A Winter of discontent looms on Great Britain, as the public deals with a fuel crisis, inflation, a rise in taxes and worst of all, the possibility of no turkeys for Christmas.
Yet, in opposition, the Labour Party is incapable of landing any punches on PM Boris Johnson. Hence concerns beckon Sir Keir Stramer’s leadership and his ability to unite the many factions of a divided party –be it Corbynites, Blairites, Remainers, Lexiters, trade unionists, liberals, socialists, third way, middle class, working class etc…
Dissecting the party rhetoric and hearsay of last week’s Brighton Conference, Smarkets provides political insights and analysis on Labour’s quest out of the electorate wilderness.
Jeered and heckled several times by Brighton delegates during his keynote speech, observers questioned whether Stramer had made any real progress in convincing the public of his credentials to become next PM.
“The betting markets think his chances have improved modestly. He overtook Rishi Sunak on the Smarkets’ next PM’ odds the morning after his speech,” – commented Matt Shaddick, Head of Politics at Smarkets.
“Whilst a 21% chance of becoming the next Prime Minister isn’t that great a number for the Leader of the Opposition (he was as high as 36% after being elected leader), one has to factor in the genuine chance that the Tories ditch Johnson before Starmer gets a chance at the next election.”
Party spin doctors insist that Stramer is far more competent and qualified than Johnson to lead the country through its multiple headwinds. However, Brighton’s headline act must become the healing preacher of Labour’s ‘broad church’ which continues to be rocked by internal rifts and public fallouts.
“It depends on where Labour’s opinion poll rating goes from here. If there isn’t any sign of improvement over the next few months, there almost certainly will be some more opposition to the current leadership from the left of the party.” – Shaddick remarked on party divisions.
The media branded the Brighton conference as a lacklustre and low energy affair. Though Stramer maintained he had ‘little interest in slogans’, conference feedback relayed concerns on his likeability and whether a lawyer can don the tribal warpaint and lead the party into campaigning for the next General Election.
Shaddick revealed that a General Election dawns on its UK political markets, as punters respond to PM Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle and conference season – “There is still only around a 7% chance of a snap election next year, but 2023 looks very plausible and is up to about a one-in-three shot.
” If the Conservatives think they are in a reasonable position to win in 2023, you’d expect them to go for it. 2024 is still clearly in front at 60%.”
Facing a Conservative government with an 80-seat majority, Labour has a mountain to climb to win the next General Election. In 2019, the party suffered its worst election defeat since 1935 due to the mistrust of Jeremy Corbyn, its failure to produce a credible Brexit outcome that chimed with the electorate and the continued decline in its support among working-class voters.
The party recognises its long-road to government, but surely under Stramer’s stewardship, Labour will outperform its gut-wrenching 2019 results or could history repeat itself?
“I couldn’t rule it out. They are only polling marginally better now than they did at the last election but there’s likely a long way to go, so anything is still possible. If I had to price it up now, I think I’d make it about a 30% chance that they underperform 2019.” Shaddick concluded.
“Starmer’s long-term position as leader seems fairly secure. The conference mostly went his way and the left of the party don’t look to have enough of a presence amongst the parliamentary group to launch a challenge just yet. There’s also nobody very obvious to take his place – Andy Burnham leads the betting but he’d have to step down as Mayor of Greater Manchester and find a Westminster seat to win first, which wouldn’t be straightforward.”