A Government in Disarray: Could Labour do Better?

The fuel and energy crises have brought to a head issues which have been simmering under the Boris government since its inception. They can be summed up by two questions. Does it know what it is doing? Can it be trusted? After a brief period when the combination of the Covid emergency financial support and the vaccine roll out won widespread support, the answer appears to be no to both.

So would Starmer’s  Labour do better? This is important because when a government is failing the public begins to look more closely at the opposition as an alternative administration. If they like what they see, they tough it out until an election is called. Thus Thatcher’s gradual rise during Callaghan and Blair’s rise during Major.  Even Churchill’s rehabilitation as a peacetime leader during Attlee. But if they have no confidence in the Opposition to rescue them, bad things happen. Strikes, panics, demos, shutdowns and shortages ooze their way into everyday life, like lava flowing from an active volcano.

Starmer’s Labour is hamstrung by two existential pressures. Corbyn’s Labour is still very much there and Scotland, as the bedrock 40 to 50 seats,  is not. The strategy is to win over angry middle class voters in the south, the so called blue wall,  through Starmer’s steady hands,  and send the fiery Angela Rayner, with her impeccable connection to life as ordinary people have to live it, to bring the errant red wall back into the fold.

To outsiders Labour’s conference did little to inspire a surge to its colours, but maybe it can also be said, that it did not drive the undecided away. We have instead yet another part of the national well-being which is in a state of anxious wait and see. Among the problems for the Starmer leadership is the need to move left to recapture the red wall, but move right to seize the blue wall.

We will have to be patient while Labour decides how resolve this without some crafty political fudge. Voters are too angry to buy into PR. They want polices, clear and unambiguous, that speak not to the Westminster hot  house, but to them. If Labour can deliver it will be worth the wait.