When this plague is over – presuming there is a return to normality at some point in the near future – it shall be interesting to see how the Labour Party goes about its business. The introduction of Sir Keir Starmer as Labour Leader has been positive not just for Labour but for the whole country. Governments need something of an opposition just as good batsmen need good bowlers. For the last five years with Corbyn as Leader of the Opposition, the Government has faced pies – at least now trundler Starmer will get a few deliveries on wicket, even if he’s far from being as interesting, or difficult to face, as a Shane Warne.
Starmer faces many obvious problems. His to do list is never-ending – antisemitism, Momentum, past Corbyn support, Labour’s Brexit position, Hard Left plotters – but he is lucky in that the whole country can see what a box of frogs he now has to fashion into an opposition. In some ways Starmer is fortunate and he has the nation’s sympathy – he will not be expected to deliver a victory for Labour in 2025, especially if boundary changes further nobble Labour. If Starmer can hold on tight and weed out the loons from his party over the next election cycle he may only need to hang on to become Prime Minister in 2030, as the Tories will have been in power for twenty years by then.
Starmer’s biggest problem right now is talent. It’s obvious for anyone to see where Labour’s weakest points are. To switch analogies – this time to rugby – you’re going to be sending up a lot of high balls playing against a Labour team with Lammy and Russell-Moyle on the wings and Naz Shah at full back. When their scrum half, the Shadow Chancellor, is a novice you have to Google – and when you’re sure you’ve seen her before on that kids’ TV programme Balamory – Anneliese Dodds will be a name that your flankers will know all about as they try to thwart distribution at source.
As for Starmer himself, he’s just what Labour needs after recent aberrations. Talk of going through the box files when he was Director of Public Prosecutions will not get opponents far and will come across as unnecessarily spiteful – DPP is an impossible task at the best of times and there will always be cases that should or shouldn’t have happened. Starmer’s weaknesses are to be found in his party and, likely, somewhere else in his past.
More probably, rather than disbanding the machine that drove through Corbyn’s Labour like an English scrum through Uruguay’s, the Tories will have to become more Project Veritas back door and less stick-it-up-em front door – the new battle will be far more nuanced and, for now, the Tories share Starmer’s aim of returning the Hard Left nutters back into the Jumanji box for many decades to come. Those who talk of the destruction of the Labour Party have a good chance but let them think hard about what is worse – a future opposition party in coalition with the SNP and Co-op Momentum or a Blairite Labour Party with a majority? The lesser of two evils principle is the principle that when faced with selecting from two immoral options, the one which is least immoral should be chosen.
Stay well, Dear Readers.