By Sally Campbell
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Eyes on the prize

This article is over 4 years, 6 months old
Issue 453

The devastating blow of last month’s general election defeat will be hard for Labour activists and all those who willed a Corbyn victory to get over.

A battle for interpretation began immediately after the exit poll, with Parliamentary Labour Party figures leaping onto our screens to tell us Corbyn was entirely to blame. But, as Joseph Choonara shows in this issue, the problems for Labour date back to the Blair years.

However, Corbyn’s failure to stick to a coherent view on Brexit clearly affected the result. As did voters’ apparent unwillingness to believe that he could deliver on his radical manifesto.

It is important to assert that, even if this is the end of Corbyn’s project, it is not a rejection of the policies he stood for and which got him elected and re-elected as Labour leader by hundreds of thousands of party members, especially the many young people who joined to back him.

So how do we take the fight forward? We know that Johnson’s government will be brutal — however much they have tried to hide the fact, as Ian Taylor shows elsewhere in this issue.

The worst thing that can happen is that activists get tangled up in months of internal Labour Party manoeuvring as a new leader is elected. Of course it matters whether a left-winger or a Blairite becomes the next leader, but in reality even with Corbyn at the top, the left never really ran the show.

The outcome of such a battle will not be straightforward.

But our focus has to be on the battle in the streets and in the workplaces, where the NHS can be defended, working conditions can be fought for and austerity can be challenged.

The UCU strikes, the climate movement, the anti-racist struggle — these must be our priority in the weeks to come.

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