Unless Labour learns the Tory virtue of ruthlessness, it will continue to be led by failures and liabilities

There has always been a reluctance among Labour types to admit that their chief opponents do anything better than them. In our confrontational political system, this is understandable. But as Labour starts the long drawn out process of electing a new leader and picking up the pieces of its last general election defeat, it could do far worse than taking a few tips off the Conservatives.

First of all, it should be pointed out that ever since Alec Douglas-Home bequeathed to his party a new and democratic system for electing the leader (replacing the previous opaque system in which a candidate “emerged” from the private counsels of the establishment, including the Crown), the Tories have always been…

Only a union of Unionists can defeat the rampaging SNP

A non-aggression pact among the major parties is vital if they are to see off the SNP and the threat of independence

In a statement that demonstrates why Labour would be mad to choose Rebecca Long Bailey as its new leader, the shadow business secretary has denounced her party’s leading role in what was its last triumph – the Better Together campaign that won the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

In setting out her socialist credentials, the woman dubbed the “continuity Corbyn” candidate has said that Labour had gotten “too close to the establishment” by “joining forces with David Cameron in Better Together”. Yet the latter was a movement led by Labour, in the shape of the former chancellor…

Rebecca Long Bailey is the worst choice Labour could make. So she’s bound to win

Funny how things turn out. In the leadership contest of 2020, the Labour Left find themselves in the exact same position as Labour moderates did in the leadership contest of 2015. Dazed from an unexpectedly heavy election defeat; devoid of new ideas; and with precisely zero stand-out candidates from their side of the party.

Which is why they’re having to make do with one as drab as Rebecca Long Bailey. Then again, maybe the drabness is the appeal. After all, many on the Left are convinced that Labour only lost the election because of media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s character. “Well, they won’t be able to attack Becky Long Bailey’s character! Because she hasn’t got one!”

Even more importantly,…

Jeremy Corbyn’s flip-flopping Brexit fudge lives on in Labour’s leadership hopefuls

After Jeremy Corbyn led Labour into the electoral equivalent of the Charge of the Light Brigade last month, those vying to succeed him are in no doubt as to why that happened — even if they did little to stop it at the time.

“We weren’t trusted on Brexit," Rebecca Long Bailey declared on the Today programme this morning, insisting that she "certainly" argued privately against the fudge Mr Corbyn settled on. Her fellow leadership contenders are similarly unanimous in blaming Labour’s Brexit policy (which is just the tip of the iceberg), as they pitch themselves as candidates who would make put and end to the constant prevarication, triangulation and flip-flopping.

But judging by how Mr Corbyn’s…

Until Labour learns the lessons of history it is doomed to irrelevance

Jess Phillips, one of the contenders for the Labour leadership, yesterday said the problem for the party at the recent election was no one trusted it to deliver on its promises. It does not seem to have occurred to her or any of the other potential candidates that the country thought the precise opposite.

Sir Keir Starmer, who has also announced his candidacy, said his aim was also to restore “trust” in Labour. The manifesto, he conceded, was “overloaded”, yet he did not resile from its ambitions.

But voters did not reject Labour because they felt Jeremy Corbyn could not implement a full-blooded socialist programme; they did so because they feared he would. The internal analysis of Labour’s worst…

The Labour candidates’ problems are their values, not their accents

A working-class persona won’t mask the scorn the party still feels towards the traditional voters it has lost

Like a rejected spouse disputing a divorce, Labour knows its working-class voters are leaving. But the party cannot admit that it is responsible for the breakdown. It refuses to accept that it had the chance to change, but blew it. And now somebody else is on the scene.

The writing was on the wall in 2017. Then, the Tories won 44 per cent of the working class vote, to Labour’s 42 per cent. But in Boris Johnson’s December triumph, the winning margin was massive. Working-class voters backed the Tories 48 to 33 per cent. The result confirmed that Labour – the party founded to protect working-class…

Why does Labour have such a problem with patriotism?

Patriotism is a prerequisite for electoral success. A party needs to show that it is committed to the country it aspires to run, that it feels a connection with its own people that goes beyond its vague benignity toward the human race.

Jeremy Corbyn’s distaste for British institutions and symbols was the single biggest cause of his defeat. It set the context in which voters interpreted Labour’s Brexit U-turn.

In different circumstances, Labour might have been able to shift its position on the EU without losing so many supporters. But Corbyn had established the tone at the start of his leadership when he refused to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain memorial service.

His readiness…

How can Keir Starmer save Labour from Jeremy Corbyn after selling out to help him?

After Jeremy Corbyn ruined Christmas for Labour members by leaving their party in the most politically irrelevant and weak state it has ever been, they have been craving reasons for optimism.

Those reasons have been thin on the ground given how emphatically Mr Johnson and the Tories won last month’s election, leaving Labourites to scrabble around in search of succour like a parched man in the desert. But the brewing Labour leadership contest has given them hope that recovery is possible.

Sir Keir Starmer is now looked upon as the new messiah. The mounting polling evidence suggesting he is destined to succeed is being received like manna from heaven by those who have been driven to despair by…

The Labour Party’s patriotism problem goes back much further than Jeremy Corbyn

Until the Left can learn to like its own country, it stands very little chance of winning another election

The smarter Labour MPs are on a mission at the moment. Not a lecture tour, but a listening tour. Just before Christmas Lisa Nandy was in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, to hear why people in this previously safe Labour seat had chosen to abandon her party and return a Conservative as their MP.

As with all such listening exercises, the same phrases keep recurring. The sense that voters in such places had been taken for granted by a Labour party obsessed with London and hyper-liberal university graduates. Also foremost, of course, was the Labour Party’s organised betrayal over Brexit. But there…

The five lessons Labour must learn from history to be a credible party again

To make a political comeback, the opposition must ditch bad policies and grasp the appeal of the other side

The creation of a commission, by “Labour Together”, to analyse why their party has lost four successive general elections is an excellent idea. Much as we Conservatives might wish our opponents to stick with unelectable leaders and policies, we know that this is not good for the country. A well-functioning democracy needs more than one party that could realistically provide a government.

The last time a Conservative Government won re-election by an increased margin after nearly a decade in power was in 1959, under Harold Macmillan. This was followed by a serious study entitled “Must…