Labour is reportedly desperate to shake off its image as a party of the Europhile liberal metropolitan elite, considering instead embracing patriotism to win back the large swathes of working-class voters who flocked to the Brexit-backing Conservative Party.
December 2019’s General Election saw the Labour Party, then under the leadership of socialist Jeremy Corbyn, suffer massive losses in areas known as the ‘Red Wall’ — parliamentary seats comprised of working-class, but traditionally Labour voting, Britons — with some going Labour Red to Conservative Blue for the first time in the constituencies’ histories.
A 2020 report revealed that the Tories had become the party of the working class due to its promise to deliver Brexit and to redistribute resources away from London to other parts of the country, the latter which Prime Minister Boris Johnson termed his pledge to “level up” the country.
According to a leaked strategy report obtained by The Guardian, the Labour Party — now led by liberal centrist lawyer Sir Keir Starmer — wants to rebrand their image to take back those voters in those “foundation seats” (the Red Wall).
One presentation slide researchers submitted to the party suggested Labour needed to reinforce a sense of left-wing patriotism when it said that “communicating Labour’s respect and commitment for the country can represent a change in the party’s body language”.
“The use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc. give voters a sense of authentic values alignment,” said another recommendation.
Tories Now Party of Working Class, Brexit Helped Win over Traditional Labour Voters: Report https://t.co/FvTxmANost
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 25, 2020
While a Labour source said the phrasings were those of the research agency, the recommendations represented some of the changes that the party was looking to make. Labour appears to already be implementing some suggestions, with The Guardian reporting that within hours of one briefing, senior Labour officials ordered in one party WhatsApp group to “prioritise the Union Jack header images, not the plain red ones”.
This week party leader Keir Starmer was also seen standing near a Union flag during a political broadcast using phrases such as rebuilding “our country”. Surprisingly for the erstwhile open borders-backing party, Labour recently condemned the Conservatives for its lax border controls during the pandemic.
Voters also reportedly told researchers that they do not know what Labour stands for, with some remarking that they see the vagueries of Labour’s policies as intentional and cynical.
One former Labour voter in Grimsby, which had voted Labour since 1945 until 2019, said that the left-wing party “are the voice of the students. They have left real people, taxpayers behind.”
This critique has been substantiated in the high-profile gaffs for senior members of the Labour Party in recent history.
A 2005 interview with the current party leader — now seeking to embrace the Monarchy-loving working-class — unearthed by Guido Fawkes revealed Starmer had bragged of his high-flying legal career: “I also got made a Queen’s Counsel, which is odd since I often used to propose the abolition of the monarchy”, before laughing.
‘Bigoted Woman’: Two Words that Killed the UK Left and Led to Brexit, Ten Years Ago Today https://t.co/Jl02z04gVQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 28, 2020
In 2010, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was caught by a hot mic calling a northern voter a “bigoted woman” because she expressed concern about mass migration as a result of open borders with the EU, an incident that has been marked as a watershed moment, the beginning of the fall of British left-wing politics, and which helped precipitate the vote to leave the European Union.
In 2014, Emily Thornberry, who became a senior figure in the Remain movement, was forced to resign from the shadow cabinet after tweeting in mockery an image of a voter’s house in Rochester which had a white outside and England flags — both symbols of working-class culture — with the homeowner, a car dealer, branding the Labour MP a “snob”.
Even in the intervening years since those incidents, Labour may be little prepared to rebrand as the party of the White Van Patriot. Clive Lewis MP described the leaked recommendations as nativism, saying they represented “Fatherland-ism”.
Just last month, Rosie Duffield revealed that the majority of her fellow MPs in the Opposition are “desperate” to rejoin the EU and are already formulating a Rejoin campaign. The former teaching assistant said that while Labour’s current leader has ruled out making the renewal of Britain’s membership of the European Union a party policy, she hoped that her colleagues could “shift” the leadership on its position, even suggesting that in the future, a new leader may back the Rejoin movement.
Rise of the Rejoiners: Labour MP Admits Majority of Party Lawmakers ‘Desperate to Rejoin’ EU https://t.co/cTTd5igpxd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 8, 2021