Labour’s golden opportunity.

Johnson’s latest blunder paves the way to a sustained Labour polling lead, if they play their cards right.

Just when it looked as if all was lost and Labour was sinking back to irrelevance, the latest YouGov polls for the Times has Labour +4 on 41% to the Tories on 37%. This is Labour’s best result since July 2018, and it hands Starmer a golden opportunity, if he and his party play this right.

The govt has once again sleepwalked into disaster and socked the British people. Labour offered a clear proposition of leadership over the last few days, and that, combined with anti-govt resentment, have translated into an about-turn in the official Opposition’s polling fortunes. This can be sustained, and it can be cultivated.

Labour need to nurture and sustain this moderate lead, and make it the norm; this won’t be easy. They must avoid internal factionalism, and the only way to do that is to cease the attacks on the left, and look outward to the country, with propositions of policy and vision; this will attract no animosity from the left.

2021 may go far better for Labour than it looked, because if this becomes the Black Wednesday moment, it permanently dislodges faith in the govt’s decision-making and economic stewardship, while presenting the opposition as a credible alternative. If this happens, even when good news hits, Labour maintains their lead, if that can’t be achieved, Labour’s lead shrinks as soon as stuff looks up for the Tories and the feel good vaccination factor kicks in.

In the New Year let’s see Labour proposition themselves as the right people to rebuild Britain for the 2020s, the only people who can be trusted to take the reigns of power, come election time. If this goes right, 2021’s local elections can present a solid win for Labour, and a rebuke of Tory governance. Labour must frame those elections as a referendum as the govt’s coronavirus management.

For all our sakes, let’s see Starmer cultivate this lead and not blow his second chance to ascend to national leadership, and down the line, government.

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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

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