Pragmatic implies it will almost certainly work and merely be unpopular. However, there is absolutely no evidence to support the theory that approach would work.
2017 went the way it did for two reasons:
The “dementia tax”
It was shit-all to do with Labour, really. Corbyn could been have Basil Brush or Count Count and he’d have done about as well (who am I kidding? Basil Brush would have got more votes in 2017 - he’d probably have stopped Brexit).
First off, Theresa May wasn’t particularly well-liked by, well, anyone. “Maybot” was the joke, and she came off as totally fake, vaguely inhuman and uncaring (which I don’t think is entirely fair, OTOH I’d personally throw her out an airlock for the direct harm her policies as Home Sec have inflicted on me and my wife so fuck that scumbag), and like a bit of a ponce-y “knows better than you” type. Plus on top of all this she committed the sin of being a woman, which didn’t help her with non-Tories, and pissed off a lot of serious Tories (they gave Maggie a pass because she was totally insane - possibly literally - and had “big dick energy”). Her tenure as Home Secretary didn’t help, because she was seen as evil, rather than effective (sexism also played a part in this - had, say, Boris or Raab done the same as her in that position, it would have been reported more positively - but she makes a good Cruella De Vil, and it’s only somewhat unfair).A lot of people were looking for any excuse to not vote for May, frankly.
And she handed them one.
She came out with the so-called “dementia tax”, which was a pretty rational but had terrible optics, almost a parody neoliberal attempt to redistribute wealth and lighten the state of a burden in one fell swoop. If you don’t recall, it was basically a proposal that people who blatantly COULD afford to pay for their own dementia or other old-people care, if they’d just sell off some of their assets, should be made to sell off those assets, rather than the state just taxing an increasingly poor working population so that these aging people could retain the wealth advantage they already had and pass it on to the next wealthiest generation. Obviously this would mean they then could not leave those assets to their pouting 50-something (or even 60-something!) children.
Because this was terrible optics, despite the fact that it was totally in-line with pretty much every Tory policy goal, given the Libertarian bent of post-Maggie Tories, even the Tory media went nuts about it, using the usual elaborate lies they make up about Labour to imply that “council goons” would be round your mum’s house to chuck her out ten minutes after May was elected (and deprive you of your “rightful inheritance”, which let’s be real, you being some 50/60-something wanker, actually care about).
I honestly can’t believe you made a post that long about the two elections and didn’t even mention that. It was literally the deciding factor. They semi-ditched it at the last minute, but it was too late. The damage was done. She was seen as the lady who was going to nick your mum’s house.
They won’t though.
Literally the only candidate they have who could stand up to Boris and come off well, and actually convince people Labour is for sane people, is Keir Starmer. And there is absolutely no chance, in a field of five women and him, that it’s going to be him. Because optics and lefties and so on. I get it, and I wouldn’t want to pick him for similar reasons but none of the female candidates they have are sufficiently good at arguing and speaking to take on Boris head-to-head and come away looking like anything but a bit of an idiot, best case, an idiot dragged down to an idiot’s level by Boris. I mean, let’s look at them:
Rebecca Long-Bailey - Non-entity.
Emily Thornberry - Prone to raging out, says dumb things, will definitely get immediately tricked into saying something phenomenally dumb that follows her around forever by a fucking troll like Boris. She thinks calling herself a “girly swot” made her seem big and clever, which is good evidence of her lack of political judgment, frankly. It pleased like, a small minority of people who already vote Labour or Lib Dem. It just confused the fuck out of most people, because even knowing that reference puts you in a tiny minority of Brits - and an elite one.
Angela Rayner - She might actually have actually had a chance, because she is a good public speaker, and has a manner that will contrast well with Boris, has a strong background, and frankly, looks good, which matters for leaders (not like “hot” but “competent” and “like a real person”). But she’s such a “nice person” that she decided to “clear the way” for total non-entity party wonk Long-Bailey instead. Fuck’s sake.
Jess Phillips - pretty much just /rolleyes. I mean, there’s not a lot more to it. Anyone who thinks she could defeat Boris five years from now, unless Boris literally decides to re-enact the Harrying of the North (1069-1070AD), is being bloody silly. She may be a very nice person, but that’s not an asset when leading the party against a populist bigot-powered goon like Boris.
Lisa Nandy - Non-entity.
Yvette Cooper - Has already repeatedly proven that she is bad at this game, bad at leading, bad at getting elected. She’s certainly a “safe pair of hands” and so on, but lacks the fundamental skills to actually defeat someone like Boris.
Of course it might not matter. The Tories may well fire a torpedo at themselves before the next election. But if so they’ll have lost, rather than Labour winning, and any majority will likely be small.