Analysis: Confident Starmer Parks His Tanks On The Tories' Lawn

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks during a visit to UCL at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Picture date: Thursday January 5, 2023.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks during a visit to UCL at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Picture date: Thursday January 5, 2023.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks during a visit to UCL at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Picture date: Thursday January 5, 2023.

The imagery wasn’t exactly subtle when Keir Starmer got up to deliver his eagerly anticipated New Year speech this morning.

Dispensing with a jacket, the Labour leader had his sleeves rolled up at the same venue where the suited-and-booted Rishi Sunak had delivered his own address barely 24 hours before.

In case you missed the message Starmer was trying to convey, he even said it out loud: “We’re going to roll up our sleeves, fix the problems and improve our country.”

It was pretty clear that he believes the best way to do that is to park Labour’s tanks firmly on the Tories’ lawn.

Starmer even went as far as to appropriate the phrase beloved by the very Brexiteers he had campaigned against in the 2016 referendum.

A Labour government would, he declared, introduce a Take Back Control Bill in its first King’s Speech to devolve more power from Westminster to the UK’s nations and regions.

The fact that he felt confident enough to steal the infamous Vote Leave slogan, given how synonymous he is with the campaign to overturn the Brexit vote, spoke volumes.

So did Starmer’s willingness to insist that a Labour government would not be squeamish about using the private sector to deliver its objectives.

On no fewer than four occasions during his half hour speech, he said that the public and private sectors would need to work together to deliver his vision for a better Britain.

And in a further attempt to address the concerns of Tory voters, he insisted he would not simply get the “big government chequebook out” to minute he gets his feet under the table in Number 10.

While the next election is undoubtedly Labour’s to lose, history tells us that the party is more than capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Starmer must hope that the Tory voters he is so desperate to woo believe his centrist vision is the right one.

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