As we saw crushingly throughout the last year, social democratic parties across Europe and the Western world are today facing an existential crisis that is resulting in successive electoral failure at the ballot box. As is evident, we are now moving towards another Leadership contest that hopefully will result in the closure of the Corbyn era in some way or other.
There are various steps I believe the next Leader must take if she or he is to address our existential crisis.
First, in my opinion, the next Labour Leader has to have a plan to address the economic inequalities that have arisen out of globalisation at the centre of his political pitch, given the influence such matters had on contributing to the Brexit and Trump phenomenons last year.
This will be crucial if we are to recuperate many of our traditional white working class, blue collar supporters across many of our northern heartlands. These communities have never experienced strong and stable employment industries that have provided a adequate replacement to Thatcher’s de-industrialisation.
Second, there will also have be a response to the present shifting goalposts in British politics from the left-right divide towards divisions about protectionism and internationalism. This will only occur if we can successfully address the economic injustices that have arisen out of globalisation for the communities we seek to serve.
Third, I would also like to see the next leader imaginatively and boldly carve out a socially democratic vision for Britain that responds credibly to the challenges posed by the technological revolution that has resulted in automation across many sectors. This, in my opinion, will partly involve a greater emphasis than ever on an empowering, enabling Welfare State.
This must take place to ensure my generation and future generations are skilled up so we see no one being left behind in the job market as we see technological changes take hold. I believe this demonstrates the greater relevance of centre-left parties that advocate an active, interventionist Government than ever, in spite of the challenges facing socially democratic parties.
Fourth, the 2015 general election result saw the substantial lead the Tories carried amongst elder voters over us. Going forward, something that may address this that is firmly in our political territory will be devising a long-term plan to interrelate Health and Social Care, so as to ensure society can respond accordingly to our rapidly growing population.
No one on the left or right has yet to formulate any feasible solutions to the ever-growing crisis in social care. The Tories’ savage 4 billion pound cuts to Social Care have resulted in the severe bed shortages that we are seeing across our English hospitals, which has engulfed our NHS into such turmoil; I am therefore sceptical that a credible, plan for social care going forward can be formulated on a bipartisan basis.
Finally, and most importantly, the next Labour Leader will have to heal the rift of our incredibly fractured coalition of supporters reflected in the divide between urban, liberal, metropolitan supporters and more manual, white-working class, blue collar supporters.
Whilst we saw this most clearly through the prism of Brexit, this has been bubbling under the surface for some time. Whilst this cultural and political disparity may have the effect of dismantling the very electoral existence of our movement, it ultimately also means, as persuasively argued recently by Lisa Nandy, that only the Labour Party can heal the divisions that have arisen out of Brexit across Britain.