Peter Bingle argues the Labour Party is disconnected from English voters, at a time when the party needs their support more than ever.

At the heart of the Labour Party’s existential crisis is its disconnect from English voters. It doesn’t understand them and often seems not to care about them unless they are a minority group. Little wonder that English voters in their droves have given up on a political party which seems determined to alienate them.

In my formative years the Labour Party was dominated by political big beasts from Scotland and Wales. They were electoral heartlands and every Labour Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet reflected this important fact. This created a growing resentment amongst English voters which helped defeat both Kinnock and Brown. The English want to be taken seriously.

John Smith’s sad demise was a potential turning point. Smith was a good and decent man who was much loved by political friends and foes alike. It didn’t stop him being forgotten about the day after his untimely death. He has been erased from the Labour Party’s collective memory. His death offered the party to leave behind its Celtic heritage. After the now infamous ‘Granita’ dinner the Labour Party elected a leader who understood England despite being educated at Fettes in Edinburgh.

In the Blair years there was a phenomenon called ‘Worcester Woman’ who was attracted by New Labour and voted for the project three times. On the day that Gordon Brown entered Number 10, however, the Labour Party’s thirteen-year relationship with the English came to an abrupt end. Gordon Brown had many strengths. He was one of the great chancellors. What he did not understand was the English.

Ed Miliband never understood ordinary working class or middle class English voters. To be fair neither did his older brother who rarely showed empathy towards anything. How could he understand the fears and aspirations of middle England? He simply couldn’t comprehend what it is like to be English.

The voters gave their brutal verdict on the strange Forest Gump years of Ed Miliband in 2015. Labour’s counter-intuitive response was to elect somebody ever further removed from ordinary English voters…

I do believe that Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man but is it really credible that he understands what it is like to be lower middle -class in Warwickshire or aspirant working class in Bedfordshire? Of course not. He hasn’t a clue what it is like to be an ordinary English person…

Labour is now an irrelevance in Scotland and in irreversible decline in Wales. All the more reason for the party to rebuild its electoral base in England. To do so, however, there needs to be influential advisers around Corbyn who have an understanding of and empathy with white English voters. I struggle to think of one apart perhaps from the shadow Chief Whip Nick Brown.

In recent times Labour MPs fighting marginal seats have tried to create rainbow coalitions of minority groups to hold their seats. In the short term this might be successful but it is no substitute for reconnecting with ordinary English voters. Until it learns how to do so the Labour Party will remain in the political wilderness …

4.47 avg. rating (89% score) - 19 votes