Cathleen reflects on how we felt when the exit poll came out, and a rallying call to dust yourselves off
We've had a little bit of time since that clock struck ten and that infamous BBC exit poll came out. My heart sank to the floor as I thought about the impact of Brexit, the end of the Corbyn project and the uncertainty that our nation now faces.
I had a lot of drinks, but it didn’t really help. I cried a bit, and that didn’t help. Eventually I went to bed, but it didn’t help.
What eventually helped was time. Losing a general election is really challenging, especially seeing how desperately a country needed the fresh start a Labour Government could have brought. It’s hard to see so many seats across the country that should have turned red stay blue. It’s even harder to see Labour’s old heartlands turn blue.
I guarantee that those new northern Tory MP’s will have a tough time discovering Johnson’s here today, gone tomorrow mentality. Despite his new and improved majority, it would be naive to think that only now the ex-Mayor of London would start to care about anyone or anything north of the Watford Gap. Sooner or later, the real Johnson will stand up and show his true colours in front of the world. When that happens, we need to seize the initiative and control the narrative. We must stand up.
I have no doubt that a nation of young, inspired and caring people have seen the stagnation of the past few years have been turned on to politics - and that their new passion won’t go away. As they see their lives, towns and communities get bleaker and bleaker in the coming years, they will fight harder for change.
The Labour Manifesto attempted to address the many problems that we as a nation and a planet face - the climate emergency, the lack of funding in our public services, the mental health crisis - the problems will only get worse as time goes on under Johnson.
Keeping a new generation invested in change and within the Labour movement will be key to any next leader. Without their energy, we are doomed.
We sat back over Christmas digesting far more than our dinner - if we were lucky enough to have one - and emerged into a new year that we know will involve a fightback that will be long and slow, but never more vital.
Politics is a hilly never-ending ultramarathon with many more stages and its time we in the Labour party put back on our tired running shoes and go again to the next one. We are here still here, we are still in the race and we must dust ourselves off. People are relying on us to not give up and to not give in. We run for the many, and that is responsibility on all of us. The next finish line is only round corner, so lets unite and go again.