It was said of the Bourbons, the last royal family of France, that they had learned nothing and had forgotten nothing. Whether it is a failed aristocratic dynasty, or a doctrinaire political party, to learn nothing from failings and to remain certain in convictions seems an enduring characteristic.
The Bourbons were restored to the throne in France after the fall of Napoleon, but their reign was not to endure. Returning to imperious ways, returning to former attitudes, they found themselves finally ejected from power in the revolution of 1848. Other monarchies endured the upheavals of the Nineteenth Century, the House of Bourbon seemed incapable of developing a capacity to adapt to the growing democratic spirit. Holding their ground seemed more important than holding onto the throne.
The British Labour Party seems characterised by a similar spirit of having learned nothing and having forgotten nothing. It has lost three successive general elections, in 2010, 2015 and 2017, but to watch its behaviour would give the impression that it had enjoyed a triumph last year.
The Trotskyite entryist element who finally achieved their takeover of the party have forgotten nothing of their planned programme to create state monopolies and to establish Britain as an independent socialist republic and have been quite methodical in their practice of removing from positions in the party anyone who has the temerity to question their plans.
Forgetting nothing of their own certainty, there is no sign they have learned anything.
There has remained a capacity to reinterpret even the most inconvenient truths in such a way that a conclusion is favourable. Anyone who remembers the 1983 general election will remember Margaret Thatcher achieving a landslide and returning to parliament for a second term with a majority of one hundred and forty four seats. Labour lost heavily in the election, being reduced from two hundred and sixty one seats to two hundred and nine, fifty-two seats less than in the previous parliament. In terms of the popular vote, the Labour Party polled four and a half million votes less than the Conservatives. Despite their being a resounding rejection of Labour, Left-wing figures interpreted the eight and a half million votes for the Labour Party as the biggest vote ever for a socialist manifesto.
If Labour fails to learn from the recent past, if it insists on emphasising only the things that suits its attitude, then it will find that history repeats itself, as it did in France, as the Borbons were rejected for a second time.