Starmer's Labour has been vague, without strategy and unelectable. The election results are no surprise. | Opinion
Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

It is safe to say that the Labour party is in a worrying state, the results of the recent local elections in which it has dropped a number of seats were predictable, to say the least.

The traditional heartlands have been the biggest loss, with the loss to the Tories in the Hartlepool by-election an embarrassment, and Sir Keir Starmer — at least with his current tactics — is far from the right man to lead the opposition.

For those engrossed in political commentary, it's easy to question why a Prime Minister who according to the Daily Mail said he would rather 'let the bodies pile high' than face a third lockdown has received the level of support he has, but doing that misses the point almost entirely.

There are two types of voters in this country: those who subscribe to Politico and watch Marr, and normal people. It is the latter category that wins elections, and the latter category which is being forgotten about time and time again.

Poor locally

Labour have lost six seats in my local council area of Oldham compared to 2019, but the situation is far more complex than Brexit voters feeling closer ties to the Conservative Party.

Many voters from across the political spectrum have found themselves fed up with how the party was running the town on a local level, never mind in Westminster.

The strategy across the country should have been to look at these local issues and see how best to tackle them, rather than prioritising a national focus. 

Andy Burnham is perhaps the best leftwing example of how caring for the area you represent can result in votes. His prioritisation of the needs of Greater Manchester, particularly in his now-infamous response to the area being placed into Tier 3 lockdown, won the support of people from across the political spectrum.

Tangible results get support. In Greater Manchester, buses have now been brought under the council's control and the local Metrolink service has been extended. They may seem small fry in comparison to the politics that has made up the majority of our lives for the past couple of years, but as they have done in the past, they win votes.

Poor nationally

Westminster-centric politics alienates the key people who made up what was once dubbed the 'red wall' on which the red paint is slowly being replaced by blue — and small bits of yellow and green. Is it any wonder that people decide they don't want to vote for a party when it doesn't represent them?

The Tory party, despite its horrendous running of the country, has proved to be a well-oiled electioneering machine. It worked with Cummings at the helm and is now slowly picking off red voters from former heartlands.

Labour's strategy has been poor at best and has struggled to entice working-class voters. The Tories have found a way to make all the right promises while they haven't.

Sir Kier has a long time until the next general election, he needs to fix the downturn quickly.

In a statement on Friday, he said: "We have changed as a party but we haven't set out a strong enough case to the country.

"Very often we have been talking to ourselves instead of to the country and we have lost the trust of working people, particularly in places like Hartlepool.

"I intend to do whatever is necessary to fix that."

And lost the trust of working people Labour have. If they fail to win back those voters who have seen themselves coaxed in by the Conservatives, then the future does not look any brighter. 

Those ordinary working people will be key to any upturn in support. The focus has to be on pleasing them if the party is to improve its fortunes. 

This improvement cannot be done with Westminster focus groups. The policies need to be written from speaking to the people in these communities and they need to be clear enough. Dominic Cummings was ridiculed for his reliance on three-word statements, but they worked. If it takes too long to explain a vague policy, then the average voter will lose interest. 

There‘s three years to go until the 2024 General Election. That‘s plenty of time to turn things around, but the gears need to be put in motion and promises held.


Adam Millington is a freelance writer and the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of VAVEL‘s sport section.