Why the disastrous losses for Labour?
The Labour Party's results dipped to a historic low in last Thursday's general election: its share of parliamentary seats went down from 262 to just 203, the lowest number in 80 years. But this wasn't because the Tories were so convincing, European media conclude.
Corbyn's programme scared off the middle class
Ioannis Papadopoulos, professor of political philosophy at the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Macedonia [in northern Greece], comments on Corbyn's mistakes in Naftemporiki:
“The left-wing political option of burdening companies, capitalists and the financial sector with new taxes in order to curry favour with normal low wage earners was clearly wrong in an open, internationally competitive and free economy like Britain - especially at a time of great financial uncertainty in view of the upcoming Brexit. ... Put simply, the Labour programme scared off not just the plutocrats, capitalists and neo-liberal supporters of the casino economy, as Corbyn thought. ... The middle class, which has a strong influence on election results in all Western states, was also alarmed.”
The new hegemony of the right
The European left is no longer able to gain support outside the urban centres, Mérce notes:
“In addition to all the local and contextual factors, the British elections also demonstrate trends that have been visible across Europe for several years: both the left and the liberals are being pushed more and more into the cities, while the right is obtaining absolute majorities in rural areas and is now also winning over large sections of the traditional working class. Voters can identify more with ideological constructions based on national self-determination, welfare chauvinism and cultural conservatism than with equality and a critique of capitalism.”
Social justice will soon be in demand again
Brexit will help Labour get back on its feet in the medium term, political scientist Sergey Utkin predicts in Kommersant:
“Labour conducted the Brexit debate in a state of deep internal division: some members were in favour of remaining in the EU, some against, and party leader Corbyn didn't exactly navigate elegantly between these positions. Yet Labour's strength lies in a spectrum of social democratic issues that are not dependent on Brexit. Once the country leaves the EU, the demand for social guarantees and justice will only increase. Renewing the party leadership is not so difficult - and Labour should be able to find a leader within its own ranks who arouses less divided feelings among the British than Corbyn.”