Elections shine a light on Labour's failure

If the Labour Party believe that after their dismal showing in the local elections, all they have to do is pick themselves up, brush themselves down, and start again, they are sadly disillusioned.

Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 7:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 9:25 am
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

The plight of the Labour Party is far more serious and deep-seated than that. Corbyn should be grateful to Zac Goldsmith for being such a poor performer, rather than congratulating his own candidate, Sadiq Khan, on becoming London Mayor.

The brutal truth is that, as the official opposition facing an unpopular and, some would say, mediocre government, involved in a civil war over Europe, Labour should have been running rings around them at the local elections.

Instead they lost their way in Scotland (large parts of which were once impregnable Labour) and just about held their own in England.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It was a pathetic performance.

Labour will have to buck its ideas up if it is to become an effective political fighting force again, capable of winning the next general election.

Alas for them, the leadership issue, with some elements in the party actually saying out loud that Corbyn should go, is now a dangerously serious issue.

The Tories are in a big enough shambles, but Labour is not far 
behind. For a start, Labour should urgently revise the leadership election rules which last year enabled the trade unions, rather than the MPs, to elect Corbyn to the job.

MPs, who have to work with their leader, day in, day out, should be given far more power in the election process and the trade unions far less.

That is why Labour is now led by a scarcely inspiring left-winger whom the majority of Labour MPs would probably never have voted for.

In short, Labour needs a complete overhaul of its internal practices and to be bold enough if they dare to drastically reduce the power the trade unions wield over them.

That will take courage and cost money, but something needs to be done – and quickly.

Otherwise there is a danger of returning to the days of Harold Wilson when the unions told him how to govern the country.

That would be disastrous for the Labour Party, but more importantly, for the country as well.