Owen Jones: Labour can’t turn it around by peddling misery. It must exude hope

From Clement Attlee to Ronald Reagan, the lesson of election success is clear: even in dark days, voters still crave optimism

What do Ronald Reagan and Spain’s radical Podemos party have in common? Little, you might imagine. The former was an unapologetic champion of letting the market run riot; the latter is, in part, a rebellion against that dogma. But both defined their contrasting philosophies in a similar way: with hope, optimism and empowerment. Reagan won two landslide elections; while less than two years after it was founded, Podemos – though still not in government – became one of Spain’s three major parties.

A cursory glance at opinion polls would suggest that, for any progressively minded person, talk of hope and optimism currently means delusion and denial. Labour has six weeks to chip away at a colossal Tory poll lead. The defeatist approach is to think it’s too late and people have already made up their minds.

Related: The myth of Ronald Reagan: pragmatic moderate or radical conservative?

Britain’s official leave campaign waged a campaign of fear, but its slogan – “Take back control”– cut through

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