Maurice Glasman in his article in Unherd “how the fates abandoned Boris” nails the blindspot Labour suffered from in the last election”: the Tories understood that the long-term disaffection of Labour’s heartland voters with globalisation and abandonment combined with the short-term incoherence of Jeremy Corbyn. Even under Starmer – a remainer at heart – Labour has yet to make a serious move for its core voters. Liberalism looms large under Starmer while we wait for COVID and Brexit to die down so we can see his true colours. The carnage of the last election for labour needed an effective response that voters could grasp to tell them Labour had learned its lesson. So while the Labour party regresses into its own internalised battles for the soul of the party the world stands back knowing it may take another leader before the party is battle ready.
Boris continues to intrigue the electorate with his opportunism and refreshing lack of politico-speak. Whilst woefully inadequate as a prime minister – as he was as a minister – he has pivoted the party into state interventionist role with his commitment to levelling up the North. Faced with a huge bill for COVID one wonders what rabbit he will pull out of his hat to convince the red wall – they are waiting. Still waiting.
Glasman reminds us of the quote “Events, dear boy, events” and the lack of strategic clarity of the new government when faced with COVID. The events piled up. Debt, public health emergency, unemployment. Panic set in with contracts offered to friends, promises on track and trace never met, and local authorities ignored with central directives flying around. Without a prepared speech to hand Boris sent out his ministers who were equally bumbling. Yet many of them saw this an opportunity to impress. But without an industrial strategy to mitigate the country’s lack of preparedness for such an emergency they were woefully out of depth. Small businesses suffered without adequate support. Local authorities who could have played a key role in supporting communities. One wonders without his brain, Dominic Cummings, how Boris will now cope. Boris’ fate may well rest with his handling of Brexit. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh hour the nation and his own party are bitterly divided between those that want a deal now and those that want to hang on and not give in to Macron’s stubbornness. All along the remainers – the deniers – gloat at the prospect of the country suffering. If Boris blinks first then his fate could well be decided.