Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Are the omens good for Jez?

Labour leaders at each General Election, and how they fared.




1922
J R Clynes
Lost
1923
Ramsay MacDonald
Lost
1924
Ramsay MacDonald
Lost
1929
Ramsay MacDonald
Won
1931
Arthur Henderson
Lost
1935
Clement Attlee
Lost
1945
Clement Attlee
Won
1950
Clement Attlee
Won
1951
Clement Attlee
Lost
1955
Clement Attlee
Lost
1959
Hugh Gaitskell
Lost
1964
Harold Wilson
Won
1966
Harold Wilson
Won
1970
Harold Wilson
Lost
Feb 1974
Harold Wilson
Won
Oct 1974
Harold Wilson
Won
1979
James Callaghan
Lost
1983
Michael Foot
Lost
1987
Neil Kinnock
Lost
1992
Neil Kinnock
Lost
1997
Tony Blair
Won
2001
Tony Blair
Won
2005
Tony Blair
Won
2010
Gordon Brown
Lost
2015
Ed Miliband
Lost
2017
Jeremy Corbyn
Lost

Whilst many in Labour ranks celebrated our result in this year’s General Election, it was still a defeat. We did make gains, and our vote share was a significant improvement on recent elections. However, a defeat is still a defeat.

It is now twelve years since our last victory, and if this Government lasts the course it will be on track to match the Thatcher-Major years for longevity.

Interestingly, two Labour leaders went on to become Prime Minister after losing their first General Election, a feat Jeremy Corbyn will want to emulate. However, I doubt he will see Ramsay MacDonald as a role model, and Clement Attlee had a World War separate initial defeat from subsequent success.

We are in an unprecedented run of single election leaders. I am not a big fan of leaders resigning straight after a General election defeat – Gordon Brown should never have gone when he did, although I would have preferred if Ed Miliband had gone before the election. I expect Jeremy to lead us into the next General Election, although if May lasts five years it would certainly test the fitness of a then seventy-three year old Labour leader.

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