By Luke Price
The Conservatives are continuing to storm ahead in the polls, even with a national pandemic and numerous U-turns, but is there a possibility of defeat in the next election?
Since the Tories came into power in 2010, they’ve only grabbed more and more votes as each election has come, even with Labour’s persistent cries of austerity and how the Tories have supposedly ‘given up’ or ‘hurt’ the working-class. However, as each result comes in more and more votes do to, it is almost like they are spoon feeding the Tories their seats – and this toddler is very hungry.
Under Starmer, Labour is failing to be an affective Opposition, as reflected in YouGov polls which are placing the Tories firmly ahead by at least 8-10 points – sometimes more. Of course, it would be wrong to deny that some of the early lockdown measures shouldn’t have been voted on by him, they were and rightly so. However, every week at PMQs Starmer utterly fails to ask the important questions, instead taking cheap shots at Boris’ character or minor slip-ups; he rarely addresses our crippled economy and how the young people of tomorrow will foot the bill or the NHS and its many issues, instead more concerned about reminding us his wife works for them. We know this and we are grateful she works for the NHS, but this does not ask questions or get answers.
The true demise and downfall of the Conservative Party will not be because of Labour exceeding, but because of the development of a right-wing populist party as we see in Europe, who will take votes and seats from the Tories, predominantly working-class people, and if they follow trends of their European counterparts’ young people would also be another group taken. This is likely given similar circumstances in France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and others, where the centre-right wins, but the populist parties come second or third. Although this often leads to more minority governments, what it does do is give the chance for coalition governments, thus giving the populists a greater impact on government and the issues they want to fix.
If we delve deeper into PMQs and we look at Sir Keir Starmer’s record it goes a little like this: he either abstains or stays quiet when something is proposed and then a few months later he is in support, or he will say he dislikes something even when it is showing promising signs of success. Then when it does turn out to be successful, he changes his mind. People used to comment on how Jeremy Corbyn would jump on bandwagon every time something went wrong. All Labour have done in this respect is replace on wannabe-populist with another.
If we look at Starmer’s Labour Party, we clearly see his desire to reflect a Blair like persona, however the difference is that Blair stood for something. He had slogans and support from voters and overall was competent – one distinctive feature about Blair however is he wasn’t very left-wing. Maybe Sir Keir will have to do this as well.
So, until that time what can the Labour Party do? They could start with a new leader; one who will be an actual opposition to the Conservative Government. This isn’t asking for an anti-lockdown one, just one who can ask scrutinising questions instead of sniping from the side-lines, a leader who has confidence in himself and his party, and finally a Labour leader who doesn’t act like a Tory.
Until Labour can get an effective leader who is able to face the challenge of the Conservative Government the Tories will remain in power. But even if they get this much needed leader, they also need to change their campaigning points, because the British people are fed up with what they know isn’t true and things that do not affect them.
Image credit: UK Prime Minister