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Can Starmer break Labour’s curse? The Left has been stymied by three populist myths

'Excruciatingly, soul-crushingly boring' (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

'Excruciatingly, soul-crushingly boring' (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


December 6, 2022   7 mins

While the rest of the country shivers, takes an anxious glance at their online bank account and gloomily turns the thermostat even further down, one man has good reason to celebrate as we stagger towards the end of the year. The very first opinion poll of 2022 showed Keir Starmer’s Labour Party just 3% ahead of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, a desperately fragile margin midway through the parliamentary cycle.

Yet in the past 12 months everything has changed. The Conservatives are now onto their third Prime Minister of the year, having done their best to torpedo their own reputation for economic responsibility, while the Bank of England predicts the longest recession since records began. Above all, Starmer’s poll lead now stands somewhere around 20%, depending on whom you ask. The sense of inevitability is such that even the Chester by-election, which Labour won with a swing of almost 14%, was treated by the press as a bit of a non-event. Maybe the Conservatives will come back in time for the general election; after all, they’ve done it before. They’ve never done it, though, against such a gloomy economic backdrop.

So, while Starmer would be rash to give Pickfords a ring just yet, he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t look up their number, just in case. If Starmer does make it into Downing Street, he’ll be only the seventh Labour Prime Minister in our history, following Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. (The Tories have had twice that number since 1924.) No doubt readers will have strong views about some of the names on that list. (All men, of course: a fact that really irritates Labour partisans when you bring it up.)

The really remarkable thing, though, is that there have been so few of them. Indeed, only three of those men — Attlee, Wilson and Blair — actually won a Labour majority at a General Election, an astonishing statistic when you consider that their party styles itself as the People’s Party. I would guess that most of us instinctively think of the Tories and Labour as rivals of roughly equal standing, a bit like the Republicans and the Democrats across the Atlantic. But if winning elections is the test, which it surely is, then the two parties are less Liverpool and Manchester City than Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion.

As it happens, it’s exactly 99 years today since the election that gave us the very first Labour government — although in a sign of things to come, they didn’t come close to winning a majority. The circumstances were complicated, to say the least. A year earlier, in the autumn of 1922, the collapse of the Lloyd George coalition had triggered a general election. The Conservatives won handsomely under the dour Canadian-born businessman Bonar Law, with the Liberals divided and Labour a very poor second. But Bonar Law fell ill with terminal cancer the following spring, and was succeeded by his Chancellor, the former Harrow pornographer turned media countryman Stanley Baldwin.

Amid a series of enormously complicated intrigues, Baldwin adopted a new policy of economic protectionism, for which, he decided, he must have a new mandate from the voters. So, on 6 December 1923, the voters turned out for their second general election in barely a year. Almost everybody expected Baldwin to romp home, rather as people expected Theresa May to crush the saboteurs in 2017. Alas, we know what happened to her — and it happened to Baldwin, too. His majority vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving a hung parliament in which the Tories had 258 seats, Labour 191 and the Liberals 158. To almost universal disbelief — including, it has to be said, his own — Ramsay MacDonald made his way to Buckingham Palace for a historic audience with George V.

Almost a century later, it’s easy to forget what an extraordinary moment this was. Born in 1866, the illegitimate son of a Scottish farm labourer and a housemaid, MacDonald was by far the most unlikely Prime Minister in Britain’s history. After leaving school at the age of 15, he had worked on a farm himself before becoming a schoolteacher and socialist activist. Leader of the little parliamentary Labour Party before the Great War, he had been forced to step down because of his pacifism, and had even lost his seat in 1918. Persistence, charisma and intellectual dedication had brought him back into the front line. Never, though, had he expected to be offered the premiership.

For the King, who had actively urged Baldwin not to risk the “turmoil” of an early general election, the prospect of a Labour government was less than enticing. In the words of his biographer, Kenneth Rose, George “thought that nearly all change was for the worse”, and had “scarcely troubled to conceal his detestation of either Socialism or the Labour Party”.

But now George rose to the challenge. When, on the afternoon of 22 January 1924, MacDonald returned from Buckingham Palace as Prime Minister, he noted that the King had been “most friendly”, and had asked only that “I would do nothing to compel him to shake hands with the murderers of his relatives” — meaning Lenin’s Bolsheviks. Indeed, by and large the two men got on remarkably well, given the gulf of class and outlook. “The King has never seen me as a Minister without making me feel that he was also seeing me as a friend,” MacDonald wrote afterwards, rather sweetly.

That first Labour government didn’t last long. Right from the start it was a beleaguered minority administration; indeed, MacDonald had only been given the chance of power because the Liberal leader and former PM, H. H. Asquith, was so sure he would make a mess of it. In the immediate aftermath of the election, the Tory papers were full of blood and thunder about the threat of Bolshevism. Yet as one of his ministers remarked at the time, “MacDonald’s idea is to show how respectable [we] are.”

In that respect, he succeeded. There were no radical reforms, no major nationalisations, no great innovations. “Once Labour was in office,” the ultra-reactionary historian Maurice Cowling wrote later, “the government seemed very little different from anything that had gone before.” By and large, MacDonald and co. pottered blandly along, waiting for the inevitable moment when the Tories and Liberals would gang up and force them out.

It came in the late summer of 1924, after a row about a Communist newspaper editor who had urged the armed forces to mutiny. Once again, the three parties went to the country. This time the issue was pretty simple: MacDonald and socialism, or Baldwin and anti-socialism. And this time Baldwin won a gigantic 209-seat majority, and that was that.

In some ways, that first taste of power 99 years ago looked very propitious. MacDonald had established Labour as the main rivals to the Tories, and as a serious, ostentatiously respectable party of government. There was no reason to doubt that they would soon return to office, and indeed MacDonald came back as head of yet another minority government just five years later.

The long-term future seemed equally bright. In an industrial democracy like Britain, in which chapels and trade unions played such enormous social and cultural roles, there seemed every chance Labour would become the nation’s dominant political force, as the Liberals had been in Gladstone’s day. Surely, surely, the future was red — wasn’t it?

A century later, of course, we know different. When you survey the political landscape from MacDonald’s unexpected success in December 1923 to Starmer’s great expectations in December 2022, there are a couple of Labour high points — the Attlee and Blair landslides in particular. But there aren’t half as many as MacDonald and his contemporaries would have predicted. Over the decades, Conservative Prime Ministers have come and gone with wearisome regularity, but the spectacle of haggard, red-eyed Labour leaders conceding defeat in the early hours of the morning has become something of a clichĂ©. Even the sainted Attlee, indisputably Labour’s most influential Prime Minister, lost more general elections than he won.

Why? On the Left, the usual explanation is a conspiracy theorist’s bedtime fantasy, with a rich cast of unscrupulous businessmen, wicked press lords and brainwashed masses. After Ed Miliband’s humiliation in 2015, I heard a splendidly baroque version of this at first hand, involving George Osborne, the Rothschilds and a plot by the Post Office to steal millions of votes. It came, inevitably, from an Oxford academic. But if we steer away from the wilder shores of Left-wing lunacy, one of the best explanations lies in an excellent essay by a Labour activist called Chris Clarke, since published as the book The Dark Knight and the Puppet Master.

In essence, says Clarke, Labour has been distressingly prone to populist myths that drag it down “ethical and electoral wormholes” — a result, I would suggest, of its emotional roots in nonconformist Protestant enthusiasm. One myth is what he calls “The Dark Knight”, which elevates boring parliamentary politics into an apocalyptic showdown between good and evil. The upside is that it gets activists going (“Never kissed a Tory!”). The drawback is that most ordinary people think it’s completely bonkers.

The next myth is “The Puppet Master”, the simplistic view that things are really being controlled by a shadowy elite in cahoots with the mainstream media. (As you may have noticed, these myths have their mirror images on the right, especially in America.) And the third is what Clarke calls “The Golden Era” — the fantasy that life was better in the past, before the Great Betrayal.

In Labour’s case, this means a rose-tinted and often utterly wrong-headed fixation on its one truly significant period in office, the Attlee government of 1945-51. At Labour conferences, you can often see plenty of people wearing T-shirts asking “What Would Clement Do?” Well, what would Clement do? Serve as Churchill’s deputy? Send troops across picket lines to break a dock strike? Set up Nato and commission a nuclear bomb? Send British troops to fight in Korea? Yes, that’s what Clement would do, because he did.

Back, though, to Starmer. Can he break the losing streak? Can he succeed where Hugh Gaitskell, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn so conspicuously failed, and follow Ramsay and Clem into the Palace to kiss hands with the King? Given the polls, you’d be brave to bet against him. Indeed, whatever you think of him — and personally, I’d happily never hear another word from him as long as I live — there’s no doubt that he wants it. His slow-burning betrayal of Jeremy Corbyn, his abandonment of his own Brexit position, his ruthless moves against his own Left wing: these are the hallmarks of a politician who’s absolutely serious about winning power. Even his shameless posturing about private schools seems very cleverly calculated, a bit of populist red meat to throw to the loonies.

Perhaps above all, Starmer has the one quality that most recent Labour leaders have lacked. He is dull — and not just dull, but excruciatingly, soul-crushingly boring. That infuriates his hard-core activists, just as Attlee’s taciturn caution infuriated their predecessors in the Forties. But the facts of history are pretty clear. Nobody can lose an election like an interesting Labour leader. And if the Baggies of British politics have their hearts set on a championship charge in 2024, perhaps they should be grateful to have a manager who’s not afraid to grind his way, whatever it takes, to a boring 1-0 victory.

***

Order your copy of UnHerd’s first print edition here. 


Dominic Sandbrook is an author, historian and UnHerd columnist. His latest book is: Who Dares Wins: Britain, 1979-1982

dcsandbrook

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Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

This was a most amusing article, written with right British humor (wry as an autumn morning, dry as a slice of toast), by an author who doesn’t make the mistake of taking himself too seriously. I think I learned more British history in this than in the last year. My thanks to Unherd and Dominic both!

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Agreed. Dominic has wit and insight. Can Starmer do it? He is plainly following the Biden playbook – keep your head down, say little and let the Tories implosion and multiple failures be the one and only story. It could well work. Yet what is remarkable is the fact that he and Rachel have still failed to conjure up just ONE catchy fresh idea. Not one. This is clear evidence that the party of the urban elite and public sector will just defer to the rule by the Technocracy, just as the Tories have. Keir will indeed repeat the experience of Macdonald, doing nothing in power. More Net Zero. More Welfarism. More mass migration. More taxes. More war on business. More taxes. More NHS.
More State. We are trapped now in declinism. Our energy property labour food and education ‘markets’ are all in crisis. If an 80 majority Tory government cannot grapple with or challenge the Brownite/Blairite consensus and its vast Blob, it is game over for any national recovery. Keir is like the Chinese protesters holding up a totally blank piece of paper. But no one seems to care.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Unfortunately hardly any of that ‘80 seat majority’ can really be described as Tories.

At best they are masquerading under false pretences, at worst they should be on their way to Tyburn.

Rick Sareen
Rick Sareen
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Not only that but Sir Rodney will steer as close to Brussels as possible and he will do so without getting anything in exchange. The noises are already there if you care to listen.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Rick Sareen

Yes. The moment of truth will come only in the election period. Starmer will have no big ideas to sieze the imagination. Nor will he have any serious new concrete policies. Not one. He thinks he does not have to do anything. Just say – we are not Them. Have a change. He can do this because Boris enacted the full Corbyn socio econ programme. So the Blob is intact and runs a Euro like NHS Worshiping High tax Net Zero Zealoty Mega Welfarist Big State machine. He will slip back easily into these 20 year old Blairite slippers. What Rishi HAS to do is expose the toxic credos that lie just under the surface. Toxic Identity politics and more war on free speech. Manufactured Meghan style racial discord & grievance. And the big battle over enterprise. Labour hate wealth creation and the private sector. And yes – they and Blob still are in love with the ultra capitalist Maggie made EU Single Market (god they are sooo dumb). They are above all the party of grubby class war and envy. So Rishi has two short years to get some balls, stwp away from his Treasury overseers, and remember this fact. He must stop suffocating business and give it his max non windfall support. Only then might the middle class and provinces stir and resist a hugely unworthy empty Labour Party.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Anyone who doesn’t know what a woman is and had to apologise to his party for visiting a church will not have any answers of worth.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Anyone who doesn’t know what a woman is and had to apologise to his party for visiting a church will not have any answers of worth.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Rick Sareen

Yes. The moment of truth will come only in the election period. Starmer will have no big ideas to sieze the imagination. Nor will he have any serious new concrete policies. Not one. He thinks he does not have to do anything. Just say – we are not Them. Have a change. He can do this because Boris enacted the full Corbyn socio econ programme. So the Blob is intact and runs a Euro like NHS Worshiping High tax Net Zero Zealoty Mega Welfarist Big State machine. He will slip back easily into these 20 year old Blairite slippers. What Rishi HAS to do is expose the toxic credos that lie just under the surface. Toxic Identity politics and more war on free speech. Manufactured Meghan style racial discord & grievance. And the big battle over enterprise. Labour hate wealth creation and the private sector. And yes – they and Blob still are in love with the ultra capitalist Maggie made EU Single Market (god they are sooo dumb). They are above all the party of grubby class war and envy. So Rishi has two short years to get some balls, stwp away from his Treasury overseers, and remember this fact. He must stop suffocating business and give it his max non windfall support. Only then might the middle class and provinces stir and resist a hugely unworthy empty Labour Party.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Unfortunately hardly any of that ‘80 seat majority’ can really be described as Tories.

At best they are masquerading under false pretences, at worst they should be on their way to Tyburn.

Rick Sareen
Rick Sareen
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Not only that but Sir Rodney will steer as close to Brussels as possible and he will do so without getting anything in exchange. The noises are already there if you care to listen.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Agreed. Dominic has wit and insight. Can Starmer do it? He is plainly following the Biden playbook – keep your head down, say little and let the Tories implosion and multiple failures be the one and only story. It could well work. Yet what is remarkable is the fact that he and Rachel have still failed to conjure up just ONE catchy fresh idea. Not one. This is clear evidence that the party of the urban elite and public sector will just defer to the rule by the Technocracy, just as the Tories have. Keir will indeed repeat the experience of Macdonald, doing nothing in power. More Net Zero. More Welfarism. More mass migration. More taxes. More war on business. More taxes. More NHS.
More State. We are trapped now in declinism. Our energy property labour food and education ‘markets’ are all in crisis. If an 80 majority Tory government cannot grapple with or challenge the Brownite/Blairite consensus and its vast Blob, it is game over for any national recovery. Keir is like the Chinese protesters holding up a totally blank piece of paper. But no one seems to care.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

This was a most amusing article, written with right British humor (wry as an autumn morning, dry as a slice of toast), by an author who doesn’t make the mistake of taking himself too seriously. I think I learned more British history in this than in the last year. My thanks to Unherd and Dominic both!

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

I fully expect Starmer’s Labour Part to win the election and to fail in office as dismally as The Tory Party has down.
You can “manage decline” for only so long, and then you fall off the cliff. I find the prospect interesting rather than frightening.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I completely agree, a short burst of anarchy could be quite amusing, provided one is correctly equipped.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Labour fail to appreciate how propitious was the economy when Blair won in 1997 and how unpropitious it is now.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

We all know Labour will fail. People say they will get in because the tories are failing not because they are any good. I really hope UKIP and the Reform Party will make some kind of a dent. They appear to be hibernating at present.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I completely agree, a short burst of anarchy could be quite amusing, provided one is correctly equipped.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Labour fail to appreciate how propitious was the economy when Blair won in 1997 and how unpropitious it is now.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

We all know Labour will fail. People say they will get in because the tories are failing not because they are any good. I really hope UKIP and the Reform Party will make some kind of a dent. They appear to be hibernating at present.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

I fully expect Starmer’s Labour Part to win the election and to fail in office as dismally as The Tory Party has down.
You can “manage decline” for only so long, and then you fall off the cliff. I find the prospect interesting rather than frightening.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

I still think it is all to play for and entirely in the PM’s hands.
If Sunak implements the CPS recommendations published yesterday on illegal immigrants (to which Suella Braverman wrote the forward) and commits Britain to a net immigration cap of 100k, he will win the next election.
If he tries to do this and is blocked by his own MPs, I think he can turn that into an election win too as Boris and Dom Cummings did.
On the other hand, if Sunak plays it safe and tries to go down the incremental changes route while keeping in the good books of Macron, Biden, VDL etc, he will suffer a landslide defeat of biblical proportions.
Starmer can talk tough on immigration but does he have the guts to actually follow Sunak down the only road that leads to a solution? I very much doubt it.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I don’t think so – while immigration is important to some voters its not the only issue
There’s a significant number of ‘Tory voters’ who are searching for a Tory party to support – not one that thinks Dividends are unearned income 🙂
The Tories / Conservatives are busy loosing the next election all on their own and all Starmer needs to do is keep his head below the parapet until the poles close.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Two years is a long time for Starmer to maintain a “heads down” strategy. The danger for Starmer is that if the Tories start to close the gap in the polls, his team panic and strays from the centre ground he is carefully walking.
If (and it is a massive if) Sunak was to make some clear headway on illegal immigration and puts together a clear path for sub-100k annual immigration, I think he would start to attract voters back.
Nicking a few eco-protestors, not giving in to strikers and getting Kemi Badenoch to push a few “anti-woke”, traditionalist policies wouldn’t hurt either.
Then there is every chance that the economy turns upwards – inflation will surely drop at some point and that will translate to lower fuel and food costs. YOY retail sales were up again this month (4.1%) and my own experience is that the pubs and restaurants are still packed, so there is plenty of money being spent.
Of course many would like taxes eased. I would be surprised if Sunak doesn’t try something in that line closer to the election.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

To add, not while he is backing globalist corporations and not the small businesses and certainly not while he is charging investors in this nation 90% tax on their profits. That is madness. I think they have no belief. They probably look too much to what social media says to get their lead. Scrapping zero carbon would help which is the most anti human narrative ever devised.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

To add, not while he is backing globalist corporations and not the small businesses and certainly not while he is charging investors in this nation 90% tax on their profits. That is madness. I think they have no belief. They probably look too much to what social media says to get their lead. Scrapping zero carbon would help which is the most anti human narrative ever devised.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I’ve upticked your comment, but I wasn’t aware we were inviting parts of the EU to participate in the next election?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Why does the alternative have to be Labour who could be worse? What about Reform and UKIP who have brilliant policies.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Two years is a long time for Starmer to maintain a “heads down” strategy. The danger for Starmer is that if the Tories start to close the gap in the polls, his team panic and strays from the centre ground he is carefully walking.
If (and it is a massive if) Sunak was to make some clear headway on illegal immigration and puts together a clear path for sub-100k annual immigration, I think he would start to attract voters back.
Nicking a few eco-protestors, not giving in to strikers and getting Kemi Badenoch to push a few “anti-woke”, traditionalist policies wouldn’t hurt either.
Then there is every chance that the economy turns upwards – inflation will surely drop at some point and that will translate to lower fuel and food costs. YOY retail sales were up again this month (4.1%) and my own experience is that the pubs and restaurants are still packed, so there is plenty of money being spent.
Of course many would like taxes eased. I would be surprised if Sunak doesn’t try something in that line closer to the election.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

I’ve upticked your comment, but I wasn’t aware we were inviting parts of the EU to participate in the next election?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Why does the alternative have to be Labour who could be worse? What about Reform and UKIP who have brilliant policies.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

That would help but an energy policy that was grounded in physics and reality would also be required.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

Yes I agree. Fracking is the obvious policy change in my opinion. And dropping (or at least pushing back) the net zero targets on petrol cars and gas boilers which are completely unachievable.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Not just unachievable but pointless.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

And ruinously expensive

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

It came from the WEF I believe which tells you everything.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

And ruinously expensive

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

It came from the WEF I believe which tells you everything.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And also wrong.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Not just unachievable but pointless.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

And also wrong.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

But you don’t get a research grant if you don’t back zero carbon. A bit like the medical people who criticise the vaccines poison are in danger of losing their jobs.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

Yes I agree. Fracking is the obvious policy change in my opinion. And dropping (or at least pushing back) the net zero targets on petrol cars and gas boilers which are completely unachievable.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

But you don’t get a research grant if you don’t back zero carbon. A bit like the medical people who criticise the vaccines poison are in danger of losing their jobs.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

No, immigration is only a key issue to some (& anyway Sunak will do nothing other than talk about it).
People who want lower taxes, a less intrusive state & no looney Net Zero policies have no reason to vote Blue Blairite Tory, none whatsoever.
When the alternative was Corbyn, vilest UK politician since Oswald Mosley, it was essential to vote Tory. But Starmer is a Red Blairite, not an anti-Semitic Marxist, so frankly who cares which colour of Blairite is in Downing Street putting up our taxes, eroding our civil liberties & refusing to frack.
Labour are certain to win & Tories deserve to burn, so I’ll vote for Reform UK as they actually are conservative.

Last edited 1 year ago by Perry de Havilland
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

You are right that Sunak will probably do nothing about immigration. And if so then all bets are off for the next election.
If he did, then I think it would bring back voters because you know Labour will never attempt to reduce immigration – Starmer was a human rights lawyer who overturned David Blunkett’s law to stop bogus asylum seekers from claiming benefits. He also led the charge to overturn the referendum – no Brexit means Freedom of Movement means no border control.
I agree stopping the net zero lunacy, easing taxation and stopping the nanny state from growing bigger each day are important. But I still think immigration is where he needs to focus.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

The nanny state used to be a labour lefty thing now it is firmly entrenched in the tory party.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

The nanny state used to be a labour lefty thing now it is firmly entrenched in the tory party.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Me too.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

You are right that Sunak will probably do nothing about immigration. And if so then all bets are off for the next election.
If he did, then I think it would bring back voters because you know Labour will never attempt to reduce immigration – Starmer was a human rights lawyer who overturned David Blunkett’s law to stop bogus asylum seekers from claiming benefits. He also led the charge to overturn the referendum – no Brexit means Freedom of Movement means no border control.
I agree stopping the net zero lunacy, easing taxation and stopping the nanny state from growing bigger each day are important. But I still think immigration is where he needs to focus.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Me too.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I think he is too much in with WEF who have sworn that we will own nothing but be happy to do much for our country. WEF corrupts all that it touches, even Prince Charles. To see Sunak hugging Macron another WEFFER doesn’t give me much hope.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I don’t think so – while immigration is important to some voters its not the only issue
There’s a significant number of ‘Tory voters’ who are searching for a Tory party to support – not one that thinks Dividends are unearned income 🙂
The Tories / Conservatives are busy loosing the next election all on their own and all Starmer needs to do is keep his head below the parapet until the poles close.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

That would help but an energy policy that was grounded in physics and reality would also be required.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

No, immigration is only a key issue to some (& anyway Sunak will do nothing other than talk about it).
People who want lower taxes, a less intrusive state & no looney Net Zero policies have no reason to vote Blue Blairite Tory, none whatsoever.
When the alternative was Corbyn, vilest UK politician since Oswald Mosley, it was essential to vote Tory. But Starmer is a Red Blairite, not an anti-Semitic Marxist, so frankly who cares which colour of Blairite is in Downing Street putting up our taxes, eroding our civil liberties & refusing to frack.
Labour are certain to win & Tories deserve to burn, so I’ll vote for Reform UK as they actually are conservative.

Last edited 1 year ago by Perry de Havilland
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I think he is too much in with WEF who have sworn that we will own nothing but be happy to do much for our country. WEF corrupts all that it touches, even Prince Charles. To see Sunak hugging Macron another WEFFER doesn’t give me much hope.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

I still think it is all to play for and entirely in the PM’s hands.
If Sunak implements the CPS recommendations published yesterday on illegal immigrants (to which Suella Braverman wrote the forward) and commits Britain to a net immigration cap of 100k, he will win the next election.
If he tries to do this and is blocked by his own MPs, I think he can turn that into an election win too as Boris and Dom Cummings did.
On the other hand, if Sunak plays it safe and tries to go down the incremental changes route while keeping in the good books of Macron, Biden, VDL etc, he will suffer a landslide defeat of biblical proportions.
Starmer can talk tough on immigration but does he have the guts to actually follow Sunak down the only road that leads to a solution? I very much doubt it.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

Nobody can lose an election like an interesting Labour leader. Only rarely was a truer word was written

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

Nobody can lose an election like an interesting Labour leader. Only rarely was a truer word was written

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

An interesting and thought provoking article. And yet I suspect Keir Starmer being dull is not enough on its own. Where is his Shadow Cabinet of competent politicians? What will his election manifesto include? And perhaps more importantly how will he square the expectations of Labour activists with a shift in the global populations towards ‘populist’ attitudes?
I don’t expect the Conservatives to get it together in time for the next General Election – Rishi is not your man. But the results might turn out to be far closer that the current polls might suggest if the economy improves and woke activists continue to drone on about their pet concerns for the few.
Keir Starmer and a wafer thin majority anyone?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

100%. Beneath the New Keir and Rachel lie a pack of hardcore wolves like Clive Lewis dripping class envy and hatreds. The middle classes will not be able to ignore them come election time. Identity politics, class war and the Equality mania are their sole manifesto. And it will scare. Even now Keir cannot control these primal urges – windfall taxes and war on provate education.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

… and what is shocking is the CONsocialist party are pulling exactly the same tricks with windfall taxes and fiddling with high taxes and price controls. Anyone would thing the 1970’s never happened, those of us who lived through it now that these type of policies are ruinous “sick man of Europe” here we come again. Kwartang had the right idea but my word the delivery and media management was pathetic.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

You are right! I can only explain Consocialism as the by product firstly of the Chancer Johnson’s chaos and liberal London instincts… plus a crazed overreaction to them winning Red Wall seats. It was as if the toffs were knocked off kilter; we must do leftie things!!! Big State!! Spend! Those northeners love that stuff! Then came Covid. They just surrendered power to the Bio State and Blob in a moment of panic and it was game over. Magic Money Tree madness and the crushing of both liberty and private enterprise seem to have further discombobulated an adminstration under siege. I do not think the Tories actually governed after March 2020. Brexit never had a day even. Covid panic let the Blairite State and technocracy take power from a weedy tiny Executive. They have it still.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

They don’t appear to respond to criticism. Probably pumped up by their vistis to WEF and rubbing shoulders with Biden, Trudeau. Schwab and other globalists.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

They don’t appear to respond to criticism. Probably pumped up by their vistis to WEF and rubbing shoulders with Biden, Trudeau. Schwab and other globalists.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

Right ideas but I think they would have learned if they were given the chance. Their policies were far better than what we have now.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

You are right! I can only explain Consocialism as the by product firstly of the Chancer Johnson’s chaos and liberal London instincts… plus a crazed overreaction to them winning Red Wall seats. It was as if the toffs were knocked off kilter; we must do leftie things!!! Big State!! Spend! Those northeners love that stuff! Then came Covid. They just surrendered power to the Bio State and Blob in a moment of panic and it was game over. Magic Money Tree madness and the crushing of both liberty and private enterprise seem to have further discombobulated an adminstration under siege. I do not think the Tories actually governed after March 2020. Brexit never had a day even. Covid panic let the Blairite State and technocracy take power from a weedy tiny Executive. They have it still.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Pugh

Right ideas but I think they would have learned if they were given the chance. Their policies were far better than what we have now.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Horrible people will always make us look good. As such the tory party is making Labour look good when they really aren’t.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

… and what is shocking is the CONsocialist party are pulling exactly the same tricks with windfall taxes and fiddling with high taxes and price controls. Anyone would thing the 1970’s never happened, those of us who lived through it now that these type of policies are ruinous “sick man of Europe” here we come again. Kwartang had the right idea but my word the delivery and media management was pathetic.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Horrible people will always make us look good. As such the tory party is making Labour look good when they really aren’t.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The level of competency across the entire political class is dire. Liberal arts and PPE degrees are not a good basis for government.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

1980-81. Labour were on 50%. We need a Falklands if history does indeed repeat itself.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

The Crimea redux?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

True. But in 2 years we will be in a dire state as all the chickens cone home to roost. The one and only means of escaping this slide in the pit of GDR style socialist decay is an invigorated private sector. Enterprise. As of today the Tory Socialist & Treasury maniacs are still whacking the strivers and entrepreneurs. If Rishi wakes up in time he can re bind his poorly party to the basic vakues of freedom liberty and enterprise. It may work as Labour and Keir are quite incapable of shaking off its class envy and hatreds. They are the party of now demonic unions and the ghastly failing public sector NHS and Blob. Labour therefore would choke the only hope of recovery we have. When the press dig deeper these truths will be revealed.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Most of them don’t dig deeper unfortunately.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Most of them don’t dig deeper unfortunately.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Not just for the sake of it. Thatcher did it to defend our people in the Falklands.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

The Crimea redux?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

True. But in 2 years we will be in a dire state as all the chickens cone home to roost. The one and only means of escaping this slide in the pit of GDR style socialist decay is an invigorated private sector. Enterprise. As of today the Tory Socialist & Treasury maniacs are still whacking the strivers and entrepreneurs. If Rishi wakes up in time he can re bind his poorly party to the basic vakues of freedom liberty and enterprise. It may work as Labour and Keir are quite incapable of shaking off its class envy and hatreds. They are the party of now demonic unions and the ghastly failing public sector NHS and Blob. Labour therefore would choke the only hope of recovery we have. When the press dig deeper these truths will be revealed.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Not just for the sake of it. Thatcher did it to defend our people in the Falklands.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I wouldn’t touch either of them. Both are Wokist. Safe bet is Reform or UKIP.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

100%. Beneath the New Keir and Rachel lie a pack of hardcore wolves like Clive Lewis dripping class envy and hatreds. The middle classes will not be able to ignore them come election time. Identity politics, class war and the Equality mania are their sole manifesto. And it will scare. Even now Keir cannot control these primal urges – windfall taxes and war on provate education.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The level of competency across the entire political class is dire. Liberal arts and PPE degrees are not a good basis for government.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

1980-81. Labour were on 50%. We need a Falklands if history does indeed repeat itself.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I wouldn’t touch either of them. Both are Wokist. Safe bet is Reform or UKIP.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

An interesting and thought provoking article. And yet I suspect Keir Starmer being dull is not enough on its own. Where is his Shadow Cabinet of competent politicians? What will his election manifesto include? And perhaps more importantly how will he square the expectations of Labour activists with a shift in the global populations towards ‘populist’ attitudes?
I don’t expect the Conservatives to get it together in time for the next General Election – Rishi is not your man. But the results might turn out to be far closer that the current polls might suggest if the economy improves and woke activists continue to drone on about their pet concerns for the few.
Keir Starmer and a wafer thin majority anyone?

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago

his abandonment of his own Brexit position

He hasn’t abandoned it at all. He’s lying to please the Red Wall, and will have us back in the EU in no time.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

And Johnson’s government will have presided over a period of the start of disadvantages for trading with the EU while resisting changes to reap the advantages to the whole economy, we’re still paying the withdrawal ransom, and access to UK EEZ fishing resources policy has scarcely changed at all, so far. Starmer will find it easier than Heath.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Johnson never sorted the fishing, northern Ireland or vaccine damage which is still coming to light even though they try and surpress it. Confidence in the medical profession is now at an all time low because of him and Big Pharma.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Johnson never sorted the fishing, northern Ireland or vaccine damage which is still coming to light even though they try and surpress it. Confidence in the medical profession is now at an all time low because of him and Big Pharma.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

That is why this two year election wait can be a dangerous time. They should have had an election when choosing yet a fourth new leader.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

And Johnson’s government will have presided over a period of the start of disadvantages for trading with the EU while resisting changes to reap the advantages to the whole economy, we’re still paying the withdrawal ransom, and access to UK EEZ fishing resources policy has scarcely changed at all, so far. Starmer will find it easier than Heath.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

That is why this two year election wait can be a dangerous time. They should have had an election when choosing yet a fourth new leader.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago

his abandonment of his own Brexit position

He hasn’t abandoned it at all. He’s lying to please the Red Wall, and will have us back in the EU in no time.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Brown and Milliband and not boring? Hmmm.

The great joke is that, if there was ever an election that Labour would do better to lose, this is it.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Much the same as the Conservatives in 1992. If only they had lost that election

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

One can’t say that. It’s possible that if Labour had won in 1992, we might have had 18 years of Blair and Brown, and although Blair and many of his team were competent and articulate in comparison with Labour or Conservative today, it’s my belief that much changed for the worse during their tenure. As well as the traditional transformation from budget surplus to deficit, we had devolution (intended I’m sure to benefit Labour), abolition of Lord Chancellor and creation of Supreme Court (why?), and the filling of quangos and others with power of patronage ended with universalist socialists (and hence Sir Keir).

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

But the Labour Government under Kinnock with a small majority would have struggled to last a full term. next election a Conservative landslide and no Blair/Brown

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Kinnock retired with EU millions apparently.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Kinnock retired with EU millions apparently.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

The new young political class don’t know about that.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

But the Labour Government under Kinnock with a small majority would have struggled to last a full term. next election a Conservative landslide and no Blair/Brown

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

The new young political class don’t know about that.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

It started to go down from Cameron and has been sinking since then.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

One can’t say that. It’s possible that if Labour had won in 1992, we might have had 18 years of Blair and Brown, and although Blair and many of his team were competent and articulate in comparison with Labour or Conservative today, it’s my belief that much changed for the worse during their tenure. As well as the traditional transformation from budget surplus to deficit, we had devolution (intended I’m sure to benefit Labour), abolition of Lord Chancellor and creation of Supreme Court (why?), and the filling of quangos and others with power of patronage ended with universalist socialists (and hence Sir Keir).

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

It started to go down from Cameron and has been sinking since then.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Both have been judged and found wanting but they still crave power.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Much the same as the Conservatives in 1992. If only they had lost that election

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Both have been judged and found wanting but they still crave power.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Brown and Milliband and not boring? Hmmm.

The great joke is that, if there was ever an election that Labour would do better to lose, this is it.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

“In Labour’s case, this means a rose-tinted and often utterly wrong-headed fixation on its one truly significant period in office, the Attlee government of 1945-51.”
I would say that the Labour Government of 1997 to 2010 changed Britain far more, and much for the worse, than Attlee managed.
As for the future of the Conservative Party, this clip from a recent constituency meeting tells a tale
ï»ż https://twitter.com/TradBritGroup/status/1599691384822251520

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago

Yup and the Attlee administration gifted us a comically restrictive planning system and a ruinous method of funding social and health care. At least Attlee cared about the country and its defence and survival, his best legacy was our independent nuclear program and the spin off civilian nuclear power program. I find it funny that the foaming trotts in hovering beneath the surface of the Labour party are so anti nuclear when in fact it is Labours biggest achievement in government.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Amazingly given how small their majorities were, I think that the Wilson governments of the 60s and 70s could lay claim to doing the most damage by replacing the tripartite school system with the comprehensive system and the consequent devaluing of O and A levels.
Look at a 1960s maths A Level paper and its 2021 equivalent to see how our educational standards have dropped in the 50 years since Labour’s Comprehensive crusade.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

We know Blair was educated privately, so I wondered where a man like Starmer was educated; it was at a grammar school.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

He went to a grammar that became a private school while he was there I believe. It is an unanswered question how much he paid to attend. It went independent in 1975 and he joined in 74 apparently. Guido Fawkes has a lot of coverage of this.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

He went to a grammar that became a private school while he was there I believe. It is an unanswered question how much he paid to attend. It went independent in 1975 and he joined in 74 apparently. Guido Fawkes has a lot of coverage of this.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

We know Blair was educated privately, so I wondered where a man like Starmer was educated; it was at a grammar school.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

I have just watched that clip. It’s a good demonstration of what’s wrong with the Conservative Party. Warman clearly feels safe, and that given Labour and LD’s similar policy on immigration, the people he’s patronising have no option but him, but he’s asking for another party to field a candidate with the missing immigration choice. First-past-the-post means such a candidate may not win, but may also mean that Warman gets a nasty surprise. I hope so.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Elliott
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I can’t bear to watch it at the moment. So much bad news about the tories. Where have the truly honest MP’s gone?

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago

Yup and the Attlee administration gifted us a comically restrictive planning system and a ruinous method of funding social and health care. At least Attlee cared about the country and its defence and survival, his best legacy was our independent nuclear program and the spin off civilian nuclear power program. I find it funny that the foaming trotts in hovering beneath the surface of the Labour party are so anti nuclear when in fact it is Labours biggest achievement in government.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Amazingly given how small their majorities were, I think that the Wilson governments of the 60s and 70s could lay claim to doing the most damage by replacing the tripartite school system with the comprehensive system and the consequent devaluing of O and A levels.
Look at a 1960s maths A Level paper and its 2021 equivalent to see how our educational standards have dropped in the 50 years since Labour’s Comprehensive crusade.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

I have just watched that clip. It’s a good demonstration of what’s wrong with the Conservative Party. Warman clearly feels safe, and that given Labour and LD’s similar policy on immigration, the people he’s patronising have no option but him, but he’s asking for another party to field a candidate with the missing immigration choice. First-past-the-post means such a candidate may not win, but may also mean that Warman gets a nasty surprise. I hope so.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Elliott
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I can’t bear to watch it at the moment. So much bad news about the tories. Where have the truly honest MP’s gone?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

“In Labour’s case, this means a rose-tinted and often utterly wrong-headed fixation on its one truly significant period in office, the Attlee government of 1945-51.”
I would say that the Labour Government of 1997 to 2010 changed Britain far more, and much for the worse, than Attlee managed.
As for the future of the Conservative Party, this clip from a recent constituency meeting tells a tale
ï»ż https://twitter.com/TradBritGroup/status/1599691384822251520

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

Joe Biden portrayed himself as a boring centrist, then caved to every demand of the far left of his party. The concern is Starmer is merely playing the same trick.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The left wing is good at pulling off coups, not so much against its political enemies on the right, but against its more moderate left-wing allies who have achieved power.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The left wing is good at pulling off coups, not so much against its political enemies on the right, but against its more moderate left-wing allies who have achieved power.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

Joe Biden portrayed himself as a boring centrist, then caved to every demand of the far left of his party. The concern is Starmer is merely playing the same trick.

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago

…I’m a middle-class white man in my sixties who voted to leave the EU, and I firmly believe that there is much more in this Countries past, and indeed present, to be proud about than ashamed of…so a North London “yooman rights” Lawyer who struggles to define a Woman as an “adult human female” is hardly the person to win my vote, however smarmy he is and housetrained he appears

…and indeed, whatever he does, most of his party still talk and behave as though they would be appalled and disgusted if anyone like me voted for them…since they apparently believe that all the bad things on earth are my fault, and I should be punished for my (ancestral) wickedness.

They aren’t selling anything I’m buying, and nor are they likely to…

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Well said, sir.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Well said, sir.

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago

…I’m a middle-class white man in my sixties who voted to leave the EU, and I firmly believe that there is much more in this Countries past, and indeed present, to be proud about than ashamed of…so a North London “yooman rights” Lawyer who struggles to define a Woman as an “adult human female” is hardly the person to win my vote, however smarmy he is and housetrained he appears

…and indeed, whatever he does, most of his party still talk and behave as though they would be appalled and disgusted if anyone like me voted for them…since they apparently believe that all the bad things on earth are my fault, and I should be punished for my (ancestral) wickedness.

They aren’t selling anything I’m buying, and nor are they likely to…

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago

I think all three “mainstream” parties are toast. there is palpable anger at the Tories mismanagement and absolutely no confidence in either of the established opposition parties to be any better. What a parlous state of affairs! I predict he may squeak in as Tories defect to other parties or just stay at home polling day, though it will be a struggle without being in the SNP’s pocket as the attack adds will flog endlessly. The real question is will an insurgent party offering policies that allow a proper response to the boat born invasion and a more realistic and secure energy policy rather the current arbitrary date setting and hoping for the best which is all we have been offered so far.

Bob Pugh
Bob Pugh
1 year ago

I think all three “mainstream” parties are toast. there is palpable anger at the Tories mismanagement and absolutely no confidence in either of the established opposition parties to be any better. What a parlous state of affairs! I predict he may squeak in as Tories defect to other parties or just stay at home polling day, though it will be a struggle without being in the SNP’s pocket as the attack adds will flog endlessly. The real question is will an insurgent party offering policies that allow a proper response to the boat born invasion and a more realistic and secure energy policy rather the current arbitrary date setting and hoping for the best which is all we have been offered so far.

Ray Ward
Ray Ward
1 year ago

Sandbrook (whom I’ve met) is always worth reading, but he is unfair to Clement Attlee. He was only deputy to Churchill in the very unusual and desperate circumstances of the war, when general elections were suspended, party conflict was discouraged, and everything was subordinated to the war effort. Labour won the 1945 general election decisively, the 1950 one less so, and only “lost” the 1951 one because of the electoral system. Labour got just under fourteen million votes, the largest vote, in real terms, ever received by a British political party (it has been surpassed twice, by the Conservatives in 1992 and 2019, but with far bigger electorates). Labour suffered from its support being concentrated in urban and industrial areas where Labour candidates got vast majorities which were in fact useless under the first past the post system where every vote beyond the one more than your nearest opponent needed for victory could be said to be wasted. The Conservatives got a majority in the House of Commons, the criterion needed for “victory”, and hung on to power until 1964.

Ray Ward
Ray Ward
1 year ago

Sandbrook (whom I’ve met) is always worth reading, but he is unfair to Clement Attlee. He was only deputy to Churchill in the very unusual and desperate circumstances of the war, when general elections were suspended, party conflict was discouraged, and everything was subordinated to the war effort. Labour won the 1945 general election decisively, the 1950 one less so, and only “lost” the 1951 one because of the electoral system. Labour got just under fourteen million votes, the largest vote, in real terms, ever received by a British political party (it has been surpassed twice, by the Conservatives in 1992 and 2019, but with far bigger electorates). Labour suffered from its support being concentrated in urban and industrial areas where Labour candidates got vast majorities which were in fact useless under the first past the post system where every vote beyond the one more than your nearest opponent needed for victory could be said to be wasted. The Conservatives got a majority in the House of Commons, the criterion needed for “victory”, and hung on to power until 1964.

Kevin Darlington
Kevin Darlington
1 year ago

Nice swipe at the Baggies BTW.

Kevin Darlington
Kevin Darlington
1 year ago

Nice swipe at the Baggies BTW.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago

The next myth is “The Puppet Master”, the simplistic view that things are really being controlled by a shadowy elite in cahoots with the mainstream media. (As you may have noticed, these myths have their mirror images on the right, especially in America.)
The sort of nonsense that no Unherd commenter would ever suggest was true!!!

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

So Klaus Swab and the WEF is a figment of our imagination ?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

So Klaus Swab and the WEF is a figment of our imagination ?

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago

The next myth is “The Puppet Master”, the simplistic view that things are really being controlled by a shadowy elite in cahoots with the mainstream media. (As you may have noticed, these myths have their mirror images on the right, especially in America.)
The sort of nonsense that no Unherd commenter would ever suggest was true!!!

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Starmer may win in the same way as the feckless youth who missed the family reunion plane that crashed, then inherited the lot with no clue what to do with it. He’s got Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper, the old ones are retiring, Rayner, Butler, Lewis, Burgon and Streeting, Nandy and Philips won’t help him.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Starmer may win in the same way as the feckless youth who missed the family reunion plane that crashed, then inherited the lot with no clue what to do with it. He’s got Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper, the old ones are retiring, Rayner, Butler, Lewis, Burgon and Streeting, Nandy and Philips won’t help him.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

It’ll be good and needed therapy for alot of Unherd commentators to have a proper poke at Starmer. It will have been dreadful experience for them these last few months being forced to reflect on the painful waste of 12 yrs Tory rule and they need a break from this. The reflection though one suspects will go no further than seeking to blame individuals rather than the inherent contradictions in current right wing philosophy. That would truly be too painful.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

It’ll be good and needed therapy for alot of Unherd commentators to have a proper poke at Starmer. It will have been dreadful experience for them these last few months being forced to reflect on the painful waste of 12 yrs Tory rule and they need a break from this. The reflection though one suspects will go no further than seeking to blame individuals rather than the inherent contradictions in current right wing philosophy. That would truly be too painful.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

It is amusing to read some of the comments below demanding a ‘big idea’ from Labour. ‘Net Zero’ may or not be a worthy aspiration, but it is certainly a pretty ‘big idea’. You could say ‘levelling up’ was a big idea, though an incredibly vague one and in the end little more than a slogan.
Some basic governmental and administrative competence wouldn’t come amiss, after the endless shambles of recent years, which are embarrassing to our nation. This seems to be possible in countries such as Taiwan and South Korea, but decreasingly so in the UK or US. It is not just the politicians, it is so many institutions which are essentially mediocre, if not completely failing.
Of course there is a huge amount of doubt whether Labour could do any better, and they may well do worse. However in our system people generally vote against perceived government failure and division, which are there in spades after 12 years of Conservative Party dominated government.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

It is amusing to read some of the comments below demanding a ‘big idea’ from Labour. ‘Net Zero’ may or not be a worthy aspiration, but it is certainly a pretty ‘big idea’. You could say ‘levelling up’ was a big idea, though an incredibly vague one and in the end little more than a slogan.
Some basic governmental and administrative competence wouldn’t come amiss, after the endless shambles of recent years, which are embarrassing to our nation. This seems to be possible in countries such as Taiwan and South Korea, but decreasingly so in the UK or US. It is not just the politicians, it is so many institutions which are essentially mediocre, if not completely failing.
Of course there is a huge amount of doubt whether Labour could do any better, and they may well do worse. However in our system people generally vote against perceived government failure and division, which are there in spades after 12 years of Conservative Party dominated government.

Sara Lloyd
Sara Lloyd
1 year ago

This constant refrain of how incredibly dull Starmer is is in itself mind-numbingly boring, not to mention inaccurate.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara Lloyd

Last year The Spectator published Starmer’s conference speech. So boring was it that they put a secret link 3/4s of the way through it which, if any reader got that far, they could click on to win a bottle of Champagne.
Only half a dozen people clicked it. I was the first and so drank a bottle of Pol Roger with Christmas lunch courtesy of the Speccie and we drank a toast to Sir Keir and his dullness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara Lloyd

Correct. Rishi is far more boring, but would we rather have Boris back?

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

No. I don’t care a jot about ‘partygate’ and all the other criticism with which he’s bombarded, but I do care about HS2, the ratifying of the TCA, the lack of courage in sticking to the epidemic plan along with Sweden, the rapid increase in immigration, all while wallowing in an 80 seat majority. Policy and vaccination and Ukraine is good, but not nearly enough.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Yes! Shameless boris fan right here. I was appalled how he was ousted. There’s a reason he won that majority, I thought he did a reasonable job in a shit situation with covid too. Hands up, smote me if you like, BRING BORIS BACK. Rees mogg as chancellor if possible, I give him much credit for attempting to tell the IMF and the OBR to sod off. The imf are very bad as far as I know. Good on him. He knows wtf he’s talking about. I feel boris lot were trying to do the right things, odds were stacked against them though.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Yes! Shameless boris fan right here. I was appalled how he was ousted. There’s a reason he won that majority, I thought he did a reasonable job in a shit situation with covid too. Hands up, smote me if you like, BRING BORIS BACK. Rees mogg as chancellor if possible, I give him much credit for attempting to tell the IMF and the OBR to sod off. The imf are very bad as far as I know. Good on him. He knows wtf he’s talking about. I feel boris lot were trying to do the right things, odds were stacked against them though.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

No. I don’t care a jot about ‘partygate’ and all the other criticism with which he’s bombarded, but I do care about HS2, the ratifying of the TCA, the lack of courage in sticking to the epidemic plan along with Sweden, the rapid increase in immigration, all while wallowing in an 80 seat majority. Policy and vaccination and Ukraine is good, but not nearly enough.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara Lloyd

Last year The Spectator published Starmer’s conference speech. So boring was it that they put a secret link 3/4s of the way through it which, if any reader got that far, they could click on to win a bottle of Champagne.
Only half a dozen people clicked it. I was the first and so drank a bottle of Pol Roger with Christmas lunch courtesy of the Speccie and we drank a toast to Sir Keir and his dullness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara Lloyd

Correct. Rishi is far more boring, but would we rather have Boris back?

Sara Lloyd
Sara Lloyd
1 year ago

This constant refrain of how incredibly dull Starmer is is in itself mind-numbingly boring, not to mention inaccurate.

Stephen Wood
Stephen Wood
1 year ago

I was with you until you talked about ‘shameless posturing on private schools’.

Stephen Wood
Stephen Wood
1 year ago

I was with you until you talked about ‘shameless posturing on private schools’.