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Why did Labour lose the 2019 UK general election? Show more Show less
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On election night 2019, Labour supporters watched in horror as the count revealed Labour's worst election performance in recent history. In the wake of the party's worst night "since 1935", Labour members and analysts attempt to dissect what went wrong. Was it the party's stance on Brexit? An unpalatable leader in Jeremy Corbyn? Or a misguided election strategy?

Election strategy Show more Show less

Labour's election strategy was misguided. It wasted resources on trophy seats and failed to recognise the need to shore up campaigns in Labour's Northern heartlands.
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Momentum only helped friendly candidates

Rather than helping the party as a whole, Momentum acted as a party within a party, only lending assistance to candidates aligned with its ideology.
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Context

In the 2019 election campaign, Momentum operated as a party within a party. It only campaigned for the candidates aligned with its ideology or Labour candidates in marginal seats. This left many candidates with small majorities highly vulnerable.

The Argument

Momentum has been blamed for many of Labour’s shortcomings in the 2019 election, including the radical manifesto and its insistence on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. But nowhere did the organisation fail the Labour Party more than in its election strategy. Momentum limited its support to those aligned with its left-wing ideology and those running in marginal seats. It was stingy and selfish in distributing its resources. As a result, it cost the Labour Party seats in the 2019 General Election.

Counter arguments

Without Momentum the result would have been far worse. Labour lost the working-class vote. Citizens in the North were unimpressed with Corbyn’s leadership and found little reassurance in a party so willing to dismiss the results of the 2016 referendum. Momentum was one of the few elements in the Labour Party that still connected with working-class voters. Their endorsement of policies that appealed to the working-class voters of the North prevented a total collapse of the Labour vote. Additionally, Momentum enjoyed success in its social media strategy, generating a buzz around Jeremy Corbyn online, and was able to mobilise the nation’s youth to get boots on the ground knocking on doors. Without Momentum, Labour would have had dramatically less success mobilising volunteers and breaking through the noise on social media platforms, harming their election campaign even further.[1]

Premises

[P1] Momentum was stingy and selfish in distributing its resources. [P2] This left many Labour incumbents in the north short on resources. [P3] As this is where the Labour collapse occurred, Momentum's election strategy was a key component in Labour's election defeat.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] It was because of Momentum that Labour had the resources it did. Without them, candidates everwhere would have been struggling to get boots on the ground and recruit online and offline volunteers.

References

  1. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/12/labour-party-uk-brexit-jeremy-corbyn-general-election
This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Jan 2020 at 14:24 UTC

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