Analysis: Why Is Labour Failing To Capitalise On The Gaping Hole In Government?

Silly season has seen Ed Davey and Gordon Brown lead the charge against the government.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images

There is a huge vacuum at the heart of government as the Conservative Party tears itself apart over Boris Johnson’s replacement.

It is a government mired in scandal, weary after 12 years in power and looking increasingly out of touch in a cost of living crisis.

The prime minister and chancellor were both on holiday when the Bank of England made its gloomy forecast that Britain faces a recession and soaring inflation.

But as outriders for Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak fight like rats in a sack, where is the Labour Party?

Conservative Leadership hopeful Liz Truss.
Conservative Leadership hopeful Liz Truss.
Ian Forsyth via Getty Images

Keir Starmer is said to be on holiday right now, but that shouldn’t stop the party launching fierce interventions and bright ideas.

Holidays are important but isn’t winning elections even more important? Especially given their criticism of the Tories being “missing in action”.

In this brutal game of chess, surely any ruthless political strategist would see that now was an opportune moment to strike.

Certainly, the Labour Party has been describing itself as a “government in waiting” in recent statements. Now would be a good time for frontbenchers to show they can act like one.

But we have heard more from Lib Dem leader Ed Davey and ex-Labour prime minister Gordon Brown in the last 24-hours than we have from Labour all week.

And let’s not forget money saving expert Martin Lewis who has long been at the front clobbering the government over the cost of living crisis.

Within a few weeks the next prime minister will be appointed, the narrative will shift and there will likely be a cessation in Tory infighting as MPs row in behind their new leader.

Once in power, the new PM will have the machinery of government at their disposal and will turn their sights on the electorate at large.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Shadow Culture secretary, Lucy Powell (left) and Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer with Shadow Culture secretary, Lucy Powell (left) and Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves.
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

The public might just decide that “well it’s a new government, a new crisis so maybe let’s give them one more shot”.

Heck, it’s worked before. The Conservatives are the party who have managed to reinvent themselves time and again over the last decade in order to stay in power.

Labour will have fewer opportunities to get their messages across as the country hurtles towards the next general election.

In fact, Labour keep calling for an early election. Are they even ready for it?

Of course you can’t expect Labour to make up policies on the hoof, the Tories might even nick their ideas [again] and let’s not even go there on Labour’s decision making processes.

However, after the government relied on so-called “red meat” policies to keep its head above water, the public is now begging for proper solutions.

Perhaps now is the perfect window of opportunity for Labour to show some leg, instead of descending into their own bouts of infighting (see Sam Tarry).

Scotland aside, the political pendulum will one day swing back to Labour, but the speed at which it swings depends on a number of factors.

Pundits joke about who would want to be in government at this dire time. But if you don’t want to rule, why are you in this game at all?

It might be silly season but there’s nothing funny about the news that millions of families face soaring bills and being plunged into poverty.

Labour has been suffering from a lack of confidence since its devastating 2019 defeat.

But they have been handed a political gift in the form of a Tory leadership race - they should start weaponising it now.


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