Initial Thoughts on GE2019 – JG, SW Surrey brach of EM

Initial Thoughts on GE2019


GE2019 was a catastrophic failure of the Opposition. When so many elements fail, its not so much about which failed first, or failed most disastrously – they were so many, and all failings contributed.

Failures include:

  • We warned a GE before a Referendum would be ‘just about Brexit’. We were ignored by the mainstream political parties, but it was.
  • The LibDems thought that hoovering up the Remain vote was enough. It wasn’t.
  • Labour thought its fudge would appeal to Remain and Leave – it didn’t.
  • Giving Johnson the election he wanted during his honeymoon period was inexcusable (and inexplicable).
  • The result of standing two Remain candidates against each other (with one Leave candidate) in seat after seat was predicable (and predicted).
  • Neither Labour nor LibDems stood down to get rid of the Leave supporting Tories.
  • And of course the FPTP (First Past The Post) system failed us.
  • The Remain HQ / PV tactic of playing it softly-softly (not Revoke) to not put off MP’s in Westminster failed.
  • The Remain HQ / PV tactic of just arguing for a referendum (and not the benefits of staying in) failed too.
  • The Remain HQ / PV tactics ignored both its core supporters (Remainers) and Leavers.
  • Both Labour and LibDem said to Remainers – “this is politics, we’ve got this”. They had not and Remainers should not have trusted them alone.
  • Both LedByDonkeys and MakeItStop showed promise with images, messages and slogans – this was ignored by Remain / PV and the major parties.

(a partial list).


The last thing we need is one Remainer (or remain party) slagging off another – all failed. You will notice I did not single out Jo Swinson or Jeremy Corbyn above. I have also, I hope, avoided “party x suggested this, but party y would not agree” sort of arguments. I obviously have my own views, but don’t want to start more internal wrangles.


Where do we go from here?

  1. Some may be in despair or depression which may need immediate support. What can we do to help them? Support Meetings? Tea and Sympathy? Hugs? (serious question).
  2. It is OK to have the Christmas period to reflect, and have time off.
  3. After that, in January 2020, we need to learn the lessons, and reposition ourselves for the longer haul.


Some initial thoughts towards that further discussion in the New Year

  1. We may have to spend years and years biting our tongues to avoid saying “I told you so”.
  2. We will still have to fight austerity, injustice, racism, and poverty – even when it affects Leavers who voted for it.
  3. The European Movement (UK) will still be there, fighting for UK to Join or Re-Join.
  4. Our friends in Europe will still be there, defending the EU (but sympathetic to us).
  5. We can’t just leave ‘big politics’ to the traditional parties (they have failed us).
  6. PV is dead.
  7. The Remain HQ will need to change its strategy and tactics (or be sidelined).
  8. There is a massive pro-EU support in this country (loosely grouped around Grassroots4EU). We can certainly support each other more, use pockets of specific expertise more widely, and we need some central direction or focus.
  9. We (the pro-EU movements) may need to broaden into more educational, cultural, and social events as well as political campaigning, as we prepare for the long haul. We can’t just keep going as we have been.
  10. We (the Remain movement) also need to think hard about how to address those Leaver areas (and pockets of Leavers in our own areas).


–  John Gaskell, chair, SW Surrey branch of EM


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