‘Is the Labour Party in terminal decline?’, CityAM, 4 January 2017

Businesses and political parties both operate in markets where competition can be cut-throat, where mistakes can be costly, where leadership and branding matter, and where, ultimately, the customer is king. Yet there’s one big difference: businesses – even firms so familiar we assume they’ll always be around – often go belly-up; parties – especially well-established outfits – rarely disappear completely. But rarely doesn’t mean never.

Once in a while, parties face perfect storms and, as a consequence, go under. Labour has a leader that the public can’t take seriously and a membership whose left-liberal leanings leave the majority of voters cold. Subject to a three-way squeeze between Ukip (trump card: immigration), the Lib Dems (trump card: moderate centrism), and the Tories (trump card: economic credibility), the party’s only lifeboat is our unfair electoral system.

If Labour does capsize, a few brave souls may survive by clinging onto the upturned hull until time and tide rescue them. Who knows, though, whether they will ever be able to right the ship and set sail again?

Originally published at http://www.cityam.com/256315/fabian-society-predicting-labour-could-win-just-140-seats



About tpbale

I teach politics at Queen Mary University of London.
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