Comment, GE2017

Why are Labour celebrating?

Election night was weird. I sat there at 21:50, terrified of my own laptop screen due to the knowledge that in 10 minutes it would show an exit poll that could make or break my day (and week, and month). Then it happened – “Conservatives fail to retain majority- hung parliament.” I was over the moon. I even managed this bizarre little skip thing to demonstrate my excitement. I spent the whole night enjoying watching the results come in, watching Labour take seat after seat from various parties – all safe in the knowledge that my party did so well that theyíre going to end up in second place.

Thatís the thing. We came second. If, at the start of Parliament, someone had asked us, “Hey, would you be happy coming second place by around 50 seats?” we would not have said yes. The Labour Party is first and foremost a party of Government. Our goal is to make the lives of millions of people better, and we can only do that when in power. So explain to me why the bar was filled with hundreds of students, including myself, cheering the fact that Labour are not in Government. To top it off, the Conservatives still have an effective majority. What’s changed? Sure, the Tory boat has been rocked a little bit. But c’mon, really? Is that worth celebrating?

I understand that we came back from huge odds, and I understand that everyone wrote us off. But we did ultimately lose, and that’s what matters. More so, we lost to one of the worst political campaigns in recent history, against a Government that has offered nothing. When did this become the benchmark for success? We should be smashing them out of the park, because right now, weíre not in Government, so we can help no one.

I really do hate to be THAT GUY, and Iím thrilled that we cut the Tories’ seats, but I think it is worth a reality check. It’s a check to the Corbynite attitude of building a “movement”, and a check to the idea that our goal is to be a decent opposition, not a decent Government. We need to set our sights higher.

The millions of people who so desperately require a Labour government wonít be cheering at another Tory government, so neither will I.


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