that was only because he hates the Labour party so much.
There is, in fact, a general crisis in social democracy. Clearly faced against the unassailable forces of history, poor Jeremy Corbyn stood very little chance.
The voting system
Don’t blame the voters, blame the voting system, seems to be one of the ways in which Corbyn’s supporters are trying to explain away what happened. Pro-Corbyn pundit Aaron Bastani said of Britain’s voting system: ‘First past the post is wild – and the Tories played it like a fiddle’.
And finally, it obviously goes without saying that the people who should shoulder the largest share of the blame are, of course, the voters themselves. Laurie Penny is correct, things have got a bit nasty in the last week or so. Not because the left is trying to ‘find every way to blame ourselves’. Rather the opposite, in fact. It seems Ms Penny has finally figured out how democracies work – if more people vote for the other side then your prefered option loses. Fancy that!
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