Labour’s choices

There seem to be two main strands in leadership proposals for Labour. The first is to go back to the damaging topic of Brexit which has splintered them so badly in the last three years, and to present a stronger Remain view. The second is to let the Conservatives deliver Brexit and concentrate instead on the radical social and economic agenda. Neither of these offers an easy route back to popularity.

Many of us see the result of the referendum followed by two elections where pro Brexit parties have won as a clear indication of the country’s view. We decided and we should get on with it.  Trying to do at a later stage  what the Lib Dems failed to do in the 2019 election seems foolish. Dressing it up as a second vote  when they want to have a vote between two kinds of Remain will not convince the Brexit majority. It is also a short term policy. The next General election should take place long after we have left the EU.

Those who want to stress the domestic agenda and develop the work of Corbyn and McDonnell are right to think forwards to a post Brexit world. They also need to ask themselves why was there so much hostility to their generous large offer of “free” services and nationalised businesses in 2019?

The voters in the North and Midlands they lost did not just switch because of Brexit, important though that was. They also felt Labour had forgotten the needs and views of the many  aspirational families who are not well off but who look to government to offer a hand up not a hand out. Labour constantly spoke out for the tiny minority that sleep rough, or the minority that still cannot find a job rather than for the many who pay taxes to pay the state bills and who want more of their own money to spend. Labour also speak for the migrants still to arrive, which worries those facing housing shortages or low wages.

If Labour take away the conclusion that free hand outs and nationalisations are popular, so they need more of them, they may well lose again. Labour last won under Tony Blair, when he tacked a long way towards Conservativism at a time when the Conservatives had messed the economy up thanks to the  European Exchange Rate Mechanism.


  1. Lifelogic
    December 27, 2019

    You say “They also felt Labour had forgotten the needs and views of the many aspirational families who are not well off but who look to government to offer a hand up not a hand out.” But government in general do not offer even a hand up their main activity is taxing people and largely wasting this money. They get in the way far more than they assist.

    John Major and the Conservatives did indeed mess up the economy up thanks to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. The foolish Major failed ever to say sorry for the huge predictable and pointless damage it did and learned nothing, why on earth did the party retain this man when he ‘resigned’? But they also retained Theresa May. What plonkers many Tory MPs are.

    Boris need to go for far smaller government and to get the government parasites off people’s backs and out of their way.

    1. Simeon
      December 27, 2019

      Your first and second paras are absolutely right. Your third is a lovely idea that won’t happen.

      Our kind host is right to say that Labour has, even prior to Corbyn, taken their core vote for granted. As another poster said yesterday, the Conservatives have done, and indeed continue to do, the exact same thing. The notion that voters who were previously Labour switched to Conservative because they were attracted by anything in the Tory manifesto, other than ‘getting Brexit done’, is just not credible. These voters chose the lesser of two evils. With Brexit ‘done’ the Tories will have lost their leverage over the electorate come the next GE.

      Cummings is no genius, but I think it’s clear he understands this. That’s why the Tories will attempt to ‘lovebomb’ these voters with ‘investment’ in public services in an attempt to retain their support. My guess is that the moves the Tories put on these voters will be more akin to the clumsy advances of a drunken yob in a nightclub, rather than the imaginative courtship of a charming gentleman. And so the disappointed and disgusted gal will return to her ex, assuming he’s said sorry and made some vaguely credible promises to treat her right. He probably won’t, she’ll realise, but it’s got to be better than the boozy, bumbling alternative…

    2. cynic
      December 27, 2019

      Better educational opportunities, lower taxes and worthwhile interest on savings would help.

    3. Martin in Cardiff
      December 27, 2019

      John is correct that Labour are easily caricatured in that way, and sadly, many people only deal in cartoon-like simplicity.

      However, he also implies two fallacies yet again, that well paid jobs and housing are not easy to get because of immigration, and in turn membership of the European Union.

      We have streets of houses for one pound each in Liverpool, in County Durham, and elsewhere. This would seem to prove that local market outlook, and not general UK population pressure, is the main determinant of property prices. If population were the prime reason for high residential property prices, then why did they fall sharply between 2008 and 2011, while it was still steadily growing, just as previously? And why has the average asking price just fallen again by around twenty-five thousand pounds?

      As for low pay, labour is often cheap, and conditions such as occupational pensions poor in the UK because of all the anti-trade union, turkeys-for-Christmas, Tory-tbp voting forelock-tuggers. The only game in town for them is trying to out-crawl their fellow man to their swaggering, quasi-feudal lords of employers. The presence here of fellow Europeans is little to do with it. Otherwise, why is it not equally cheap in France, in Scandinavia and so on? They have been in the European Union too all this time.

      Tory-tbp were concerned that employment and trade union law would become the province of the European Union. That is, of its being taken out of their mean, clinging hands.

      The fact remains though, that if you are willing to out-grovel your neighbour for a job, then hey, you will be low-paid.

      1. Fred H
        December 28, 2019

        Marty – – are you trying to suggest that these streets with houses selling for a pound are perfectly let-able and in adequate condition? Come off it. I feel sure they will have a mixture of several of the following – no working sanitary features, missing or broken glazing, missing or not working doors, leaking and collapsing roofs, floors etc. Probably in the middle of extreme vandalism and drug dens….
        No doubt the local (council) ownership has stopped throwing good money after bad trying to change things. But of course why spoil a good argument with actual full facts?

      2. libertarian
        December 29, 2019


        More deluded nonsense from the Marxist 19th Century “progressive”

        Yes of course there are cheaper housing options in underdeveloped regions The houses for a £1 stuff ( if they existed at all ) will be uninhabitable without significant refurbishment . The average house price in the UK is £232,944 Oh you obviously missed the financial crash of 2008 during a Labour government that bailed out the banks and stopped banks from lending at 100% on first time mortgages , which I dunno may have had an effect on house prices do you think?

        Occupational pensions are amongst the best in world, I’m currently getting an 18% return on mine tax free. We also have the state NI pensions and workplace pensions , you know Marty the ones introduced by the Tory government . You are clueless about the real world

        Average UK salary is ( ONS latest figures) £36,611

        The average Salary in Sweden is £38,600 but of course taxes and cost of living are much higher in Sweden

        By the way neither Sweden, Norway or Denmark have a national minimum wage ( I did warn the fantasist trade unionists, Labour believing suckers that a NMW would be DETRIMENTAL to workers )

        Labour in the UK is anything but cheap, if you had the faintest idea about business you would know that the salary is only part of the overall cost of employment which also includes ENI and workplace pension plus the best holiday, sick and maternity pay in Europe

        There are currently 794,000 unfilled full time job vacancies in the UK

        Workers have a choice of who to work for and if they invest in themselves via training they can also radically increase their earning potential . Trouble with marxists is that you haven’t learned that people dont like to be treated as if they are thick idiots who dont understand the world

        Meanwhile the UK has the lowest unemployment in most of Europe

        Sweden unemployment 7%
        Denmark unemployment 6%
        Norway the highest unemployment for 10 years
        Finland ( one of the most “socially progressive” countries has 900,000 people living on less than the minimum wage , thats a country with a total population of 5.8 million

        One day Martin you might get out of Wales and actually visit some of the countries that you spout about

    4. Alan Jutson
      December 27, 2019


      The first thing Boris needs to do is implement the Boundary Changes which have been suggested by the electoral commission.

      1. czerwonadupa
        December 28, 2019

        Because the old boundaries handicapped mostly the Toris it was conveniently ignored by the BBC & MSM. Not only did the previous parliament spend their time blocking Brexit they also blocked the changes. The changes were suggested 3 years ago but involved amongst others Corbyn & Lady Nugee’s constituencies.
        Sir John conveniently ignores the third election since the referendum. The one were the Tories were routed by a newly formed party barely 6 weeks old and whose success led to the demise of his party’s leader May, Johnson’s rise & the break up of the Brexit blocking Quisling parliament.

  2. Mark B
    December 27, 2019

    Good morning

    We need to wait until they have chosen their new leader before we know which direction they will take.

    Labour have the luxury of five years and endless opinion polls to see what does and dies not work with the electorate. They also have the Conservative Party who, once the electorate have realised that we have not in fact left the EU, which will be fretting over its seats.

    Labour’s best course is to assume the mantle of the BREXIT Party and point out at that what the Tories are offering is not BREXIT. But I’d doubt that will take the oppotunity of that open goal.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 27, 2019

      That is indeed the open goal. The Boris deal is clearly not a real Brexit and is far worse than just leaving (thank in part to the dire traitors who supported the Benn Act). But Labour will not take this route given the make up of the party.

      Stuffed as it is with remainers and the politics of envy people and is controlled by largely the large state sector trade unions wanting endlessly more government and more workers “rights”. Worker rights almost never help good workers but do help good shirkers (whom other workers than have to carry). This damages the economy hugely and destroys jobs. The best protection for workers is lots of other good available jobs just as for tenants it is lots of choice or other homes to rent. Not workers rights and yet more lawyers.

      1. dennisambler
        December 27, 2019

        They should by now have repealed the Benn Act. It was cooked up in a hurry, it could just as quickly be gone.

  3. Lifelogic
    December 27, 2019

    The list of potential leaders of the Labour Party is dire. I cannot see any of them bringing the party back to strength very quickly, the dire remainer Kier Starmer seems to be the only one who can speak in full coherent sentences but there is no sense to the sort of policies he would push. I, like Rod Liddle, favour the dire David Lammy as he would really bury the party for good.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 27, 2019

      With his evil identity politics and his politics of envy agenda that is. Demonstrated regularly on LBC.

      So Lady Hale want more tax payers money for legal aid to be given to lawyers. What a surprise. To a woman with a hammer everything start to look like a nail … The last thing the UK needs is more lawyers, more laws, more taxes for legal aid or more courts or court levels.

  4. margaret
    December 27, 2019

    Middle of the road is always safer,.No Political ideology speaks of the circumstances we have now . Everyone has to work with what they have got and begin to reshape. We cannot go down Labours road of spend , spend , spend, we cannot lose the experience of those who under Tony Blair thought that the world was their oyster because they were young and the youth were the future. I don’t know who interpreted this to mean , graduates without any grown up knowledge could take over everything and out with the old , however those in their 40’s are now seeing that learning from being and doing is just as much a part of life as taught knowledge. The older University grads, who still show off about their achievements from 18yrs-21 yrs, who arrogantly think that this will set them up for the next 50 yrs need to step back and reflect upon their time then and their existence in the 2020’s.

    We now have a more diverse multicultural mix. In my job everything becomes more complicated. Language problems have become the main barrier to a efficient , effective consultation with many needing an extra 30 mins for telephone interpreters , some saying they can speak the language , however their abilities are so limited there is much misunderstanding. The nuances of languages rely on far more than a basic knowledge . Sub texts are also difficult hurdles to jump as hidden meanings are interpreted in different ways in different countries, so we may be insulting patients without knowing.

    It is again going to be a great learning process trying to make a cohesive society and all should be involved.

  5. Polly Smith
    December 27, 2019

    But the next General election will NOT take place long after we have left the EU, if you agree to Boris’s horrible “deal” (which is simply Mrs May’s “deal” combined with the surrender of our brethren in Northern Ireland). You HAVE to mobilise against the disgraceful “Withdrawal Agreement” (= vassal status) or else we will never leave the EU’s grip.

    1. Andy
      December 27, 2019

      The Withdrawal Agreement is Brexit. Get used to it. You voted for it.

      1. jerry
        December 27, 2019

        @Andy; “The Withdrawal Agreement is Brexit.

        No it is not, its an agreement how to withdraw, hence why talks about any FTA now have to take place after Jan 31st 2020, and be complete by Dec 31st 2020, and that the UK has to carry on paying for some pre 2016 agreed EU budget expenditure…

      2. Fred H
        December 27, 2019

        I think you have explained it a few times before.

      3. Anonymous
        December 27, 2019

        ‘Brexit’ didn’t exist until after the referendum (along with ‘hard’ Brexit and ‘soft’ Brexit.) You invented it. Get used to it.

    2. steve
      December 27, 2019


      The conservatives will have to deliver, or else.

      1. Fred H
        December 27, 2019

        steve – – in search of a uniting figure they decided on Boris. It remains to be seen whether his thin version of Brexit is enough to maintain peace in the party, or will open wounds appear after say 3 years of his term. Deliver they must, the quiet electorate will once again be called upon to give their verdict, hopefully with a pruned media, and politically stripped BBC.

  6. Shirley
    December 27, 2019

    Brexit isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the only goal. If the last 3 years have shown us anything, it is that Parliament cares for itself more than the people it governs. The whole system needs reform.

    Will immigration fall? Will the North get a boost? Not if the past broken promises are anything to go by. Will Parliament become more honest, honourable and work in the interests of the whole UK and not just prioritise minorities, immigrants and refugees? That is yet to be proven!

    1. Lentonia
      December 28, 2019

      Agreed shirley. Our host’s posting looks to me to be a ruse to deflect our attention. So Mr Redwood, do not underestimate us. It is not the Labour party that is in the crosshairs, it is YOUR party. You have a big majority, it is now YOURjob to deliver a true Brexit (not the WA), money for the NHS and the North etc

  7. Derek Henry
    December 27, 2019

    Problem is you have to have a choice at the ballot box John.

    For 30 years if you voted for New Labour ( who lost Scotland to the SNP) or the Tories you ended up with neoliberal globalism.

    There was nothing between the two parties as the middle ground was moved to the right. That was a sure sign democracy had been hijacked when there was no choice between the liberal left and liberal right.

    People have lent the conservatives their vote, after brexit is done millions will go back to their traditional parties and they want a clear choice.

    Instead of having no choice on the right wing spectrum they want the middle ground moved back to the centre.

    Neoliberal globalism is dead John. Anybody who picks this horse will be punished at the ballot box. Leave did not win to move the middle ground even further right.

    Labour lost in the 70’s because the unions became too powerful. Businesses should take a lesson from that. Voters do not want to be run by technocratic business leaders they can’t vote out who rig the game in their favour.

    You saw what happened after the referendum when millions thought leave won. Conservatives could not get a majority as brexit was over.

    So it is over to Boris and those who lent him is vote are watching.

    1. Derek Henry
      December 27, 2019

      Corbyn was called a Marxist or a communist that was hyperbole.

      There was nothing radical about it. What Corbyn was offering was the middle ground when I was in my 20′ s.

      He was a Keynsian and so is Trump. Trump is A pure Military Keynsian. Keynes also runs right through your views John like Blackpool rock.

  8. rick hamilton
    December 27, 2019

    The voters – especially in England – have been telling Labour for more than 50 years that they don’t want red in tooth and claw socialism. They might accept Blairite centre left policies but nationalisation, untrammelled union power and runaway state spending are not wanted.

    Until Labour face up to this they are doomed and if so, good riddance. In the long run the LibDems may have a chance to recover the centre left ground if they can come up with actual workable policies and a leader who wouldn’t look pathetic on the same stage as Trump. Putin, Xi, Abe and all the rest.

    1. jerry
      December 27, 2019

      @rick hamilton; That would be why the voters sacked Ted Heath in 1974 (twice), because they didn’t want “red in tooth and claw socialism”, but, surely, if you are correct have the voters not also rejected true-blue in tooth and claw capitalism since 1997…

      “Until Labour face up to this they are doomed and if so, good riddance..”

      Perhaps, but it is also true that until the Tories also face up to their own policy problems they too are doomed, BOTH main parties are on final notice I suspect!

      1. sm
        December 27, 2019

        As I recall, Heath had some very good proposals for governance (Selsdon man, anyone?) and then did a swift about-turn at the first sound of gunshots.

      2. rick hamilton
        December 27, 2019

        Tories are realists in the sense that they adapt to changing circumstances, albeit in fits and starts, and survive. However Labour are idealists who are always drawn back to their losing ideology. Tories are the real progressives because they do progress, but Labour are the real conservatives because they want to cling to the beliefs they have always been stuck with!

        1. jerry
          December 28, 2019

          @rick hamilton; “Labour are idealists who are always drawn back to their losing ideology.”

          Oh you mean a bit like the Tories? Every economic crash in the UK has been caused by Capitalism but the Tories are always drawn back to free market capitalism, even during the post war consensus… 😳

          The true realists have been either the Liberals or Labour parties for the past 100+ years, the Tories always (and often begrudgingly) playing ‘catch-up’ to get re-elected after each and every significant change demanded by our wider society. Although you are quite correct when you say the the Tories are “adapt to changing circumstances”, they have to be!

  9. agricola
    December 27, 2019

    Why are we agonising over Labours failures. Let the process of natural selection deal with them. The Conservative government can virtually ignore their existence for the next year while ensuring that a clean Brexit is effected. The electorate have consigned them and the Lib Dems to irrelevance so leave them there. The SNP are rooted in Scotland representing a mere 5.4 million people. Their desire for indepependance from the UK but dependence on the EU is a contradiction, particularly when their economy is tied to the UK. To reiterate Boris’s maxim, get Brexit done and do it properly. For the first time in 3.5 years the EU know it is going to happen so cut out the crap and cut to the quick. The EU must have begun to realise that they are the supplicants, if not they are the losers. Their Battle of the Bulge came to nothing.

    1. Anonymous
      December 27, 2019

      There are no longer The Others to take flack from the Tories.

      We’ll see what they’re made of.

      *Uncontrolled* immigration and Political Correctness need to be dealt with. Most of us have no issue at all with politeness and being kind to minorities but Political Correctness/No Platforming/Identity Politics is the weaponisation of words by the Left in order to dominate politics, advantage trouble makers and to crush free speech.

      These are of at least equal importance to Brexit in the concerns of those who gave up voting Labour.

      1. Anonymous
        December 27, 2019

        Has cannabis been legalised in the past six months ? Its stench now seems to be everywhere and I see people smoking it openly.

        Have the Tories made a secret deal with the police and users ?

        It’s come from nowhere. There seems to have been an explosion in its use. Have the Tories caved on this ?

    2. Lifelogic
      December 27, 2019

      If Boris goes for the small government, low tax, cheap energy, good growth and get the government out of the damn way approach then he will win the next election whatever Labour do.

      If however (as looks more likely given what he has said so far) he continues with the socialist, tax borrow and piss down the drain, red tape spewing government that we have had to suffer almost all my life (certainly from Ted Heath onwards).

      We need to move from nearly 50% of GDP spend (largely wasted) by the state sector to under 25%. It would of course then be 25% of a far larger GDP. Freedom and choice for everyone please – in health care, education, energy and almost everything else. Stop the government rigging the markets.

    3. steve
      December 27, 2019


      “Why are we agonising over Labours failures. Let the process of natural selection deal with them.”

      …..Exactly !

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 27, 2019

      Why? To stop you from discussing the facts as to what Tory government means, why else?

      Where have you been?

  10. Dominic
    December 27, 2019

    You have five years to destroy Labour. To destroy their finances by abolishing Opt-in. To dismantle their Quangocracy. To destroy their influence across the British body politic.

    Reform of the British state to prevent these ‘political animals’ getting anyway near power. Start with the BBC and reform of constituency boundaries.

    Reply The aim of democratic politics is not to prevent opposition or destroy a main party we disagree with.It is to influence opinion and seek the majority.

    1. steve
      December 27, 2019


      “Reply The aim of democratic politics is not to prevent opposition or destroy a main party we disagree with.It is to influence opinion and seek the majority.”

      JR, but we are not talking of democratic opposition. As events of the last 3 or so years have shown, the opposition is vehemently opposed to democracy and seeks to enslave this nation to foreign rule.

      Clearly therefore the ‘opposition’ is a threat to democracy, national interest and security, and should be dealt with accordingly.

      Unsurprisingly we have recently had an intelligence services official declaring that most of the opposition would not pass positive vetting.

      With respect I have to say perhaps your idea of who the defenders of democracy are does not always fit with your party’s voters.

  11. Andy
    December 27, 2019

    There is absolutely no doubt that Brexit will be revisited – probably by Labour – in the relatively near future. The notion that it is ‘settled’ is frankly preposterous. We are no more going to stop campaigning to be part of the EU than you did to leave it. The difference being, of course, that for decades the Eurosceptic movement was never much more than a handful of malcontents – angry at everything – whereas pro-Europeans have had hundreds of thousands on the streets repeatedly. Sure we have been let down by our current crop of leaders but we are going nowhere. You’ll get periods where you don’t hear much from us but we’ll be here regularly to remind you every time something Brexit related goes wrong. We ain’t going away. And whether it takes us 2 years or 20 or even more we will beat you in the end. We have time and demographics on our side and you do not.

    As for Labour they do face a monumental challenge. Like all the progressive parties they face an electoral system which naturally favours the Conservatives. There will be boundary changes which will favour the Conservatives more. And obviously the Tories will do everything they can to gerrymander and fiddle the system to give themselves the biggest possible electoral advantage. As you would expect. But the simple fact is that modern voters have moved on from the failed electoral system and confrontational politics of the past. We want parties that will work together for the common good and not parties that seek narrow electoral advantage by being pointlessly adversarial. If the next Labour leader realises this – and works together with the other progressive parties they can still beat Johnson next time out. It’s a tall order but the Tories look and sound tired. They don’t look like Britain, they don’t speak like Britain, they don’t have policies for a modern Britain – and you can only appeal to old people so much before young people have enough.

    Reply Young people become old people. There is a never ending supply of new older people. Do not assume the 60 year old will think like the 16 year old. Your Remain side did not show much capacity to help each other in the election, and where it did it brought out the Leave vote in bigger numbers to win.

    1. MickN
      December 27, 2019

      Young people are inherently socialist. Most grow up eventually and even you might one day.
      Despite that I can only admire your optimism that the EU will still exist in twenty years time.

    2. dennisambler
      December 27, 2019

      “pro-Europeans have had hundreds of thousands on the streets repeatedly”

      That’s the trouble with a silent majority, they stay silent until it counts. Fear not however, the Dutch have said we are welcome back anytime, even before we have left.

      “We ain’t going away. ” Does that mean we are still going to get all those awful EU flags draped around Parliament and the BBC allowing them to contaminate the Proms

    3. steve
      December 27, 2019


      “…..but we’ll be here regularly to remind you every time something Brexit related goes wrong.”

      Except we’ll be ignoring you.

      “We ain’t going away. And whether it takes us 2 years or 20 or even more we will beat you in the end.”

      Firstly you won’t stand the test of time as you and your malcontents will age.

      Secondly you won’t be doing any beating, you’ve lost because your opinion is a democratically decided minority opinion.

      Mouth all you like it’s over, deal with it.

    4. Andy
      December 27, 2019

      You hold pretty much the same view on Europe as an older man as you did in the 90s as a younger man. The repeated pro-Europe mandate from the electorate did not shake your conviction. The support, for the EU, of your party did not change your mind.

      I’m afraid age will not change our minds either. I spend all my time talking to 20, 30, 40 year olds. We overwhelmingly hate Brexit. It attacks who were are. We are not going to suddenly support it. Not this year. Not next year. Not ever.

      The supply of old people will not end. The supply of Brexit backing old people sure will though. We just have to wait.

      reply Wait and see. Many people have changed their minds from 1975 when a majority wanted to stay in something wrongly called the Common Market.

      1. Fred H
        December 28, 2019

        reply to reply. It was a Common Market. Unfortunately the several Governments that followed quietly locked us in, with full knowledge, or was it incompetence, as far reaching change towards federation of members was agreed to. I don’t think for one minute the electorate actually knew(or was told) what we were signing up to. Now it is rapidly becoming a dictat by unelected committee, covering every aspect of life, laws and trade – even hinting at usurping members’ defence capabilities, potentially becoming aggressive capabilities. But the leemings out there continue to rush towards the cliff edge.

        1. Fred H
          December 28, 2019

          oops ….lemmings.

    5. Edward2
      December 27, 2019

      If you were right Andy then Labour (or other left wing parties would have grown in power and popularity over the decades.
      But they did not.
      Changing attitudes and opinions as you get more mature is a constant thing.

      1. Edward2
        December 27, 2019

        The Boundary Commission is an independent body that seeks to keep Constituencies in the UK a similar size as demographics alter.
        It isn’t a Tory conspiracy.
        It is very much overdue for the changes recommended by the BC to be implemented.

    6. Richard1
      December 27, 2019

      We had a referendum on the voting system. You lost. Badly. So get over it there is no call for another such vote.

      As it happens in many proportional systems – such as Germany’s – what you call ‘progressive’ parties, ie The far left / separatist parties, would have got no seats at all. I think it’s quite a good way of keeping the lunatic fringe on the sidelines instead of constant pandering to them as we have to do now eg on Scottish separatism, even though it’s been defeated decisively in a once in a generation referendum.

      EU membership may well be revisited, and so it should be if it looks a good option in the future. But next time hopefully Rejoin will be more honest than Remain ever were and it would be clear we’d be in the euro, no opt outs of any sort etc. If Brexit is a success people won’t vote for this – however young or old they are. If it isn’t – depending how the further integrated EU looks -they might. The competitive pressure will be a positive force. Rejoice.

    7. MPC
      December 27, 2019

      I find it rather sad that, like other hardcore Remainers, you seem to be an innate pessimist. You are not willing to wait and see whether the UK, as a country independent of the EU, will be a better place, and then decide whether a return to EU membership would be preferable. We Leavers (of all ages and political persuasions) are innate optimists who believe strongly that our country will flourish outside the EU, providing policies which enhance prosperity are adopted. There’s now hopefully a reasonable chance of such policies under Mr Johnson.

    8. Pud
      December 27, 2019

      The pro-EU side have lost a big advantage. Before the referendum Leave were campaigning to change the status quo, which allowed Remain to rely on Project Fear to frighten voters into voting to stay in the EU. To persuade voters to join the EU they will not only have to come up with something positive about the EU but also overcome voters’ reluctance for change.

  12. Andy
    December 27, 2019

    Someone mentioned yesterday about political correctness. Apparently it’s gone mad. Apparently you can’t say anything nowadays without offending someone.

    Of course, this is not true. What you actually mean is that you want to say things which are offensive but you dare not because it will make you look bad.

    This is good. It means you are all learning.

    Incidentally the people who tend to take the most offence are those of you who lost readily accuse others of being easily offended. Which is ironic.

    1. sm
      December 27, 2019

      I think you need to get out more, Andy. I’m sure your mum would agree with me that a breath of fresh air would do you the world of good, instead of being hunched over that computer 24/7.

    2. dennisambler
      December 27, 2019

      The Daily Twitter :

      What have you been offended by today?

      I don’t know, I haven’t been told yet.

    3. steve
      December 27, 2019


      Pains me to understand how you manage to type at your keyboard while facing a mirror.

      What you say is, actually, you down to a tee.

    4. Anonymous
      December 27, 2019

      I said no such thing. Even prominent Leftists are being No Platformed.

      It is an insidious threat to our democracy and you use PC all the time to discredit our vote.

    5. Edward2
      December 27, 2019

      You seem to have missed out the hate speech laws that are now in force.
      Check them out Andy, just in case someone complains about your views.
      The law says that hate speech is what any offended person thinks it is.

  13. steve
    December 27, 2019

    JR wrote:

    “Labour last won under Tony Blair, when he tacked a long way towards Conservativism at a time when the Conservatives had messed the economy up thanks to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.”

    ….I love this, it has me tickled.

    Ok JR first of all I’d rather trust [true] conservatives with the economy rather than Labour any day.

    However you ignore the fact that the ERM itself was not the cause, the blame lays squarely at the feet of the fool who got us into it in the first place.

  14. Everhopeful
    December 27, 2019

    I can not even imagine the fuss if a leading Tory figure said that a couple of historical fascist leaders were his/her “ most significant” intellectual influences.Yet this has been said about Marx,Lenin and Trotsky on the Labour side. Not to mention Momentum teaming up with CPB in North London and the platforms shared with various extremists by major figures in the Labour Party.
    Before they do anything else Labour need to win back the trust of the working class…a mountain to climb…and without heavy industry maybe impossible. That would involve a purge of extreme elements who thought they could hitch a ride to power.
    At the moment however Labour is drawing up the lines for a leadership battle and telling its members that true agendas must be hidden at all costs. Pink cellophane and ribbons time.

    Reply Leading Conservatives oppose fascism, condemning authoritarianism and brutality by right and left alike.

  15. steve
    December 27, 2019

    Seems a pointless article to me, JR.

    No matter who Labour elect as their leader, the party will always be the same bunch of losers dead against this country being strong through hard work and low tax.

    They, and quite a few conservatives actually don’t seem to realise people are regurgitating that diet of Euro-ism and political correctness that has been forced down our throats. We’re having no more of it.

    We want our country back, and we don’t want governments that kowtow to other countries.

    That is why Labour lost the election, and of leopards and spots is why Labour’s existence is pointless.

    Besides we gave Boris such a large majority that Labour may as well call it a day and disband.

    1. None of the Above
      December 27, 2019

      Well said!

    2. Fred H
      December 27, 2019

      Steve – – excellent apart from the first line. Current Labour certainly should call it a day.

    3. Martin in Cardiff
      December 27, 2019

      Your problem Steve is, I think, that you describe enlightened relations with other countries as “kowtowing”, and by other such demeaning terms.

      I’m sorry, but that then implies that you see other nations and races as intrinsically inimical to the UK, and we know what the term is for that, don’t we?

      1. steve
        December 28, 2019


        Is that the best you can do ? Just admit you have nothing to counter with other than hypocrisy and defamatory aspersions.

        BTW the only ‘problem’ I have at the moment is trying to help one of my tenants receive the benefits to which he is entitled, not easy cos he doesn’t speak much English and has never had a bank account.

        That’s right Martin…..a conservative voter, Landlord, and one who holds right wing views, providing refuge to those disadvantaged and down on their luck – regardless of ethnicity.

        My tenants often include the homeless, ex-offenders, IV users, people who don’t get their fair share because they’re different……so please don’t come at me with such bigoted aspersions.

    4. L Jones
      December 27, 2019

      Yes, Steve.
      Why tell the Labour people where they went wrong? I’d rather they kept getting it wrong until they find out for themselves how to put it right. Let them work it out. By then, we should be a free nation again…..
      If Mr J doesn’t value his ”EU friends” more than he does the good opinion and wellbeing of his country.

  16. BJC
    December 27, 2019

    The issue with Labour is that their entire ethos is based on past glories, so they spend their time looking backwards. They have great difficulty in understanding that nothing in life is static and that the role of government is to reflect the needs of this ever-changing environment, not to nail us to the past. Perhaps it explains their love affair with the sclerotic EU and its binding legislation.

    Until Labour can understand its place in the modern world there’s little reason for its existence. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for a Party of the left, but Mr Corbyn’s scattergun approach of identity politics and wishlists, coupled with demonising every Tory policy “just because”, lacked any sort of overall vision for our future and was always destined to failure.

  17. jerry
    December 27, 2019

    Without fully understanding why people voted the way they did no one can have any idea what the labour party needs to do, nor what the Tory party needs to do beyond “Getting Brexit Done” either.

    Once removed from the grasp of the EC (and eventually ECJ, assuming we leave with a WA) who known what the majority of electorate might want in 2023/4. Perhaps they will look back to the 1945-79 ‘Post War Consensus’; they might become even more Free Market than the 1979-2020 period has been; or they might take up Mr Frans Timmermans up on his offer/suggestion -with, no doubt, all the re-entry strings attached, deciding that Brexit wasn’t such a good idea after all. If the latter happens then the real question might be about the future strengths of the SNP & LibDems, not the Labour Party…

    This is why the current govt needs to get out signing FTAs in 2020, the sooner the electorate sees and understand the benefits of Brexit and the lies of “Project fear”, the people need to see Brexit working for them, not just the Westminster Village or the City.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    December 27, 2019

    Perhaps it is best that they split with Starrmer types going to the Libdems to fight a rejoin campaign and Corbyn / Rong Bailey types going to the Socialist Worker party.

  19. Dominic
    December 27, 2019

    Criminalise the invocation of Godwin’s Law which is an incitement to violence. This is one of Labour’s and the left’s favourite tool of demonisation against their political enemy. Even Labour MPs use this form of bigotry against those who represent a political threat

    The rise of identity politics and its use to destroy decent people is now an existential threat to our freedoms and liberties. Roger Scruton is probably the most well known victim of this form of extremist political act

    1. jerry
      December 27, 2019

      @Dominic; “To Criminalise the invocation of Godwin’s Law” would be a double edges sword, whilst freeing speech it would actually benefit the far left far more than the anyone else…

  20. Gareth Warren
    December 27, 2019

    If labour endorse a remain position it will be a dream come true for conservatives, the “free stuff” agenda still has some supporters but is more of a danger in an economic downturn.

    What they will struggle with are problems with anti-semitism, they are relying on extreme voters who will naturally drive away other voters. The danger for labour is a media that keep mentioning this.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      December 27, 2019

      When ordinary people have had four or five years of non-European Union membership, and discover that their lives are materially worse than when the UK was a member, then how do you expect them to react to that, Gareth?

      1. Gareth Warren
        December 28, 2019

        Well if not paying £12 billion fees, having FTA agreements with the wider world and far less government regulation are seen as a bad thing then a movement to join the EU will spring up.

        I expect such a movement would have at its core the message that the success of the Eurozone can be ours if we just drop sterling. It also should focus of the wonderful talent the EU has as leadership such as Ursula. I reckon a party named something like Change UK would then be a great success.

        Personally though I think labour will drop the pro-EU faction in 5 years time when they get a drubbing at the elections.

      2. Fred H
        December 28, 2019

        Marty – – still got that murky crystal ball I see. Try tarot cards- you might get better predictions.

  21. cynic
    December 27, 2019

    The E R M was a total disaster for the Conservatives. Many aspirational buyers of council houses were badly let down. The high interest rates and down turn in the economy, forced them to sell up. They ended up back where they started.
    The E U has been poisonous to this country and many others!

    1. Lifelogic
      December 27, 2019

      It has indeed. Top down, one size fits all, bureaucrats know best is invariably rather poisonous. It often ends in revolutions and bloodshed.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      December 27, 2019

      Not just council house owners. Many of us lost our homes as well as our jobs and marriages to boot.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 31, 2019

        Much truth in that though I managed to keep it together just about. It cost me a few £million though. Yet John Major did not even say sorry!

  22. Denis Cooper
    December 27, 2019

    To be honest I’m not that interested in Labour’s choices and much more interested in what the Tory party is going to do now that it has an assured Commons majority.

    The first thing I would say is that we cannot tolerate a repetition of Theresa May’s “no running commentary” approach during forthcoming negotiations with the EU.

    I accept that there may be sensitive information which should not be broadcast but in my view MPs must insist on continuous scrutiny during the process, rejecting the notion that the government should be allowed to negotiate and sign a deal in complete secrecy and then just plonk it down before Parliament for final approval exactly as it stands, with no possibility of changing even a comma.

    Perhaps if it is felt that a normal Select Committee of MPs could not all be trusted with any confidential information which might be shared with them then perhaps the answer could be to set it up a special cross party committee of the Privy Council including only carefully vetted MPs who have taken a strong oath of secrecy.

    Which also brings me to a second point, that we need to change the oaths of allegiance taken by parliamentarians and others to include both renunciation of any allegiance to the EU or other foreign organisation or power and affirmation of the legal supremacy of the UK Parliament. And I recall here that the 1689 Bill of Rights:

    prescribed two separate oaths to be taken by holders of public office, the second including a declaration that:

    “… no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm.”

    Checking back I find that I actually suggested this in 2009, on this thread:

    following this short blog article:

    “Supremacy of Parliamenr”

    “Conservative peer Lord Jenkin of Roding has tabled a couple of important amendments to the Parliamentary Standards Bill which assert Article IX of the Bill of Rights and Parliamentary supremacy, “notwithstanding any provision of the European Communities Act 1972, the European Convention of Human Rights or the Human Rights Act”. I understand this has official Conservative party backing. That’s a good move in view of the nature of this legislation.”

    There were some interesting exchanges at that time, those who allege that this is all about angry pensioners disliking foreigners might benefit from reading them.

    1. Ian @Barkham
      December 27, 2019


      It is only a democracy when it is the people that select their candidates, then elect their candidate. It is only a democracy when those elected carry out the wishes of the people they represent. It is only a democracy when the people through their representative, can amend and repeal the laws, and regulations that are imposed on the People.

      For to long now the UK political class has morphed themselves in to being part of the top down socialist dogma disciples as dictated to them by their Overlords.

      I would guess they accept it as it gives them a cosy life and removes the responsibility to govern.

      Even what calls themselves a Conservative Party is practicing Socialist dogma, loosing all sight of a light touch and trust in the people.

      1. Fred H
        December 28, 2019

        Ian – – a fine point about what democracy should be. Has the UK ever had one? I remember in my youth, quite a long time ago now, someone saying to me if we could find an honest balanced dictator it would be a great solution to a problem government. Still true today?

        1. Ian@Barkham
          December 28, 2019

          Fred H.. simple answer no, just maybe perhaps as long as those in control stay in control seems to be the overriding rule. It may never happen that should not stop us pushing for

    2. margaret
      December 27, 2019

      A strong opposition often sparks necessary debate about ethical dilemmas . The fluidity of opinion and circumstance cannot put us in boxes which has fixed ideas relative to a changing position as that idea also changes in a different context, A friend of mine maintains that a Leopard never changes it spots and psychologically put on blinkers to all others ,yet as he progresses through the ages ,he himself actually changes and probably doesn’t see it himself.

    3. MPC
      December 27, 2019

      ‘MPs must insist on continuous scrutiny during the process’ – agreed, they will try and insist anyway. Scruting is nothing to be afraid of providing the Government adopts its own published programme management good practice by publishing and updating an effective overall delivery plan and risk management plan for the coming calendar year. That would display confidence in Brexit planning and lay to rest, via appropriate mitigating actions, the tiresome accusations about the dangers of a ‘cliff edge’ exit from the EU.

    4. Martin in Cardiff
      December 27, 2019

      It’s nice to read your resounding endorsement of the point that Gina Miller asked the Supreme Court to prove, Denis.

      Well done.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 28, 2019

        Which point was that, then?

        Her shameful aim was to keep us in the EU despite the voters having said we should leave the EU on the basis of an explicit promise that whatever decision the majority made, one way or the other, would be implemented by the government, a shameful aim you shared.

        It would have been nice if the Cameron government had listened to those of us who repeatedly said at the time that the promise should be incorporated in the Act ordering the referendum, rather than Theresa May having to get another short Act passed after the referendum, but that does not justify the anti-democratic behaviour of people like Gina Miller and yourself.

  23. Alan Joyce
    December 27, 2019

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    There is every chance that the Labour Party could succeed at the next general election. All that is required is for certain events to take place.

    Take immigration, for example. This was said to be a major factor in people voting to leave the EU during the referendum in 2016. What is happening now? Migrants crossing the channel on a daily basis with 60 on Boxing Day alone.

    Sajid Javid says it is an emergency, Priti Patel says she will cut it by half while Boris might even give them an amnesty. I read that, so far, 6% have been returned. With such joined-up thinking in government, I’m sure that will encourage Northern working class voters to continue to lend Mr. Johnson their votes.

    Events, dear boy, events!

    1. margaret
      December 27, 2019

      I feel sorry for all those who don’t work and cannot put their selves into the category of working class. I see that Andrew is retiring from state work , but he has enough funds to survive , but just think about those unemployed who unfortunately cannot get work and achieve that classification. Times change .. classifications change , attitudes change . Southeners , easteners, westeners all change.

    2. Bob Dixon
      December 27, 2019

      We have not left the EU. Have you not noticed Alan Joyce.

    3. Fedupsoutherner
      December 27, 2019

      Alan, I think on many fronts Boris will be a big disappointment not only to Labour supporters but Conservatives also. If he doesn’t get a grip and make things better with investments in the north and get a better deal with the EU when iT comes to trade negotiations etc then the Tories will be finished for a long time just as happened with Thatcher.

  24. Lynn Atkinson
    December 27, 2019

    Labour no longer represents the native British. They support is collapsing as British people feel ‘like strangers in their own land’ and vote like a minority. This is very dangerous because without an viable opposition, the governing party is free to veer off into the wild – the Tories have done that before.
    So we face a situation where Boris proposes yet another amnesty and nobody speaks for the British people who no longer feel safe!
    I have no confidence that this batch if Labour politicians can pull thens4lves together. We need an upgrade after Brexit.

  25. dennisambler
    December 27, 2019

    There is no mention here of the massive elephant in the room, the foolish and damaging commitments to the UN climate agenda and the horrendous costs which the Climate Change Committee under Lord Deben wish us to undertake. I dread the nonsense to come next year as we get nearer to COP 26 in Glasgow.

    Greta Thunberg is to “guest edit” the BBC Today programme next Monday, so the bandwagon has already been set in motion. Any criticisms of her will be severely dealt with by the media and on Twitter.

  26. villaking
    December 27, 2019

    I agree that Labour needs to drop Remain as its leading topic, it would sound like a broken record at this stage. Better to focus on the likely consequences of the Boris style Brexit and point out that this could have been dealt with in a better way.
    The main problem Labour has is the lack of potential leaders and the continuing stranglehold of Momentum which is likely to leave them in self indulgent, idealistic opposition for many years.
    I thought that a tack to the centre in the style of Blairism might have been the answer but I am thinking now that profound cultural changes may be taking place and there is perhaps more to it. It’s not a country I feel at ease in any more. I prefer a kinder world.
    By the way, Sir John, I am no advocate of fixed rate currency mechanisms but as a matter of historical accuracy, we left the ERM five years before the Blair landslide and the economy was on the up. You can’t blame the ERM for the 1997 election result, much as you like to blame all things EU related on anything you don’t like!

    Reply 1997 was the first opportunity electors had to judge the EM fiasco. It was the sole issue on the doorsteps – the sky high mortgagers, job losses and bankruptcies the ERM caused.

  27. Julie Williams
    December 27, 2019

    Many people in this country are conservative with a small “c”: they don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but that includes extremism from the left and the right.
    What people are crying out for is not a hand-out but a hand-up.
    An education system that leaves children properly literate and numerate.
    A safe environment where the true victims of crime find justice.
    The early Labour Party understood this, they knew that the UK would never “buy” true socialism.
    They would have understood the vote for Brexit, even Benn did..but maybe for different reasons.The current Labour politicians probably understand Brexit enough to know that it splits their electorate down the middle: the Tories had the same dilemma but we’re slightly smarter in recognising that they had to choose a side.
    It’s no good writing them off just yet, while go to favours a Tory/Labour see-saw of voters getting fed-up of the governing party and hoping that the other won’t be worse but the Labour Party have got one heck of a job to get back to bring viable with the electorate, if they don’t, who will?

  28. Ian @Barkham
    December 27, 2019

    Not that it matters, as in ‘Who Cares!’

    The Workers Party of the Unions against the People split in 2. Their hardcore supporters are no longer are compulsory members – you joined to be permitted to work and provide for your family. The New regime, the controlling regime are the Metro Marxist who’s sole purpose and aim is to tear down society so as to be able to rebuild it in their own image – Just look at the performance of the London Mayor, labour in control, destroying everything that doesn’t lead to support for the Party. Simple philosophy of causing the removal from an area, by the disruptions of the lives of those that don’t support your view, and its working.

  29. Peter
    December 27, 2019

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson may embark on a high spend ‘heir to Blair’ policy in order to cement his popularity.

    Plus ca change etc…

    1. Polly
      December 28, 2019

      How interesting you say that !


      Reply I am not posting anything which runs a campaign against a named individual. I do not have the time and resource to libel read and check everything. There are plenty of investigative journalists and newspapers who will follow the money if you wish to pursue Remain money, which could be a very interesting topic.

  30. Newmania
    December 27, 2019

    There is great deal to be despondent about, but let us focus on the positives.
    The Liberal Party,and remain coalition, have colonised vast areas of opinion vacated by a Conservative Party fixated with unifying Brexit support and triangulating moderates.
    Not just the young, but the young family; London, Scotland, Manchester, business, services, academia, the university educated and more affluent, the Southern and the many who were repelled by the gutter level Nativist of the referendum.
    Anne Main losing St Albans ( to my mothers disgust) Maria Caulfield only clinging on in Lewes . Small but hopeful signs .The continued majority who do not favour Brexit even now and the sense that “ Not as bad as Corbyn” is not the same as an endorsement .
    Neither is it clear that a Party whose members are small state Nationalists , are signed up to the sort of irresponsible borrowing and export of funds from South to North on which the Conservative Party now depend.

    There have been far worse calamities and the seeds of recovery and easy to find when you look.

    1. Fred H
      December 28, 2019

      Newman – – ‘colonised vast areas of opinion’ – – is that geographically or merely the circles you move in?

  31. Derek Henry
    December 27, 2019

    On 14 January, diplomats will scope out their position on fisheries and the need for a level playing field under which the UK will need to sign up to EU fiscal, environmental and social standards.

    We do not want trapped ( level playing field) we want out of the straitjacket to pursue our own course.

    I hope we tell them to get real and leave on no deal if they continue with their nonsense.

    What they are really scared of us we show the EU what is possible and then everyone wants to leave.

    Stand firm John and make sure we do not sign up to any of this.

  32. BillM
    December 27, 2019

    As the saying goes – “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
    Successive Labour Governments under Blair and Brown covered around 13 years yet they did nothing much for their electorate up t’North. It was just a matter of time before their support diluted to the extent of collapse.
    Just as they did in 2016, those canny Northerners practiced their democratic right to abandon the lost cause and open themselves up to the new man in Number 10.
    Only top Communists really approve of the socialist costly plans of big Government and little people so it was inevitable that the North would again align itself to a more conservative approach to the working man and woman.
    Improved standards of living with smaller Government and lower taxes but higher take home pay to spend as THEY wish. Maintain these and their support will continue.

  33. zorro
    December 27, 2019

    Yes JR, but what about Dame Lucy? Surely you must have heard of some of the difficult choices she and her colleagues are faced with now in implementing the new government’s Brexit policy and the mood change that this will entail in future negotiations?


  34. DavidJ
    December 27, 2019

    Let us hope that Labour carry on the way they have been doing if it stops them getting elected. We simply cannot have our country destroyed by such maniacs.

  35. formula57
    December 27, 2019

    Labour has one choice for success which is to address that the State and the economy are increasingly not working for ordinary people in the sense that they are not delivering a worthwhile array of rewards whilst simultaneously adding exposure to hazard. It is a challenge beyond the awareness of the personalities at present jockeying for position of course.

  36. Fred H
    December 27, 2019

    OFF TOPIC- – or is it?

    Why are so many of the 650 PMs not fit for purpose, and is this an indicator as to why the whole H of C (Government) needs a re-think?

    Max Wiltshire is a recruitment consultant specialising in communications, and found after the 2015 election that a number of ex-MPs came to him looking for work. He wasn’t very impressed. ‘Initially I was quite excited,’ he says. ‘I thought, these are actual parliamentarians, they’ve sat on the green benches. Surely they are going to be the perfect people to engage with government and Whitehall. But when I met them, all they’d done was have a private office function which allowed them to bang their own personal drums on a small policy issue.’ They hadn’t distinguished themselves in Parliament, and hadn’t built up a skill set that would be much use in the outside world. They didn’t take very kindly to Wiltshire’s assessment of their career prospects, either.

    1. Fred H
      December 27, 2019

      not 650 PMs – MPs of course.

  37. Paul Freedman
    December 27, 2019

    I totally agree with John Redwood’s conclusions and I hope Labour remain in opposition for a long time as they are a corny and economically stupid party

  38. forthurst
    December 27, 2019

    “Labour also speak for the migrants still to arrive, which worries those facing housing shortages or low wages.”

    (words left out ed)

    As to hostility to some of the Tory Party’s failed privatisations; that is doubtful. Utilities are typically natural monopolies and people should not have to pay rent to foreigners to use them. Industrial policy should focus on preserving and expanding what productive industry we have to create extra added value. It is not an enigma that our GPD per capita is resistant to improvement when millions of unskilled people are being imported and the Business department presides over the sale of successful export led businesses like ARM holdings and Cobham such that future growth occurs outside these shores and all profits are remitted abroad: the claims of having received ‘assurances’ on continuing employment here are utterly pathetic and totally unbelievable following the debacle of the Cadbury’s sale to Kraft, especially when the purchaser is a so-called private equity ‘business’.

  39. Kenneth
    December 28, 2019

    Absolutely right about “hand outs”.

    The socialists and marchers of the late 19th century and early 20th century primarily wanted decent jobs, not hand-outs.

    Snobby Labour has become the party of unemployment.

    It has lost touch with working people.

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