The Guardian view on Labour's advance: halted but not reversed | Editorial

Sir Keir Starmer needs to tell a story about why Labour is better for Britain than the Conservatives

Being leader of the opposition during a national crisis is probably the worst job in politics. The public instinctively feel they should rally around the government. People will put up with the ministerial mistakes when they can see a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. This goes some way to explain why Labour and the Conservatives are either level-pegging in polls or within a few points of each other.

Sir Keir Starmer’s advance has halted but not reversed. His approval ratings are positive. Boris Johnson’s are negative, reflecting voter unease over his indecisive and often incompetent Covid response. But a slowly growing share of the public who, polls suggest, feel unfavourable towards Sir Keir indicates that Tory attack lines are working. If local elections go ahead, Labour could end up losing seats. Why does the public prefer the devil they know when the UK has had the world’s highest coronavirus death rate per capita and its economy, globally, has been one of the hardest hit?

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