Evening Standard Comment: The cost of living crisis is Keir Starmer’s big chance

·2 min read
Keir Starmer  (PA)
Keir Starmer (PA)

A crisis for the Government provides an opening for Labour. Yet in recent years, the party has rarely missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

In an exclusive Evening Standard poll, Sir Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson are neck and neck on who would make the most capable prime minister. Starmer has had a mixed conference thus far.

He did not succeed in his bid to fully overhaul the way in which Labour leaders are elected but did drive through important rule changes. But altering the Byzantine Labour Party rulebook is one thing, convincing the country you are ready to lead is another.

Starmer comes across as a decent, detail-oriented man, but his messaging and attempts to woo Tory voters took a detour when his deputy, Angela Rayner, was filmed calling Conservatives “scum”, an unhelpful and unbecoming comment that will not persuade anyone not already in the Labour column.

Boris Johnson’s vaccine bounce has well and truly waned. If voters come to the conclusion that his Government is failing to tackle the rising cost of living, Starmer will have the opportunity to demonstrate there is an alternative ready to take the reins of power and the long-term decisions to end these rolling crises.

All eyes will be on Wednesday’s leader’s speech. It is a chance to introduce himself to the country. He cannot let it go to waste.

Celebrating Stories

The Evening Standard’s Stories Festival, launched with Netflix, has been a huge success. A celebration of conversation and creativity, it has put two new writing talents in the spotlight in the process.

It was also a thrill to see London’s artistry, innovation and imagination come to life once more after more than a year of shutdowns and Zoom calls.

Thanks to all of the stars for coming along, and congratulations to our competition winners.

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Starmer distances himself from Rayner’s attack on Tory ‘scum’

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