Labour shouldn’t sacrifice decency and principle for votes

Martin Kettle is right to say that Boris Johnson’s “lack of a team, a structure and a shared ethos adds up to a humiliating verdict” on Britain’s politics (The Tories now see that although Johnson can win elections, he simply can’t govern, 25 November). The Tory party puts up with his shambolic and corrupt leadership simply because its members think so little of the British electorate that another election can only be won with Johnson at the helm.

The trouble is that the Labour party is in similar mode, prepared to sacrifice decency and principle for a boost in the polls. With a home secretary and prime minister only capable of thinking in terms of blame and attempting diplomacy on Twitter when dealing with the tragedy of asylum seekers in the Channel, the opposition, as Gaby Hinsliff writes, often “struggles with what to say about it” (Twenty-seven dead in the icy Channel. This must be the spur for change, 25 November). It seems that Labour cannot appear to be sympathetic or generous because it has to appeal to voters who aren’t. Rather than merely following national opinion, why isn’t the Labour leadership team leading from the front, shouting out the facts, like the one about the UK receiving the fourth highest number of asylum applications, and demanding changes to the way asylum claims are processed?

If it is true that the only way for this country to have a Labour government is for the opposition to adopt Farage-lite policies, then Kettle’s “humiliating verdict” on our politics appears too generous.
Bernie Evans

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