Steve McCabe MP writes for the Birmingham Mail
With recent opinion polls showing Labour and Tories neck and neck and his personal rating ahead of the Prime Minister, Keir Starmer is emerging as a leader who can’t be trifled with but he knows government is a long way off. He was in Walsall last week because the West Midlands remain a key battleground and it’s only by listening to people in places like Walsall that he can hope to begin that long journey to victory.
As one man’s fortunes have improved, so the Prime Minister’s have plummeted. Ten months ago, he was lord of all he surveyed. He’d secured the Conservatives, their best election victory since 1987. Doubts about his troublesome past seemed behind him. Why has it all gone wrong?
This has been the year of coronavirus hell which has seen thousands lose their lives, debt soar, the economy contract and the spectre of mass unemployment hover, like the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
It isn’t easy for any government. It’s a deadly virus, inflicting damage around the globe but it’s hard to escape the view that this government has concentrated too much on its own interests and not enough on what’s best for our country.
Is the PM’s approach suited to combating the pandemic? Winston Churchill didn’t stop being a Tory because he invited Attlee and others to join his wartime coalition. He was being a statesman and acknowledging that what we faced was bigger than party politics. I doubt that Boris Johnson will entertain coalition but Labour, under new leadership, has changed and Johnson needs help. It might be time for a joint coordinating council. How long can he afford to be without Starmer’s energy and intellect? Wouldn’t it be smart to have Angela Rayner, who’s worked in social care, play her part in protecting the elderly?
As we face another national lock down, in all but name, and the prospect of more deaths and Christmas cancelled – it’s chaos. We need a much bolder approach. We can’t go on like this Prime Minister. It’s getting worse, it isn’t working – change tack before it’s too late.