A few obvious answers are available to the question in the headline but we’ll get to them soon enough. First, the evidence:
The Labour Party’s prospects in next months local elections are plummeting to new lows every time there is a poll, it seems.
YouGov’s last three show a distinct downward trajectory, from this on April 8…
Latest Westminster voting intention (fieldwork 31 Mar-1 Apr)
Con – 42% (n/c from 25-26 Mar)
Lab – 34% (+2)
Lib Dem – 7% (-1)
Green – 6% (-1)
SNP – 5% (n/c)
Reform UK – 3% (n/c)
— Paul Martin (@Trulyoftheyard) April 8, 2021
… to this, eight days later:
[UK] Westminster voting intention:
CON: 43% (+2)
LAB: 29% (-5)
GRN: 8% (+2)
LDEM: 8% (+2)
REFUK: 3% (-)
Via YouGov. 12-13 April.
Chgs w/ 01 April. pic.twitter.com/Avt0on2g8o
— EnglishElects (@EnglishElects) April 16, 2021
So according to this pollster, Labour is now trailing the Conservatives by 14 points, at a time when the Tories can’t do anything right and should be fearing the public’s backlash over Brexit, Covid-19, corruption and the possible end of the United Kingdom.
And, of course, Starmer’s supporters should be reminded that they said anybody but Jeremy Corbyn would give Labour a 20-point lead, automatically.
Meanwhile, though, another YouGov survey has claimed that Labour Party members are satisfied with Starmer’s performance and think he’s doing a great job.
How can this be?
Two answers present themselves:
Firstly, that the purge that Starmer launched after he became party leader last year has been successful and members who belonged to the left wing of the party – socialists who conform to the ideals that led to its original formation – have largely been removed, leaving a right-wing rump that agrees with Starmer’s wishy-washy, Tory-supporting, any-way-the-wind-blows populism.
Or alternatively that – as a result of the purge – anybody left within Labour is living in fear of being purged if they are found to have said anything even remotely critical of the party leadership.
There’s a word for an organisation that instils that kind of fear in the people. I’m sure you know the one I mean. It would explain why Starmer has been so supportive of Boris Johnson’s thugs.
Of course, there are still nearly three weeks until the elections – and a week in politics is still a long time.
There’s plenty of time for Labour to fare much worse than even the current polls are suggesting.
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