Anneliese Dodds is coming into her own.

We’ve seen furlough extended. We’ve seen self employment support expanded and extended. We’ve seen efforts to get people off the streets in the midst of a pandemic redeployed. And there are loud and growing calls for a new eviction ban (absolutely necessary). All political U-turns that should’ve been seen coming by the Chancellor (everyone else did) months ago. In the flailing abyss of Sunak’s Treasury, the shadow bench has stepped up.

Anneliese Dodds was a low profile pic for Shadow Chancellor, and her first few times up against Sunak were forgettable and rocky. She’s new to her role, it’s far more high profile than anything she’s done before, and she’s up against a very skilled orator.

However, these last few discussions in the commons, Dodds has stepped up to the plate, and in a calm and collected manner, clearly laid out the facts and eviscerated Sunak for his flip flopping and U-turning.

Crucially, Dodds has spoken with passion. You can be a bit rocky and not be a smooth talker like Sunak, if you speak with raw passion. It’s something memorably lacking in her boss, and the fact she’s began to display passion is an excellent shift. She’s called things correctly, and she speaks like she really cares. It couldn’t possibly be described as robotic, which her original performances were.

It’s entirely possible the only key difference between then and now is passion and heart. Andy Burnham showed us that’s what successful Labour people need in the Johnsonian populistic era of politics in which we find ourselves.

Now, Dodds needs to be let off of the leash. She’s kept cards close to her chest and hasn’t said anything remotely challenging or radical. She can make a good impression with the public, and start laying out ambitious solutions to the present crisis. Moderation is no friend when taking on populists.

She was in McDonnell’s Shadow Treasury, she has the intellectual stamina to propose things, things like a UBI trial, things like a full evictions ban, things like a strategy for opening up based on Zero-Covid, and things like a green industrial recovery. The question is, will she be allowed to?

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Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.

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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.

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