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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > July 2017 > The new curiosity flop

The new curiosity flop

Journalists failed in their first duty at the election

Two days before the election I wrote a column for the Guardian arguing that despite the received wisdom, the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party had shown that it was electable. I thought I’d been careful. I didn’t argue Labour would win, only that its chances could not be dismissed. Drawing on two month’s reporting in Harrow and a month in Muncie, Indiana, for last year’s elections in the United States, my point was that “electability” is not a science: the attributes that candidates and programmes need in order to win change with the times and our current times are volatile. I gave the full range of polling evidence—from Labour taking a drubbing, to a hung parliament. “It seems, from reporting and the polls,” I wrote, “that even if Labour doesn’t win under Corbyn, it is a viable electoral force.”

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In Prospect’s July issue: Steve Richards, Rachel Sylvester and Shiv Malik—as well as Chris Hanretty and Julian Glover—cover the fallout from the recent general election. Richards looks at how the assumptions of centrist politics were upended and how Labour managed to stun the nation—a point that Chris Hanretty explores in more detail, explaining how Corbyn turned the tide for social democracy. Sylvester questions how Theresa May managed to squander her majority—Julian Glover says it wasn’t just May’s failure, the ideas were flawed, too. Shiv Malik explores the remarkable surge in the youth vote and says parties can no longer ignore their concerns. Also in this issue: Dexter Dias argues that to understand terrorism we need to better understand human nature, Paul Wallace looks at the state of the state and asks whether the government is capable of fulfilling large scale changes to the way the state works and Sam Tanenhaus profiles Mike Pence—should we be worried about him becoming the next president?
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