The Speaker
Friday, 12 April 2024 – 15:45

How Labour could still lose the next general election

NOTE: This is an opinion article – any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Speaker or any members of its team.

With polls predicted to tighten during the coming months to the election, I look at 5 reasons Keir Starmer could lose the general election in 2024.

Authenticity

At the start of Keir Starmer’s leadership things looked positive. He promised to bridge the gap between the left and right of the Labour Party, aligning some of the policies of the left, with stronger, more welcoming leadership. However soon after the leadership election was won, a purge of the left of the party began, culminating in the suspension of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Starmer has come far from his days editing the radical socialist magazine ‘Socialist Alternative’.

He comes across as a man who is confused in what he believes in and the reasons he wanted to become the leader of the Labour Party in the first place. There is an obsession of Starmers to not be seen as a Socialist in case the opposition use it against him, because of this he swings to the right in an area already taken up by the conservatives. It leaves Starmer and the Labour Party looking bereft of ideas. The electorate can sense inauthenticity from a mile away and this partly explains his struggle to gain convincing poll numbers in face of a complete Tory implosion.

Policies

After the revealing of the new green policy (Labour’s answer to Bidens New green deal), there was a sigh of relief from those on the left. Finally, Starmer was offering exciting ideas that Britain has been crying out for. However, months later this has been watered down to such an extent that it is unclear how much of the plan is left. Could Starmer be following Ed Milibands doomed strategy to appear more right wing to win an election, and then once in power revert to Socialist policies?

An argument could be made for that but recent leaked reports in The Independent appear to show the contrary. During a recent cabinet meeting Ed Miliband (Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero), was giving a presentation on the benefits of going green economically. After finishing the passionate presentation, Starmer ‘thanked him for his presentation but said he wasn’t interested in hope and change.’ He followed on to say he was ‘not interested in tree huggers…in fact, I hate tree huggers.’ Does this reveal the real Starmer? Not a Socialist in disguise but a man indistinguishable from Rishi Sunak. As a recent Daily Telegraph headline puts it, ‘Keir Starmer isn’t the new Blair: he’s Labours answer to David Cameron.’

The Conservatives

With the greatest election-winning machine in Western Europe, Starmer has good reason to be worried about the Conservatives. The Tories do not struggle with an identity in the same way Labour do. Yes, following on from Liz Truss’ disastrous premiership the Tories are no longer seen as strong on the economy, but there is no doubt they are pro-capitalist and pro-Brexit as ever. The voting public knows this and may settle with the familiar instead of the complete unknown of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party.

Oratory

Listening to Keir Starmer speak for any length of time is not an enjoyable experience. His dense, lengthy style of communication may have worked in his previous incarnation as a human rights lawyer, but as the leader of the Labour Party, it falls on deaf ears. Nobody wants style over substance, but if the leader of the country cannot clearly and confidently translate his ideas to the public he will not be an effective leader. Recently in PMQ’s Starmer has tried to add humour to his exchanges but without authenticity, the punches rarely land.

Inflation

With inflation still high and the cost of living still biting on people’s expendable income, it is a struggle for the conservatives to claim they are strong on the economy. However, if inflation is curbed in time for the election, the Conservatives would look more favourable to the electorate. The English especially are adverse to change, and they might decide the status quo is a safer bet than Keir Starmer.

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