Bregret eh!

Just a few snippets for Wednesday. The post British General Election wash-up continues and the urban Remainers who support Labour are now coming out of their holes to speak forth on why it all went wrong. There is lots of regret but little real reflection and responsibility is being exhibited. And, it is now a fair proposition to argue, that given it was this group that so distorted Labour Party policy and drove the ‘optics’, that they they should now just shut up and do some serious review of their own positions and why they lacked understanding and foresight. Some are proclaiming it was the toxity of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for the Left that was somehow involved. One cannot get more desperate than that. But mostly it was their disdain for those less educated and less privileged that sealed the deal. You cannot continually label people fools and racists and claim they were so ill-informed that within a few days of the Referendum result that they were clearly experiencing ‘Bregret’ and expect them to play ball with the cosmopolitan dream. Especially when that dream had created such havoc in areas where the majority of Labour MP represented and had voted Leave. We found out how much Bregret there was last Thursday.

Another brief comment on the British election

Remember the type of articles that the progressive media were pumping out in the aftermath of the June 2016 Referendum?

This one – published in the Independent (June 25, 2016) – Anger over ‘Bregret’ as Leave voters say they thought UK would stay in EU – carried an image “Some Brexit voters are now regretting their choice”.

This was published just two days after the Referendum.

The claim was that:

Remain voters are voicing their outrage amid claims by some people who voted for a Brexit that they regret their decision.


Several pro-EU politicians voiced their suspicions that some Leave voters would have regrets on Friday, with Labour MP Diane Abbott …

Yes, Dianne Abbott.

Tony Blair weighed in claiming that the Referendum was not about Leave but a “protest vote”.

And the Remainers, not able to get their own way the first time, despite pumping out a mass of ridiculous economic catastrophy forecasts, written by the economic elites, started, as soon as the results were out calling for a “second referendum”.

A few days later, the Independent was at it again (June 27, 2019) – Kelvin Mackenzie admits ‘buyer’s remorse’ after voting for Brexit – claiming that leave voters would soon regret their choice to Leave.

And so it went for the next three years.

British people were told relentlessly that they should have a ‘Peoples’ vote’ to decided one way or another – as if June 2016 had never happened.

And it was the Labour Party that led the charge.

I was reminded of all that when I read the article in The Age this morning (December 18, 2019) – The people who lost the election for British Labour hate the working class – by journalist Chris Uhlmann.

I normally do not agree with much he writes or says but in this article I think he has captured the problem for Labour well.

He argues that the urban Labour elites pushed the Labour Party into an untenable position going into the 2019 General Election because, not only did they fail to understand the needs and positions of the more precarious, less educated working class who had previously been Labour supporters and who had helped push the Leave vote through, but, to put a finer point on it, they held their less educated colleagues in contempt.

The response after the Referendum vote that the Leave voters were stupid, racist and so unsure that they would change their vote if only they had the comprehension of the issues that urban educated Remainers had – the depth of appreciation of complexity etc.

The article notes that:

It is evident across the Western world that there is now a chasm dividing inner-city internationalists and the working-class nationalists who sustain their lifestyles. Many in wealthy city sanctums are now so disconnected from their sources of food, wealth and energy that they are voting against them or seeking to ban them …

Most of the “creative destruction” that followed the international opening of markets was in the jobs lost by blue-collar men. That also helped destroy the lives of their wives and children. Manual workers across the West now face fewer jobs and falling real wages, so is it any wonder their anger is rising.

These are not privileged white men. They were the ones that emptied your garbage, dealt with your sewerage, built your machines, dug in dangerous mines, grew your food, lived hard but proud lives and had the privilege of fighting and dying on the frontline whenever we called a war.

On the other side of the divide are the city-based knowledge industry workers who are enjoying all the benefits of free-trade and the free movement of immigrants without having to bother with any of the downsides.

Strong language.

The latter group have voice. The former group do not.

And this is why the British Labour Party was unable to see the train wreck they were creating by reneging on the guarantee to support the Referendum result wholeheartedly.

The self-interested voice of their elite interests in London, Oxford, Cambridge, in the media (Novara, UK Guardian, etc) drowned out any of the angst that was coming from the Midlands and further North.

After all, there was Bregret wasn’t there. These stupid illiterates would still vote Labour and they would fall into the Remain camp if given another try.

The urban, educated elites were wrong.

The Labour Party was warned that their urban supporters were wrong on this.

What the top end of the Party didn’t understand is, in Chris Uhlmann’s rather evocative words, is that:

This crowd came with all the verities of the new age and all their many prejudices. At base they really hate the working class. They hate their jobs, their cars, their sports, their music and their lifestyles.


The British election saw an abject rejection of the party of the workers by the workers. It turned out they weren’t suffering regret. They were enraged.

The workers’ party rejected by the workers.

That should be the organising framework for what the British Labour Party does next.

In the UK Guardian article (December 17, 2019) – Keir Starmer lays out case for ‘radical Labour government’ – one potential leader, the shadow Brexit spokesperson, rehearsed his Remain bias and the antisemitism smears as he laid out his case to contest the leadership.

Please Labour members – do not install this man as your leader.

Not only will his Remain blindness continue to define Labour’s approach to the future (as negotiations on the exit become more concrete) but his claim that the Labour Party must retain the “Blairites” will continue the deep divisions that have led to the rejection by the workers.

Jonathan Pie is heading to Australia.

Here he is telling us about the real world and the British election.

February 2020 – European and UK Speaking and Lecture Tour

Here is my current schedule for February in Europe and the UK.

The ‘tba’ listings mean either I haven’t agreed yet to current proposals to speak or that the day is free of events so far.

If anyone wants to organise and event or set up a meeting, then please contact me and we will see what is possible.

  • Monday, February 03, 2020 – Speaking on ‘What is the meaning of political economy today?’ at Think Corner, Helsinki – 17:00 to 19:00
  • Tuesday, February 04, 2020 – Teaching, University of Helsinki – 16.15-17.45, Porthania P674 – all lectures are public.
  • Wednesday, February 05, 2020 – Teaching, University of Helsinki – 10.15-11.45, Language Centre in Fabianinkatu room 207
  • Thursday, February 06, 2020 – Teaching, University of Helsinki – 10.15-11.45, Main building, Hall 16
  • Friday, February 07, 2020 – tba
  • Saturday, February 08, 2020 – tba
  • Sunday, February 09, 2020 – tba
  • Monday, February 10, 2020 – tba
  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020 – Teaching, University of Helsinki – 16.15-17.45, Porthania room 723
  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – Teaching, University of Helsinki – 10.15-11.45, Language Centre in Fabianinkatu room 207
  • Thursday, February 13, 2020 – Teaching, University of Helsinki – 10.15-11.45, Main building, Hall 16
  • Friday, February 14, 2020 – tba
  • Saturday, February 15, 2020 – tba
  • Sunday, February 16, 2020 – tba
  • Monday, February 17, 2020 – tba
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 – Paris, Reception, French Senat, Palace of Luxembourg – 18:00
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020 – Paris, events and interviews – details to follow
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 – Paris, Presentation to French Senate Commission, Palace of Luxembourg – 8:30-10:30
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 – London, GIMMS presentation, MMT education – afternoon – details to follow
  • Friday, February 21, 2020 – Manchester, GIMMS presentation, The Harwood Room in the Barnes Wallis Building, University of Manchester, details to follow).
  • Saturday, February 22, 2020 – tba
  • Sunday, February 23, 2020 – Amsterdam – tba

Call for financial assistance to make the MMT University project a reality

If I am to get the – MMTed Project (aka MMT University) – up and going to provide formal courses to students in all nations to advance their understanding of Modern Monetary Theory then I need financial assistance.

We have established the – Foundation for Monetary Studies Inc. – aka The MMT Foundation to serves as a legal vehicle to raise funds and provide financial resources for the MMTed Project.

The Foundation is a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Delaware as a Section 501(c)(3) company. Its legal structure allows people can make donations without their identity being revealed publicly.

Some sponsors have already offered their generous assistance.

We need significantly more funds to get the operations off the ground.

Please help if you can.

We cannot make the MMTed project viable without funding support.

I am on a bit of a Leonard Cohen kick at the moment – again!

I have always liked this song – Famous Blue Raincoat – which was on his third album – Songs of Love and Hate (1971).

The switch from minor key (A) in the verse, to the major key (C) in the chorus is very nifty.

I always wondered what it was about and often imposed situations on the lyrics as they arose in life.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2019 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 58 Comments

  1. Jonathan Pie for next British Labour Prime Minister. We can always make him a Lord.

  2. Dear Bill,

    Do we stay in the Labour Party or leave? Your advice would be a great help!

    Dave K.

  3. Dear Bill,

    Here is my final contribution:

    The next British Labour Party makes every Labour Party member into a member of the House of Lords and a member of the Cabinet.

    Thus we will achieve Job Guarantee plus Democratic Socialism overnight.

    If it’s OK for the Tories to do it, it must be OK.

    Dave K.

  4. Great news that you’re coming to Manchester Bill, i’ve been hoping you’d stop by at some point, see you on the 21st 🙂

    With regards to the forthcoming leadership contest, all the centrists will talk left then pivot right the moment they are elected. With the exception of Jess Phillips of course, who will talk about Jess Phillips mainly. This is why Open Selection is so important in the future – the party has been hollowed out from the inside over the last 30 years, replaced with grotesques, liars, neoliberals, snake oil salesmen and careerists. Its pitiful how there are so few quality candidates to choose from, the barrel is being well and truly scraped.
    Its why i think MMT should be targeted ‘straight to the tree’ – PPC’s and the new intake. The old guard will never listen, their views are baked into public consciousness, there are very few politicians with an open mind will change it based upon the evidence (they’re happy for the public to change their mind of course given the push for referendum 2…)

  5. I think we have to be careful not to see the ‘working-class’ Tory vote as a statement by the ‘salt-of-the-earth workers’ rebelling against the injustices of neo-liberalism. As I think I posted on Monday, while Bill’s analysis is spot on in most areas, I disagreed with this:

    ‘the workers in the North, who saw the Leave vote as an expression of their disdain for austerity and neoliberalism, ‘

    We need to see clearly that ‘the workers’ NEVER expressed any solidarity with each other and:

    1. Have zero class consciousness-zero!
    2. Have imbibed a Thatcherite -I stand on my own two feet-f*ck everyone else.
    3. Consider benefit claimants scroungers.
    4. Did not give a sh*t about 120,000 extra deaths of austerity.
    5. Tended to express resentment about paying taxes for services which immigrants and benefit claimants use.
    6. Despised social housing because they had self-righteously worked hard for their mortgage.
    7. Zero concern for oppression of others who probably deserved it.
    8. no sympathy with the ill/vulnerable-‘hard sh*t’, was the general view

    The Remainers were no better:
    1. Faux cosmopolitanism with a self-gratifying view of themselves as sauve citizens of the capitals of Europe.
    2. had no critical voice for the appalling treatment of Greece.
    3. Had no idea about what ‘reform’ of the EU would mean practically.
    4. Had zero understanding of the deficiencies of the EZ.
    5. Saw themselves as ‘progressive’ while simultaneously buying into the ‘benefits’ of neo-liberalism ( ‘oh ..I just happen to have a second house which I rent that has bubbled like mad and is our pension’).

    Both groups suffered from ‘magical thinking’:
    1. Remainers thought the EU could reform and all that nast youth unemployment in Spain would be solved ‘just like that.’
    2. The leavers thought it was enough to chant ‘take back control’ without any idea of what was to be controlled and how. The people using that slogan they chanted were neo-liberals to the hilt and embedded in financialisation (Farage, Johnson et al).

    This polarisation achieved the following:

    1. it took the floodlights OFF what happened in 2007-8
    2. it took the floodlights OFF what the Tories ACTUALLY did between 2010-2019
    3. it allowed neoliberalism to TOTALLY escape scrutiny
    4. It has allowed neo-liberalism to morph into an even more vicious form
    5. This vicious form now has an army of recruits outlined above who are generally happy for the poor and unfortunate to be crushed as long as they get a pat on the head for, as Cameron put it, being ‘good boys/girls and doing the right thing.’

    I repeat this warning 9 I may be wrong but at the moment I do not think I am)

    1. DO not extoll ‘the workers’ as salt of the earth voices of truth because they have skillfully had the p*ss taken out of them and have become prto-fascistic in the main (not all-of course).
    2. The Remainers are also deluded and want to protect their coffee table world of internationalism and climate busting holidays in Madagascar.
    3. Labour will NOT get those ‘workers’ back easily – they do not have any class consciousness at all.


    We are in deep doo-doo (as Richard Wolff sometimes puts it). When Johnathan Pied refers to Remainers as condescendingly seeing the Leavers as ‘self-serving inward looking scum’. The leave voters similarly see them as middle-class t**ts. it’s working both ways and is very dangerous.

    I have spoken to lots of people from BOTH ‘sides’. There is a decent article here which I thought brings out these points better than me:

    So when this is written:

    ‘These are not privileged white men. They were the ones that emptied your garbage, dealt with your sewerage, built your machines, dug in dangerous mines, grew your food, lived hard but proud lives and had the privilege of fighting and dying on the frontline whenever we called a war.’

    These paeans of the ‘salt-of-the-earthers’ belies a scenario which is quite different on the ground and ends up being back to back with the condescending view of the Remainers -there is NO class conscious, solidarity inclined proletariat. They are as fragmented and hyper-individualised as other groups. the only difference being more demotic speech patterns and less waffly circumlocutionary speech of the middle-class.

  6. Am struck that Simon’s comments open up a less 2 dimensional way of approaching this. The only thing I immediately found indigestible was the sentence “Have zero class consciousness-zero!”

    What does that even mean? Setting aside my own potential for ignorance, it could mean so many things to different people (before they scurry off to Wikipedia). Am I mistaken in supposing an implied reference to Marx? Or could it just be rephrased in terms of community? Which in itself would seem to tread further on ‘sensitive’ areas for analysis. And maybe bring us back full circle, to the abandonment to the right. In any case it is a phrase whose use conjures up the image of a ‘metropolitan leftist elite’ familiar with such terms!

    But apart from that I found both the article and Simon’s comments instructive.

  7. People in the North want democratic sovereignty. They understand how their life got worse after entering the EU and the early 70s. I wouldn’t call them hyperindividualised or selfish. Surely i accept Reich’s trauma theory where people can become masochistic and vote against their own interests. But what a precedent it would have been to have the referendum result overturned. The last place in the EU that fights for genuine democracy would have succumbed to the same technocratic rule people remember from the Blair years. And it’s perfectly understandable they wouldn’t vote for that, but rather anything else.

  8. Bill,

    You keep talking about the UK election from a biased and ignorant perspective, missing the biggest elements that lost the election. (I grew up in N England – I know those Brexit voting areas, you don’t.)

    The huge propaganda smear campaign against Corbyn, not just on all TV Channels and all newspapers except the Mirror, with mass circulation, mattered. That began even during the leadership Chicken Coup attempts, but definitely stepped up to total coverage in the months leading up to the election. This was coupled with *a lot* of targeted advertising (smears, fake news, lies etc.), again, character assassination based, on social media and on public bill boards in those key North and Midlands traditional working class areas.

    No election I’ve ever seen before in the UK has had such a complete demolition effort against a political leadership before. Not even close. And it was pure lies and smears. Far right FB pages got big engagement, no doubt because they were well funded to ‘boost’ their views. Left pages didn’t get much engagement, and little reach beyond our own support base.

    Their lies and smears were taken up by MSM enthusiastically.

    One post election stat suggests that 43% of prior Labour voters went Tory because of Corbyn personally. Comments from people on the doorstep suggest a similar importance. Whereas, that same survey suggested 17% said getting ‘Brexit done’ was their primary reason for voting Tory.

    Many also said that Labour’s manifesto was not believable – more MSM propaganda.

    Media matters Bill, big time. And you’re not helping by suggesting that it didn’t matter much. Human beings are ‘rationalising’, not rational, unless serious effort is made.

    It’s a huge mistake to argue that some grand rational process of thinking was going on. That voters thought Brexit was going to benefit them more than anything else. And all Labour needed to do was commit to a Lexit. Especially as we’re talking about the least educated, least intelligent, and least likely to do any Kahneman System2 type ‘thinking’, among the electorate.
    Let’s not pretend that decades of Murdoch and Mail group brainwashing propaganda has not produced a significant number of dumbed down electorate. Easy pickings for the propagandists.

    *Everything* but the kitchen sink was thrown at Corbyn personally, and others in the shadow cabinet, and TV News, esp BBC, legitimised and dog whistled approval of it.

    Let’s not pretend also that years of MSM legitimising and dog whistling of racist, xenophobic and nationalist Brexit and UKIP anti-EU propaganda, had no effect, targeted to those same trad working class North and Midlands areas.

    In the European elections only 6 months ago, the Brexit Party got 31% of the vote, and UKIP got 3%, a combined 34% of the vote. And NONE of those votes were given on the basis of any real left wing rationale for Brexit. NONE. Not least because no Lexit positions were ever articulated by media.


    Yes, Brexit was a key wedge issue used as a propaganda hook. But it was entirely chosen from a xenophobic, nationalist point of view ignoring all the other election issues.

    There was nothing rational – or even real – for those Brexit voters – in choosing to vote that way, and at the same time as choosing another 5 years of Tory rule. But they did.

    Labour could have committed to Brexit, but had they agreed to Johnson’s deal, there would not have been an election at all.

    Once Johnson got his withdrawal deal, media touted it without scepticism that it was ‘job done’. All Labour could offer was more negotiations, lasting some indeterminate length of time. Media would still have crucified Labour on that anyway.

    And there’s no getting away from the fact that Labour favoured immigration as part of any EU settlement. That was never going to win back those brainwashed votes in those traditional working class areas.

    So no left wing or position of Labour Party integrity on Brexit was going to win through the propaganda fog.

    So, it’s not Brexit dithering or internal splits or lack of leadership on ‘Lexit’ that lost this election but the biggest, most complete, full spectrum media propaganda operation I’ve ever seen in UK politics. Corbyn, or any Labour leader like him cannot win until we find a solution for this media problem. Brexit of no Brexit, he wasn’t going to win anyway.

    In any, even vaguely fair, media landscape, Labour should at least have won a most seats coalition position. And no Brexit position from Labour was ever going to be presented favourably.

  9. Iain,

    ‘ In any case it is a phrase whose use conjures up the image of a ‘metropolitan leftist elite’ familiar with such terms!’

    You’ re absolutely right but by writing about this issue at all I was always going to hoist myself by my own petard! I used the phrase to mean there was no sense of solidarity amongst those so-called ‘working class’ in terms of any sense of the financial, skewed towards capital system that existed in the past.

    Like Mike Hall, above, I grew up in the North of England ( my mum still lives there) next door to a largely white working class area that voted Tory (MIddleton and Heywood). I know those areas quite well and these areas have bought the new populist nationalism that has been building for years in these areas. There is no solidarity with the thousands of benefit claimants that died at the hands of the Tories (or not much) and they have, in general, fallen for the Tory propaganda that makes them feel aggrieved that they are working hard whilst benefit claimants get ‘a free ride’.

    This is largely to do with housing costs which means housing benefit given to benefit claimants represents are a large (often largest) part of the benefit with the in-work understandably feeling hard done by -the Tories knew this and drove a wedge between these groups -not rocket science.

    Resentment is easy to manipulate whilst education is hard to do. Combine this with Mike Hall’s point about the press and media and education becomes nigh on impossible.

    It has horrified me how the white working class has bought into the Tory guff. here are a few encounters as cameos:

    1. I chat to a builder:
    Builder: I work hard for a living why should I pay tax to those benefit claimants. Labour will tax me cause I earn 150,000 grand(!)
    Me: But don’t you think nurses work hard as well? Working hard doesn’t always mean loads of money.
    Builder: The NHS problems are all those immigrants, 20 million of them! (Fact check: 5.5 million since 1997).
    Builder: Anyway Corbyn’s a communist!

    2. Bloke who works as a carpenter on building sites earning about ÂŁ60,000 (about 2.5 times average wage).

    Bloke: I bet you’re middle class.
    Me: Well I earn lot less than you and I live in social housing.
    Bloke: Social Housing? A scrounger then
    Me: Well I don’t own the house, so it’s not free.
    Bloke: Yeah but you live in it.
    Me: Where do you think I should live?
    Bloke: Social housing tenants should live in poorer quality housing than people who have bought their house.
    Bloke: We should have just left the EU.
    Me: Yes but you need the right Government policies with that.
    Bloke: (No response).

    These are a couple of cameos which are actually very typical of the sort of thing I came across and could be offered as generic responses to my encounters. I rarely came across anything that showed resentment towards the financial system and what the banks had done. The suffering of the disabled and Ill was hardly ever mentioned.

  10. Some great comments above and lots of food for thought in the next months and years. Like many of you I’m shell shocked but not totally surprised but I am surprised that the party that established the welfare state after the war and was promising to renew it should be so shabbily treated by the people who need it most. What is this – a political Stockholm Syndrome where the party that has been in power for ten years gets an endorsement for another five years without having delivered on earlier promises – housebuilding etc. – and without the faintest promise to improve anything. Labour may not have been brilliant but they were so much better than the shysters that have been elected.

  11. Hello Bill

    I would very much like to attend your lecture in Manchester on 21 February. Can you advise whether it’s a closed event – or if it’s possible to make a reservation?

    I’ve also sent a couple of emails to you over the last month, but not had a reply or acknowledgment. It may be my email server, but would be grateful if you can check and let me know if you have them.


  12. This unusual essay was written shortly after Trump won. As I glean from the above comments, perceptive and insightful even when they disagree, these words may provide a similar clarity now in the UK, not only to help explain Labor’s defeat but to point to a path forward, perhaps the only path forward, which must be both onward and UPWARD.

  13. Great blog.

    Very good comments.

    I can see much of the same observations can be made when one looks at the USA.

    Its same crap.
    1. Democrats too arrogant and hate the working class so never bothers to actually think on what their party stands for.
    2. Media.
    3. Working people divided. Smarty pants college grads think people are racists and vote against their own interest when they themselves gained from neoliberalism and others get the raw deal. Poor people having no class consciousness and believe in fairy tale competition etc.

    All of this is from neoliberalism. What a toxic idea.

  14. Dear Mike Hall (at 2019/12/18 at9:21 pm)

    You wrote:

    You keep talking about the UK election from a biased and ignorant perspective, missing the biggest elements that lost the election. (I grew up in N England – I know those Brexit voting areas, you don’t.)

    Thanks for your comment.

    I actually lived in the industrial and mining north of England when I was a studying there. I have since spent much time keeping in touch with the regions that I got to know during that period.

    I also have many contacts in those regions from that period and since.

    Knowledge is not always gleaned from ‘being on the spot’.

    best wishes

  15. The final sentence of Uhlmann’s article is:

    ” Maybe it’s time to try to understand why, because a real workers’ revolution is sweeping the globe.”

    What happened in the UK is happening elsewhere. It happened in the US in 2016. It happened in Australia earlier this year. No amount of blaming the media and other self serving rationalizations takes us away from Uhlmann’s on the money observation. The working class in the West has suffered greatly as a result of 40 years of globalization, while the educated classes prospered.

    Perhaps, one day, the intellectual mandarins of the Left will get that it is more than insouciance that is driving the working classes away.

  16. @Mike Hall – I think your post can be summed up as simply saying that most people who didn’t see it your way were too stupid to understand what they had voted and were voting for. Which is the exact image that Corbyn and Labour projected, a sense of absolute derision for a large petcentage of the electorate. If you say to me ” I voted this way on an issue that I feel is very important to me” and I reply ” sorry but you’re too thick to understand what you voted for so I will totally ignore your wishes, do everything possible to prevent them from being implemented, and then seek to overturn them but I’ll give you a chance to vote the right way first – now vote for me!”…….If you were expecting that to be a landslide vote winner then I can’t fathom your thinking. Massive media slurs are normal in political campaigns, Cornyn and Labour did not need the media to project the absolute worst of images, they did that all by themselves.

  17. It seems like, instead of helping and looking out for poor people, the elites have betrayed them and sold them out and laughed at their face, all the while their own comfortable lifestyle is made possible by the people they laugh at.

  18. As someone who grew up in Wigan I think this election was a wasted opportunity for Labour.
    Brexit was a rejection of 40 years of regional neglect.
    A chance to abandon neoliberalism, which Labour only partially embraced.
    Comparisons are bing made to 1983, but the one element of the 1983 manifesto that could have made Labour electable in the Midlands and the North was rejected.
    Labour is not a remain party at its base and should never have turned its back on that.

  19. Interesting post and comments. My view is Bill has it exactly right. Certainly the ”progressive” cosmopolitan types I encounter here in Canada and the US have the same attitude they apparently have in the UK. Their arrogance and total self-focus hinders their development of political awareness. I also agree that the media was a serious problem. I cannot believe the constant orchestrated attacks in the media calling Corbyn a security risk and an antisemite had no effect. In addition the relentlessness of these absurd attacks must have forced Corbyn and his advisers to waste valuable time and head-space dealing with them.
    With respect to the lack of class consciousness and the fact labour aristocrats (workers earning 2 or 3 times the average wage), are not sensitive to the plight of the downtrodden, well that is just par for the course. The views of workers are not some uniform block, especially as unions have been weakened and play a lesser role than they once did.

  20. Some great points, from differing viewpoints, above.

    A couple of things I would like to add:

    The disillusion with Labour by “traditional Labour heartland” voters, started a long time ago. A long time before Corbyn, and in fact, when the Labour leadership was not particularly left-wing.

    Those Brits of a certain age will remember the 1970s. It was a period of industrial unrest. There were many reasons for this, but it was partly to do with the inflation of the period, which in turn was partly as a result of the oil crises. After a so-called “winter of discontent” (with rubbish allegedly piling up in the streets (though I never saw any), and bodies allegedly remaining unburied (nobody ever saw those piling up), Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory for the Tories, in May 1979. The losing Labour PM was Jim Callaghan, hardly a very left-wing figure. Bill has told us that neo-liberalism in the UK actually started in his era. He actually had a trade union background, which was quite common in the Labour party for people of his generation. Some UK unions were left wing, but some were quite right wing.

    Anyway, Thatcher must have tapped into something in the psyche of the working classes. For one thing she offered them the chance to buy their council houses for a bargain price. In the Thatcher period, we used to talk about “Essex Man” and/or “Mondeo Man” – aspirational working class people who wanted to throw off the ties of a paternalistic (or patronising) Labour Party (or that was how it was portrayed).

    And in many ways, the Labour Party had neglected the working classes in its heartlands. It took them for granted because it thought it didn’t have to earn their votes. In places like Newcastle and elsewhere in the north, and especially the North-East, people used to joke that they only had to weigh the Labour vote. There was no need to count it. Not only did this lead to complacency in the Labour Party, in some cases, it led to corruption. (c.f. John Poulson and T.Dan Smith). If local councillors are elected year after year with no real opposition, there is also no real scrutiny, and councillors are often involved in large contracts. The scope for corruption is huge.

    Anyway, Thatcherism continued, then we got John Major, and Labour were out of power until 1997. Blair (to give him some credit) had recognised the disillusionment of traditional Labour voters with the Labour Party, but unfortunately, his solution was to go more right-wing, (by contrast to Michael foot in the 1980s, taking the party leftwards). Long story short, Blair did win two more elections, but with fewer seats and fewer votes each time, so even under the right wing Blair, Labour voters were disillusioned. I say that, because Corbyn stands accused of losing voters because he had taken the party too far to the left. But it can happen with right wing, or relatively right-wing leaders as well. Neil Kinnock also lost two elections, and he had taken the party somewhat to the right as well.

    Oh yes, Gordon Brown (not terribly left-wing) actually lost the election in 2010, while sitting as PM, and actually got about 1.6 million votes LESS than Jeremy Corbyn. So basically, between 1997 and 2010, under the right-wing Blair, and right-wing-ish Brown, Labour lost about 5 million voters.

    Last point: the rot really set in for Labour once they had lost so many seats in Scotland, which was probably a direct consequence of the Scottish referendum (“Indyref1”). First of all, Labour campaigned along with the Tories for NO. A big mistake. But (although “Yes” lost), Scottish nationalism was all fired up, and Scots have been voting SNP ever since. Not all of them, but enough to win plenty of seats. It was always quite hard for Labour to win a majority with only English seats. They depended on Wales and especially Scotland. They’ve lost seats in both, but mostly Scotland.

  21. Great foresight and analysis from Bill as always.

    Commenting from Australia, while understanding Mike Hall and Simon Cohen’s comments, the comments are not fundamentally different to what Bill wrote about how the ‘elite left’ shows disdain of their fellow less educated blue collar workers.

    Did the ‘working class’ vote for the Tories because of xenophobia? Maybe. Are the ‘working class’ significantly underestimating the complexity and negative impact of Brexit? Maybe.

    However, remember these was well theorised 3 years ago after the referendum. So don’t go into denial mode like climate change denial and think as if an election or referendum is to be held again, things will be different. Reach out to them and run information campaigns, but don’t antagonise them when you need their support to win elections. If it was not possible to change the working class’ opinions about migration or the EU, then your policy direction and election strategy should change to take these into account. Losing the election and then saying the exact same things 3 years ago doesn’t really show you’ve learnt from your losses.

    Don’t even get me started on comments similar to how the ‘working class’ is so stupid that they were manipulated by the media. Since when wasn’t the Murdoch media biased against political parties of the left? It should be so fundamental in the strategies of the Labour Party, that the campaign must take into consideration of media propaganda. We have to win election despite of the Murdoch media, as we did in the past.

    Politics is done by gathering as much public support as possible.

  22. Prof bill , it comes across as if you’re pro hard Brexit the Tory version. Let’s be honest the Tory version would be an attack on all institutions and values the British hold dear. Maybe except for the referendum, labour had an excellent plan to lift people out of their economic misery. The pro Brexit voters had a choice, a Brexit under labour or under Tories and they chose the latter. Now they would have to bear the consequences.

  23. Dear Gary (at 2019/12/19 at 4:25 pm)

    Thanks for your comment.

    I would suggest you to read all my writings on Brexit – here. And perhaps our book – Reclaim the State (Pluto).

    You will find that I am pro hard Brexit – the Lexit version. The anathema of the Tory version.

    best wishes

  24. @Tom, it isn’t just Murdoch here. There are 6 tory dailies and capitalist Financial Times versus Morning Star (very small circulation, never reviewed, consistently pro Labour), Mirror (almost consistently pro Labour), Guardian (loves Blair, extremely anti-Corbyn with exception of a couple of good columnists – even those not consistently so). Whether people say they read them or not, the tory headlines scream out from every high street and that sets the news agenda for the whole day in the rest of the media).

  25. “The pro Brexit voters had a choice, a Brexit under labour or under Tories”.

    Hello. hello … Planet Earth calling … Where are you, exactly … ?

  26. Carol Wilcox
    Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 9:44:-
    “I think was the MSM wot won it”.

    Sorry Carol but with the best will in the world I think you’re kidding yourself.

    Doesn’t bode well IMO.

  27. Carol is correct that the headlines scream out from the high street, or from the newspaper rack in the supermarket. I see them every day as I reach for my Guardian. But there is the point that print newspapers have fallen in circulation drastically, since the days when the Sun could claim “It was the Sun wot won it”. I heard a discussion on Radio 4, with Piers Morgan and others the other day, and he made the point that whereas in his day on the Mirror, the circulation was around 2.5 million, it was now down to something like 300,000 (or certainly under half a million). The same is true for the Tory papers too. But they are still there, and they have online versions, and they Tweet their headlines, etc. Social and other online media must certainly be influencing the younger generation (who rarely buy print newspapers, apparently, and this is true of my adult children).

  28. @ Simon Cohen
    “This polarisation achieved the following:

    1. it took the floodlights OFF what happened in 2007-8
    2. it took the floodlights OFF what the Tories ACTUALLY did between 2010-2019
    3. it allowed neoliberalism to TOTALLY escape scrutiny
    4. It has allowed neo-liberalism to morph into an even more vicious form
    5. This vicious form now has an army of recruits outlined above who are generally happy for the poor and unfortunate to be crushed as long as they get a pat on the head for, as Cameron put it, being ‘good boys/girls and doing the right thing'”.

    I think that diagnosis is the diametrical opposite of well-aimed. In fact it’s irrelevant.

    You are bemoaning the fact that the election wasn’t about everything except Brexit – in other words that it wasn’t about what you wanted it to be about. Well face it, it wasn’t: it was about Brexit – first, last and always. In effect it was the (second) so-called “people’s vote” that the people who have consistently been conspiring to overturn the first one have been banging on about.

    And what caused that to be the case? The fact that Labour reneged on their pledge, both initially given and repeated in their manifesto for the 2017 GE (in which against all the pundits’ predictions Corbyn did remarkably well), to carry-out the will of the majority of the voters in the 2016 referendum. This GE was for the purpose of deciding once and for all whether the referendum result was going to be implemented or not.

    All those other issues you list remain to be fought-over and decided-upon in the future. They haven’t gone away. But how they’re decided-upon is going to depend in no small measure on how – if at all – the Labour Party responds to the lesson it has just been given by a large number of its traditional supporters – which was two fingers. The party either reforms itself radically or it loses them for good.

  29. Well…

    I don’t know about other people, but i don’t trust MSM here because have face planted so many times for so many years.

    Its hard to for me to understand why people still read and trust them, but thats me.

  30. I disagree with those who say media attacks are ineffective or that they are no different than in the past. The media are not only newspapers. They include TV, radio, and social media. Corbyn was relentlessly attacked for three years as being a security risk and an antisemite on all of these. They were not run of the mill media attacks. I suggest those interested read the following blog posts. There are many others.

  31. Hi Bill,

    I watch Jonathan Pie too, I love him for his passion, the artistic, clear and critical delivery of his honest message. All his criticism of the “elitist Labour” was not only a fair judgement, it was also a regret and confession over what he himself had been doing in his previous shows. You have seen them too. Jonathan Pie admitted in social media that he was deeply depressed by the election result, he is hurting together with other Labour members. His intention is not to provide empirical grounds for scientific conclusions. He writes and performs a satire show.

    I agree that Remainers are guilty of bad judgement in many things. I agree that the most crucial issues of all elections are the economic issues and Labour dealt with them disastrously. The MMT is offering a strong economic platform to the political left but the European politicians of all alignments keep dismissing it. This is another real problem.

    European politics cannot be solved by painting at least one side stupid and arrogant like the UK Remainers and Leavers paint each other and like you paint the UK Remainers. As if working class is the litmus of truth, especially when in majority. Here you are dismissing social science like others are dismissing economics.

    My wife is a British citizen who resides in Estonia. She is a language teacher. Her family lives in the Northern Ireland and England. She is in touch with the UK realities. She is worried about her future and took Irish citizenship because she intends to stay in Estonia which remains a member state of the EU. She has asked many questions from different officials of the governments of the UK, Ireland and Estonia which are vitally important and some of these questions are still unanswered. You have no grounds to dismiss the arguments of the Remainers against Brexit because these question rise from the reality people live in, working class or not.

    You also have no grounds to dismiss the combined power of the corporate mainstream and social media over the minds of people. As if only the UK Remainers live in their social media bubbles. Then why are you still in trouble with promoting the MMT? Have I not seen how your theory is attacked from right and left? Have I not seen how Stephanie Kelton is trolled in social media? Many of my friends are working class. Two days ago a good friend of mine told me that Greta Thunberg is a sock puppet for politicians who want to steal more tax money from people and with this money they pay the climate scientists for the global warming hoo-ha. Another friend asked me a week ago how can it be AOC is important when Estonian press does not write about her? I asked an Estonian economist what he thinks about the MMT, and he said that it is groundless esotericism. So much about people “not being stupid”.

    I am trying to work out your reasoning here. Please correct me when I am wrong: At this moment it is very difficult to reform the EU for different political and administrative reasons. Reversing the eurozone reform will take many years. Brexit is a “lucky chance” for the UK to leave the eurozone.

    I doubt in it as a good model for the whole Europe. In my opinion the right way to go is to reform the EU because it would create an eurozone exit for all the member states, not only for these which are ‘lucky with referendum’. You can try the referendum in the former Eastern Bloc, the ‘Russian Bear’ meme will take care that the majority will vote to stay in the EU.

    Let us imagine two models of Europe. The borders are like after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in 1992. In model A it is a set of countries without the EU, in model B it is the EU without the eurozone and with the rewritten Maastricht Treaty, every government runs its own economy and issues its own currency. What are the advantages of model A in comparison with model B?

  32. Hi robertH,

    Just wanted to point out that I agree with @Simon Cohen in that the last election was not carried by the Brexit momentum anymore. This achieved its peak with the European Parliament elections this summer. But Brexit has created general fatigue and the Tories promised to “move on” and to “get things done”. This is an old trick in the ruling class playbook: drive people to the end of their tether and then promise to loosen the grip a bit.

  33. Hi Mike Ellwood,

    I appreciate your contribution to this thread. I think one of the reasons why Labour was so much against Scottish nationalism, was because they were made cautious by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Labour should have remained neutral and instead of fighting against the Scottish collective effort, promote its universal elements and principles in England and Wales, following the example of the National Trust for Scotland and other similar organisations. That would have boosted the Scottish Labour cause and allowed the Scots to identify themselves more with the rest of the UK.

    The same collapse of the Soviet Union created a thought pattern, a meme, that there are two alternatives for future, one is represented by the winning side of the Cold War, and the other by the loosing side. Reagan and Thatcher were the winning side then, their policies won the hearts and minds.

  34. Hi Michael Ellwood and Mike Hall,

    Sorry I confused your names. This thread is already so long that while scrolling down you forgot what was written in the top. In my last comment I addressed Michael.

  35. Hi Bill,

    I am happy with your answer from your previous thread ‘An evolving 6-point plan for British Labour’ (p=43876&cpage=1#comment-65700). If it suits your blogging plans, I would be very interested in your suggestions how to rewrite the Maastricht Treaty (and other documents, if necessary).


  36. Andri,

    The possibilities of model A are no currency pegging, capital controls, directed tariffs, public control of infrastructure, direct market interventions *for* the workers instead of capital, no ECJ and so on.
    Of course, those are possibilities, eastern europe might’ve still preferred to be a puppet of western capital and provider of cheap labour.But, then, there isn’t much difference from now, it’s not like they’ll ever be in support of single market reform, hell, even if pigs flew and Germany would prod them.

  37. Dear Andri Ksenofontov (at 2019/12/20 at 1:30 pm)

    My 2015 book – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale – provided more than 500 pages on this issue.

    The working notes that went into the final manuscript can be found under the category – – Options for Europe – which unfolded over 8 months and 100 separate blog posts.

    best wishes

  38. Hi,

    Great post and you’ve definitely hit a nerve.

    Just a question to Bill and all who have posted. Do you think Corbyn wanted to lose? It’s probably clutching at straws but for a progressive left – the only true political actor -, it was the only choice. I’ll go through my reasoning.

    To start off, a quote from comrade Slavoj.

    “Imagine that Corbyn had won (or, for that matter, Bernie Sanders becomes US president) – and just try to fathom the shattering counter-attack of Big Capital with all its dirty tricks. Maybe the voters were aware [unconsciously] of these potential dangers inherent in a Labour victory and preferred the safe game. ”

    Putting on my Game of Thrones hat (or game theory one), there was no way Corbyn was going to get a platform to implement socialist policies. The biggest obstacle being the Labour party itself. (I prescribe to the theory that the only true believers in neoliberalism is modern Labour; the post 70s version. Tories see neoliberalisms advantages in implementing a hierarchical, undeserved privileged society but are always too cunning/ruthless to know it never works i.e., don’t believe in anything but themselves, basically.)

    So, Corbyn had a choice. If he supported Brexit, honouring the referendum – openly and campaigning on it – it would have caused huge (larger) divisions in Labour and they would probably lose based on the infighting (a leftist Brexit would be a serious possibility of a socialist turn for Britain as it opens the space for MMT). So, for Corbyn, the better option is to lose based on supporting the second referendum (I know it wasn’t him but he didn’t openly disagree). This way, the loss is tied to Labour’s Brexit position, as Bill’s prediction showed, and not (so much) to Corbyn and his policies. This gives them a chance of surviving in Labour. The other way, it’s “Corbyn is too leftist blah blah … and Labour needs to move to the centre.” So what’s the point of politics then?

  39. @ Andri Ksenofontov
    “This is an old trick in the ruling class playbook: drive people to the end of their tether and then promise to loosen the grip a bit”.

    That analysis patently fails to fit the facts. The “old trick” was not played by the supporters of Brexit in the last parliament but by the opponents of Brexit, which directly clashes with your hypothesis. Electing a Tory government with at least a working majority (and consisting of loyal members of the government’s party instead of disloyal ones) became – as a result of the other side’s tactics – the only way of breaking the deadlock which *the latter* had created and were clearly bent on maintaining for as long as they could.

    That was as plain as a pikestaff. People are not stupid.

    To my mind you’re getting uncomfortably close to conspiracy theory.

  40. @Leftwinghillbillyprospector

    At some point though, you have to call a spade a spade. If you have one party offering a whole raft of policies that clearly benefit you, but you vote for the other main party because you “don’t like the leader” of the first party, what other conclusion can be drawn other than you are stupid? If these people could be reasoned with, then fair enough, but they can’t be. They aren’t interested in examining their beliefs to see if they are true or not. They lack the intellectual curiosity to do that. What is to be done in that event? You can’t reason with someone who didn’t reason themselves into that position.


    “We have to win election despite of the Murdoch media, as we did in the past.” The only time Labour have won an election since Murdoch was allowed to buy his first newspaper in the UK was 1997-2005, and that only happened because Blair went crawling to him to beg for his support, presumably promising him God knows what in return. If Labour has to abandon everything it stands for in order to win, what’s the point of power? Getting into government to merely tinker around the edges of a rotten system isn’t enough anymore. Radical change needs to happen if humanity is to survive to the end of the century.

  41. SimonT,

    “You can’t reason with someone who didn’t reason themselves into that position.

    Doesn’t this smack of the same intellectual arrogance ascribed to the city centric progressives? You’re not on your own – the comments above yours are drowning in this rancour.

    However those that deserted the Labour Party made their decision they made a decision that they believed to be in their interests. No amount of rationalization will change that.

    The problem was that Labour, as a whole, couldn’t make up its mind about what it stood for. The problem wasn’t with its constituency. Labour was riven by division and led by a person that couldn’t bring the party together.

  42. @SimonT – ” If you have one party offering a whole raft of policies that clearly benefit you, but you vote for the other main party because you “don’t like the leader” of the first party, what other conclusion can be drawn other than you are stupid?”

    When someone clearly demonstrates that they hold you in complete contempt and is prepared to openly squash the legitimate will of the majority after swearing before the nation that they will respect it – why on Earth would you believe for one second that they have any intention of delivering a whole raft of policies that clearly benefit you?

  43. Robert H wrote:
    “people are not stupid” ….

    but it certainly appears that way.

    eg, do we all claim to subscribe to an international rules based system, while at the same time demanding absolute national sovereignty?

    do most of the population think that government budgets are like household budgets?

    do all those who profess belief in God nevertheless divide over scripture?


  44. @ Neil Halliday
    “Robert H wrote:
    “people are not stupid” ….
    but it certainly appears that way”.

    I wrote it with reference to a specific context which you have disingenuously extracted it from. I stick by my (generalised) assertion. If you believe otherwise you’re welcome to that belief, but in that case I for one wouldn’t like to be in your shoes.

    If you insist on forcing every issue into *the appearance of* binary alternatives you’ll arrive at one out of only two possible answers, but you won’t have proved anything because of what you’ll have left out of consideration. Your chosen three sets of same perfectly display just that defect.

  45. SimonT wrote:-
    “At some point though, you have to call a spade a spade. If you have one party offering a whole raft of policies that clearly benefit you, but you vote for the other main party because you “don’t like the leader” of the first party, what other conclusion can be drawn other than you are stupid? If these people could be reasoned with, then fair enough, but they can’t be. They aren’t interested in examining their beliefs to see if they are true or not. They lack the intellectual curiosity to do that. What is to be done in that event? You can’t reason with someone who didn’t reason themselves into that position”.

    There have been times during the past 3½ years when personally I’ve doubted whether anyone considering themselves to be intelligent could truly – despite all indications to the contrary – be so obtuse as to entertain such complacent, contemptuously elitist, opinions as this, The phrase “these people” is especially telling, the fact that the user is manifestly oblivious to the picture of himself that the phrase conveys to any reasonably objective observer even more so.

    Clearly *I* was stupid to have doubted. If this is in any way typical of what calls itself the Left in Britain then (speaking for myself) I despair for its future. How is it going to be able to move on and re-mould itself if attitudes like this are prevalent? It’s reminiscent of what was said of the Bourbons when their dynasty was restored after Napoleon’s defeat, that they “had forgotten nothing and forgiven nothing”. Fifteen years later they were gone, for ever.

  46. Hello Bill

    Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to establish contact – I’ve sent a number of emails to you over the last month. Than you for this blog – it has been most informative. I’ve published a short article on MMT and used some of your material from your writings on the paradigm – and was merely seeking some clarification and consent. I sincerely hope I’ve represented your views accurately.

    I would very much like to hear you speak in Manchester in February. Would appreciate it if you can let me now how to make a reservation.


    Mark Russell

  47. Pink is the new red and nobody is stupid. How many true “workers” have been supposedly betrayed by the “workers party” in regards to Brexit?

    The Great British Class Survey (2011) has produced the following results in regards to “working class”
    precariat 15%
    emergent service sector 19%
    traditional working class 14%
    new affluent workers 15%
    also they have identified the following middle and upper class groups
    technical middle class 6%
    established middle class 25%
    elite 6%

    I don’t have time to dig into the surveys and identify the level of support to Brexit among various social groups in various regions. One thing is obvious to me – that a set of policy proposals specifically targeting precariat and traditional working class while neglecting other groups belonging to working and middle classes will most likely alienate members of these social groups.

    In this regards Tony Blair was right, he was the only modern leader of UK Labour who was able to re-sell the diluted social-democratic progressiveness to a wide enough social base. The trouble is, the solvent he used for diluting the progressiveness was highly toxic, it was the neoliberalism. But anyone who thinks that the only mistake made by Corbyn was the lack of “purity”, that he deserved to win and was close to, but his enemies destroyed him, is delusional.

    There are simply physically not enough traditional workers in the UK to support a traditional left-wing party along the old class interest lines. Elections are like a beauty contest. Corbyn did not seem to be attractive enough to both the workers and the middle classes. He was in fact framed by professionals (Topham and Guerin) as an incompetent and untrustworthy ditherer unfit for the office and implicitly, a threat to the interests of the middle classes because of his “leftiness”. The real issue was not that Corbyn was a closed Remainer. The real issue is that there is no room for old Labour in the UK and the New Labour was a scam.

    UK Labour has to be a party of workers and middle class or else they will never win any elections. Both groups have to be convinced. I have already stated what in my opinion has been mishandled and why Corbyn was incompetent. Numbers are not on the side of the radical progressive internationalists. No matter how much “framing” and “paradigm changing ideas” are added, the majority of British society will reject such a platform. If MMT, Post Keynesian economics or any other heterodox alternative to mainstream economics is ever to get traction, people who propose these ideas must once and for all remove the “infantile sickness of Leftism” to borrow a phrase from Lenin. You want to loose? Keep waffling about Zionists. You lost? You deserved this, good on you.

    Otherwise all what can be achieved in regards to spreading MMT ideas is building a semi-religious sect similar to Falun Gong or Church of Scientology, a fringe group of mostly peaceful jihadists dancing around the mythical “Magic Money Tree”. The plan is good, get rid of the EU and rebuild sovereign nation-states around social-democratic ideas, introduce Job Guarantee, transition to sustainable economy, use active fiscal policy, capital controls and benefit from floating exchange rate. The reality is that growing the Magic Money Tree requires seizing the power what can usually only be done by winning the elections. Make no mistake, the conservatives and nationalists know perfectly well how to deficit-spend, they just don’t brag loudly about this. People like Trump don’t need to be enlightened.

    The fact that some members of “progressive intelligentsia” do not understand why Corbyn failed has in my opinion something to do with a phenomenon similar to “peasant-mania” present among the “Young Poland” group in the late 19th century. Basically some progressives who imbibed heavily on Marx are attracted to the purity of an archetypal worker. But these have been largely extinct.

    Middle class people did not suffer from austerity. How would they benefit from Job Guarantee? What is the point of convincing them to use fiscal policy if the current framework isn’t bad overall for them? What are the arguments which would make the difference? I could suggest many more similar questions about the role of corporations and the state, the processes of financialisation of the economy, etc.

    If these questions are not answered then all the activism is just waste of time I am afraid. Better stick to macroeconomics.

  48. As usual Adam K’s analysis is very astute and – IMO – largely correct.

    I wasn’t aware of the specific class breakdown he cites but it just confirms in black and white what was anyway obvious intutuitively, that Labour’s traditional support-base began melting away some decades ago and by now has been reduced to a remnant.

    Yet many people still vote Labour – enough given the right conditions to elect a Labour government in a FPTP electoral system. However whether the political party wearing that label would then be “socialist”, or even “social democratic” is another question. Can a “progressive” party, regardless of label, win a parliamentary majority in today’s/tomorrow’s Britain? And will that parliament’s franchise even be the same as it is now (eg, will it include Scotland)?

    Nobody knows the answer, and nobody will unless it’s put to the test. When Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, carried to victory by an enormous influx of predominantly (though not exclusively) younger members with decidedly progressive opinions, opposed to Blairite neoliberal centrism, it seemed for a while as though it would be. The closest it got to that was the 2017 GE, which resulted in the narrowest of defeats – in its way a victory for Corbynism considering what it was up against. It showed what it might be possible to achieve if only the leftward tendency didn’t splinter. It then proceeded to throw it all away by going insane, over Brexit, and the rest is now history.

    So completely deranged did the Labour Party become that I don’t think the outcome of the December GE can tell us much, if anything, about the possible future for a progressive party – if we can ever have one which is at the same time coherent and which is capable of capturing seats from the (actually not very, if at all, progressive) SNP. We haven’t had since 2017 and, by all the current signs, we don’t look like getting one any time soon. But if “a week is a long time in politics” then five years is long enough for a total transformation. It’s going to be interesting to watch.

  49. Alexander Mercouris- LETTER FROM BRITAIN: Why Labour Lost, Labour’s Defeat Is Being Overstated is the most convincing analysis I have seen. Basically similar to Bill’s. While I think Adam K’s above is basically off-base. Labour’s proposals did not neglect those outside the precariat and traditional working class or alienate them, but were quite popular. From this article:

    … the new Labour leader must however build on that part of the Corbyn legacy that most voters – not just working-class voters – have found attractive. That points to sticking with most of the policies set out in Labour’s manifesto. As shown both in this election and in the previous election of 2017, these policies overall are popular, and in an election no longer clouded by Brexit they stand a good chance of winning support.

    Certainly, they offer a far better prospect of reuniting Labour’s now -fractured electoral base than would a retreat back into sterile Blairite triangulation.

    Of course Corbyn made mistakes. With Bill, I think he should have stayed true to his own beliefs, not caved to Remain. The traditional working class did show its electoral strength in this election – by NOT voting for Labour for that reason. But overall, the numbers and trends are on the progressive side. Younger people greatly favor Labour and its policies. But they also strongly favored Remain. And unlike the traditional working class, they unfortunately do not see the contradiction between the two. One of many reasons Corbyn was in a very difficult position; it would have taken amazing political skill to bring it off. But as Mercouris notes, Brexit finally being out of the way is a plus for Labour. Labour’s problems were temporary and incidental to this election. Its sources of strength are far more substantial and intrinsic.

  50. Hi Paulo Marques,

    How are all the advantages of the model A, as you suggest, excluded from the model B?
    Please do not make voluntary assumptions.

  51. Hi Paulo Marques,

    How are all the advantages of A, as you suggest, excluded from B?
    Please do not make voluntary assumptions.

  52. Hi robertH,

    The UK and the EU politics are not about Brexit. And different tactics and strategies of rulers have evolved, historically, before Brexit. If you follow the British politics, the dire economic situation where one child in every three suffers hunger, where the number of rough sleepers is growing fast etc., most of the austerity and social injustice issues, have been created systematically by the Tory government, conspiracy or not. And, unfortunately, ignorance is not an unnatural nor unusual state. A year ago, to be honest, I did not know what money is. I was financially stupid.

  53. Hi Adam K,

    I agree with your notion about the importance of the political base at elections. But base is not always the decisive factor for election success. Most of the values of different classes of the same society coincide (unless we have a case of a segregated society). It is important to be able to address what is “in the air” for most people, no matter which social group they belong to.

    Future will never become a result of correct calculations only. What helps to succeed is the ability to collect sufficient data about the reality and to draw correct conclusions from it.

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