Andrew Fisher, the former union official from Croydon who has been working as Jeremy Corbyn’s policy adviser for the past two years, says that many of the “political myths” of the 1990s have been laid to rest.
“Socialist politics have been proved to be a vote winner and the ‘we tried that under Michael Foot’ argument has been slain forever,” Fisher said in a post-election message on social media.
Fisher had been among one of the “targets” of the some of the most vicious and sustained attacked from Blairites and the Tory press after he started to work for Corbyn. A complaint from The Hon Emily Benn when she was a Croydon councillor even led to his suspension from the Labour Party for a brief spell.
But Fisher, one of the co-authors of the 2017 Labour manifesto, is also becoming recognised as one of the architects of the uplift in the party’s fortunes, which has continued since Thursday, with another 100,000-plus joining Labour over the weekend.
On Sunday, Fisher reflected, “We changed politics.”
He wrote: “After the most exhausting and exhilarating two months of my life, I still feel exhausted and exhilarated. Today’s opinion poll that puts Labour six points ahead, on 45 per cent, reflects the scale of that political transformation.
“A little over two years ago I encouraged Jeremy Corbyn – who I’d known for over a decade – to stand for the Labour leadership. What even I didn’t know about Jeremy was that one of the nicest men in politics would also prove to be the most resilient.
“We didn’t win the election, but Labour won more votes than in any election since the 1997 landslide – and the party gained seats in a General Election for the first time since 1997, before many people who voted Labour this time were even born.
“What has been most amazing for me – an avowed socialist for over two decades – is that there is a generation below me that is politicised, engaged and active. Initial reports are that over 70 per cent of young people voted, after hundreds of thousands more registered to vote.
“Equally inspiring is that on the campaign, there were young people 10, 12 and even 15 years younger than me who were immensely talented, competent and composed. There were lots of great middle-aged and older people too – but to see such talented people in their early 20s really gives me such optimism for the future.
“That young talent pool just didn’t exist on the left two years ago. It actually makes feeling old quite enjoyable. None more so than when one young worker on the team told me enthusiastically ‘Novelist is backing us!’. ‘Which novelist?’, I enquired. ‘No, Novelist – the grime artist’. ‘What’s grime?’, though I’m not so old not to know that. (Musically though, the highlight of the campaign for me was Jeremy picking Oasis over Blur in his NME interview).
“But more important than righting the arguments of the 1990s, has been laying to rest the political myths of that era. Socialist politics have been proved to be a vote winner and the ‘we tried that under Michael Foot’ argument has been slain forever.
“What we achieved was remarkable. We added over 3.3million votes from two years ago, and won the largest increase in the Labour vote between elections since 1945. We have turned Labour into a mass membership party with 525,000 members on polling day, and seemingly rising strongly since.
“And we won seats like Canterbury and Portsmouth South (where I was born) that Labour had never held before. My own constituency, Croydon Central, went Labour – but so did Kensington, Battersea, and many others that few had expected would.
“Dozens more seats that looked like safe Conservative seats on Thursday morning are now marginal, which bodes well for the next General Election which may not be that far away …
“There’s lots more that could be said, and many people who deserve huge plaudits, but for now those are my thoughts on an excellent campaign working with some lovely and very talented people.”
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