Editorial: A positive message pays off

Wow. An incredible campaign ends with an incredible night. Huge congratulations must go out to all candidates, not least Alex Sobel, Rosie Duffield and Emma Hardy, Open Labour members and now Members of Parliament.

Much credit also needs to go to the leadership, who have defied expectations exceedingly.

This has been one of the most surprising elections of our lifetimes, for both the Conservative Party and our own. For the former, they have found out that complacency, arrogance and negativity is no substitute for inspiring your electorate. Walking into a snap election assured of their invincibility, relying on Lynton Crosby’s 2015 tricks, their 20-point lead completely collapsed.

The Labour Party has learnt that we can run positive campaigns with straightforward messages about an optimistic alternative – and surprise ourselves, our critics and the pundits.

There are many observations to make, but four in particular stand out.


Firstly, our radical, inspiring and landscape-altering manifesto has resonated, and we have shifted the political centre ground. Seven years of austerity has come to a head, and we can never go back. There is no doubting that the public want to see a £10 minimum wage, rail nationalisation, a public NHS, better funded police services, and affordable homes. Young people especially clearly turned out in phenomenal numbers for this better tomorrow. Let’s champion these policies within the party and across the country. There is no going back to caution. No more austerity. The future of this party is radical, to meet the demands of a public thirsty for change.

The second is that positivity can triumph. Jeremy Corbyn and the party have run a campaign of optimism that believes in the country and its people. For a party that often struggles conceptually with patriotism, we appear to love our country far more than the Tories, who have taken every opportunity to talk it and its potential down. The Conservative’s austere message, that there is ‘no magic money tree’ to pay our nurses a decent wage, has proven uninspiring and hard to swallow. We should continue with this optimism, and reclaim a patriotism based on public services and those that serve in them.

Third, is that the Conservatives are beatable, and talk of our party’s inevitable, even organic, death has clearly been over-exaggerated. A lot of presumptions about politics, such as the breakdown of the two-party system, have proven to be untrue. The supposed domination of the Conservative Party is not a given. Their leaderships can be exposed as weak, and their Crosbyisms sour over time. With the right message, we have overturned their apparent hegemony. We can now push for that positive alternative to what will be a regressive minority Conservative government with the DUP. They can only offer fear. We can now offer hope, and win.

Lastly, that we can win in corners of the country out of bounds even in 1997, and with a left-wing programme. Canterbury, Hallam, potentially even Kensington. We have seats like Chingford, too, in our sights. Let’s never doubt our ability to build an election-winning coalition. As we cannot be cautious with a policy programme, we should not be cautious with our electoral ambitions either. What we need to do next to ensure new seats are won for government remains to be seen, and Open Labour will play its part in building that next winning strategy.


In the end, we must make progress and win government to translate our ideas and positivity into policies that can restore hope to people’s lives. We can build from this spectacular campaign, that has rectified so many of the setbacks of 2015, getting us ever closer to Number 10.

Open Labour will champion the positives of the campaign, and its resonant ideas, as we push closer to a Labour government.

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