On Thursday one of the few remaining bricks of what used to make up a red wall was swept away as the constituency of Hartlepool turned blue for the first time in another savage indictment of the crisis facing the Labour movement.
That no one was surprised by the result in the north east shows how bad things have got for a party that has always claimed to represent the working man.
The result in Basildon, which saw the Tories take control of the council and Labour leader Gavin Callaghan’s resignation, did shock me and with so many plans already in motion I wonder what effect this is going to have on the town centre’s regeneration given the rancour and open hostility that exists between the council’s two main opposing groups.
Meanwhile, on a national and regional level, the extent of Labour’s decline outside of Wales can’t be overstated and that won’t be addressed properly until they look at the message they are sending out rather than blaming it on the public’s inability to understand.
“Ultimately, Basildon wasn’t ready to embrace change,” from a Cllr Callaghan tweet on Friday sums up Labour’s ongoing state of denial along with Angela Rayner’s sacking as party chair (ridiculous pc title – a chair is something you sit on) and campaign coordinator.
She is being used as a scapegoat for this second disaster at the polls and Kier Starmer will inevitably shuffle the pack of frontbenchers again in the coming days when the problem so obviously lies much deeper.
Rather than being the “broad church” parties tend to use as an excuse for infighting, Labour has become two parties – Labour far left and Labour too centre. A lack of any clear direction or policy on Brexit, the anti-semitism scandal and the inability to agree on even the most basic of ideas, let alone the choice of who should lead them, has alienated voters of all ages.
When your voting heartland abandons you it really is time to take a long hard look at yourself. Even during the 80s and early 90s, Labour always had enough support to at least provide an opposition, which is a vital part of any democracy – and while I have no faith in politicians, I do believe in democracy..
At the moment they can’t even do that. They’re certainly not looking like an alternative to the present Government and are in danger of becoming a fringe party – or two fringe parties
It’s not that the message isn’t getting through, people are just not buying it. They’re not inspired by what they’re hearing.
Tony Blair came to power in 1997 as head of a new Labour, one that had redesigned itself after spending 18 years being unelectable and was a significant departure from the Labour of Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan.
The problem facing Labour today is arguably its biggest existential threat to date and it’s entirely self inflicted.
Whoever came up with the idea of using The Four Horsemen from the 1972 album 666 by Greek prog band Aphrodite’s Child on a TV car ad deserves a rise.
But I still had to look on Google to see what they were actually advertising – the Ford Kuga.
Stupid TV quiz answers of the week:
The Celebrity Chase
Welsh rugby referee Nigel Owens
Q: Which member of Duran Duran is descended from French aristocracy?
A: Bon Jovi?
Tipping Point (of course)
Q: A Spaniard is a native of which European country?
And a gem from the normal Chase
Q: Which ballet dancer was born on the Orient Express in 1938?
A: Billy Elliot