‘Fit for the future’…
A report by PR experts Labour in Communications named ‘Fit for the future’ says Sir Keir Starmer should invite the Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, and the Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, to join a powerful new “political cabinet” to help Labour shape policy and get its message across to voters.
The inexperienced Sir Keir Starmer, who has only been an MP for 6 years has found Leadership difficult, even with the help of Blairite stalwart Lord Peter Mandelson, he still seems to be finding the task of Labour Leader too much.
Starmer inherited the largest Political party in western Europe. A party although suffering from the shock of a disastrous general election result, disastrous in no small part from Starmer’s own vote losing Brexit policy, nonetheless it was still by far a viable political concern, that under the right leadership would have kept the Tory excess in check.
Unfortunately, Sir Keir has stumbled from one poor judgement call to another, his lack of opposition to the Tories lost him huge support, compounded by the suspension than the removal of the whip from his former boss Jeremy Corbyn, coming immediately after he had been reinstated with no case to answer, caused outrage amongst the grassroots membership, showing Starmer to be weak and vindictive.
The real issues surrounding the party overall have not gone away, they have just got worse. The promise of unity, in reality, turned into a witch hunt. Starmer’s unity manifested itself in the mass expulsions of members contained within four Left wing groups, thousands of members expelled along with a prominent public figure respected throughout the working classes, Ken Loach was forced to choose between comradeship and solidarity or betrayal and a right-wing Labour party.
It doesn’t help that under Starmer’s tenure he has now virtually bankrupted the party. Labour had £13.5 million in reserves at end of Corbyn leadership – now the party is almost broke. Neither does it help the parties own staff have voted to take industrial action against Starmer and the Labour party.
Taking all that into account and much more than we have digital ink for, we have to agree with Labour in Communications, Starmer really does need help.
The report named “Fit for the future” published by a 1,200-strong network called Labour in Communications, urges Starmer to slim down the shadow cabinet and give a more prominent role to well-respected Labour leaders from around the UK.
The experts also call on Starmer to avoid reams of detailed policy in favour of a more pared-down offering that could ultimately be represented on a 1997-style “pledge card”.
It suggests: “Labour should look to restructure the shadow cabinet and communicate through a leaner group of members to improve the perception and awareness of Labour’s shadow cabinet among the public,” the report says, highlighting the low public profile and lack of government experience of some on the current frontbench.
“The grouping would effectively operate as a ‘political cabinet’ and would have sole responsibility, as Labour’s dedicated spokespeople, to frame, develop and communicate Labour’s message to the public,” the report adds.
“Figures in power from across the Labour movement – such as Mark Drakeford, Andy Burnham, Sadiq Khan, Tracy Brabin and Steve Rotheram – should be invited to join the political cabinet and given the chance to influence the party’s national strategy and decision-making.”
Including Starmer, Labour’s shadow cabinet currently has 34 members. The shadow cabinet has a formal standing under Labour’s rulebook – but leaders have often taken advice from smaller groupings.
The question is who would want to jump on a sinking ship?
If Andy Burnham still holds any hopes of becoming Labour Leader, no matter how coy he is on the subject, would he want to be tainted with what is set to be Labour’s worst period in history, with a leader that has bankrupted the party and pursued a witch hunt against the Left? One that is seen to be an establishment plant, there to ensure nobody upsets the status quo?
Starmer’s first in-person conference speech is looming later this month, Labour in Communications has urged the Labour leader not to be tempted into setting out a long list of detailed policies or a sweeping political vision.
The fact is Starmer and his shadow cabinet have struggled to come up with any policies over the last 18 months of his leadership, a point much criticised with members demanding to know what does Labour stand for?
It seems we also have to endure another Leadership relaunch, the fourth to our reckoning, It seems we will also end up disappointed if we wanted to see policies and a vision of the future under a Labour government. I suppose that will have to wait till we get a real Labour Leader.