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Starmer's Labour has finally found its groove, or is it just getting lucky?

Starmer's Labour has finally found its groove, or is it just getting lucky?

According to the ‘Britain Predicts’ election swingometer, operated by the New Statesman, Labour has been making headway in recent polling. Britain Predicts will synthesise all polling produced by polling companies and in turn displays a poll of polls and a parliamentary seat estimate. According to the swingometer, if an election was held tomorrow the country would return a hung parliament, with the Tories on 294 MPs, well short of a majority, and Labour on 265 MPs, up 3 MPs on the 2017 General Election result. This would initially suggest that Labour under Starmer’s leadership has found its footing and has begun laying the groundwork for a labour victory in 2024. This is not the case. But what is the cause of this sudden shift in polling which threatens the Tories 11-year grip on power?

Primarily the cause of this shift in polling is as a result of Tory failings, as opposed to any strategic genius on behalf of the Labour party or Keir Starmer. This is why, upon closer inspection, you can see that shifts in polling are predominantly as a result of a collapse in the Tory vote share, not necessarily a jump in Labour’s popularity among the electorate. Polling would suggest that Boris Johnson, the man chosen by Tory members and MPs to lead the party to electoral victory, has become electorally toxic for the Tories, which if history is anything to go by, would suggest Boris Johnson has receding time in Downing Street. This is never more true in the wake of the Downing Street party scandal. It is also, in large part, because Johnson has become associated with the government’s perceived failings in countering the Covid-19 Pandemic. With 40% of voters still placing Covid-19 as the most important issue facing Britain. With the potential for disaster with the Omicron variant, the public’s perception of the government’s handling of the virus is unlikely to improve.

This all sounds like good news for Starmer and Labour, until you look deeper into the statistics and see that Labour is doing poorly at capitalising on a Tory government in decline. Despite the fact that the government is losing popularity, the Labour party is failing to win back older, northern, white voters who abandoned the party in 2019. This in my opinion is solely a result of Starmer and his leadership’s failure to present a positive vision for the country, or any vision for that matter, other than that they also hate Jeremy Corbyn. Ultimately, the Tory government is currently forcing through reams of unpopular legislation because they’re early enough into their term of office that by the next election, all will be forgotten. This has been a standard tactic of British governments in all living memory. This is why we can probably expect a generous budget in 2023/24 and a rise in the minimum wage.

Unfortunately for Labour their polling lead won’t last, because it’s built on a Tory slump and not their own efforts into making inroads in Britain’s left behind communities. Until Starmer and his team realise this, Labour don’t stand a chance in the next election.

Samir Sehgal

11 Dec 2021