During the past month, Keir Starmer has found his honeymoon as Labour leader come to a stuttering halt.
Partly, this is to do with the government’s successful roll-out of the vaccination programme. There are also some in his party who think he should be more critical of the Brexit deal that has led to not insignificant challenges for a range of industries. But, largely, his problem is that four years out from a General Election, whatever he says on the wider policy issues is irrelevant- whilst being overly critical of a government at a time of national crisis is just seen as bad form.
This leaves him with only one place to go if he wants to demonstrate that he can lead change and make a difference. That place is the Labour Party.
Here he made a promising start, appointing the General Secretary he wanted, winning control of the party’s National Executive Committee, and responding strongly to the report on Antisemitism within the party, suspending former leader Jeremy Corbyn from the Parliamentary Labour Party.
However, weather because of the distraction of COVID-19 and the abnormal way in which he and his team are having to communicate with members, any appetite for internal reform appears to have disappeared.
This means that almost everything and anything he now does is being negatively commented upon, not by his Tory opponents, but by those in his own party who signed up to a Social Democratic movement with the objective of turning it into a Socialist organisation that remains in perpetual opposition.
The hangover from the Corbyn era will haunt Starmer unless and until he takes on the lunatics who jumped on the hard- left Messiah bandwagon in 2010 and are hanging around the Labour Party like a bad smell.
From the outside looking in, it seems that Keir Starmer favours ‘unity’ over a fight. I’m afraid that isn’t going to work. If he needed anymore evidence to confirm the point, he should read the social media comments following his decision to have our country’s flag as the backdrop to one of his recent speeches. You would think, from the outrage of the lunatic left, that he had called for the privatisation of the NHS.
Or maybe he should look at what is happening in one of the party’s last remaining strongholds, Liverpool. Without rehearsing the absolute shambles the party made of the candidate selection for the forthcoming Mayoral election, the fact that many of the questions being fired at the original list of shortlisted nominees were as likely to be about Palestine than the Pier Head (a famous city landmark) tells you all you need to know about Liverpool Labour.
Liverpool is not on its own. There are local Labour Party’s up and down the country who are dominated by Corbynista activists, passing revolutionary resolutions, selecting rabid Councillors, and continuing to bang the drum for a set of policies and dogma that was spectacularly rejected by the Great British public less than two years ago.
It may not be the most interesting thing to do. It may not be the most attractive. Indeed, he may not have the stomach for it. But, if Starmer cannot sort the mess that he has inherited in his own party, who will trust him to sort out the country?