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The Purpose of a Political Party Is to Win and Exercise Power

Jonathan Freedland, writing for The Guardian:

Well, guess what. Labour’s “radical” manifesto of 2019 achieved precisely nothing. Not one proposal in it will be implemented, not one pound in it will be spent. It is worthless. And if judged not by the academic standard of “expanding the discourse”, but by the hard, practical measure of improving actual people’s actual lives, those hate figures of Corbynism — Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — achieved more in four hours than Corbyn achieved in four years. Why? Because they did what it took to win power.

That’s what a political party is for. It’s not a hobby; it’s not a pressure group that exists to open the Overton window a little wider; it’s not an association for making friends or hosting stimulating conversations and seminars; it’s not “a 30-year project”. Its purpose is to win and exercise power in the here and now. It is either a plausible vehicle for government or it is nothing.

Bingo. Politics is first and foremost about winning elections. Labour clearly did not approach last week’s election with that in mind — but the Tories sure did. That this should serve as a warning to Democrats here in the U.S. goes without saying.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019