A week ago, Ed Miliband’s seemingly surging Labour Party represented Britain’s rising Coalition of the Fringes that was inevitably inundating the stale pale male core of the Tories and UKIP.
But, losing automatically shifts the gestalt and now Labour is seen as the “dwindling core.” From the New York Times:
Appeal to Dwindling Core Proves Costly for Labour Party in Britain
By STEVEN ERLANGER and STEPHEN CASTLE MAY 9, 2015
LONDON — The Labour Party’s defeat in Thursday’s British elections was its poorest performance in nearly 30 years.
It was nearly wiped out in Scotland, long one of its strongholds. Some of its brightest and most experienced members of Parliament lost their seats, including its shadow chancellor and shadow foreign secretary.
Most important, it lost the argument about Britain’s best path toward the future and was left with no clear guiding philosophy.
Ed Miliband, Labour’s leader for the last five years, took responsibility and resigned, initiating another round of soul-searching for a party with trade union and socialist roots in a globalized country where heavy industry and the traditional working class are fading fast.
What happened to the rising coalition of immigrants, nonwhites, and Bridget Jones’ post-national media friends in North London?
… Labour this time got “squeezed by two nationalisms,” as Labour grandee and former strategist Peter Mandelson said, by the Scottish National Party and by English nationalism, not just by the Conservatives but in the form of a strong U.K. Independence Party vote in northern England. The anti-immigration, anti-European Union UKIP hurt the Conservatives in the south, but it had a big impact among Labour voters in the north, and was the main reason that Labour’s shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, lost his seat in Leeds to the Tories.
Labour needs to respond to members’ unease about immigration and the European Union, which requires freedom of movement and labor among its member states. On these issues, this time, Labour had little to say, acknowledging Blair-era laxness but simply arguing that European Union membership was a good thing and there had to be more control over immigration, without specifying how.