The general election in Britain this past December can be described as nothing but a generational defeat. The damage for the Labour party is dramatic - as soon as the exit poll came out, when myself and the other members of the Durham University Labour Club who had been out in the cold since five in the morning started drinking, the right-wing of the Labour Party saw its chance to take back power dawn. The damage is not just the defeat at the polls and the fact that a reactionary Tory government will indisputably be in government for the next five years with a massive 80 seat majority and Labour losing 60 seats, almost eight percentage points down from the result in 2017.
The damage means the end of the Corbyn project.
How different the feeling from the last Labour loss! From the moment the exit poll came out in 2017 there was jubilation in the air for the Labour left, gains on the last election, a feeling that they were on the cusp of power, that if that election (a summer election, and so different from the dreary winter drudgery of this one) had been held a week later Labour would have come to power. Labour had a socialist leader, they had a manifesto filled with social democratic policies that, while they wouldn’t have been anything too radical in the 70s, would have represented a generational shift in priorities, and there was unity in the party the likes of which hadn’t seen since before the contentious and surprising rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the party in 2015.