Recently released details from an internal Labour Party report confirms they did not lose last year's general election because their set of policies were 'too left wing'. The conclusion of this report directly contradicts the claim repeatedly made by Tories and some Labour MPs following the election that Labour had moved too far left under Ed Miliband's leadership.
Following the party's miserable performance last May, Labour's then interim leader Harriet Harman called for a "forensic, honest examination of where it went wrong". The report is yet to be published, however, the most important conclusions have been leaked to the BBC.
As well as debunking the claim that Labour lost the election because it was too left-wing, the report also shows that one of the most significant reasons for the party's defeat was down to their failure to address the Tory myth that they were responsible for the financial crisis as a result of overspending during Labour's time in government.
It was thought that this report was being suppressed because it would damage Jeremy Corbyn, however, upon details being released it is clear that this is not the case. On the contrary, this report can only benefit Jeremy Corbyn who won the leadership election on a left-wing platform as well as a commitment to tackling the Tory's overspending myth head on.
The revelations within the report surely also emphasise that there is indeed space for a Labour Party advocating left-wing policies of the like Jeremy Corbyn has been pushing for since his election. If this were not the case, the report would have come to a contrasting conclusion that purely pinned the blame on Labour's policies in the recent election.
Indeed, many of the policies adopted by Ed Miliband's Labour are supported by the public. According to a YouGov poll in the run-up to the election, 61% of the public support a tax on houses worth more than £2million, commonly known as a 'mansion tax'. Moreover, the reintroduction of the 50p tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 annually, as well as the 10p tax rate for the lowest earners, is also supported by the public, with 59% agreeing with the policy while only 27% disagree.
As for Jeremy Corbyn's left-wing policies, according to YouGov, 60% agree with the renationalisation of railways, with only 20% thinking it is a bad idea. Even among Tory voters, half believe this to be a positive policy. Going even further than Ed Miliband, there is public support for a 75% top rate of tax on incomes over £1m. In addition, rent controls on landlords is a policy supported by 59% of the public, while only 6.8% oppose the idea. The introduction of a mandatory living wage (a real living wage, as opposed to George Osborne's minimum wage increase) has support from 60% of the public, with 31% disagreeing with this policy. Furthermore, the majority of the public support a cut in tuition fees, with 49% in support of the policy, while 31% oppose the idea. And although the public still rejects the idea of unilateral disarmament of the UK's nuclear weapons (possibly due to the fact they are yet to hear the convincing case for disarmament from either of the two largest parties), support for an international convention on banning nuclear weapons currently sits at 64%, compared to only 21% who oppose the idea, demonstrating the possibility that the public's attitude towards Trident renewal will change in the near future.
It is clear from all of the above policies that there is support from the public for left-wing ideals, and to claim Labour's defeat in May was because they were 'too left-wing' is entirely disingenuous. Thankfully, we now have a thorough report to back this up. Whether or not Jeremy Corbyn is the right leader to deliver these policies is yet to be seen, but even if it does become clear in the next few years that he is incapable of appealing to the public, his election has notably shifted the Labour Party to the left, and it seems very likely that if there were to be another leadership election in the near future it would be a left-wing or centre-left candidate that would triumph. And going by the public's favourable opinion towards such beliefs held by those on the left of the spectrum, that is something that should be embraced by the Labour Party, not resisted.Suggest a correction