They did not: we now have a Government riven by sleaze, a cabinet notable only for a sustained level of ineptitude and dishonesty, a litany of chaos and failure with Brexit hobbling the economy, Covid-19 running rampant, and corruption equally viral. In Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson we have an alleged Prime Minister whose only priority is the upward trajectory, welfare and promotion of Himself Personally Now.
Yet if there were a General Election next Thursday, Bozo would most likely be returned to power, and with a majority hardly reduced from its current level. And that comes down to one thing, and one alone: the quality and visibility of the opposition. Put bluntly, we know little of the quality because the visibility is not there, is not cutting through.
That in turn is down to Keir Starmer, whose leadership of Labour has at times appeared hardly visible. He is unconvincing. He equivocates. He waffles. There is no fire in the belly. All of which was on increasingly painful view on The Andy Marr Show™ this morning.
What about Tory sleaze? Yes, Starmer was angry. Or at least he said he was angry. So we had to take that on trust, which, for someone who aspires to be Prime Minister, isn’t cutting the mustard. There was none of the thunder of Gordon Brown, none of the insistence of Ed Miliband, none of the passion of Jeremy Corbyn. Thus the problem.
Would he support the Government if they triggered Article 16? There was a straightforward answer to this question, and that answer was NO. So did he say that? Sadly, he did not: he waffled, he equivocated. He would make Brexit work, which would be an interesting thing to see, as there is not a snowball in hell’s chance of Brexit working.
And so it goes on: at PMQs, yes, he takes Bozo apart, but his deputy Angela Rayner does not stop with a mere forensic examination: she subjects our hapless PM to a verbal flogging. We are left in no doubt that she means it, the denunciation of Tory corruption comes from the heart. Does Starmer’s message come from the heart? We can’t tell.
Worse still, festering away in the background - and Starmer can count himself lucky that Marr did not ask about it - is what looks more and more like a party becoming messed up. Last week came a massive data breach that, it seems, no-one wants to talk about. Rather a lot of party members might just want answers. What if they don’t get them?
The current General Secretary was reputed to be Starmer’s choice. Right now, he gives the appearance of being more interested in a war on left-wingers rather than a war on the Tories. Who is Labour supposed to be fighting? What does the party stand for? In the latter case, the public don’t know. Because the leadership is not sufficiently visible, nor does it give the voters a straightforward message. And doesn’t look like it will any time soon.
So many on the left and centre-left wanted Starmer to do well. But with the inevitability of night following day, they are drifting away. Labour needs a winner. Keir Starmer isn’t one.
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