Friday, 19 February 2021

Of A Sort, Perhaps?

Keir Starmer thinks that Labour has "made progress" under his Leadership. But every seat that Labour is going to lose in May was held or won under Jeremy Corbyn. For example, it won one in this ward. When 400 people who had kept or won their council seats under Corbyn have lost their allowances under Starmer, then I shall not be the only person to dare to mention how much better Labour had been doing under its previous Leader.

Was Corbyn ever behind Don't Know in the polls for Prime Minister? Certainly, 33 per cent is seven points lower than Labour's showing at the 2017 General Election, when the Red Wall voted both for John McDonnell's economic programme and for Brexit, with Corbyn, who was entirely a known quantity by then, as Prime Minister. But then Corbyn sold out to Starmer over Brexit, and the rest is history.

Both parties were in favour of leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union in 2017. If Labour had held that line in 2019, plus the economic policies that were dependant on it and which are in some cases now being done by the Conservatives, then it still might not have won, but it would not have been wiped out. To that extent, Starmer is right. The party's mere survival is now an achievement. It is no achievement of his, though.

Labour Leaders have almost never become Prime Minister, so Corbyn was a relatively successful one. Labour has hardly ever taken 40 per cent of the vote and forced a hung Parliament. Labour's membership before the summer of 2015 had been small and dying, and its impact on public debate had been negligible.

Since the days of Harold Wilson, the Labour Party had been insolvent, but with an unlimited overdraft that the Co-op would never have called in because it was family. Then Corbyn took Labour into the black. That was just as well, since the Co-op no longer owned the bank that bore its name. It is worth pointing out that Corbyn bequeathed a highly solvent party. Yet after less than a year of Starmer, it is on the brink of bankruptcy. Starmer's megabucks mates will bail it out. But at a very high price both organisationally and in policy terms.

Starmer merely recycles ideas from the official think tank circuit, his party is haemorrhaging members in general and younger members in particular, it is on the cusp of going bust, and it is on 33 per cent in the polls. He is nothing if not a reversion to type.


  1. Labour's showing at the 2017 General Election

    When it lost. And got less votes than Theresa May, the most robotic and worst PM and campaigner in history.

    1. And Starmer is seven points behind even that. Like Theresa May, he is what happens when you let the MPs pick the Leader.