Is the Labour Party doomed to extinction, as some commentators would have us believe?
Well, bad though Labour’s defeat was on May 7, it was not so catastrophic as to annihilate the party altogether.
Of course, there’s no denying they have some huge mountains to climb before they’re considered even as a shadow of a decent political fighting force again.
The man who could probably lead Labour into the sunny uplands again is Alan Johnson, the genial ex-Home Secretary and former postman. But he is adamant that he does not want the job. Instead, the party is faced with a line-up of mediocre wannabe leaders, none of whom stirs the imagination.
Meanwhile, the party is doing itself no favours, with some of its most prominent figures attacking Ed Miliband from all quarters for his conduct of the campaign. He has been denounced from his own side variously as useless and divisive. This is called shutting the gate after the horse has bolted, and why did these people not air their grievances to him, privately, during the campaign in a bid to avoid the disaster which befell them on May 7?
The party will – or perhaps should – come back. But it faces a Herculean task to regain the voters’ trust.
Labour back-bencher John Mann is one of the most outspoken MPs at Westminster. What is more, he talks in the everyday language that ordinary folk understand. He does not descend into politicians’ gobbledegook or Whitehall jargon.
He has a novel way of explaining Labour’s defeat on May 7. He said: “The Edstone was the defining moment of Labour’s electoral catastrophe. But not because of its jaw-dropping banality. Nor its exquisite timing.
“No, the Edstone represented everything that has become wrong with Labour: it was grey. A grey, monochrome representation that is uncannily symbolic in summing up Labour’s offer.”
In short, he is suggesting that Labour was dull and dreary – everything was in a doleful monochrome, where a splash of colour here and there might have done wonders for them. It could scarcely have made things worse.