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UK elections

Voters won’t buy “nasty” Tories line

Labour leader Keir Starmer in Hartlepool. Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images

It’s 16 years since Labour last won a general election, says Rafael Behr in The Guardian. I can’t see that changing any time soon. It needs to reassure traditional voters in heartlands such as Hartlepool that the party hasn’t “been captured by snooty metropolitans, far-left fanatics or both”. But a bigger own goal is its endless attack on the “same old Tories”. This is a different Tory brand to the “nasty party” David Cameron worked so hard to detox. Yet when Conservatives show compassion, the automatic response from the left is to “dismiss it as a cynical feint”. The left is “conditioned to doubt that any decent human being could be a Tory”.

Britain doesn’t have the same old politics or voters – but Labour hasn’t adapted and the Tories have. Sleaze allegations have their place, but they won’t beat the promise of restored local and national esteem that many former Labour voters heard two years ago in Boris Johnson’s invitation to “get Brexit done”. And you won’t endear yourself to voters by chastising them for giving the “wrong answer” on the ballot paper. “One thing no leader has attempted is a candid, humble explanation for why the party keeps losing”. If Labour wants to win, it must stop blaming right-wing tabloid hysteria or the “Boris effect” for hoodwinking the electorate. “A strategy based on telling voters to look again, look harder, because they missed the point last time is doomed”.  

Read the full article here.