Many predicted that a “left-wing Labour Party” couldn’t win a general election, that a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn would destroy itself and offer Theresa May a landslide victory.

Some, including within the Labour Party, even predicted a total wipe-out of Labour in its Brexit-supporting heartlands, whilst the Liberal Democrats would destroy the party in liberal metropolitan centres such as London and Manchester.

The only truth in this is that Labour didn’t win the general election in June 2017, but the party came second and has badly wounded May, who is nothing more than “a dead woman walking” according to the recently-deposed chancellor, George Osborne.

But, even though Labour has managed to win 36 seats, and got 12.8m of votes, we are still in opposition.

So the question remains, can a left-wing labour party ever win an election?

And the answer is: yes, but for that the party will need to embrace fully its anti-austerity stance whilst becoming a credible party that can flesh out the new centre of British politics.

First, the Centrists or “labour moderates” must understand that they were wrong not just about Corbyn, but also about their interpretation of British politics.

The longstanding centrist’s view was that if Labour wanted to win a general election, it will have offer a progressive alternative to the Tory’s austerity cuts that would merely mitigate their worst excesses. In other words, Labour would be credible again as party of government if we accepted most of the Tory’s mantra of more cuts.

Thus, the centrists or moderates always believed that an election could only be won if Labour offered a less aggressive version of the tory austerity.

They believed that outside of the “left-wing bubble”, there was no appetite for something else and only the so-called “third way” that allowed Labour to win in 1997, would allow the party to win again today.

What the last general election demonstrated was that it was the centrists who were living in their own ivory tower, and what was perhaps right in 1997 was completely wrong in 2017.

What they failed to understand was that a sea-change had taken place politically, socially and economically. Britain is now one of the most unstable countries in Europe.

From the 2008 economic crisis, to the EU referendum the country went through, a series of political crises saw the rise and fall of the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the SNP.

But it was also the “soul of our country” that is in crisis.

If Scotland narrowly voted against the independence in 2014, in June 2016, the country narrowly voted to leave the EU.

Meanwhile, extremism became a feature of British politics with the continuing rise of both the far-right and Islamist terrorism.

Young people can’t have access to the housing market, zero hours’ contract and bogus self-employment jobs are in many places, the only jobs available for working class people, whilst our underfunded public services are at breaking point.

Somehow, the unexpected results of the 2017 general election were a reflection of these crises.

And political chaos can only lead to one of two things: right-wing populism or democratic socialism.

We are in a moment of transition from one era to another. And Labour under Corbyn’s leadership has shown us a path to power.

As a consequence of all this, attitudes toward public spending have dramatically changed[1]. When asked, fewer than 30% of British people now support reducing spending to help the economy. Therefore, more people want a government that will spend more to help the economy and that is precisely what the labour left want to do.

The 2017 Labour Manifesto, a more left-wing manifesto than any other since 1950, included demands to nationalise Royal Mail, the railways and other utilities, and was extremely popular up and down the country.

It galvanised the Labour rank and file and enthused a huge number of people, especially the youth who voted Labour in big numbers. On its own, this for Labour was a monumental achievement, which confounded almost all of Corbyn’s critics.

Right after the 2017 general election, most centrists had to recognise that Corbyn’s leadership was now safe. No more talk of new leadership elections or even a split.

In other words, the Labour left won the battle for the soul of the party.

And this lead us to the most important question of all: how can labour win the next general election?

There is no definite answer to this question. However, it is evident that it is for the Labour left to demonstrate that Labour can win the next general election and transform Britain. We will win next time if Labour stays united and works together as a party.

The Labour left will only do this if we are willing to build bridges with the moderates of the labour party and with everyone else.

Corbyn’s message to Trump at Glastonbury  – “Build bridges not walls” – should also apply to all wings of the labour party.

Summer 2017 must be the summer of reconciliation between all of us.

The very nature of the labour party is to be a Broadchurch.  But the labour party is not only a “broadchurch”, it is a progressive coalition between the “hard-left” the “soft-left”, the “moderates”, the “centrists”. It is the political alliance between the working class and the middle class.

And maybe more than ever, it is the voice of the trade unions, of the poor  against the establishment.

This country needs a labour government, this country needs Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.

 

[1] http://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/latest-report/british-social-attitudes-34/key-findings/context.aspx