The False Hope vs No Hope Election
After 13 years of despair, the public is crying out for some actual hope from the opposition
The fact that the Conservative party is, on average, around 20 points behind Labour in the polls is no accident. As the pollster Luke Tryl told me recently, the overwhelming sentiment among most voters is that “nothing really works”.
Whether it’s getting an appointment on the NHS, finding a home, or just doing simple things like sending a parcel, or attempting to swim at the seaside without catching a serious infection, almost everything about the British state, and the wider public realm, just feels utterly broken.
And yet while most peoples’ minds are now made up about this Government, there is little sign of enthusiasm for the alternative. I’m currently writing this newsletter while at the Byline Festival in Devon. The event is full of very earnest, centre left leaning people, who really should be excited about the prospect of a future Labour Government. And yet at session after session, the overwhelming sense from the audience is of disappointment and frustration with Keir Starmer’s party.
At one such discussion I took part in on Friday, I shared a panel with the Labour MP Rushanara Ali, who delivered a passionate and persuasive account of what a Labour Government could do for the country. And yet almost every question and comment she received was from audience members clearly dissatisfied with the direction the party is now taking.
So what is going on here?