As the dust continues to settle from a summer of political discontent in the UK, what does the future look like for the country's biggest opposition party to the governing Tories? Much like the 170 questions posed by Labour to the Tories recently, many unanswered questions remain, according to a panel of experts who gathered in London this week.
A debate organised by the School of Politics at London's Queen Mary University took place today, featuring leading experts offering informed perspective on behalf of the Labour Party.
I'm going to "Crisis in the Labour Party: What's Next?"! Check it out on Eventbrite. https://t.co/XkUo32QTQP— Luke Dyer (@lukendyer) 4 октября 2016 г.
Dr. Lee Jones, a Reader in International Politics at Queen Mary's University in London, chaired the debate, and provided Sputnik with highlights from the conversation:
"The Labour Party is very much a victim of its own demise that has been on the cards for some time. There are deep-rooted reasons to why they have lost in two general elections and many panelists speaking today are of the opinion that they just cannot win any future elections either because they are not popular enough anymore."
With his recent leadership win, Jeremy Corbyn is said to have undertaken the mammoth task of "rebuilding" the party, taking members as well as supporters in a new direction.
"There are many factions of Westminster who take a society-centered perspective and feel excited by a previously disengaged public re-engaging with the Labour Party again. The other political stance taken mainly by critics of Jeremy Corbyn, is that in the aim of what happens in parliament, Corbyn's left-winged political vision for Britain is just doomed to fail in the long term due to lack of wider support," Jones said.
Members of the panel also felt that Corbyn's vision of a socialist future would consign his party to guaranteed electoral oblivion, primarily as all past attempts have not been successful.
"The Labour Party can only revive itself fully from grass roots participation, and Corbyn is attempting just that. The challenge he is faced with, however, is in translating enthusiasm and being able to build something that is seen as viable for the country as a whole. That's the difficulty, and it doesn't bode well if latest polls are an indication," said Jones.
Regarding the likelihood of a split in the Labour Party, as has been suggested by many political commentators in the UK, the panel felt this was unlikely. Panelists suggested that Labour MP's have simply "run out of steam" due to the recent unsuccessful party leadership challenge against Corbyn, and that Labour is also afraid of repeating the consequences of past party splits, including what happened with the SNP in Scotland. Risking a rise in support for other political parties in the UK, including UKIP or the Greens, is also of concern.
"We are currently witnessing Labour MP's simply getting on with the job of fulfilling their duties as the main opposition party. During a very tumultuous year in western politics as a whole, this is very much the immediate duty of any opposition party, and Labour seem to be getting on with finding enough stability to do just that now," Jones added.
In the short term, the process of holding the Tories accountable for their still unclear vision of how Brexit will actually play out, is of paramount importance, not just for Labour, but on behalf of the British public.
Jeremy Corbyn's supporters, in the meantime, keep faith that he will lead a new day for Labour's long-term future. Core Labour members, and many others in the UK, would welcome the dawn of a powerful progressive left, and a subsequent anti-capitalist, socialist revolution.