Starmer will need more than a Union Jack, his Letter to the Anglicans and a definition of family, requiring a detailed footnote …


The Starmerites having been saying for a while that Labour need not rush into developing policy.

The General Election being years away, some thought even December 2024 being a possibility despite the Fixed Term Parliament Act setting it as the first Thursday in May 2024.

It did not enter their minds, as it had those of many others, that Johnson had the Parliamentary numbers to amend or repeal the Act and the inclination to do so.

The Act is to be repealed and there is now talk of a 2023 General Election.

Blair used his speech to Labour’s National Conference in October 1996, widely reported across all media, to set out the party’s stall for the upcoming General Election.

Starmer has less than eighteen months in which to prepare to copy Blair at Labour’s 2022 National Conference.

There is a view prevailing on social media that that is where elections are now won and lost.

I hesitate to read across from Biden’s campaign, but even as the pandemic raged, they took the decision to dial down the air war and dial up the ground war. You cannot campaign door to door with catchy graphics, flags and glib slogans.

The digital divide still exists, the older one is the more likely one is to vote and the less likely to be active online, let alone on social media.

Odds on the middle class/income earners are more active online and on social media.

We thought here in Birmingham that we had won back a once solid Labour council seat in 2016, based on the votes cast on polling day and then the postal ballots were brought out and counted. The Tories had worked, face to face, the local care homes.

They had won over enough older voters to make it a safe seat.

And we are none of us getting any younger in a society with an ageing population, ageing workforce and, disturbingly in the context of the red tape Brexit is piling on firms, an ageing business class.

You need substance on which to campaign and that is not to be found in Labour’s 2019 General Election Manifesto, if you are campaigning amongst the voters Labour claims to want to win back and the business community Starmer is desperate to woo.

Incidentally, not being complacent was very much part of Labour’s winning 1997 formula.

Levelling up has now been very much levelled down to attracting inward investment to places like Teesside in a time of Brexit.

Unintentionally, I am sure, Johnson has copied an element from Starmer’s New Year’s message for 2021, in having the Queen say, “My government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom.”

Unconvincing nonsense. The very substance of a 1990s style Corporate Mission Statement.

I seriously advise against assuming that the concerns of property owners across the UK, especially in the English South, Midlands and North are necessarily dissimilar.

According to someone writing in The Spectator a while back, the proles and plebs who live Oop North and own their own homes will not be concerned about new developments threatening the value of their homes and their aesthetic enjoyment of them, because, well, they are Northerners.

I gather there are Tory Ministers who share that view. Clearly, folk Oop North would only store their winter supply of coal in a conservatory or perhaps turn it into a pigeon loft?

As the Prince of Darkness, sorry, Lord Mandelson observed recently, scandal will start to crumble Johnson’s support, sleaze will get voters turning to Labour and asking, ok, what is your pitch?

Starmer will need more than a Union Jack, his Letter to the Anglicans and a definition of family, requiring a detailed footnote, with which to respond.


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