John Harris

Journalist & Author

Keir Starmer needs a vision. ‘Buy British’ is not enough | John Harris

It should not be difficult. Covid has highlighted a new public mood, and the injustices caused by a decade of Tory government

Midway through her campaign to be the MP for Batley and Spen, Kim Leadbeater put up a 90-second online video. It was a bog-standard tumble through the kind of things that parties tend to bang on about in byelections: pledges of “a reduction in antisocial behaviour”, “more police on our streets” and “better, safer roads” , along with a drive to “protect our green spaces”. But when she suddenly mentioned “international concerns around Palestine” – something presumably inserted to try to stem the flow of votes to George Galloway – one of her party’s biggest problems was revealed.

Between the doorstep and the occupied West Bank, there was a very familiar Labour vacuum, which 15 months of Keir Starmer’s leadership has left unfilled, and which partly explains why his party came so close to losing its second byelection in two months. In the haze of relief that followed Leadbeater’s unexpected win, these failures seemed to be temporarily forgotten. But they will soon come roaring back.

Related: Analysis: why is the narrow Labour byelection victory in Batley and Spen being treated as a comeback?

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 5th, 2021 at 9:48 pm and is filed under Guardian RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « As Hancock exits, the future looks the same: hope mixed with dread | John Harris | A kind, inclusive England is stirring – and as usual, our politicians don’t get it | John Harris »
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