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There was lot of breast beating by Sir Keir Starmer yesterday when he squeaked home in the Batley and Spen by-election.
If I were him I would not be so cheerful. I say that because I have just read an insightful piece by Sir John Curtice, the professor of politics at Strathclyde University who is wheeled out by the BBC when they want an elderly Dr Who figure to analyse polling data.
He points out that remarkably Labour is still 9% behind the Tories (I find that incredible) and even more worryingly that the voters did not know what the party stood for and few believe it could govern better than the current administration.
Professor Curtice says Starmer needs to change from being a clever inquisitorial lawyer who can give Boris a hard time at PMQ’s and morph into a mature politician who can convey a sense of leadership and direction.
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Not being Jeremy Corbyn is no longer enough, he says.
The reality is that Starmer hasn’t got it. No passion and no real beliefs. That is one problem. The other issue is that Boris is not as painted. Easy to describe him as mad Brexit Right-winger who eats babies for breakfast.
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Actually he doesn’t like confrontation and is prepared to be flexible about his views if it means there’s not some massive punch-up and it stops the opposition from moving on to his patch.
Starmer may live to fight another day but if he makes just more political mistake that, I suspect, will be his lot.
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