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Keir Starmer won’t bring voters back to Labour with just a list of Tory failures | Rafael Behr

His speech this week itemising Boris Johnson’s errors with Covid was indisputable. But it was also ignoredKeir Starmer’s job would be easier if he dis

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His speech this week itemising Boris Johnson’s errors with Covid was indisputable. But it was also ignored

Keir Starmer’s job would be easier if he disagreed with Boris Johnson on the biggest problem facing the UK. But that problem is the pandemic. Both men oppose the virus, which in the grand scheme of things puts them on the same side.

There is room for partisan argument over methods and targets to contain the threat, but those are second-order issues, not the stuff from which a newish opposition leader can mould his public identity. Starmer must strike a tricky balance between complicity and opportunism. He must hold the Tories to account for their failures, but without sounding eager for the government to fail.

There is a limit to how much people want to hear from the opposition in a crisis. It is possible to believe that Johnson has bungled the pandemic, while not taking any lessons in how it should have been handled by Labour – a party whose application to govern has been rejected in the last four elections.

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