September 30, 2023

UK: Labor leads Tories in polls

London. When Labor leader Keir Starmer was recently asked what he hated most, he said: “Losing. I hate losing,” the 60-year-old said. And: “This is what counts as success.” For the party, at least for the time being, it seems almost achievable. In opinion polls, Labor currently leads the Conservatives by up to 20 percentage points. If the party maintains this lead, it will win the next general election in late January 2025 and Starmer will become the new British Prime Minister.

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Labour’s far better performance in opinion polls has to do with less engagement with Starmer and the Conservatives’ poor performance, Sophie Stowers of think tank UK insisted in an interview with Germany’s Editorial Network on a Changing Europe (RND). ) Voters have lost faith in the current government due to the chaos in the Tory party. Many Britons find Starmer boring, but according to a political scientist, this is what will make him successful.

His path was by no means predetermined. His father was an instrument maker and his mother was a nurse. He was the only one of four children in his family to go to high school. His childhood and youth were darkened by his mother’s illness. He suffered from Still’s disease, a rare disease characterized by severe rheumatic attacks. “It’s creation – and hard, very hard,” the party leader once said.

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Law degree and political career

After leaving school, Starmer left Surrey to study law at Leeds and Oxford. He later worked as a human rights lawyer. He was appointed Attorney General by the Labor government in 2008 and was eventually knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014. In 2015 he managed to get a seat in the British Parliament. In 2016 he was appointed as the party’s Brexit ambassador by then Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Starmer was elected as the new leader in April 2020 after Corbyn announced his resignation following the party’s defeat in the 2019 general election. He had a great task ahead of him. Finally, Labor struggled with internal divisions, with the lingering debate over anti-Semitism paralyzing the party. Since then, the 60-year-old has turned Labor inside out, showing a particularly hard hand to the left, British journalist Michael Crick points out. “He moved the party to the center,” Stowers explained.

The political scientist says the opposition leader is now shying away from big announcements to stay on course with good poll numbers, which is why many Britons don’t know what he really stands for. According to journalist Andrew Rawnsley, the party leader is scaring voters with too big promises, as Conservative politicians Boris Johnson and most recently Liz Truss have promised the moon for years.

While Starmer is seen as a sort of “anti-Boris” because of Boris Johnson’s quiet demeanor, Rishi Sunak as leader of the Tories presents himself as more level-headed, but has now changed. Stowers insisted that it was very difficult for the Labor leader to distinguish himself from the Conservatives. “The challenge now for him and his team is to make the idea of ​​a Labor government even more exciting,” Rawnsley said.

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