Campaign news

General Election 2017: how did we do?

13th June 2017

General Election 2017: how did we do?

By Mick Brooks

This was the best Labour general election campaign I have participated in my life. There was unprecedented enthusiasm on the streets and estates. People with red rosettes were greeted everywhere with thumbs up and car horns honking in support.
• The Tory press was vituperative. The Sun’s headline on election day was “Don’t chuck Britain in the Cor-bin – vote Tory unless you want a friend of terrorists who’s ready to open our borders and hike up taxes as your next PM”.
• The Tories resorted to outright lies – for instance they invented the threat of a Labour ‘garden tax’ a couple of days before the election
• The Conservative manifesto was completely uncosted. For instance the Winter Fuel Allowance was to be means tested but they couldn’t tell us who would get it and who wouldn’t, We were supposed to take it all on trust and vote for them anyway.
• They went through endless wobbles and reversals, most notably on the ‘dementia tax’ and the cost of social care.
• Their attempt to run a Presidential campaign around May’s supposed leadership on Brexit negotiations failed utterly. May was in effect demanding dictatorial powers for the duration of the negotiations.
• ‘Robotic’ was the most common description of her conduct. May evidently wanted the job but wouldn’t turn up to debate – equivalent to not turning up to the job interview
• Even the two terrorist attacks during the campaign redounded against the Tories as it drew attention to the 19,000 plus cuts on police numbers imposed by May since 2010.

Tory Britain in 2017 is one of food banks, rough sleepers and people hanging around for hours on trolleys in A & Es.

• Even the Tories know that social care is in crisis,
• The NHS is on life support,
• Real spending per head is in decline
• There is a housing crisis.
• Austerity and stagnant living standards seem likely to stretch on for ever, as long as the Tories are in charge.

Labour’s programme is actually a moderate social democratic one but, because it jettisons the timorousness of pervious Labour leaders and their adherence to austerity light, it comes across as a breath of fresh air which we can unconditionally support. It points out a clear alternative to Tory cuts and austerity. It has definitely struck a chord among the electorate.

The election results show that the penny has dropped with the working class – it is a matter of hope against despair. Austerity is a political choice by the Tories to shrink the welfare state, not an economic necessity. There really is an alternative. It is Labour’s programme ‘For the Many, not the Few’.

There are regional variations, but the national swing to Labour was almost 10%. This is the biggest improvement in Labour’s vote since 1945. Back then the previous general election was in 1935 and quite a lot had happened in between (such as the Second World War).

The conservatism and pessimism of the entrenched Labour Party bureaucracy meant activists were actually involved in defending seats that were completely safe rather than taking the fight to the Tories. The ‘Independent’ said only 2.227 strategic votes could have delivered Number 10 to Jeremy. Is it just conservatism, though? The Skwawkbox has provided evidence that the Party machine deliberately defunded some key marginals. If so, this was sabotage.
Read it here:

The UKIP vote has collapsed and the party is in disarray. Interestingly, a lot of working class Brexiters have come back to Labour rather than collapsing into the Tory vote. They know the Tories are and always will be the class enemy.

The LibDems are likely to remain a minority party. They are indelibly scarred by their period in coalition, propping up Tory austerity.

In Scotland the second referendum is off the agenda for the time being as the SNP licks its wounds. It could revive later under Tory rule.

1¾ million young people registered to vote. They overwhelmingly   voted Labour. Their politicisation must be cherished for the future. Social media played a role in undermining the grip of the Tory press.

The Tories actually don’t have a clue as to their policies on Brexit negotiations.  What are they going to do about the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the land border in Ireland, Gibraltar, jobs, workers’ rights, environmental protection, consumer welfare? The list goes on and on. Labour must expose this inadequacy and go on the attack.

There continues to be a split in attitudes between metropolitan area and abandoned working class communities, particularly in the Midlands and North, on the issue of Brexit. Areas that have deindustrialised over decades were more likely to express their discontent by voting ‘Leave’. Labour’s campaign meant that working class people who had mainly voted to ‘Remain’ in some areas or to ‘Leave’ in others could all get behind our programme.

The right wing MPs in these abandoned communities which voted to ‘Leave’ have taken the working class vote for granted. They have not even raised the issues of the destruction of secure, permanent employment for working class people and the casualisation of jobs for the young.  They seem not to have noticed what has been happening before their eyes. Yet even their vote was buoyed up by the national campaign.

In 2015 Labour Party members realised a fundamental change was needed. They realised the New Labour era was over. They elected Corbyn as leader.

This year there has been a big change in the consciousness of major sections of the electorate. Neoliberalism has been seen to have failed. Working class living standards have fallen for a decade for the first time for 200 years, and are likely to fall further. Millions have decided to vote for an alternative.

This is a sea change. To the ongoing economic malaise is added a political crisis caused by the Tories’ self-inflicted defeat in this election. They have now lost control of the situation. It is unstable – anything can happen.  Theresa May will go – probably sooner rather than later. Another election is likely within a year. The Tories are desperately trying to build some sort of coalition arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party. They will exact a high price and provide no prospect of a stable government.

We have seen that the Corbynist surge is still resisted by many of the old guard in the Party. There remains an entrenched bureaucracy. Too many councillors and MPs regard their posts as jobs for life and are impervious to the changing political mood.

For us in the LRC the crisis is an opportunity. There is a widespread mood for radical change. Socialist policies can now being proposed as a serious alternative to wider layers of the population. We must seize this opportunity. We must:
• Remain on an election footing
• Keep building the Party membership
• Target the political education of new members
• Get behind and promote Labour’s programme
• Continue the battle to democratise the Party.
• Prepare for the Party AGMs likely to be held in the next month or so.
• Get ready for the September Annual Party Conference


Bookmark and Share


By Ian Hodson It’s great news that a mainstream political party has recognised the importance of taking positive action to raise pay. Since 2008, politicians from all parties along with many in the media, have pushed the narrative that society will somehow improve by imposing austerity and blaming minority groups for the state of the country’s finances. Sadly, many have fallen for this deception and the ‘look over there’ politics that has rose to prominence since the Conservatives returned to power in 2010. [continue...]

Folkestone United – coming together to support migrants Bridget Chapman, Folkestone United, reports [continue...]

No Witch-Hunts In The GMB, Reinstate Keith Henderson (The Online Petition) Keith Henderson Essex LRC member and former Regional Organiser of the GMB Union was dismissed from the GMB last December, Keith has always believed that the real reason for his dismissal was because of his socialist beliefs and the manifestation of his beliefs. [continue...]

Please see our Labour Briefing Website here: [continue...]

The LRC is supporting a broad alliance of campaign groups and trade unions against the proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill (currently before Parliament) and putting forward our alternative based on social justice and welfare for all. [continue...]

Across the country working people are losing their jobs and their homes. Meanwhile the bankers who plunged us into this crisis have been bailed out with billions of pounds of our money. It’s time to fight back. Their Crisis Not Ours! is the LRC’s campaign to bring together workers, pensioners, the unemployed, students, those facing repossession and all those suffering because of an economic crisis that has been imposed on us. The campaign is supporting the demands of the People’s Charter. [continue...]

Rail bosses are using the recession as an excuse to attack jobs and conditions and cut back on services and essential rail works, and hike rail fares - as LEAP research suggested they would. Thousands of jobs are being threatened or have been lost. At the same time rail fat cats are raking in big profits and bonuses on the back of the most expensive fares in Europe. Make no mistake: as the recession worsens so will the attack on rail workers and rail services. [continue...]

The campaign calling on the Government to abandon its plans for privatisation of Royal Mail. The Government has introduced the Postal Services Bill to part-privatise the Royal Mail. With our affiliate union CWU we are fighting to Keep the Post Public! [continue...]

The campaign to demand the Government funds improvements to all existing council housing, and to start building first class council homes to address housing need. For more information see Defend Council Housing website. [continue...]

Campaign news


Find us on Facebook Follow LRCinfo on Twitter

Corbyn for 2020:


Subscribe to Labour Briefing

Labour Briefing