'Labour's uncivil war digs a deeper hole – the party must restore trust'

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better for Keir Starmer and Labour.

Record falls in the economy will be followed by a relatively big bounce back this year.

Covid easing restrictions allowing drinkers inside pubs and summer holidays will raise spirits.

But don’t expect the return of hugging any time soon in a warring Labour Party with sharpened knives out.

The uncivil war replacing a post-mortem is a divided party in a hole digging deeper.

Restoring the trust of lost voters, reconnecting emotionally with sections of a working class mesmerised by Conservative Boris Johnson, was never going to be easy.

Landmark defeats in Hartlepool, Tees Valley and West Midlands made it harder.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer
Turning Labour into a party on the path to Government is a Herculean task, says Kevin Maguire

Regular complaints I hear from MPs about Starmer’s misfiring operation, one grumbling his office is as incompetent as Jeremy Corbyn’s if for different reasons, are cemented by scapegoating deputy Angela Rayner.

Turning Labour into a party on the path to Government is a Herculean task after four consecutive General Election defeats with the next battle two years away or less.

Johnson holds all the best cards, spending money and a Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.

Disappointment at the PM’s false promises will eventually kick in and sleaze might then bite.

Seat-losing Worthing council Tory leader on the Sussex coast grumbling Southerners resent Johnson focusing on the North exposes breakable fault lines in a new Conservative coalition.

Yet Labour must change to be relevant when relying on the Tories to collapse isn’t an option.

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That doesn’t mean ditching individually popular Left-wing policies. Biden in the US is radical – improving the lives of workers and families by spending big with higher taxes on the loaded – after Trumping America’s Johnson at the polls.

What it does require is learning crucial lessons.

Why did Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram retain working class hearts and minds in North West England when they were lost in the North East?

Incumbency was a factor but how did Labour take from the Tories the Mayorships of West of England and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?

Why did Mark Drakeford do better in Wales than Labour in England?

Politics is the Ps: personalities, policies and passion.

Starmer faces a rough ride and would be wise to stop scoring own goals and start making friends instead of alienating people.

He can take heart from two years ago in national elections a major political party finished fifth, behind the Greens, with only 9% of the vote. It was the Conservatives in the 2019 Euros.

Resurrecting Labour will be tough but it can be done if Starmer, an Arsenal fan and Sunday footballer, raises his game and the crowd gets behind the team.


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