While the Conservatives are looking for a new prime minister after the resignation of Liz Truss, the Labor Party, having reinvented itself, looks destined to take the reins of government sooner rather than later.
Ever since David Cameron became prime minister following the Conservatives’ election victory in 2010, Labor has been desperate to topple the Conservatives. Now, for the first time in years, he has a good chance of coming to power in the next election, which must take place in 2024 at the latest.
“Given Truss’ departure and the Tories’ dismal poll ratings, Labor has every chance of winning the next general election and winning big,” said Nicholas Allen, professor of politics at Royal Holloway, University of London, on Al Jazeera. “Whether or not its stratospheric lead in the polls continues, the party must imagine its chances of defeating the Tories and returning to power.”
“If the Tories have destroyed their reputation and image as badly as the polls suggest, then Labor could have a decent chance of winning at least the next two general elections,” he said. “If so, they will have the opportunity to carry out a sustained program and change the British economy and society to their liking.”
“They need to avoid complacency, of course, but as we saw with New Labor in the mid-1990s, the confidence that comes with a very healthy lead in the polls can foster discipline and focus minds on becoming government.” , Allen added.
‘We are ready’
Party leader Keir Starmer has stressed that Labor believes it is ready to govern after Truss resigns.
“After 12 years of Conservative failure, the British people deserve much better than this revolving door of chaos,” he said on Twitter.
Starmer also announced his willingness to take responsibility. “We are ready to form a government,” Starmer told Sky News on Thursday.
Also, during the Labor conference at the end of September, Starmer outlined the party’s agenda to change Britain for the better.
Starmer presented his ideas for a publicly owned energy company, insulation for all British homes and carbon-free energy by the end of the decade, with the intention of tackling the rising cost of living and “leveling ” the regions of the United Kingdom.
However, some experts argue that much of what Starmer announced were promises rather than coherent plans.
‘Hands are tied’
“Labour needs to provide more detail about their policy priorities and be clear about whether a Labor government would really be redistributive,” Lynn Bennie, a lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Aberdeen, told Al Jazeera. “They need to provide more detail on how they would address the economic, social and ecological challenges.”
“Starmer’s hands are somewhat tied because of the terrible state of the economy, meaning he can’t promise too much, but I think there is some confusion on the part of the electorate about Labour’s policies” , he said. “What would the party really do with power?”
So far, Labor has mainly benefited from the chaos within the Tories and the current economic situation, not sending a brilliant message that has led to a Labor movement and renaissance.
The tumultuous years of Boris Johnson and Truss and their failed mini-budget have led to financial turmoil, making the public weary of their government.
“Labour’s rise in the polls has more to do with the public failings of the last two Conservative prime ministers and the deeper structural problems affecting the country, namely rising energy prices, inflation, the crisis of the cost of living and chronically underfunded public services.” Allen said. “The material impact of Brexit is also starting to bite, whether the Tories want to admit it or not.”
“The Tories are a bit like the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. They were going to sink anyway, but it’s as if their recent captains have punched extra holes in the hull to speed up the process,” he said.
Indeed, current polls have Labor leading the Conservatives by up to 30 percentage points, figures not seen since Tony Blair took Labor to new heights in 2001.
With this kind of electoral advantage, Labor wants another election. However, to the consternation of the opposition, they seem, at least for now, implausible.
Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, snap elections can only be triggered if two-thirds of MPs support the idea.
Since Johnson’s landslide victory in 2019, the Conservatives have an absolute majority in the House of Commons.
Party members will vote on Truss’s successor over the next week, with current front-runner Rishi Sunak, former chancellor of the exchequer under Johnson.
Regardless of who becomes the next prime minister, the new resident of No. 10 Downing Street would face significant problems in reversing course and restoring confidence in the party.
“In general, Sunak would be the big threat [to Labour] as it would have a wider appeal and is obviously more competent,” said Bennie.
“However, the damage to the Conservative brand and reputation will mean that any Conservative leader will struggle to win an election,” he said.
The waiting game
So workers are in a somewhat comfortable position right now. With the British economy and national budget already suffering and the country’s debt extremely high, it is basically playing the waiting game.
What also speaks in Labour’s favor is that, unlike previous elections, the party looks at least competent enough to lead.
With Starmer’s election as party leader in 2020, Labor has transformed from what many voters perceived as unelectable far-left views under predecessor Jeremy Corbyn to a more moderate and less divisive party and leadership .
In fact, Starmer suspended Corbyn’s membership and cracked down on the party’s anti-Jewish tendencies as soon as he took office.
“The party suffered a humiliating defeat in 2019, which silenced Corbyn’s supporters, although most remain in the party,” Bennie said. “Starmer is clearly more moderate ideologically and more cautious strategically.”
Starmer has offered the Tories as few targets as possible on issues such as the culture wars, political correctness, migration, the relationship with NATO and even Brexit, which once divided the party’s electoral base. match
“However, there is a question mark over what kind of Labor Party it really is because we have relatively little to judge it in policy terms,” Bennie said. “Blair’s approach was similar in that economic credibility came first, but New Labor had clearer policy goals.”
Despite Labour’s advantages at the moment, some observers have argued that for now the biggest burden on the party and Starmer may be Starmer himself.
Although he is considered competent, he is also often described as a dull character, and the ability to electrify the masses does not seem to be one of his calling cards.
However, a quiet pragmatist may not be the worst alternative in the current environment, the tumultuous previous years and the crises that lie ahead, Allen said.
“Boredom can be a virtue, especially when prime ministers are exciting, dynamic and terrible,” he noted.
However, Starmer has questions to answer before taking over from the Conservatives.
“Labor still needs to develop its strategy,” Allen said. “Not having a general election benefits them, whatever they say. More time will give them the space to develop that strategy and the staff to implement it.
“It probably follows that the country will benefit from Labor taking its time to fully develop the policies needed to get the UK out of its current hole.”