A persistent theme of my Christmas conversations was that people feel disenfranchised. It would seem that large numbers of people now feel alienated from both the major political parties, feeling that neither does in any way represent them and what they want.
Of course, many of those saying this are pro-EU membership. But they were at least half the population the last time there was a count. They may now be more.
In the Labour Party they are much more than that. As Politics Home reports this morning:
Research by YouGov on behalf of Queen Mary University and Sussex University found that 72% want another poll to be carried out, compared to just 18% who do not.
The poll of 1,034 Labour members also showed that 88% of them would vote to stay in the EU if another referendum took place.
Of course this is only a survey. And I accept my own bias in wanting to believe this. But the proportions are pretty significant. Even allowing for all the usual biases these results are likely to reflect Labour Party opinion. And that does not mean the opinion of the fading neoliberal wing in that case: this is a survey across the membership and this is likely to overwhelmingly reflect Momentum opinion.
This is profoundly worrying for Labour, which might be thought to be the natural party of allegiance for many of those I was talking to at this time of the year. I was astonished by the anger many felt with Corbyn and his relucatnce to lead on Brexit. One of the mildest mannered, least political men I know has taken to writing to MPs on the issue.
And I have a very strong sense that the frustration that many share of not knowing who they could vote for in a general election if one were called, as Labour wishes, is widespread.
The Brexiteers know they have to vote Tory come what may in any election. And given that this is the issue of the moment, that is what they will do. That alone explains why through all the Tory failing their vote has held up. UKIP has failed. Only the Tories offer what the right want.
But at this crucial movement the left, in the form of Labour, are clearly failing to provide an alternative. I head people wishing the SNP would stand in England as a result. And there was serious discussion of voting Green, since the LibDems are no longer considered viable as a party of protest for a multitude of reasons that were offered to me. But Labour has not got even reluctant support from many I spoke with. There were many who would not vote for it if Corbyn retains his current stance, come what may.
What is more, if he keeps that stance I cannot see him getting his members out to campaign with any conviction. They do not believe in what he is planning.
I would suggest as a result that the last thing Labour wants right now is an election. There are very good reasons why they would not win it. And most revolve around not listening to what people who do, or would like to, support Labour want. That is to remain in the EU.
Labour needs to get its head around delivering what the Labour Party wants. Or its demand for a general election will deliver another Tory government.