Friday 7 May 2021

10 Points on the 6th May Massacre

What a terrible reckoning for Labour. Hartlepool gone and the Tories winning big right across England. With thousands of results due to come in over the weekend, no one is expecting a late bloom in Keir Starmer's favour. The news this morning was grim, and it's going to stay grim as the ballots are tallied and results declared. The question then, and one sure to stump the pundits for a while, is how has this come to pass. Why are the Tories surging 11 years into the most disastrous government since the Second World War? Here are some points for guiding analysis.

1. With the polarisation of politics after 2016, Labour enters every set of second order elections in England at a disadvantage. As explained last weekend, the class cohort divide which resolves itself as a stark age divide means the Tories have a significant advantage. Not only do older people disproportionately support them, they are much more likely to come out and vote than younger people. If anything, this is exacerbated in elections that "don't matter". Turn out is always lower, but dips even lower among younger cohorts.

2. Given differential turn out is well known, what is Labour going to do about it? What is the party doing to encourage its natural support to stump up at the polling station or post them votes? How did they go about it this time? Or, to be more accurate, given the mountains of data churned out month by month on voting intentions why does the party not even realise this is something it has to do?

3. Tory corruption and the body piling comment came too late to impact on the votes. As did yesterday's Airfix patriotism off the coast of Jersey. With record numbers of postal votes cast for second order elections, a good chunk of those who might have changed their mind about voting Tory had already cast their ballots.

4. If Jeremy Corbyn's Labour can do better in Hartlepool in 2017 and 2019, and not as badly in local elections between 2016 and 2019 than Keir Starmer's Labour, then Thursday's results have very little to do with Jeremy Corbyn. More relevant is how Labour "under new leadership" turned around Labour's polling following Keir's election, and by December were level-pegging with the Tories before collapsing back down again. If there was any truth to the vaccine bounce, his personal ratings wouldn't be cratering as well.

5. On Hartlepool specifically, the loss here had more to do with the party's entitled attitude toward the seat than anything else. As Jill Mortimer, the newly-minted Tory MP for the seat rightly observed, her victory was a protest against Labour Party complacency, of a feeling the town has been completely taken for granted and was previously served by MPs who simply marked time. The result had nothing to do with the timing of the election, which is a pitiful excuse that does not stand up to scrutiny.

6. Again, Hartlepool, Keir Starmer and David Evans have to take responsibility for choosing the worst possible candidate and the worst possible method for selecting him. Turns out putting up six-time second referendum voter Dr Paul Williams and banging on about the NHS in the hope no one would notice wasn't a good idea. Fancy that. And we had the absurd stitch-up, which just so happened to dominate headlines in the local paper in the crucial first days of the campaign. This simply reinforced Tory messaging in the constituency. Keir might as well have gift wrapped Hartlepool and handed it over to Boris Johnson.

7. Where did Labour escape a battering? Wales and Manchester spring to mind. Why? Because the party had a record to stand on (warts and all), offered recognisably Labourist policies instead of waffling in front of a flag, and over the last year have had occasion to oppose the Tory government.

8. When the far left do terribly in elections, which is nearly every time they venture into them, the incredibly poor result is always spun as "at least we put down a marker." In 2021, Keir Starmer's Labour have reimagined this as "We've won the right to be listened to."

9. Compounding the disadvantages faced by Labour going into these elections, the party's national messaging has been nowhere. Pointedly going on about sleaze sounds like 90s nostalgia night at the pub karaoke, a line of attack repeating the lyrics without emotion and sounding out of tune with the times. Talking about the NHS but refusing to offer anything positive, not even supporting nurses' pay claims, is a sign of a clapped out leadership bereft of ideas. And awkwardly, unconvincingly attacking the Tories from the right, "Starmerism" went out of its way to put distance between itself and the absolute dangers of the left. Labour strategy has specifically gone for the imagined older, home-owning, socially conservative patriotic Labour voter. And said voter is uninterested because said voter is an endangered species.

10. What are the chances of this being a teachable moment for Labour? With the likes of Steve Reed and Peter Mandelson blaming "the party" as opposed to the leader or the strategy, the odds aren't looking good. Six years on from Labour's evisceration in Scotland, no analysis has been ventured by them, no lessons learned. 2017's uptick in Labour's fortunes - an election that must be buried at all costs, nothing to be seen here. And 2019: an awful result to be sure, but no consideration of how the party still clung on to over 10 million votes. Only a trend as stupid, factional and myopic as Labour's right could look at their organisation's recent electoral performances and conclude there is nothing useful there to learn about. These people are simply not serious.


BCFG said...

Labour have 2 options as far as I can see, become the party of no exchange, i.e. communist or go to Eton, look for the most obnoxious posh cunt they can find and make him the leader.

Anonymous said...

"If Jeremy Corbyn's Labour can do better in Hartlepool in 2017 and 2019, and not as badly in local elections between 2016 and 2019 than Keir Starmer's Labour, then Thursday's results have very little to do with Jeremy Corbyn."

Predictably wheeled out but wrong:

1) It was not until Xmas Eve 2020 that Boris delivered Brexit, and delivered for the Brexit supporting voters of Hang The Monkey.
2) The vaccine bounce is clearly a massive thing - and in the minds of many voters it will be linked with Brexit (albeit it is balls)
3) The election 'didn't matter' yet the Monkeys had their moment in the spotlight so presumably wanted to make a point, and reward Boris for delivering Brexit and the vaccine - a rare unambiguous double win.

It is a shame, but unsurprising that you continue to cover for the utter, utter disaster of Corbyn and the Left takeover - from a purely casual viewpoint, it DOES correlate with the collapse of Labour support. That you refuse to recognise this, bodes ill for Labour and ordinary working people who deserve a fairer society.

Keir is hardly without fault - a passably competent if uninspired general - but thanks to Corbyn he has been sent to war without tanks, aircraft or many useful troops. He may have the 'intelligence', but it's little use when he is faced with overwhelming force.

In a sense he is the perfect Labour leader for this moment - it is not only unwinnable, but it will take generations to remould a coherent social democratic offer that will win convincingly again so it is better to suck it up. By which time, alas, the offer will be about as left-wing as the US Democrats, the centre of political gravity having shifted inexorably further right.

What the Left should do is at least acknowledge this process and recognise their part in it - you end by saying the right claim 'there is nothing to see here' but you fail to recognise - apart from a few tactical miss-steps - the responsibility of your religion.

The Left needs to recognise that politics is not 'The Field Of Dreams' in which they build a pitch in the middle of nowhere in the faith that 'they will come', but rooted in reality.

Without the roads or railways to convey the voters to their 'field of dreams', they ain't going nowhere.

Boffy said...

The clear lesson is that lots of progressive former 2017 Labour voters either stayed home, or voted Green, both in Remain and in Leave voting constituencies. Look at Sheffield, where the Green picked up Councillors, leaving a hung Council. The actual increase in Green representation is a gross understatement of this effect because of FTP. For every vote that goes to a Green candidate who gets elected, ten go to Green candidates that don't, but all those ex-Labour votes that go to unelected Green/Liberal/Plaid candidates are votes that ensure that Labour candidates lose, and Tories win.

The same is seen in the first round votes for London Mayor, where Green votes have risen, and what should have been an easy Labour win, has become superficially tighter. Khan is suffering from a bleeding of progressive Labour votes due to labour's reactionary nationalism and Brexitism, plus his own wretched record of attacking Corbyn.

But the Labour conservative populists can only see doubling down on the nationalism and populism as their road forward, even though it leads to extinction.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous. The polling data doesn’t suggest that Corbynism was a disaster. It suggests that pro Labour policies attract Labour voters, but that media attacks on leaders also work. I’d also point to the small uptick for Miliband, on a manifesto that has since been plundered for policies.

See chart 2 here:

Blissex said...

«the incredibly poor result is always spun as "at least we put down a marker." In 2021, Keir Starmer's Labour have reimagined this as "We've won the right to be listened to."»

That is a complete misreading of the result: it is a famous victory! Keir Starmer is a master strategist with subtle forensic mind, playing 4-dimensional political chess, tutored by Peter Mandelson, and the goal of New New Labour is to persuade right-wing voters that it is a reliably right-wing party, just like the Conservatives, but more competent, and it would rather have the Conservatives win than campaign with popular left-wing policies and candidates, just as Tony Blair himself said in a famous interview:
Tony Blair says he wouldn’t want a left-wing Labour party to win an election
The former PM says he wouldn't take the 'route to victory' if it was left-wing

Keir Starmer in Hartlepool successfully delivered on Tony Blair's promise, and this sacrifice of just one seat of "deplorables" should be celebrated as it will result in reassuring tory voters across England that they can safely switch their vote to New New Labour to get the same (or perhaps a bit less nasty in some areas) tory policies as the Conservative, but more competently managed, gaining a majority for New New Labour in due time. Rejoice! Rejoice!

:-) or rather :-(.

Dr Zoltan Jorovic said...

I am not a Labour Party member and I have no axe to grind in this debate. I observe from the outside. The arguments between labour factions generate a lot of hot air and anger, but it seems to me that there is some truth in both arguments. Corbyn was a poor leader and he did not appeal to enough of the electorate to win overall. He was also incredibly badly treated by many in the PLP and by the media, who smeared him and did everything they could to undermine and destroy him. But, there are deeper forces in play which Phil describes clearly. The old working class upon which Labour was built has largely gone. Class solidarity, based around community and workplace has been shredded. The Labour right are fighting with last centuries strategy. Corbyn attracted a new cohort of younger, more radical voters, but failed to meld that with enough of the older voter to achieve a new coalition. The only way to turn it around is to build a coalition of the progressive and the centre. This means compromise from both sides. Focus on what we agree on instead of the much smaller number of things we don't. Put the future of the whole population first, rather than your faction, or your personal obsessions. A sustainable, community oriented future which addresses climate change, the ecological catastrophe and creates long term jobs based on a circular economy. Radically reform the constitution and electoral system and introduce deliberative processes into all levels of government. Restore genuine decision making and fund raising powers to local government. Make the UK a true federation. Rebuild our relationship with our neighbours. Set up public enquiries into Covid and fund the replacement of all dangerous cladding. Strengthen anti-corruption laws and give real teeth to the Electoral Commission and the Standards bodies. We can turn it round - but only if we stop bickering and in-fighting and face the enemy together.

Anonymous said...

Labour sounds like a political version of Kaspar Hauser. It wakes up in Hartlepool - discombolutated - and is totally mystified by what has happened to it. Labour is now a managerial confection which is totally disassociated from the electorate here, there and almost everywhere. It is a lesson on the idiocy of complacency, especially when you rely on the actions of others to be in business.

1) Reflect and address the local issues. Locally, that's how you get elected.
2) Be totally clear, honest and realistic about objectives and endeavour to achieve them.
3) Don't role play or call yourself socialist when you aren't. Labour is a social democratic party and always has been.
4) Permit people to aspire to more than a sh*t education, a council house in a ghetto and a lifetime of uninterrupted workplace drudgery/boredom i.e. give every worker without an FE qualification a fully funded education/retraining voucher which can be redeemed during their working lives.
5) Choose candidates who reflect the constituency rather than dull, pious, priggish, Oxbridge PPE robots to represent the party.
6) Emphasis should be on: explanation, persuasion, listening and action. Talk is cheap.
7) Go green and get a million votes. Not only is this essential (existentially, industrially and economically), it offers a ready source of votes. This something the party badly needs.
8) Make a manifesto pledge to introduce PR (no referendum is necessary to adopt a more democratic electoral system. FPTP manifestly isn't fair, representative or democratic).
9) Explain simply and clearly how government finances work i.e. kill the fatuous maxxed out credit card/household analogy so beloved by moronic vox pops and dumb BBC political commentators. The government can borrow (sell debt to creditors) at virtually zero rates of interest at the moment. Explain how this works.
10) Choose a leader who is passionate rather than managerial. Preferably, someone with some charisma. A person whom the electorate can warm to.

BCFG said...

Let us pin down exactly what Anonymous's bullshit amounts to, and let me add a spoiler straight off, it ain’t anything remotely resembling ‘social democracy’.

No what anonymous wants is this, 2 parties who are ideologically identical, save for some minor nit picking on woke issues and moreover both parties must:

Follow a Thatcherite economic agenda

Be tabloid friendly

Be antagonistic to dark skinned people, especially those whose backpack might contain more than their lunch (nudge nudge wink wink)

Be completely obedient to her majesty’s interests both at home and abroad (and support her brave heroic soldiers in their noble human liberating glorious caring altruistic duties). Oh all hail those wonderful boys and girls of her majesty’s wonderful, noble, heroic armed forces.

Do not in any way attack the worlds wealth creators, allow them to pocket their money where they like and ask no questions, they earned it and we benefit.

Pay lip service to the climate and extinction disaster that is happening as we speak, ordinary people simply want to have a good time, eat, shit and shop and their little minds can’t handle these abstract ideas. I mean veganism, really!

So what anonymous wants is a total monopoly of political representation for the middle and upper classes, while everyone else can fuck off to Cuba or whatever.

Seriously Anonymous, fuck off and vote Tory, you are all but there anyway and just need a gentle nudge.

And spare me your, see what I mean bullshit.

Blissex said...

«go to Eton, look for the most obnoxious posh cunt they can find and make him the leader»

My usual suggestion is to replace Keir Starmer with Rishi Sunak or if he is not available with Chuka Umunna himself, Either would be perfect (smarmy, thatcherite, minority ...) and would be very popular with tory voters, which is important because Peter Mandelson said that New New “Labour would only win if the party championed aspirational voters who shop at John Lewis and Waitrose”.

McIntosh said...

So Anonymous does still believe ' a big boy did it and ran away'.

It seems that people start with their conclusion - Corbyn is to blame - and then seek evidence to support this and ignore any inconvenient facts.

Me , I blame Blair and his taking us to war on the basis of lies, installing careerists in Northern seats, having no industrial strategy to maintain jobs in the North, supporting globalisation and neo liberalism while unpicking all that made Labour different. But then I start from a different place from Anonymous and do not recognise his assessment that the left took over Labour. The problem was that Corbyn did not democratise it, and the right spent 4 years undermining and attacking him while providing copy to the media, and telling people not to vote Labour.

Blissex2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blissex said...

In a recent our blogger wrote of propertyless or working age people:

Not only have the Tories made it clear that they should pay the costs of the pandemic, Brexit, and before both their austerity programme

And now I read again:

«Put the future of the whole population first, rather than your faction, or your personal obsessions»

This suggests that I have to introduce (again) the concept of "cramdown", which is vital to understanding actual politics, as for example illustrated in:
Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason — the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit — and, most of the time, genteel — oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. [...] The government, in its race to stop the bleeding, will typically need to wipe out some of the national champions — now hemorrhaging cash — and usually restructure a banking system that’s gone badly out of balance. It will, in other words, need to squeeze at least some of its oligarchs. [...] Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk — at least until the riots grow too large.

Note: in the UK the great mass of propertied tory voters are sort-of part of the "oligarchs".

Blissex said...

«The only way to turn it around is to build a coalition of the progressive and the centre.»

There was a centre in the UK when most side agreed on the post-war welfarist consensus, since M Thatcher (helped by A Scargill) and T Blair destroyed it there is no significant centre: between property rentiers and tentants+buyers, between business rentiers and workers.

«This means compromise from both sides. Focus on what we agree on instead of the much smaller number of things we don't. Put the future of the whole population first, rather than your faction, or your personal obsessions.»

So give up on the politics of interests? Everybody to become wykehamist philosopher-kings?
For a contrary opinion a typical statement, from a commenters on "The Guardian" of a couple years ago: “I will put it bluntly I don't want to see my home lose £100 000 in value just so someone else can afford to have a home and neither will most other people if they are honest with themselves”.

Currently even the owners of a modest 2 bed flat in the south east and London get £30,000-40,000 per year of property profits without working, and that transforms their living standards into shoppers at Waitrose and John Lewis, why do you want to kill their aspiration to the finer things in life?

asquith (stopped using google) said...

Reflecting on the Hartlepool result and other red wall seats, the most commonly given explanation is that it’s brexit and the culture war (which the Tories certainly want to keep going as long as they can), but I don’t think that’s the full story and while those are factors, think it has more to do with the changing nature of work & retirement.

In the 80s, there were culture war issues too (falklands, the bomb and relations with the USA/USSR, section 28, and so on) which Thatcher exploited to win two landslides, including far more working-class folk than the left wish to admit. But in Hartlepool, and other poor areas like ours, until very recently there was never any serious chance of Labour being dislodged.

Because not only were young people poor & insecure, old people were often worse off, and remembered the depression and ww2. Even those who were better off, due to pensions from nationalised industries, heard from their mates about the damage Thatcher was doing, and mainly voted Labour.

Now, the retiring and recently retired have had different experiences to the older and younger. They grew up with full employment, free education and a welfare state, things which those who hark back to the ‘good old days’ always leave out of their elegies. They jobhopped and have less loyalty to their mates than their fathers did, and have less connection to work as it is now.

And the rise in pensions that began in Blair’s day, which was one of the reasons Hartlepoolers voted for Blair and Mandleson despite the obvious cultural differences, has been turbocharged by the coalition and the Tories. The 60- and 70- somethings are unlikely to reflect on the woes of young people, who are as badly off as in the 80s.

This has been furthered by the trend to young, educated folk leaving red wall towns for places like Newcastle (in the case of Hartlepool), Manchester (for Stoke ), Leeds, and even more so London, leaving the suburbs and small towns older and bluer than ever.

What do people do when content with their own lives but hate the wider world? Now we know.

Blissex said...

«What do people do when content with their own lives but hate the wider world? Now we know.»

That argument is based on the impression that there was a huge surge in the Conservative vote, but that did not quite happen, one should always look at both percentages and absolute vote numberrs including turnout:

To summarize the numbers, which tell a few story both national and local, to make it clear I have added blank lines between obvious "phases" (2004 and 2019 were by-elections):

1974: total 49,688, Con 22,700, Lab 26,988
1974: total 47,300, Con 16,546, Lab 24,440, Lib 6,314
1979: total 49,109, Con 18,887, Lab 27,039, Lib 3,193
1983: total 48,434, Con 18,958, Lab 22,048, SDP 7,422
1987: total 50,136, Con 17,007, Lab 24,296, Lib 7,047
1992: total 51,710, Con 18,034, Lab 26,816, Lib 6,860

1997: total 44,452, Con 9,489, Lab 26,997, Lib 6,248, Ref 1,718
2001: total 38,051, Con 7,935, Lab 22,506, Lib 5,717

2004: total 31,362, Con 3,044, Lab 12,752, Lib 10,719, UKI 3,193
2005: total 35,436, Con 4,058, Lab 18,251, Lib 10,773, UKI 1,256
2019: total 38,242, Con 10,758, Lab 16,267, Lib 6,533, UKI 2,682, BNP 2,002

2015: total 39,490, Con 8,256, Lab 14,076, Lib 761, ind. 2,954, Gre 1,341
2017: total 41,835, Con 14,319, Lab 21,969, Lib 746, UKI 4,801
2019: total 41,037, Con 11,869, Lab 15,464, Lib 1,696, BXP 10,603
2021: total 29,933, Con 15,529, Lab 8,589, Lib 349, ind. 2,904

I would think that Keir Starmer's New New Labour has achieved much in their PASOKification strategy.

Anonymous said...

BCFG/ MCIntosh

Thing is, you've been saying/ thinking this stuff for years, while the debate has moved inexorably to the right.

One day you might wake up and realise you are part of the problem, in the meantime, it's hard to escape the impression that you are rather deluded.

But happy. Perhaps you and the good folk of Hang The Monkey have more in common than you think.

Anonymous said...

I would add: I presume Phil saw the Newsnight analysis of electoral trends. Basically, Labour has been bleeding support since Brown.

It is genuinely difficult, apart from simple voter fatigue, to see Labour coming back from Corbyn - he was the nail in the coffin (note - a coffin that had been constructed before him, by way of Milliband and Brown, and Blair, from a policy perspective).

So many of these discussions, apart from their air of saloon bar self-indulgence, appear to take place where the electoral realities of the UK, FPTP etc, do not exist. It used to be a worry that if the Uk lost Scotland there would be a permanent Tory majority - it seems it doesn't even need to lose it.

What is, slightly, more likely to emerge over time is change coming within the Tory party. Nature abhors a vacuum. This now seems, notwithstanding the occasional electoral false dawn, the only true threat to the Brexit wing.

How did this happen? This idea of rootless baby boomers seems to have some traction. Phil appears to think that in time Tory support will decline because of changing work and demographic patterns, but at this point it seems the right is far more able to reimagine itself than the Left.

Here we have only the same tired arguments about the Labour 'right' and the perpetual, self-defeating struggle in the service of Tory hegemony - useful idiots indeed. Monty Python did it with the Judean People's Popular Front. Or was that the Popular Front of Judea?

Rudolf Meidner's Cat said...

FYI Labour also didn't get utterly routed in Stroud district elections. They gained a few from con and Green, but Green had the biggest surge gaining from both Con a Lab. Changes Lab: 18 > 15, Green 8 > 13, Con 23 > 20, Lib (I think) 3 > 3. Council was Green, Lab, Lib - still is but Green on roughly equal footing. David Drew (lab) also beet Molly Scott Cato (Green) for county. Worth noting this story in context that all 3 cons lost in Chalford

Jay said...

Always tiring to see individuals like anonymous @06:32, starting backwards from Corbyn hate to arrive at their justifications.

A common theme is the refusal to acknowledge that FPTP success or failure does not correlate with popular support, due to the horrors of gerrymandering, vote-stacking, and misrepresentation error. Corbyn's failure (which will always be replicated by parties with mostly urban support) was that the votes won were in the wrong places, not that his aims were unpopular with voters at large.

You should acknowledge the vote shares rather than just the seats, and that the left policy positions were something to be built on, like in Preston or Manchester, and not binned for Tory-lite which has got Starmer Labour all of nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Jay at 2212, I said: 'So many of these discussions, apart from their air of saloon bar self-indulgence, appear to take place where the electoral realities of the UK, FPTP etc, do not exist.'

What don't you get about that? There will be no change in FPTP (which labour historically opposed).

It's like saying 'If every 1p I had was a pound I'd be a millionaire!'

Blissex said...

«Basically, Labour has been bleeding support since Brown.»

As usual, I post numbers for zero effect, because the summary of votes I have posted above for Hartlepool shows that Labour has been bleeding since (and including) 2001, here is the corresponding graph to help (it won't help the lazy or intellectual dishonest of course):

In the 2001-20005 period there was already a collapse of the New Labour vote, thanks to the electoral toxicity of Tony Blair, a rare exception to the rule that leaders don't swing that many votes, at the same time of the collapse of the Conservative vote, because of the memory of the 1990s crash.

The striking feature of the data are the surge in abstentions and (rather briefly) votes for the LibDems in 2001-2010, and the Conservative and UKIP surge (from very low levels) in 2010-2019, and the disappearance of the LibDems as a protest vote at the same time.

This to some extent is mirrored in the national vote

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes, but . . . what is to be done?

Starmer has not only restored right-wing control to the party, he's also evidently made it unelectable. His supporters, like anonymous, argue that only by making Labour even less electable can it possibly win an election. They don't believe what they say, it's simply that they have to say something while silencing anyone who criticises them and purging people to frighten everyone else.

This has been going on for a long time, and it is not going to get better if current trends continue. Even if Starmer were run over by twelve busses tomorrow, his successor would pursue similar policies.

What should Labour's structures become to make it electable?

What policies should those structures encourage to make Labour electable?

How can the current gang who can't shoot straight except when aiming at their own feet possibly be removed so that the structures and policies can be changed to make Labour electable?

Anonymous said...

"Starmer has not only restored right-wing control to the party, he's also evidently made it unelectable."

Which is of course the exact opposite of what he said he was going to do during the leadership election.

Robert said...

It just doesn't make sense how self defeating the Labour right are. How much they failed to learn from losing Scotland to a left wing party, and from the popularity of Corbyn amongst the younger generation. Just how stubborn they are on keeping social democratic politics at bay.

If they wanted to win, why not just be like Biden? Why not be who Starmer pretended to be to get elected?

The extent to which keeping the left - and really, a moderate left - out of politics now appears to be a greater priority than being elected or anything else really, really makes me think there's something else at work here.

Blissex said...

«keeping the left - and really, a moderate left - out of politics now appears to be a greater priority than being elected or anything else really, really makes me think there's something else at work here.»

It is really very simple, about tacit assumptions or perhaps not so tacit:

Blair: “Tony Blair says he wouldn’t want a left-wing Labour party to win an election. The former PM says he wouldn't take the 'route to victory' if it was left-wing

Mandelson: “Labour would only win if the party championed aspirational voters who shop at John Lewis and Waitrose

Politics is first about interests, then about values and other details. The Conservatives, New Labour, LibDems share common interests, and they are all thatcherites. When the LibDems lose the elections, as they have for 100 years, do they feel that their interests are threatened? Not when the Conservatives or New Labour win, only when Labour wins. Same for New Labour.

New Labour people only feel their interests threatened when Labour or another "populist" party were about to win, and react viciously to that. Sure they would be much happier if they got the ministerial careers, but as long as other thatcherites win, it is merely a lost opportunity, not a threat to their class interests.

It is the same mechanism that made Trump, barely a non-reaganista "populist", and Sanders, barely a leftie "populist" like Corbyn, ostracized ferociously by both Republicans and Democratic elites. Only neoliberal/neocon whiggism (with a tory flavour) is acceptable to "decent" people.