The Labour Party has an identity crisis. The good news for them is that Keir Starmer understands that - the bad news for them is that he has no idea how to tackle it, and worse still he is part of the problem not the solution.
By ESTHER MCVEY
PUBLISHED: 15:33, Sat, Feb 6, 2021 | UPDATED: 10:07, Sun, Feb 7, 2021
The Labour Party was set up to be the voice of the working classes, but in recent years they have completely abandoned those voters they were specifically set up to represent. In fact they have become everything that working class people aren’t.
In many respects it is even worse than that for them. It is not just that they have lost touch with their traditional voters; most in the current Labour movement – shaped by Jeremy Corbyn and his Momentum acolytes – have an open hostility towards working class voters and many of their beliefs.
For example it should not have come as such a shock to the Labour Party that after spending years telling those voters – who overwhelmingly voted for Brexit – that they were thick, racist and gullible to have voted that way (so therefore had to have their Brexit vote reversed) that those working class voters should decide to no longer vote Labour.
Keir Starmer knows that Labour has to win back those working class voters – it is just that he has no idea how to do it, and was in fact a major part of the reason Labour parted company with them in the first place. After all it was Keir Starmer who stuck at the side of Jeremy Corbyn throughout, and – perhaps more crucially – it was Keir Starmer who was the main architect of Labour’s attempts to overturn the result of the EU referendum.
The Labour Leader is the perfect ambassador for the London centric metropolitan elite which has hijacked the Labour Party and so has no idea what makes those working class voters tick. So instead of instinctively understanding the problem, he commissions research which tells him they need to have a union flag in the background, praise the army a bit more and smarten up their image, and that those working class voters will come flooding back in their droves to Labour.
Unfortunately Keir Starmer doesn’t get it. Having a union flag in the background doesn’t in itself make you patriotic and hiring focus groups doesn’t make you in touch with working class people. Pretending to be something you are not is never the solution in politics. It is not the image of Labour that is the problem, it is the substance of what they have become and what they stand for which has turned off their traditional voters.
The problem for Labour with its traditional working class voters has been a long time in the making – Clark Vasey, Philip Davies and I all saw it when we set up Blue Collar Conservatism back in 2012 when we knew that we could show working class voters that the Conservative Party was their natural political home. Boris Johnson sealed that at the 2019 General Election.
It is not for me to give the Labour Party advice – and fortunately they will ignore what I tell them anyway – but the Labour Party needs to start from scratch again, and go back to being a patriotic voice of the working classes – truly proud of their country and its history, aspirational, straight talking, not politically correct – instead of the cult they have become who are embarrassed by their country, its history and institutions.
Unfortunately for them with Keir Starmer – the pin up boy for the metropolitan elite which has taken over the Labour Party – there is little chance of them reconnecting with the people they were set up to represent any time soon.