Labour went into the British general election promising voters a second Brexit referendum, fatally failing to realise that this election was the second referendum.
There was no other game in town, this was the Brexit election and the only way to win it was to promise to get Britain out of the EU and put everyone out of their Brexit misery, but Jeremy Corbyn (as well as the Liberal Democrats) failed to see which way the wind was blowing.
The poor old deluded Lib Dems lost their leader Jo Swinson on the night when she couldn’t even garner enough support to win her own seat, let alone Downing Street. The promise to just outright cancel Brexit was doomed to failure, but in defence of the liberals, they did have to try and differentiate themselves from the two main parties.
Labour has no such excuse, because it was their working class voters that had voted to leave the EU in the first place, all the evidence was there to show what policies were needed to win power, and it was ignored. Labour, the party of the working class, lost the working class vote, a mistake of historic proportions.
The Corbynites which make up Momentum, the group steering Labour, were blinded by ideology. They offered a socialist agenda of state giveaways and nationalisations and threatened to raid the bank accounts of billionaires, but its voters wanted Brexit, it was that simple.
Labour’s agenda was attractive to a young urban elite, liberals obsessed with identity politics who accuse Brexit supporters of being racists, and working class voters were repulsed by them. Former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson called them a “cult” playing “student politics” in a sign of the civil war that lies ahead for Labour, which is now clearly two parties (at least) pretending to be one.
How badly did Labour judge this? Well we’re left with five years of Boris Johnson in Downing Street, that’s how bad. Johnson’s campaign was riddled with obvious mistruths and misdirections, proving once and for all that we live in an era where politicians lie, and voters don’t care.
Ironically, many people will hope that Johnson has been lying about being a right-wing zealot in order to keep his party together, and now that he’s armed with a thumping parliamentary majority, he’ll morph into the uniting liberal politician of everyone’s dreams. Good luck!
Say what you want about the Tories (go on, I dare you), but they know how to win elections. They’ve managed to win their fourth general election in a row in an era where they’ve driven the country apart with a reckless and needless vote on European membership, while pushing forward with an austerity agenda that left tens of thousands in poverty.
But it didn’t matter, because when it came to the crunch, they realised this election was a one issue vote for a country suffering Brexhaustion. Johnson didn’t even really bother with other policies because their simple slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ was all that voters wanted to hear.
Of course, just because he promised to get it done, doesn’t mean he will – this is politics after all.
Simon Riteis a writer based in London for RT, in charge of several projects including the political satire group #ICYMI. Follow him on Twitter @SiWrites