End of year report
– Starmer falling short!
Starmer’s declared mission is to attract back Tory voters and steer Labour back to power. But as 2021 has gone by, he has expended more energy on evicting Socialists from the Labour tent than on trying to bring down the Tory camp!
But the real test will come at the next General Election – which might not be far away if pundits’ predictions of a 2023 poll are realised.
So how has Labour done when electors have had their say? Well, the recent Bexley and Sidcup result will make unhappy reading for Starmer.
Held at the height of public outcry about sleaze and corruption at the heart of Johnson’s rabble of a Government, you would expect Labour to make good on Starmer’s lurch to the right to attract Tory voters.
But the result – and the mood music around it – makes for depressing reading for Keir and his chums.
The result itself – based on a 34 per cent turnout – is not something from which significant conclusions can be drawn. A decent 10.3 per cent swing to Labour would, if replicated nationally, draw Labour closer to the Tories but not be enough to win the keys to No 10.
Some of the comments made by electors should worry those pinning their hopes on Keir and his Blair tribute cabinet winning the hearts and minds of the electorate whenever Johnson decides is the best moment to seek a second term.
Coverage in the run up to the by election relied heavily on that age old newspaper favourite of a ‘vox pop’ – bothering to talk to ‘real people’ about what they think.
The Guardian – hardly a friend of the Tories – was quick to pursue this path with depressing results for Labour. Some of the excerpts included:
Stephanie, a hairdresser, has always voted Conservative and will probably do so again on Thursday. She called Johnson an “idiot” – a view she said was shared by customers. “If we had a strong leader in opposition, I might be looking for a change in government – but better the devil you know,” she sighed.
City worker Michael associated Johnson with scandal, breaking rules and U-turns, raising reports that the prime minister attended a party in Downing Street during the second lockdown. Michael said the background he came from meant he “should be voting Labour” but complained leader Keir Starmer had shown “no leadership”. “He just puts up objections but no solutions.”
John, who identified as a “Tory voter” and called Johnson a “buffoon” but also “the best of a bad bunch”.
If Stephanie, Michael, and John are the kind of Tory voters Starmer needs to win back, then he is going to be sorely and, ultimately fatally, disappointed – and defeated.
His only hope, and seemingly his only strategy, is that enough of the electorate will eventually fancy a change from Johnson. Hardly a winning formula to attract the millions of non-voters required to get the keys to Number 10.