Ever since the 2017 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have made staggering progress in the polls. Labour supporters certainly feel that they are going to win the next general election, currently scheduled for 2022. It would almost seem as if Momentum and Labour are already preparing for government, but they shouldn’t be too confident. Neil Kinnock also entered the Labour leadership role and introduced radical change with high expectations. However, Kinnock never achieved victory for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn’s reign of Labour looks strangely similar!
Neil Kinnock entered politics in 1970 becoming an MP for a welsh constituency. However, from the very beginning he was against Labour Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan’s economic ideology, as was Corbyn under the Blair and Brown governments. Kinnock rejected a ministerial role once saying the “price of silencing is not worth paying”. He finally entered the Shadow Cabinet in 1980, under the leadership of Micheal Foot.
After the disastrous 1983 General Election for Labour, whereby Thatcher retained her significant majority, Kinnock realised there had to be radical change within the party if they were ever going to be in government. Kinnock became leader of Labour in October 1983, and instantly caused controversy. He began attacking the “militant left” within his own party, and a series of expulsions for various members followed. However, his internal reforms did not achieve much, as Labour gained only 20 seats in the 1987 General Election, keeping Thatcher in power.
However, it seemed that Labour’s unlucky spell was set to change when Thatcher resigned in 1990, and John Major entered Downing Street. As the 1992 General Election loomed, it appeared impossible for Labour to lose. For the 9 years that Kinnock had been Labour leader, the media had always been against him, but this election was different. John Major was slightly dull, and he didn’t seem to connect with the public.
When the 1992 General Election campaign started, Labour were very confident of victory. The infamous speech in Blackpool before the day of the election, with Kinnock shouting to the crowd “we’re alright” and coming across as staggeringly arrogant. The 1992 Election results were hugely surprising, with John Major and the Conservative Party managing to hold onto power with a majority.
Fast forwarding 25 years, and Jeremy Corbyn’s equivalent to the 1987 General Election occurred. Despite losing the 2017 election, Labour are now ready and confident to win the next election. It is also true that Corbyn has had to deal with the tough media and newspaper press, as did Kinnock.
Nevertheless, there is a very clear lesson from recent political history that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour MUST learn; DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING! Theresa May called a General Election in 2017, thinking she would return with a vast majority because she assumed the public would vote for her. Kinnock in 1992 did the same thing, therefore Labour will not win the next election if they come across as arrogant. The similarities between Kinnock and Corbyn are remarkable, but Labour supporters will be hoping that Corbyn can enter Downing Street, unlike Kinnock.