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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Stronger together?

LABOUR is going to be “Stronger Together” at the next election or so Keir Starmer’s team told us last week with the launch a new campaign that they hope will channel the solidarity shown by the British public during the pandemic. This particular slogan, like most of the Starmer team’s ideas, comes from America. It was Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan in the 2016 presidential elections. She lost to Donald Trump so it doesn’t augur well for Starmer in the future.

And that future looks grim for Sir Keir following Labour’s dismal showing at the Chesham & Amersham by-election and the almost certain disaster that awaits them when Batley & Spen goes to the polls next week.

It doesn’t look too bright for Boris Johnson either. He clearly no longer walks on water following the loss of a long-time Tory seat to the Liberal Democrats. The Tory vote slumped to 36 per cent having previously never dropped below 50 in this leafy Buckinghamshire constituency on the outskirts of London. They, at least, came second and they still live in hope of retaking this seat at the next general election. Labour, however, got their worst ever by-election result. Some Labour supporters switched to the Lib-Dems others simply stayed at home. Labour lost its deposit with a measly 622 votes that represents 1.6 per cent of the vote.

Despite the fact that their leader, Sir Ed Davey, is barely known outside Liberal Democrat circles the Lib Dems increased their vote share by 30 points, overturning a 16,000 Tory majority to win by over 8,000 on a 52 per cent turn-out. Like St Paul the Lib-Dems are ‘all things to all men’ on the street who exploit every local issue to their advantage by claiming they, and they alone, can solve the problem.

The big issue this time round was the erosion of the town’s Green Belt by the HS2 high-speed rail link and the top down planning changes that only benefit the big housing developers. That the Lib-Dems could turn it to their advantage even though they actually support the development of HS2 is to the credit of their campaign managers who are following in the footsteps of their predecessors who set the ball rolling during the Orpington by-election back in 1962.

Johnson can, of course, take some comfort from the fact that the Tories have seen this all before. Flash in the pan Liberal-Democrat by-elections wins usually at the expense of the Tories. This is followed by hyped up media talk of a great Liberal revival which continues until a predictable slump in their fortunes at a general election. If the Tories, as seems likely, take Batley & Spen from Labour next week Johnson will sleep even more soundly. But if that happens it’s got to be the end of the road for Sir Keir Starmer.