With Labour losing Batley & Spens tonight the next leader must work out how to reach beyond the dim and the skint.
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Sir Keir Starmer was always the wrong man to lead Labour for at least three good reasons. 1) He was a passionate Remainer meaning 51% of the country would never vote for him. 2) He looked liked what he is - a dull lawyer you hope to God you don’t sit next to at a dinner party. 3) He has no passion for the Socialist argument. As a lawyer he can see both sides of the debate and will follow the one which will pay the most.
And that is why he will lose today’s Batley and Spens by-election and trigger off yet another leadership fight. But the bad news for the party- and the good news for Boris- is that The Times is reporting supporters of deputy leader Angela Rayner are preparing her bid for the top job.
Rather unkindly I tweeted that she would be Corbyn without the looks. Apparently MPs close to Rayner- and who would want that job- have been canvassing support among parliamentary colleagues and trade unions. Senior figures at Unite, Labour’s biggest backer, are willing to support a challenge but, according to The Times, have not discussed the idea directly with her.
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Rayner would need 20% of the parliamentary party (that’s 40 MPs) to force a contest.
Life has been a nightmare this last couple of months for Starmer. Losing Hartlepool was a disaster. What Starmer doesn’t understand is that the Brexit vote really means something for the nation. Hartlepool did not want a Remainer as the Labour candidate. It wasn’t the only reason for the massive defeat, clearly the vaccine programme helped but it’s in our DNA- we don’t want to be run from Brussels.
For the Tories the win will only be the fourth government gain at a by-election since 1979.
Clearly something has to change for Labour. How is it that Boris remains so popular after so many covid deaths whereas leaders in the rest of Europe are taking a terrific bashing at the polls. Look what happened to the oily Macron in the regional elections last week. He got just 10% of the vote.
It’s true that if Burnham won Labour would have a temporary bounce. But the reality is that their may be tough times ahead and nobody in their right mind would vote for a bloke who has NEVER had a proper job. Selling something. Making something. Being promoted for doing good work. Being fired for losing a contract.
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All he has ever done is do jobs like being an MP’s researcher , working for the Transport and General union, parliamentary officer for the NHS Confederation. All jobs about talking. None about doing.
Right now Labour are done for. They need a new proposition. Just appealing to the dim and the skint is not going to work. Not quite true. It will work for one person. Boris.
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