Labour narrowly overtake Tories in poll for the first time under Starmer

An opinion poll released last week put Labour ahead in the polls for the first time since June 2019. However, despite the utterly inadequate response of the government, which has seen Britain with the largest death toll in Europe [1], many voters have still continued to support them.

At a time when the Tories’ main concern has been profiteering from the crisis and mistake[2] after mistake[3] has been made, it may be that Boris Johnson’s jingoism is starting to fall apart and the Tory cabinet’s shambolic efforts are being seen for what they are.

Nevertheless, according to pollsters half the country still believe the government has done a good job[4].  Indeed it also shows it is popular among some voters that Keir Starmer has spent time supporting the government[5], on schools, and universities, rather than supporting the unions who had been raising concerns about it being unsafe to return to work.[6]

This has been welcomed in many media pieces[7] shedding a favourable[8] light on Keir Starmer[9], while he has strained to distance himself from the Corbyn era, and some outright praise for [10] his removal of ‘Corbyn allies’. Apparently for ‘Red Wall’ voters Starmer’s slogan of ‘Under New Management’ seems more aimed at letting the commentators and the wealthy know it’s back to business as usual with him at the helm of Labour, as several of the 10 Pledges he made have quietly been dropped.[11]

None of this was decided at the Party’s most recent conference as the managerialism of New Labour and the rule of the Leader’s Office has returned inside the party, with policy (or its lack of policy) announced and the members told to follow. Indeed, the orientation is about appeasing concerns of the elites in our society, and strengthening their involvement with the Labour Party.[12]

This is not a project to deal with the deep inequalities of wealth and power in society, but to win support for better government management of a neoliberal model of capitalism. Substance is replaced by style and forming a government on such grounds lays no foundation for political and economic change and shows a broad acceptance of the status quo – even when it is clearly not working for millions.

Instead the focus is on the pageantry of Westminster and the spectacle of news and polls. So if the Labour Party is committed to becoming only an election machine once more, and if no such change is being offered, we must instead make ourselves heard or these problems will remain unaddressed.

Our problems are not going away and cannot simply be ignored until an electorally expedient time. Politics is about change, but so far the Labour Party isn’t offering a lot of that. If you want more than election campaigning to elect a ‘not-Tory’ government, join the Communists.

Darragh O’Neil


[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-deaths-uk-cases-ons-pandemic-statistics-a9581076.html

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-53947488

[3] https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/a-hidden-threat-test-and-trace-failure-edges-closer

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/26/labour-takes-poll-lead-as-parties-see-major-switch-in-fortunes

[5] https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2020/09/29/voting-intention-con-41-lab-38-23-24-sep

[6] https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-britain-universiti/british-universities-should-not-reopen-next-month-says-union-idUKKBN25Q0AH

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/26/labour-takes-poll-lead-as-parties-see-major-switch-in-fortunes

[8] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-conservative-opinion-poll-opinium-keir-starmer-boris-johnson-b631015.html

[9] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/keir-starmer-vs-boris-johnson-polls-leading-a4552906.html

[10] https://news.sky.com/story/labour-take-poll-lead-over-tories-for-first-time-since-boris-johnson-became-pm-12083002

[11] https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/labour-says-it-is-not-calling-for-tax-rises-to-pay-for-coronavirus-recovery-spending

[12] https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Labour-Party-Chair-Circle.pdf

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s