In the days immediately following Labour’s general election defeat, Labour Together launched an independent review. We are asking two questions. Why did we lose? What do we need to do to win again?
The first step we took was to open up the review to the whole labour movement, inviting submissions and responses to an online survey. We want to hear every perspective of what happened and capture all the best ideas for what needs to change. And in the process, we are trying to model a constructive, evidence-based, cross-factional approach.
This online survey is not a poll or representative survey, and the findings won’t purport to capture the views of all members. Rather it is part of an open conversation, designed to help us learn from the experiences and ideas of members, supporters and others.
The response has been overwhelming. Thousands have shared their views so far. Our team is busy reading each of these responses, to provide an honest, accurate analysis of how members feel and their ideas for the future. From the outset, we said there were no no-go areas and our initial analysis is showing its fair share of the good, the bad and ugly of the Labour Party.
There are shining examples of local campaigns pulling together, harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers and using every platform available to make a difference. Yet there is a sense that we are often less than the sum of our parts. That although we had some great policies individually and strong local campaigns, the manifesto fell flat and our national communications fell short. And often, most frustratingly, practical issues hamstrung campaigns – with members telling us of how they found themselves speaking to the wrong voters, in the wrong seats, with technology that didn’t work.
And yes, the factional rancour that hobbled the party in recent years is well represented, with a palpable anger in many responses, calling on “Blairites” or “Trots” to be kicked out. This is how many feel. It can’t be ignored, and these sentiments are unlikely to disappear overnight with a new leader.
But alongside this, what comes out far louder are people who – in the words of one response – feel we should “stop the pathetic infighting and focus on the real enemy”. Responses are full to the brim with insights about how we can communicate better, be more inventive with technology and build a more effective organisation. We need to channel this energy and passion to rebuild the party.
The Labour Together review is by and for the whole labour movement. We are looking at forming recommendations that can help us move forward together. We’re looking at how we can better talk and listen to each other, learn from what works, and make the most of the enormous potential of our membership and organisation.
If you haven’t yet responded, you have until this Sunday to be part of this. Tell us how you feel. Don’t hold back in your responses, and we promise not to hold back in our conclusions.