A leaked internal strategy presentation said Labour must make “use of the flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly at the war memorial” as part of an attempt to win back disillusioned voters who abandoned Labour in their droves at the last general election.
The so-called “red-wall” of traditional Labour seats in the north of England was a particular target of the strategy, which was seen and heard by the Guardian. The new strategy is drawn from focus groups from towns such as Grimsby and Watford.
Many working class Labour voters in key seats abandoned the party in the 2019 general election, largely due to the party’s Brexit policy but also thanks to a fundamental disconnect in values represented by Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing party leadership.
The advice will remind readers of many of the most embarrassing gaffes from Labour’s recent history, including Emily Thornberry’s snobbish tweet about an English flag in Rochester and Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to attend memorials in scruffy attire.
The document revealed that leadership woes have continued in a different form, as voters could not describe what or who Labour stands for.
Leader Keir Starmer is described by voters as “sitting on the fence” on issues and the party’s head of research said voters were confused about “what we stand for, and what our purpose is, but also who we represent.”
Some however aren’t confused by who Labour stands for – and they aren’t happy with the answer. A former Labour voter from Grimsby was quoted as saying: “They are the voice of the students. They have left the real people, taxpayers behind.”
Grimsby voted 69.9% in favour of Leaving the European Union in the 2016 referendum and flipped Conservative for the first time since 1935.
Furthermore, the document revealed Labour had accepted that they had ignored and excluded formerly core voters. Corbyn’s leadership was described in unflattering terms including “unpatriotic”.
Responding to the leaks, a Labour party spokesperson said: “This is a report by an external organisation from September 2020. It deals with pre-existing perceptions of the party. Keir [Starmer] and Angela [Rayner] have been very clear that Labour has a mountain to climb to win in 2024 but is on the right path.”