There was a lot of hype in the build up for Kier Starmer’s speech as Labour leader. I cannot see why. It had little in it of real substance and nothing which was not obvious anyway. I suppose the new Recovery Bond caught attention, but it is not something which will draw millions out to vote Labour. The point is this was a routine, worthy offering from the Leader of the Opposition, who now sees the opportunity to set out an alternative to Boris’s Tory vision, in rather general terms, but with a caring undertone. There had also to be a break from the Corbyn inheritance.
The the offering was pretty typical Centre Left. Decent stuff. The problem is Boris has already taken the Tories Centre Left and there is no room for two centre left parties in England. So Labour now looks somewhat lost. Of course Boris may be forced by the Treasury to move centre right for the Covid recovery phase and that would help Labour a lot. But if this does not happen, then the groundswell will require Labour to return to its roots as the party of the true, unambiguous Left. It has already been slaughtered in Scotland and looks rickety in Wales. In England it is confined to the cities. It is facing a daunting challenge but there is no doubt the post Covid landscape will be ideal for it to prosper on the left and from the left.
That begs the question. Kier Starmer was the right leader for the Covid crisis, but is he right for the massive reboot of society, the economy, the State and everything? We shall soon know. Labour has to show big gains in Scotland and Wales, as well as England, in the coming regional and local elections in May. Big gains will cement his leadership for the long haul, but failure to break through will be a blow, likely to reinvigorate the Corbyn tendency.