Party leader Keir Starmer is, apparently, frustrated, which is not quite the emotion felt by many Labour members and supporters, who are still unable to answer the question more and more voters want answered - what is Labour for? What is the vision? What sets the party apart from alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s Tories?
Once more, reference must be made to J K Galbraith’s definition of leadership: "All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership” and its corollary “A leader can compromise, get the best deal he can. Politics is the art of the possible. But he cannot be thought to evade”.
Keir Starmer has thus far failed to anticipate the major anxiety of the people as the Covid-19 pandemic - hopefully - recedes from the scene. It’s going to be the economy, stupid: employment, along with health, the environment, mobility, security and the expectation that folks will be able to get on. Those folks might also want the choice of getting out, to retire somewhere warmer and sunnier. A better Britain. Basic stuff.
But he does not give them that reassurance, that hope, that vision. Nor does he take the fight to the Tories as part of a campaign to stick up for ordinary people, as the likes of Andy Burnham has done in Greater Manchester. So he has been thought to evade. Bozo also evades, usually by lying, but his media outriders cover for him.
Moreover, the Starmer team’s excuses are now wearing very thin indeed: blaming his predecessor is petty and pointless, especially when Labour’s losing candidate in Hartlepool admitted that Jeremy Corbyn’s name did not come up in doorstep canvassing. Also, Starmer has had well over a year in post. The setbacks are for him to own.
That period in office has seen Labour’s membership dwindle as many, especially on the left of the party, have simply walked away. Others have been suspended or even expelled. But the problem for Labour is not the left: the left helped Tony Blair win. He included people like John Prescott to give him a link to the left and the working class. Blair at least listened to Trades Union leaders. He took the fight to the Tories, not his own party.
Worse still, as Channel 4 News has revealed, is their own polling telling “the top reason given for not voting Labour in elections in England yesterday was Sir Keir Starmer's leadership”. He takes Bozo apart at PMQs. But all too often, Labour either goes along with the Tories, or fails to define and communicate what they would do differently.
More war on the left would benefit only one party, and it would not be Labour. Starmer needs to consider not just what works, but what does not, as he mulls a reshuffle.
And if the greatest benefit would be to reshuffle himself out - then so be it.
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