Okay, obviously, I was wrong about the whole Labour-being-the-largest-party and the shy-Labour-voters bit, but I don't think I was wrong in y fundamental diagnosis post-election; that the catastrophe was brought about by the revolt on the right of the party, the sustained, deliberate attempts to undermine the Corbyn project and demonise a decent man.
This, from Corbyn's erstwhile spin-doctor, Marc Zarb-Cousins, shows I am not alone in thinking this:
I have been asked by some to "own" the defeat. I am happy to hold my hands up and say I misread the mood of the country. But I won't apologise for voting for the best candidate in both leadership contests, and then supporting the leader of the Labour party. I won't apologise for campaigning for a Labour government, or for working harder than I've ever worked as Jeremy's spokesperson 2016-2017. With what little profile I actually have, what did the people asking me to apologise want me to do? Did they think me using my platform to attack the leadership of the party would have made a Labour government more likely?
People who have spent the past 4 years undermining the Labour party and the leader are now telling us to "own" this defeat, while we've been campaigning relentlessly -- in some cases for certain hostile Labour MPs who now have the temerity to say to us: "Look what you've done, this is all your fault." None of us, least of all those with a profile or a safe Labour seat, are passive observers in politics. We are all active participants, able to affect change and influence those undecided. If you've spent the past few years attacking the leadership of a political party, it's not exactly endearing to now be having a go at those people who had in the meantime been giving up their time and money to help bring about a Labour government.He then goes on to suggest that the leadership contest will be between candidates all essentially claiming the 2017 / 19 manifesto policies. Which is interesting as it suggests that even in their moment of triumph, the right of the party are already defeated. The next leader will be elected by the electorate that twice voted - overwhelmingly - for Corbyn. There will be no swing to the right.
Which will then reveal the Great Lie of 2017 and 2019. When the new leader is monstered in the same way that Corbyn was monstered - by the right wing media and by the increasingly bitter right wing of the Labour Party - it won't be possible for them to claim that the problem was Corbyn. We've been hearing that for four years. It was never true. The problem was that Corbyn challenged the hegemony of the Blairites over the party, and the policies that he put out there threatened wealth, power and privilege in Britain as a whole. Only a tiny, tiny bit, but enough to bring down the fires of Hell upon him.
The right wing of the Labour party feared they would never get their party back (they won't) and so they were willing to crash the party and deliver the country over to Boris Johnson. The Establishment didn't like to see their position under threat, so happily connived with them in a project that suited them even more than it suited Tony Blair and his successors.
And if Corbyn had been as hapless and hopeless as he is portrayed as he would not have been subjected to this - an epic, four year campaign of character assassination, intensifying to an unparalleled degree after 2017 when it looked like he might actually find himself in a position to do the things he said he would do.
Will the next leader be subjected to the same fire and brimstone? Probably not. The Conservatives probably have enough of a majority to make the next election another round of First-Past-The-Post attritional warfare. Labour are in the position the Conservatives enjoyed in 2005 - no prospect of winning, but having to do the groundwork for the next again election. Though a lot can happen in five years.
I think - once the dust settles a bit and the Blairite wing of the party realise that, in spite of everything, they still haven't got their party back - they may realise that they are and were the problem, not Corbyn. They will slowly go through the process of realising that - if they ever want to taste power again - they need to actually accept the judgement of the membership and come to terms with Labour being a left wing party.
Right now they are accusing the left of being in dnial, or going through the stages of grief, or having their heads in the sand. Truth is, it is them doing all these things, and they've been doing them since Corbyn's election in 2015. Time for them to face up to the reality and accept it. Theyre always going on about how to succeed in politics you need to be pragmatic, and be ready to sacrifice principles. Always, this is directed at the 'naive' and 'idealistic' left; while the right don't budge. Well, let's see them doing some sacrificing and compromising.