How Labour can win the next election

According to the polls, the Labour Party is predicted to win a massive majority in the next election, however, I am not convinced.

The Conservatives seem to be focused on clawing back the voters they lost, whether they can do that is for another time, but things change during an election campaign, one only has to look at Theresa Mays’s fall from the highs of opinion polling in 2017 to see that. The Labour Party should not be complacent and if what voters have to say is anything to go by, they should be quietly worried.

To be clear from the beginning, I am not party political and this is not a guide for how Labour should govern should they win, this is very simply a guide on how they can win. I will be approaching this purely as a strategist and not as someone who is politically biased, hence why the proposals are realistic and fitting to the Labour Party. A strategist cannot control every single variable, so any suggestions like getting rid of Keir Starmer (which I think would be a mistake anyway) will not be in this article, read The Telegraph/The Guardian if you want that.

The main problem with Labour that I hear from voters is that they have no vision, no plan. The same can be said for the Conservative Party currently, but the key difference is that they did have a plan that people remember (Get Brexit Done, Levelling Up etc), they have just deviated so far from it. No vision, no plan. The other problem is the Starmer problem, people don’t like him, but they also don’t hate him, he occupies a space of indifference, this is a good and a bad thing, it means he still has the opportunity to imprint himself on voters, but it also means he has no star power or draw. But nobody in the Labour Party does, he has no natural successor, hence why getting rid of him is a bad idea. If anybody in the Labour Party wants to get rid of him, I’d advise them to wait until he is Prime Minister and get Mr Follow-the-rules on some technicality.

The Labour Party currently have their 5 Missions for a Better Britain on the homepage of their website, in plain text looking like a blog post next to a picture of Keir Starmer. You should not have to click to get to these missions, they should be the first thing you see. The missions aren’t bad but they aren’t great either. When you click on the post, you get this:

The issues are there, crime, economic growth, energy, the NHS and equal opportunity etc. The problem is the messaging. The messaging and framing are what I can only describe as milquetoast, they read like they have been written by a generic AI. The details aren’t much better ‘Britain needs a mission-driven government to end short term sticking-plaster politics‘. When voters are struggling right now, they don’t particularly care about the long term, why should they? Long-term policies don’t help them pay their bills, they don’t help them get an NHS appointment etc. That’s not to say the Labour Party shouldn’t be thinking long terms, but don’t use this messaging and leave it for when you are in government. Long-termism is the focus of a government, not a party wishing to be elected.

I stated earlier that Labour’s big problem is that voters think they have no plan and no vision. These missions exemplify that. They are too long, too meaningless, unmemorable and unremarkable. I have a few suggestions:

  1. Energy – energy costs are impacting everything, individuals, families and business. Labour has recognised this but they are yet to capitalise on it. Linking it with economic growth can kill two missions with one slogan. ‘Cut Bills, Boost Britain‘. I did a rudimentary focus group and it plays well, the main issue is that people need to know that Labour have a plan to back it up. Get rid of the clean energy bit, it takes up valuable space, and people are happy to take ‘dirty’ energy if it’s cheap anyway, just look at how people watch petrol and diesel prices. Don’t talk about productivity, talk about salaries, something along the lines of ‘You deserve more‘ or ‘Higher salaries with Labour‘.
  2. Big and Bold – Labour has no real standout policy. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps because Starmer is a bore in the vein of Hilary Clinton who also had no real standout policy. One proposal to do with energy would link in well with the Cut Bills slogan (the plan). That is ‘40 new nuclear reactors‘ or ‘Half of Britain’s power provided by nuclear‘. This is a clear and memorable policy that activists can use on the doorstep but that can also be plastered across social media. Labour’s current energy policies are lacklustre, and one such as insulating 19 million homes has bad connotations with Insulate Britain, drop this from campaigning material. China has pledged to build 150 Nuclear Reactors in 15 years, the Labour Party can say to Britain, we are the party of ambition/future, let’s get bills down by building 40 new nuclear reactors. The reason I picked 40 is because it can also be used as an attack on the Conservatives who made the pledge to build 40 new hospitals which have not materialised. The reactors can be built using the Vaccine Taskforce framework, expedited and fully supported by the state with little bureaucracy and interruption led by someone from the private sector. In terms of how to pay for it, it can be a joint venture between the state and the private sector but once loans/financing etc have been paid off Britain will fully own all nuclear reactors. Cut the net zero talk too, voters aren’t keen on it and it just gives the Conservatives an opportunity to show off their achievements on the issue, plus people who care about that will be voting for you anyway because they hate the Conservatives and the Greens can’t win.
  3. Crime – crime is only getting worse, for a variety of reasons. I don’t think that Labour will do anything differently if they come to power but as with energy and growth, their messaging is off. ‘Make Britain’s streets safe’ is meaningless, everyone already agrees, instead, the message should be ‘Labour will lock up criminals that the Conservatives have let roam free‘. They did attempt to do this with their social media attack ads a couple of weeks ago, but the ads have too much text on them, get rid of the bottom half and just replace it with a sentence like the one I wrote above. No platitudes or meaningless statements because no one believes them, just keep things simple, criminals in jail mean they aren’t out in public committing crimes.
  4. National Health Service – Talk of technology is along the right lines as Labour has little to say on the NHS besides more money and no fundamental reform or restart. But they should go all the way, talk about at-home AI doctors, meaning people will have instant access to healthcare and new drugs such as cancer vaccines etc. Voters trust Labour more with the NHS anyway, this is the issue they own but their tried and trusted strategy of just pledging more money is showing cracks as people come to realise the system is unsustainable. If Labour has no answer to that, best to not mention it at all and just attack the Conservatives.

Obviously, Labour has not yet released its manifesto, and it may well include bold policy, currently, it is looking unlikely.

Moving onto their digital strategy, it is truly abysmal. I don’t know who runs it but they should be sacked. Mixed messaging (although that is a party-wide problem), different colours, mundane captions, long text, long videos and a focus on Starmer.

The focus on Starmer is deliberate as they try and elevate his profile, but he is harming how effective their messaging is. The focus should be on the policy and the vision, not the people/person. The party has no strong figures so having them talk on camera for three minutes is asking people not to watch. The official Labour Party accounts should not be retweeting or posting pictures of local canvassing, it takes up space in people’s feeds and takes away from more important posts that the party should be wanting people to see. Short, sweet, catchy and on the attack. That should be the digital ad philosophy. Two or three of the most popular policies/messages should be plastered everywhere and repeated, and then repeated again. Starmer is boring and people switch off, 40 new nuclear reactors are exciting, the future.

Sideline Angela Rayner, I can’t tell you how many people I speak to who cannot stand her, she is possibly one of the least intelligent politicians in the country and voters know it. Rachel Reeves is another snoozefest, I’d say she needs to be replaced but like I stated earlier it is hard to find any decent figures in the party.

I appreciate that Starmer cannot hide in a basement like Biden but I have two options that he could try to improve and elevate his image:

  1. The Middle-Class Family Man – highlight his commitment to his family, his wife and kids should appear with him, I have read that his family are very private but politics is not conducive to privacy. His wife should be with him at events, she should give some speeches too. His kids should appear at major events too, they should make short videos of him talking with his kids or a sneak peek of his day. Extra points if a video is produced of just his kids with them speaking to his character, determination etc. People don’t like it if they cannot place someone, so if Starmer isn’t prepared to change his approach, then this is the best option.
  2. The Ruthless Political Operator – this is more ambitious than the first, but more should be made of the fact that Starmer ‘rid’ the Labour Party of the hard left. Portray him as a man who committed a purge, how what he did was necessary and how he will do exactly the same for Britain and that he will act with that same ruthlessness if he is PM. Whether you think this is true or not is beside the point. Politics is portrayal.

In terms of their polling and ground game operation, I have no insight into their internals so I will not comment on this. Further on their digital strategy, many commentators and politicos report that Labour routinely beats the Conservatives in this department and if you look purely at reach and followers then yes that is true. But it doesn’t really matter how many people tweet #ForTheMany during the course of the campaign as was the case in 2017 and 2019, what matters is reaching people on specific messages repeatedly and getting people motivated to go to the polls.

Starmer should make it clear that Labour MPs must stick to the script, hammer the central messaging and stop publicly experimenting with their own. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that during the actual election campaign, MPs should be instructed that their social media posts or interviews must follow the central talking points and that any deviation will result in consequences. They cannot afford for a single idiotic MP to distract from their campaign.

I have to disagree with many who say that Labour should be shouting from the rooftops that they will build more houses, this is NOT a wise strategy. Labour should talk about housing but the angle they should go for is a ban on foreign nationals purchasing property in Britain like Canada have done. They can frame this as being a policy against Russian billionaires etc. This can then be used on two fronts, to attack the Conservative’s closeness with international oligarchs whilst also giving them a housing policy that is popular and that they can say will free up houses to rent or buy. It doesn’t really matter that this alone won’t make a difference, it is a popular policy. Young people (who vote) are already voting for Labour anyway, so for Labour to make housing a central issue doesn’t make sense and will alienate older voters.

Starmer is currently in a prime position to win, Sunak has never won a national election, he is a mediocre campaigner, people think he is out of touch, and the Conservatives have been running the country into the ground for the last 13 years. Starmer’s challenge is to present himself as the change candidate, not the steady-as-she-goes candidate, not the sensible candidate, the CHANGE candidate. If he can’t do that he will not achieve the massive majority that is predicted and could be attempting to negotiate a coalition the day after the election.

To reiterate, I am not party political, both parties in Britain have nothing to offer this great country, the sooner they are replaced the better. But the Conservatives deserved to be destroyed, and if Labour blow the next election it will be one of the greatest missed opportunities in modern British political history. So if the advice in this article is used in any capacity, I am content with that.

You have free articles remaining this month. Subscribe and support us for unlimited access. You will be redirected to the subscribe page once you have reached the limit.