Ignore the teenage scribblers on the left, Keir Starmer has got this

by David Talbot

As dusk falls on the most punishing of years, the political fortunes of the Government has oscillated from “a fantastic year for Britain” to Christmas being cancelled across a country decimated by COVID-19, economic collapse at home, ostracisation abroad and uniform exhaustion at life being halted as we know it.

For the Prime Minister, who ushered in the New Year with what can now rightly be seen as one of the most macabre of reassurances, his bombastic optimistic, jingoism and bravado – which were all either once lauded or played significantly to his base – have become his wickeder traits as reality finally catches up with his fantasies and self-obsession.

For the Labour Party, the direction of travel has been diametrically opposed but no less difficult.
Jeremy Corbyn’s influence on the Labour Party had been profound. Corbyn, and Corbynism, was ushered into a party rootless after 13 years of power and the failure of Ed Miliband to carve out distinct ground to the left of his predecessors, whilst still appeasing a membership and trade union base yearning for “transformative” policies. The 2019 election result was the final sorry denouement to that particular thought exercise.

Labour has now been out of power for 10 years, half of that time under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The hegemony that he held over the party, particularly post the 2017 general election defeat, has now been ceded.

One of the many early tasks for the new Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, was to establish himself before anyone else could define him.

The Conservatives’ inability to define and sustain a line of attack on the Labour leader is self-evident; he most obviously is not, for one, a far-left sympathiser of Jeremy Corbyn, nor is he – as has been highlighted to no great joy – Captain Hindsight.

Starmer rightly recognised early on in his leadership that he needed to earn the trust of the British public to be listened to again. It involves a long-term commitment to listening to and understanding why communities moved away from a party historically created to represent them.

Policies are, of course, important in politics. But so are people. Labour presented a dazzling array of policies at the general election last year which, whilst collectively popular, were holed by a complete lack of credibility and competence by those espousing them.

Corbynism has collapsed since Starmer ascended to the leadership. The left no longer exists as a potent force in the Labour party, or the left-wing of British politics. At the start of Starmer’s leadership, the Socialist Campaign Group held 11 Shadow Cabinet positions. Since then, it has retreated to its ideological redoubt: criticising whatever the Labour leadership does, fermenting a tale of betrayal and obsessing over internal procedure. It is a shame, but it was their decision.

The sheer scale of Labour’s failure over the past ten years is almost without parallel since it last achieved it thirty years ago. For the sake of electability, Labour’s members overwhelmingly chose Sir Keir Starmer in February.

Throughout the year, Starmer has demonstrated that he is fleet of foot enough to bypass the more obvious of Conservatives’ traps. On culture wars, reheated Brexit dividing lines and botched parliamentary bearpits reminisce of George Osborne’s skulduggery, Labour has either sided with the public, or moved on.

By emphasising the new, with a clear contrast to the dismal and utterly routed Corbynite project of the past 5 years, Starmer has laid the foundation for Labour’s electoral strategy to 2024. Clearly, the Labour leadership has built a strategy for the long-term. Learning the many lessons from 2019, Labour’s leadership knows that it will have no chance of winning a general election if it is perceived as incompetent, radical or out of touch. It befits the seriousness of the party’s decline, and the task before it.

There is no great hurry to detail policies at such a moment in the electoral cycle, particularly as the public’s attention is – rightly – on the government’s cack-handed response to the biggest public health crisis in a generation. In order to unveil a detailed policy agenda, Labour needs to establish its reputation as a credible government-in-waiting. The left is naturally demanding a detailed vision, closely correlated to Corbyn’s manifesto, of course – but there is clear method to Starmer’s strategy. Starmer’s ratings as the strongest for a Labour leader in thirty years. The party has risen to par with the Conservatives and laid solid foundations for rebuilding its vote. Considering that Starmer became Leader of the Opposition in the middle of a pandemic, these are no minor achievements.
Starmer and his ‘competence-first’ agenda has been increasingly denounced, becoming a near norm for scepticism amongst the commentariat. Nobody, least of all the Labour leader, has suggested that is all he has to offer. He has now earned the opportunity, in the dawn of 2021, to start detailing his vision for Britain.

David Talbot is a political consultant


Tags: , , , , ,



Warning: Use of undefined constant REQUEST_URI - assumed 'REQUEST_URI' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c06/h07/mnt/183863/domains/labour-uncut.co.uk/html/wp-content/themes/labour_uncut/comments.php on line 20

21 Responses to “Ignore the teenage scribblers on the left, Keir Starmer has got this”

  1. John P Reid says:

    first two paragrpahs – Parklife

    paragraph 4 the first 5 years of the 10 years we’ve been out of power was due to Gordon brown and Blair losing us the election in 2010

    paragraph 6 he’s called captain Hindisght he was the one that pushed for he 2nd referendum for remain which was the Straw that broke the camels back losing the RED WALL, not Corbyn, the “straw” as it started with aalir or before then with the selling of council homes

    the way labour wins back the red wall or the Working class down south is be in touch with them, the tories are ahead in the polls and the Brexit party is relaunching itself
    there’s no progressive majority of thinking get Green or Libdem votes ,the numbers aren’t there, Labour won’t win at the moment the public think the Tories are doing a Okay job, and the fact the tories aren’t interesting in fighting the culture war doesn’t mean liberals are winning it, they’ve out riders like Talk radio to the Mail to show how much the left hate the working class and it , resonates labour will have to condemn he middle class liberal left for being snobs, not knowing what it’s like to live on A council estate, if labour wants to have any chance of winning or show it has any idea what the working class, want and why they voted tory. Labours not even trying the guardian are now screaming Racism, more than ever without realising it’s own prejudice towards the working class look at them saying the grooming gangs Rotherham scandal was fake when Former labour Member dan Hodges, in the Mail said it’s a cover up.

  2. A.J. says:

    Perhaps Starmer fancies himself as the Stanley Baldwin type: ‘Safety First’.

    ‘Ignore the teenage scribblers on the Left, Keir Starmer has got this’ – what? A wry grin? An inferiority complex? A tendency to hope that Jews across the world have short memories?
    The likes of Abbott and Burgon may be dozing on the back benches, but the likes of Rayner are scarcely any better. And Starmer – together with Daft Angie – took the knee – at a time when it was crystal clear the BLM mob were nothing more than that, yelling, screaming hooligans: the SWP and their like. We all saw the photographs.
    It’s not impossible, however, for a respectable majority in the House Of Commons to be whittled away. Look at what happened to Labour in 1950 and 1970. Starmer might pray at night for a few by-elections, in which ‘Tory’ mediocrities fall to his own half-wits. Because that’s where we’re at right now, in a situation in which the average Labour candidate makes some Blairite loon like Frank Dobson look like Evan Durbin.
    I’m afraid, when Labour win anything nowadays, it’s not because they’re any good but because the so-called ‘Conservative Party’ is so pathetic.

  3. Alf says:

    We’re Tory-lite again and I like it!

  4. wg says:

    Keir Starmer has already been defined by his actions – he ‘took the knee’ in support of a movement built on a false narrative and marred by violence.

    Does David really believe that the workers behind the red wall are going to support such a person – somebody who begs for votes from a kneeling position?

  5. A.J. says:

    Little sense in anyone now referring to the General Election of 1935, a point at which Labour was divided yet held its own (as even David Starkey will tell you). The prospective voters of 2024 (or whenever the next GE comes) are vague about Tony Blair – the names of Ramsay MacDonald and Clement Attlee are as meaningful to them (or, possibly, less so) than Cleopatra and Mark Antony. My own younger daughter is vaguely left-wing. Going on twenty four and still playing ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. I was a branch treasurer and membership secretary by then, reading G.D.H.Cole and Raymond Williams.
    Back to the point, what about Scotland? Any sign of a Labour recovery there? I’m certain Blair intended the SP to be nothing more than a Labour talking-shop. Not turned out too well, has it? Mind you, I’m also certain Scotland would still be suffering if largely run by Labour.

  6. A.J. says:

    Good, interesting article on Starmer and his relationship with the Scots in ‘The Guardian’ today (Christmas Eve). When was the high tide of support for Labour in Scotland? I wouldn’t mind seeing the English lawyer debating with the Tartan Terror in the not too distant future.

  7. A.J. says:

    Getting towards the end of Morgan’s book on the Attlee years. Amusing that the ‘Manchester Guardian’ forecast there would be no resignations over cuts in the health service. ‘The Guardian’ – like the ‘Economist’ – continues that grand tradition of being wrong about virtually everything – just like Paddy Ashdown promising to eat his hat if the exit polls proved to be correct in 2015. McDonnell, in fact, grave-faced, proved last year to be somewhat less of a cock than Ashdown or the pitiful Alistair Campbell.

  8. Dave Roberts says:

    The problem is still however one of perception. Whatever Starmer does there is still enough of various factions of the loony left in the party for the right wing press to portray it as controlled by them. In many many parts of the country the organisations are still Momentum controlled and that is particularly so in the inner cities, especially those of London. Watch out for a high profile criminal case due to start in January when the current MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Apsana Begum faces fraud charges. She is totally controlled by Momentum.

  9. Anne says:

    Excellent article – agree. Starmer and his team just seem like the grown ups. Far and away the better team. Johnson and his team just come across as third rate politicians. Johnson is totally unsuitable for leadership – even from the beginning, but he seems to get worse and certainly does not learn from mistakes – for example giving his pals PPE contracts and then rewarding Tory donors with peerages. Some might say this is cronyism while others would suggest corruption.
    Scotland is certainly going to be a challenge – Sturgeon is already using the Brexit deal as a reason for Scottish independence. To be fair to her she has done very well throughout the Pandemic- leading from the front. In contrast to Johnson’s dismissal performance – he is so poor at public speaking – really poor leadership skills. A total embarrassment all round.
    The Labour Party now have a credible leader who is building respect among the population. He is demonstrating good communication/leadership with sound grasp of detail. He is well prepared with good understanding of situations. The one area where he was possibly misguided was in suspending the whip from Corbyn. Although Corbyn was, in many respects, a poor leader he appears to be a good MP, and he was voted in as a Labour MP.
    Let us all hope for a better 2021.

  10. John P Reid says:

    When labour lose The 2024 Election will Keir starmer be humiliated?
    Knowing it was him putting remain in the 2019 manifesto
    That caused him to win over enough ex Liberal Democrat’s that secured him to become the parties leader in 2020
    As the party felt it was a gamble worth raking in 2019 try to appeal to middle class liberals thinking the red wall were bluffing when they’d warned the party they wouldn’t vote labour in 2019 if another referendum for remain was in the manifesto
    And their bluff was called and they weren’t bluffing
    Or because the Red wall have long memories and won’t Forget Starmer was the key architect of this betrayal,
    That when they don’t Vote labour in 2024
    Because Starmer out remain in A referendum in the manifesto
    Starmer can save face , saying it was never his strategy to Win he wanted to be the Kinnock candidate ,who made labour electable to win in 2029

  11. Tafia says:

    Opinium, 27 Nov-08 Dec
    Con: 40%
    Lab: 38%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 4%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    Redfield & Wilton, 02 Dec
    Con: 40%
    Lab: 37%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 3%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    YouGov, 02-03 Dec
    Con: 38%
    Lab: 38%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 5%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 13%

    Opinium, 03-04 Dec
    Con: 38%
    Lab: 40%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 3%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 13%

    Survation, 04-10 Dec
    Con: 39%
    Lab: 37%
    LDem: 8%
    Grn: 5%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 11%

    IpsosMORI, 04-10 Dec
    Con: 41%
    Lab: 41%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 5%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 7%

    Kantar, 10-14 Dec
    Con: 38%
    Lab: 37%
    LDem: 8%
    Grn: 5%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    SavantaComRes, 11-13 Dec
    Con: 38%
    Lab: 37%
    LDem: 8%
    Grn: 5%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    YouGov, 15-16 Dec
    Con: 39%
    Lab: 37%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 6%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    Opinium, 16-17 Dec
    Con: 39%
    Lab: 39%
    LDem: 6%
    Grn: 4%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    YouGov, 21-22 Dec
    Con: 37%
    Lab: 41%
    LDem: 5%
    Grn: 5%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 12%

    Survation, 22 Dec
    Con: 39%
    Lab: 38%
    LDem: 8%
    Grn: 4%
    Oth/DK/WNV: 11%

    Doubt any further polls will be published between now and New Years Eve. December’s Polls average has a Con lead of 0.5% (C 38.5, L38) – much the same as November which was C39, L38.5. Political commentators are forecasting that the Tories will have a 10% lead over Labour by August ( and remember, the Fixed Term Parliament Act will have been scrapped by then, meaning General Elections get called when it suits the PM).

    Pundits are forecasting that once the main Covid vaccine programme roles out, the domestic economy will boom (unbelievably, we’ve now overtaken India and become the fifth largest economy on earth & the UK economy will recover quickly and be 23% bigger than France’s (similar population size and economic profile) by the end of 2021

    Economic forecasters are now saying that because so much of the retail spending (which has actually increased quite markedly) has switched to on-line (which is cheaper), and the effects of lockdowns on socialising, ordinary households have actually paid down credit card debt and mortgages and as a result, they expect a consumer boom from early summer onwards.

  12. Tafia says:

    Scotland

    Survation, 04-09 Dec, Scotland Only
    IndyRef2
    Yes: 52%, No: 48%
    Westminster
    SNP: 51%, SCon: 20%, SLab: 21%, SLDem: 6%, Oth: 2%
    Holyrood Const/List
    SNP: 53/41%, SCon: 20/18%, SLab: 20/20%, SLDem: 6/7%, SGrn: 0/10%, Oth:1/4%

    *Polling samples for Holyrood Elections are adjusted to account for the fact that at that level, 16-year-olds can vote.

    SavantaComRes, 11-15 Dec, Scotland Only
    IndyRef2
    Yes: 58%, No: 42%
    Holyrood Const/List
    SNP: 55/42%, SCon: 20/20%, SLab: 16/17%, SLDem: 6/7%, SGrn: 0/12%, Oth: 3/2%

  13. A.J. says:

    Just looking at the Sunday newspapers. The ‘Mail On Sunday’ appears, Peter Hitchens aside, to have rented a permanent space halfway up Boris Johnson’s backside. ‘The Observer’ on the other hand, featuring Will Hutton, reminds me of the lugubrious RAF man in ‘The Way To The Stars’, constantly shaking his head and saying, “No good’ll come of it, mark my words”. Labour MPs like Neil Coyle insist they don’t want ‘Brexit blood on their hands’. Is that really they way they think in places like Bermondsey? Sir Keir (or Kier, it varies) is meanwhile proposing to reach out and give a sloppy kiss and cuddle to the voters of places like Bishop Auckland, in the hope they might forgive, forget and even shed a tear of remorse. But will they?

  14. Tafia says:

    Anyone else notice that Labour have shut up about the tories dishing contracts out for PPE etc during the crisis without going through full tender processes, and awarding contracts to people they knew etc?

    Couldn’t be because of Khan and £500m of contracts awarded without full tendering including to family members etc by any chance could it?

  15. A.J. says:

    I’m beginning to feel almost sorry for Keir Starmer. Poor chap can’t seem to do right for doing wrong and it looks as if far too many of his MPs will be voting for Johnson’s deal with a heavy heart else making trouble. So, it seems pretty obvious, does it not, that the Labour Party has learned nothing from its 2019 defeat? Will it ever learn anything?
    There was an interesting (though rather pointless piece) in ‘The Guardian’ the other day about Nottinghamshire miners. They seemed to be lacking – to put it mildly – in enthusiasm for the Labour Party or for Europe (though I don’t think any of them had actually voted ‘Conservative’). They’re not daft and recognise that the ‘mass industrial proletariat’ Kenneth Morgan talked about in his book on the Attlee governments no longer exists and that the old industrial landscape is being transformed: housing estates going up over old mine workings etc. They also tend to blame Blair for peeling away working class votes by not promoting a sufficient number of working class MPs. A moot point perhaps.

  16. John P Reid says:

    If Ben Bradshaw and Jon Mcdonnell both oppose brexit deal
    It’ll show what we said all along
    Blairites and Corbynites are both middle class liberal metropolian guardian reading identity politics who hold the working class in contempt
    Yet they call those who disagree with them and are working class- Tories

  17. Russ says:

    No it isn’t disagreeing John P Reid that marks you out as tory it’s this
    “Blairites and Corbynites are both middle class liberal metropolian guardian reading identity politics who hold the working class in contempt”

    When all these posts ignore injustice & prejudice it betrays either the real tory nature of illiberal social democrats or that tory trolls are everywhere.

    Or maybe you couldn’t tell the pigs from the men or the men from the pigs.

  18. Ann Onnimus says:

    I love how centrists try to dismiss the left with phrases like “teenage scribblers”, failing to realise that such descriptions are far more applicable to themselves.

  19. John P Reid says:

    In what way is stating Blairites and Corbynites are both middleclass liberal remain voting guardian readers from London , a tory view

    Many people I know voted for blairite David miliband rather than I’m not new labour Ed miliband for leader in 2010 and for corbyn in 2015
    And look at Barry Gardiner went from Blairite to corbynista

    Me saying this isn’t prejudice and it doesn’t make me a Tory
    Unless you think The traditional socially conservative Euro skeptic working class daily mirror reader outside of London who has nothing in common with the middle class remain Guardianistas or Blair / Corbyn as the only true voice of the labour party and it shouldn’t be a working class party
    And somehow the issues of liberal middle class London are the ones against injustice
    The ones pro equality and labour shouldn’t care about issues of the working class up north
    Which is where labour is now

  20. John P reid says:

    Russ
    An injustice is the fact
    Labour hate the working class

    AJ Paul ofynn good link I think telegraph on Labour’s brexit view

Leave a Reply