Has Labour ever won on the far left?

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acd55
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I saw somewhere that previous labour leaders who have won and formed a majority government have generally been more towards the centre of the spectrum (so more centre-left than corbyn is right now)
Is that true?
For example a lot of MPs who like Corbyn seem to like Tony Benn, and he is generally considered to be on the hard left of the labour party.
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JMR2021_
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(Original post by hpcp)
I saw somewhere that previous labour leaders who have won and formed a majority government have generally been more towards the centre of the spectrum (so more centre-left than corbyn is right now)
Is that true?
For example a lot of MPs who like Corbyn seem to like Tony Benn, and he is generally considered to be on the hard left of the labour party.
I would guess the last time would be with Clement Attlee in 1945. I'm not sure the similarities between Attlee and Corbyn. Pretty sure they would have agreed on things like nationalisation of industry, after all it was Attlee's Labour government that created the NHS, but I would imagine Attlee would agree less with Corbyn on certain issues like Nuclear weapons/wars. However he did have some very left wing people in his cabinet, like Aneurin Bevan, who was the health minister in Attlee's cabinet. Corbyn does seem to be kind of a unique leader in the history of the Labour party though.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by JMR2017)
I would guess the last time would be with Clement Attlee in 1945. I'm not sure the similarities between Attlee and Corbyn. Pretty sure they would have agreed on things like nationalisation of industry, after all it was Attlee's Labour government that created the NHS, but I would imagine Attlee would agree less with Corbyn on certain issues like Nuclear weapons/wars. However he did have some very left wing people in his cabinet, like Aneurin Bevan, who was the health minister in Attlee's cabinet. Corbyn does seem to be kind of a unique leader in the history of the Labour party though.
Wilson and Kinnock were both regarded as candidates of the left in their day.
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jacobosborne
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They won in 1945 with Clement Attlee who was quite left wing.
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JMR2021_
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Wilson and Kinnock were both regarded as candidates of the left in their day.
Maybe.
Kinnock never won an election, and Harold Wilson often had major disagreements with Tony Benn (probably the politician most like Corbyn).
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username878267
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Corbyn is not far left.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by hpcp)
I saw somewhere that previous labour leaders who have won and formed a majority government have generally been more towards the centre of the spectrum (so more centre-left than corbyn is right now)
Is that true?
For example a lot of MPs who like Corbyn seem to like Tony Benn, and he is generally considered to be on the hard left of the labour party.
The simple answer (if we discount pre-war) is no (if we are looking at the position of the leader relative to the party). Attlee was pretty left wing economically but would not have been a Corbynite on many other issues were he around today. Wilson was on the center-right of the 60's Labour party as was Callaghan and i don't think we need to get into Blair. With Wilson it's probably worth saying that he appeared to drift right as time went on though.

It may be a fluke but in fairness only Thatcher has won while being on the right of the Tory party. MacMillon and Cameron were very much left of the party (the later elected because he was so).

FPTP basically forces our parties to be internal coalitions so it's not a shock that in most parties at most times the leader is a compramise candidate.

(Original post by JMR2017)
I would guess the last time would be with Clement Attlee in 1945. I'm not sure the similarities between Attlee and Corbyn. Pretty sure they would have agreed on things like nationalisation of industry, after all it was Attlee's Labour government that created the NHS, but I would imagine Attlee would agree less with Corbyn on certain issues like Nuclear weapons/wars. However he did have some very left wing people in his cabinet, like Aneurin Bevan, who was the health minister in Attlee's cabinet. Corbyn does seem to be kind of a unique leader in the history of the Labour party though.
The NHS and welfare state would have been created either way. They were the result of planning during the war and many of the reports which recommended certain structures ect.. were comissioned by Churchil.

Now i'm not saying they would have looked exactly the same, but i am saying that history has been forgotten a little here. The welfare state is a fantastic example of that in which Labour is painted as having done the loveliest thing.. what they don't say is the original welfare state denied unmarried mothers access to most welfare and that Bevan considered the poor to be idle and feckless. The proper universal aspect came afterward.

(Original post by jacobosborne)
They won in 1945 with Clement Attlee who was quite left wing.
Attlee was extremely left wing economically (though i have no idea whether he was left of the party median at the time - probably not at a time of communist uprisings).

Attlee was not however of the Foot/Corbyn ilk.. he would be rolling over in his grave if somebody told him that a pacifist and separatist was leading the Labour Party. He firmly experienced the harsh reality of foreign policy and believed beyond doubt in the United Kingdom.

What makes Corbyn so extreme is not just his economic policies but his wider world view.
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JMR2021_
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(Original post by Rakas21)
The simple answer (if we discount pre-war) is no (if we are looking at the position of the leader relative to the party). Attlee was pretty left wing economically but would not have been a Corbynite on many other issues were he around today. Wilson was on the center-right of the 60's Labour party as was Callaghan and i don't think we need to get into Blair. With Wilson it's probably worth saying that he appeared to drift right as time went on though.

It may be a fluke but in fairness only Thatcher has won while being on the right of the Tory party. MacMillon and Cameron were very much left of the party (the later elected because he was so).

FPTP basically forces our parties to be internal coalitions so it's not a shock that in most parties at most times the leader is a compramise candidate.



The NHS and welfare state would have been created either way. They were the result of planning during the war and many of the reports which recommended certain structures ect.. were comissioned by Churchil.

Now i'm not saying they would have looked exactly the same, but i am saying that history has been forgotten a little here. The welfare state is a fantastic example of that in which Labour is painted as having done the loveliest thing.. what they don't say is the original welfare state denied unmarried mothers access to most welfare and that Bevan considered the poor to be idle and feckless. The proper universal aspect came afterward.



Attlee was extremely left wing economically (though i have no idea whether he was left of the party median at the time - probably not at a time of communist uprisings).

Attlee was not however of the Foot/Corbyn ilk.. he would be rolling over in his grave if somebody told him that a pacifist and separatist was leading the Labour Party. He firmly experienced the harsh reality of foreign policy and believed beyond doubt in the United Kingdom.

What makes Corbyn so extreme is not just his economic policies but his wider world view.
Was it not Attlee who presided over the breakup of the British Empire (India etc.)
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acd55
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(Original post by Bornblue)
Corbyn is not far left.
I think he is quite left compared to previous labour leaders who have won and on the spectrum
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username2553161
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When you look at the rights given to the working classes in countries like Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, etc, you see how ineffective the left has been in the UK and the USA.

These rights were fought for.

For instance. In some of those countries, if you dont take your holidays one year, they are passed ontot he next year, and you can take them all at the same time if you wish.
A weeks paid holiday at christmas, for everyone.
Automatic entitlement to sick pay. In Law.
More rights for pregnant women in the workplace.
Children have much better diets in schools.
Longer holidays. Longer breaks. You can go home, see your families, have a three hour lunch/siesta etc etc.

I think a lot of that is because they got rid of their aristocracies.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by hpcp)
I saw somewhere that previous labour leaders who have won and formed a majority government have generally been more towards the centre of the spectrum (so more centre-left than corbyn is right now)
Is that true?
For example a lot of MPs who like Corbyn seem to like Tony Benn, and he is generally considered to be on the hard left of the labour party.
Elections are generally fought and won on the centre ground. We don't really do extremes in this country. Corbyn is like chocolate at Easter - a bit of a mindless blowout, but you do end up feeling sick by about lunchtime - not something you'd want every day.
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username878267
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(Original post by hpcp)
I think he is quite left compared to previous labour leaders who have won and on the spectrum
No question about that. That doesn't make him far left though.
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acd55
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(Original post by Bornblue)
No question about that. That doesn't make him far left though.
I meant far left on the labour spectrum
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Rakas21
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(Original post by JMR2017)
Was it not Attlee who presided over the breakup of the British Empire (India etc.)
Initially however in the case of some it was basically a condition we agreed to in order to get their support in WW2 which is why we hung on to colonies until after Suez when we decided that being a small island was preferable to ending up at war with the US.
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username1738683
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Did someone say Kinnock? Here's a nugget of political trivia, chaps...

Why did Labour oppose Thatcher's policy of selling housing stock to tenants? For obvious ideological reasons, in those days they still wanted the State to own and run everything, to put the knife to that and fight 'creeping socialism' was Mrs. T's crusade. We know such policy turned out to be quite popular in some quarters, to the consternation of Labour. Inevitably they did 'slightly' change their policy under Kinnock.

This is on record, there is an hour long program where he is seen and heard saying it and I can refer anyone to it but be warned it is about Mrs. T:

Asked 'why did Labour change their policy on the sale of public housing', Kinnock says: We only changed it so slightly because I thought it would be a nice gesture to let my parents buy their house, a nice reward for all their work in their lives..

It's all in this vid, Death of a Revolutionary, one of the best programs on the British political scene in the 80s and Thatcherism. It is a C4 thing, totally unbiased, Kinnock, Polly Toynbee and other anti-Thatcherites feature profusely and if you are a political worm you will end up watching the whole thing, utterly recommended. No kidding, you will learn more from it in an hour than in a month doing these rounds. Click anywhere, stay for a minute and if it doesn't grab you,,, nobody has to be a political worm against their wishes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VlcjyNwA10

As his final comment on the Thatcher era, Kinnock is asked if she left the country in a better state than she found it. Kinnock shuffles and turns in his chair, thinks long enough about it and says: She didn't but I'd need to have the figures with me to back it up...

These Labourites are crazy. Yes Neil, it was in such a better state in 79, wasn't it?
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Arran90
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The problem is that left and right are a vague and almost meaningless one-dimensional yardstick to use.

Attlee was to the left on economics and welfare but he was a very patriotic individual who believed in Britain. Corbyn is an internationalist and part of the metropolitan elite. A man who represents Johnny Foreigner and undeserving minorities rather than the average Joe or the traditional working class. I believe that he is unique as a leader.

The problem is that Attlee was around at a time when Britain had large numbers of people who worked in heavy industry as a support base but the decline in heavy industry has meant that Labour has lost its traditional sense of purpose and direction. Instead it has to rely on what is called the underdog vote (in 2017 it was probably young people) combined with a form of populism.
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username2553161
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Red vs Blue. Divide and conquer.
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username1738683
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(Original post by Arran90)
The problem is that left and right are a vague and almost meaningless one-dimensional yardstick to use.
The notion of 'left' and 'right' originated in the French Revolution, with the forming of the National Assembly. To the right there were representatives of the aristocracy (well, a few...), the professional classes and businessmen, the top half of the draw if that helps.

To the left were 'the people', or the remainder. Simplistic as it may sound, we can say it was a divide between:

. Those satisfied with their lot happy to conserve it that way, those labouring for them craving for change.

. The divide between the haves and the have-nots.

' Between those with a chamber-pot and those without one.

' Land owners and non-land owners, rich and poor, winners and people who never had a lucky break in life.

I don't buy the association the left make between right-wing and authoritarianism, that is just a way to deflect attention from the fact that all left-wing regimes are just the same or even worse on that front. A dictatorship is a dictatorship, they come from the left and the right. China and North Korea are very nationalistic too and no less racist in any form than the so-called right wing dictatorships. Every trait in the Nazi regime is to be found under communism, other than on economics.

In a way, the basic divides at the National Assembly will never be erased and we can put the average Tory next to the average Labourite and something divides then indeed at some level, obviously. There will always be happy people with no stimulus to change anything on the right, dissatisfied customers on the left dreaming of a revolution that will reverse the two halves of the draw, like the French Revolution was meant to. Or the Soviet or Chinese revolutions. The left will never be happy, it would leave them with nothing to campaign for.
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by Arran90)
Corbyn is an internationalist and part of the metropolitan elite. A man who represents Johnny Foreigner and undeserving minorities rather than the average Joe or the traditional working class.
This is the kind of thinking which before the election was predicting large advances for the Conservatives in northern working class Leave-voting areas. The argument was that Labour under Corbyn just spoke to "liberal metropolitan elites" in London and wouldn't have a coherent message in the north.

In fact it's not that long ago since there were predictions that UKIP under Paul Nttall would replace Labour as the natural party of the northern working class, and their vote disappeared.

And what happened? Conservatives made three gains in northern England, but Labour actually gained nine seats, and extended majorities in others to an extent that northern England has now moved back to a more traditional Labour stronghold position where the Tories are a long way from gaining a foothold.

The Conservatives had misunderstood the traditional working class north, because their bid to make headway in the north was solely around being harder on immigration and thinking that would get people to vote for them. They didn't have anything else to offer the working class north. For years they have looked down on th e north and focused the brunt of austerity cuts on the northern Labour held seats to shore up the Tory shires, and they have gambled on being able to play the nationalist populist card through the media and get the northerners to all nod their heads and turn up to vote Tory because they were told to by their favourite tabloids.

The Conservatives had forgotten that they actually didn't like the "traditional working class" back in the days before large scale immigration, because when it was predominantly white native English, they were heavily unionised and trade unions were a cornerstone of working class culture. The immigrant workforce doesn't tend to join unions which makes it easier for bosses to exploit them.

And not for a long time has a Labour leader come forward with a programme directed at restoring the power of the trade unions and enhancing workers rights in the workplace.

The Tories don't understand why the northern working class want this - they probably regard trade unions as an evil menace and will lecture you about why Thatcher was right to smash the miners and destroy the northern working class mining communities.

But they have also misunderstood Corbyn when they think he only speaks to the metropolitan elite.

Do you think Corbyn's restoration of trade union powers was aimed at the wealthy Islington metropolitans....
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)

Do you think Corbyn's restoration of trade union powers was aimed at the wealthy Islington metropolitans....
Lets not also forget Islington metropolitan elite is just code for some 20 something graduate working in a call centre on min wage in London without a hope in hell of getting on the property ladder. Just because someone is socially liberal does not mean they are part of the ruling class.

Why the hell are they going to vote Tory?
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