When it comes to politics it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver

AFTER weeks of encouraging us to proceed, the PM has finally pulled the rug on our Christmas plans by admitting things are much worse than he’d let on.

How has it got so out of control? Is it just that things are so difficult that it would be too hard for anyone or are not enough of our politicians up to the job?

It’s not unusual, in politics, to be blamed if things go wrong. If you take a job that seeks power and encourage the idea that you possess insight into handling events, why should that be a surprise? But have standards slipped and do we tolerate things now that would previously have been unacceptable?

There was a time when preferences seemed to be for winners – Wilson versus an outof-touch Douglas Hume; Thatcher versus a burnt-out Callaghan; Blair against a busted Major. I’m not so sure that’s still the case.

The figures show that Jeremy Corbyn failed to establish voter trust and alienated large numbers of traditional Labour voters but his small band of devoted followers still go to any lengths to blame everyone else for his failure. And did Boris Johnson’s supporters really believe him when he talked of levelling up or getting a good Brexit, or were they simply recognising that he was saying what an exhausted public wanted to hear?

I wonder how much longer the PM’s own side will tolerate his failings. The Tory Party has a reputation for dealing quickly and efficiently with those it regards as electoral liabilities, much more so than Labour.

Perhaps Mr Johnson is heading for his comeuppance, but what of his opponent, Keir Starmer? Will the public come to see him as a deliverer?

However well he performs, he needs to regain the trust his party lost and he needs to convince people that he’s worth voting for.

If we are to restore faith in politics and convince people that voting can make a difference then we need to rediscover some old truths – there’s no substitute for straight talking and it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver.

Steve McCabe MP weekly column for Birmingham Mail

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