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By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

Where the F**K do we start?

After another calamitous week for Rishi Sunak and his government, Frank McKenna spent some time with Labours great and good this week – and found a party that is confident, but not complacent.

A few months ago, there was a meme doing the rounds just before Keir Starmer was about to take to the dispatch box for Prime Ministers Questions (PMQs). The caption attributed to Starmer – or perhaps the question that people were urging him to put to Rishi Sunak at the time was, “Where the F**K do I start?”

This was following the resignation of Johnson, the six, or was it seven, weeks of chaos under Truss, three chancellors in three months, and the Chris Pincher scandal.

After the past seven days the same meme is doing the rounds again.

I was among Labours great and good in London earlier this week. Watching, first Emily Thornbury and then Starmer, it was like observing two stand up comics who had more material than they knew what to do with.

Thornbury is a class act anyway, her delivery style perfect for the put down. And so, she had her audience giggling away, as she compared this government with the last Tory administration that fell apart, under the leadership of John Major. A cheeky tale about the former PMs escapades with Edwina Curry was particularly funny.

The Leader of the Opposition described how his second of three tasks he had set himself when he won the Labour crown was to “demonstrate that the Tories are not fit to govern” he added, but didn’t really need to, “they are doing a bloody good job of that all by themselves.”

It has been another embarrassing week for the Conservatives, with the psychodrama of the Sunak/Johnson rift laid bare for all to see. As if that wasn’t good news enough for Labour, Nicola Sturgeon was arrested in Scotland, questioned about the alleged financial irregularities within the SNP. Starmer needs the Nationalist vote to significantly drop if he is to win an overall Westminster majority next year.

All of this combined, and you might forgive shadow cabinet ministers allowing themselves a smidgen of complacency. If there is any, they are keeping it well hidden.

From the leader down, the message is ‘there is still much work to do.’ And, in a sense, they are right. At the moment, it is easy to see why voters want to vote against the Tories. But why would they want to vote Labour?

That is the task that the opposition needs to set itself in the General Election home straight. There are signs that the shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, in particular, is starting to formulate an agenda and a message that can be offered as an alternative government programme.

In the meantime, Labour will be happy for the Conservatives to continue to look like the disorganised rabble that has been over the past seven days. But the other thing that has been proved by the BoJo Partygate fallout is that the old adage “a week is a long time in politics” is still very much a thing – and Labour is very much aware of that. 

Downtown in Business