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If anyone is to blame for Labour not doing better it is the party’s plotters and whingers

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for saying Labour “hung on” in the elections. They did better than that.

In London not only did Sadiq Kahn win handsomely to become mayor, but the party strengthened its hold on the London Assembly by winning Merton and Wandsworth from the Tories and coming close in Havering and Redbridge.

Here in East Anglia, Labour strengthened its hold on three county towns winning more seats in Ipswich, Norwich and Cambridge.

If Corbyn has failed to fully define policies is is because he has had to spend too much time trying to placate the rebellious faction of the parliamentary party which has been taking every opportunity to rubbish their own leader. It is time for these people to shut-up and give loyal support or resign.

Scotland was a disaster for Labour and it is a hard problem for even a united party to crack. Simon Jenkins had a suggestion in the Guardian:

The merger of Scottish Labour and Scotland’s nationalists must be on the horizon one day, perhaps when the present generation of former Scottish Labour MPs acknowledges reality. Scotland’s politics must snap out of its tribalism and recover the conventional left-right dichotomy. The success of the impressive Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, can only hasten that day.

That really will not happen, nor would it be a good thing if it did. There is surely space in Scotland for a left-leaning unionist party which would not be achieved by throwing in the towel.

But it also clear that Labour cannot win a Westminster majority alone. Nor would a coalition with small parties work: the only realistic partnership is with the SNP. And that would probably have to be on a confidence and supply basis rather than full coalition.

It is hard for English and Welsh Labour MPs to build a potential governing partnership with the SNP while relationships in Scotland relationships in Scotland are so poor. The solution may well be to cut the ties between the English and Scottish Labour parties and replace it with a relationship more akin to that with the SDLP in Northern Ireland.

If Labour is going to form a Westminster government in the foreseeable future it will have to find a way of working with the SNP and that is a huge challenge for Jeremy Corbyn even if is not having to spend half his time watching his back.

 

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