- Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:34 pm
I think we have to recognize Brexit was always going to be difficult for Labour electorally. There were a lot more places like Leigh than like Putney.
But "events, dear boy" are the leader's job. Maybe the thing to do was take May's deal, but Jez, with his Kipper previous, wasn't going to be able to make that work. And what he did go for, belatedly going for a referendum after a renegotiation than no Leave voter cared about, didn't work either. People like Liam Young seem to think it gets Jez off the hook that he came under difficult pressures. It doesn't. See also the blame attached to the (admittedly not very good) Swinson. Other parties come for your voters. I don't see the Jez apologists putting the blame for the 2010 defeat on the Lib Dems, poor old Centrist Neoliberal Gordo has to take full responsibility.
And anyway, this leaves aside the more general responsibility the leader and his team had. I'd venture somebody else could have had swing voters in Blyth Valley thinking "You know what, that Johnson deal looks like shit close up? I would like my say on it".
But going forward, I think it'll be interesting to see how Labour play Brexit. Obviously, Starmer isn't going to try and rejoin soon, and I hope he has the foresight to swerve hypotheticals about the longer term. I'd stick pretty close to "You promised it, you deliver it".