“For the hard left - and yes, I’m proudly part of it - it’s time to wake up and smell the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign organic fairtrade coffee.
For the second time in four years, a leadership drawn from our side of the party has led Labour to electoral devastation.
Unless we somehow find a way back from that, and to win next time, our vision for Britain faces obliteration as definitive as that witnessed under Thatcherism. It’s a painful undertaking, and it begins with owning the defeat.
The urgent first move is to eradicate anti-Semitism, mainly because that is the right thing to do anyway. But even on the base level of electoral calculation, it’s costing us seats.
Never again should Labour canvassers feel trepidation when knocking on a north London suburban door to which a mezuzah is nailed.
Then, stop stitching up selections, which demoralises activists, but impose rigid quality controls where local parties make the choice, because it’s better than having to disown wronguns' mid-campaign.
The everything-but-the-kitchen-sink manifesto was an unforced error. The message was too diffuse, too much to take in. You really can have too much of a good socialist thing.
Recognise that the ‘MSM’ is called the mainstream media for a reason. You do not single-handedly offset the impact of the millions of Tory-leaning newspapers sold every day by phoning amateur hour spindoctor hot tips to uncritically adulatory one-man websites.
But one factor dominated everything else. Sadly, the few who foresaw the extent of the kicking about to be imparted on account of Brexit were dismissed as namby-pamby nay-sayers.
In hindsight, we’d have been better served shucking off the Lib Dem guilt trip and sticking to the 2017 position of respecting the result. Ironically, that was probably Jeremy Corbyn’s private judgment as well. Yes, it would have hurt in London and the South. But voter haemorrhage would have been less severe overall. All that is by the by anyway. Hard Brexit is now happening whether we like it or not.
Disaffection among what New Labour euphemistically dubbed ‘the heartland vote’ hardly commenced under Corbyn, of course. The malaise dates back decades, allowing the Brexiteer-led ‘party of the metropolitan elite’ critique to gain traction.
Scotland looks a lost cause for at least a generation, after Ed Miliband’s disastrous decision to campaign alongside the Tories in the 2014 independence reference. The Red Wall may not be so beyond repair, but won’t be rebuilt by London calling to the faraway towns.
Where we should not resile is in justifying Corbyn’s four-year stint as leader. Indeed, if you want to get all Marxist about it, you could even call it historically inevitable.
By the 2000s, Labour had moved well to the right of where any left of centre party ever has any business being. Without what City pages call a long-overdue market correction, it would likely be languishing with the sort of single-digit poll standings afflicting many continental counterparts. Even after this week’s collapse, its vote share remains higher than under Brown and Miliband.
It’s not Labour’s reloved economic leftism that is unpopular. If it was, the Tories would not have ditched four decades of orthodoxy and pay lip service to tax-and-spend economics, solely in the name of electoral expediency.
So to paraphrase a popular National Rifle Association bumper sticker, New Labour can have the party back when they pry it from our cold dead hands.
Yes, Corbyn himself has made it plain that he is going, and the ‘process of reflection’ may prove shorter than he ideally wishes. Luckily the hard left retains sufficient membership support to secure the succession.
Rebecca Long-Bailey will likely be designated to carry the flame, but needs to prove she is more than merely a favourite daughter. The right may well stand Jess Phillips, who possesses bucketloads of the charisma Long-Bailey transparently lacks. But some rightists fear her overtly confrontational style makes her too divisive a proposition.
An overcrowded field of soft lefts, semi-Corbynistas, Brown leftovers and centrists such as Angela Rayner, Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Clive Lewis, Yvette Cooper and Lisa Nandy could all make credible unifiers. I’ll reserve judgment until I see the platforms.
So congratulations, Mr Johnson. You now have your mandate to Get Brexit Done, open up the NHS to US Big Pharma, get us all eating chlorinated chickenburgers, create a Singapore-on-Thames that will reduce much of Britain to Detroit-on-Teesside, and such other deleterious schemes as may strike your fancy.
Just don’t forget that most of the electorate didn’t vote Tory, and you may only have your parliamentary majority on loan.
David Osland is a former member of the Labour Representation Committee national committee and ex news editor of Tribune