The End of Labour


Richard Seymour in Jacobin (photo Ben Stanstall / AFP):

This is not 1992. In a way, it’s far worse than that. Imagine this: Labour has given the Conservatives their “Portillo moment,” with Ed Ballslosing his seat in Morley and Outwood, not from incumbency but from opposition.

The perspective gets even worse when you look at the figures. Overall, the Tory vote has barely shifted from 36.1% to (on present counts) 36.8%. That is, the Tories have a bit more than a third of the vote, and fractionally more than the total with which they failed to win a parliamentary majority in 2010. This is not, chiefly, a Tory surge. In previous elections, historically, a vote share of this scale would have left the Tories on the opposition benches.

But Labour’s vote also flatlined, currently about 30.6%, compared to 29% in 2010 — which was its worst share of the vote since 1918. In key marginals, like Nuneaton, it barely made a dent. In some relatively safe Tory seats where it should have had a swing, like North Swindon (a safe Tory area since 2010 boundary changes), the Tories actually gained.

National turnout looks like it was about 66%, which is fractionally above the turnout in 2010, and most of that increase will have been in Scotland and certain UKIP hot spots like Thanet South. So, Labour has mobilized almost no one who hadn’t previously voted Labour during its worst election defeat since 1918.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are in the middle of a long-term crisis, neither has done anything to reverse that, and the question in this election was: whose crisis is worse?

More here. Also see here in Vox.