Given that the same polls rate this administration as the worst in living memory, given that Starmer won the Labour leadership primarily because of his so-called electability, and given that even the Tory press is giving him an easy ride, one might have thought that a significant lead would be … well, a given.
After all, as Tony Blair said dismissively when Jeremy Corbyn was a few points ahead in the polls, “yes, but he should be 20 points up.”
Yes, he should have been. And so should Starmer be now.
Each day brings more news of government corruption and cronyism. Each morning we hear of more statistical manipulation and lies. Day after day, we learn of yet another fiasco, yet more failures.
But we don’t hear the ‘forensic’ voice of Keir Starmer. He’s gone to ground.
It’s not the message. There isn’t really one at all. So it must be the medium.
True, the occasional tweet sneaks out. Now and again, an article under his byline will appear, usually behind a paywall. Once in a while, we will see him claiming that some government perfidy requires ‘looking at’. But that’s about it.
And his deputy and the rest of his shadow cabinet are also keeping schtum.
The bastards who screwed us in 2017 are kicking up a fuss. Pay them off.
Eliminate factionalism by expelling every faction. Except ours.
Don’t mention Dawn Butler. Until Boris Johnson does.
We’re only nine points down. Don’t rock the boat.
Trouble is, the boat is already rocking. Membership is declining. Some are resigning. More are allowing their membership to lapse. Amongst those who will remain, there is a sense of despondency and depression.
So is Labour a lost cause?
Not necessarily. In the latest Survation poll, which was published at the same time as YouGov, Labour was four points ahead amongst those under 65. But amongst over-65s, the Tories had a 46 point lead. (Hence the nine point lead overall.)
As a man in his seventies, I have often thought there was case to be made for 65 being the cut-off age for voting. Those who vote should have a vested interest in the future rather than the status quo.
Nearly 50% of Tory voters are over 65, compared to just 14% of Labour voters.
So I have a modest proposal for you.
We don’t need to dissolve the people and elect a new one.
We don’t need proportional representation or single transferable votes.
We simply need to make voting the sole prerogative of those between 16 and 65.
Today from the everysmith vaults: We have just passed through the ‘Days Between’ and so Jerry has been on my mind and my turntable. Today, from the night he died, it’s Bob Weir and Ratdog at Hampton Beach. You know our love will never fade away.