Within the last few hours, Keir Starmer has been elected leader of the Labour Party, with Angela Raynor elected Deputy. Starmer received 56% of the vote. As a member of the GMB Union, I voted for these two. Unlike when Corbyn was elected, given the crisis we are facing, there was no excitement, no razzmatazz, about the result. It’s the “And Finally” piece on the news.
As I blogged in 2017, Corbyn’s election revolutionised the Labour Party, with a few hundred thousand additional members joining. Corbyn, though the least capable leader of the Labour Party in my lifetime, changed the Labour Party for decades to come. Given that members choose policy, I don’t foresee Labour policies from changing too much, and Starmer has said as much. Furthermore, with the Tories moving leftwards before the crisis, and then at pace during the crisis, left-wing politics of big state involvement is here to stay.
Starmer’s dilemma will be whether to be associated with the Government’s response to the pandemic. Johnson is the most astute of political operators: he will want electoral cover if our mortality and economic metrics are worse than other countries. The Tories refused to open the general’s tent to Corbyn, but have already extended an invitation to Starmer. The Tory’s worst fear was a Starmer victory. When Corbyn was elected, the Tories went to town to immediately paint Corbyn as an anti-British and a security risk. Operation “Nail Starmer” is already underway: bind him to the Government’s fortunes.