David Lammy: Voters do not want razzmatazz of Blair era

Sir Keir Starmer’s message does not have the “razzmatazz” of Sir Tony Blair’s election-winning campaign, but that is not what today’s electorate wants, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary has said.

David Lammy, speaking at a fringe event at Labour’s annual conference, suggested that while voters in the 1990s wanted ambition from politicians, they are now eager for reassurance.

He stressed the importance of the party communicating its policies in a way that is relevant to the UK public.

The shadow frontbencher told an event hosted by the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank in Liverpool: “We must not be seduced into tangential arguments that are the arguments of division around the woke issue, that of course I’m not suggesting aren’t important, but in the end are not about where most people are in their everyday lives.”

He said Sir Keir’s five missions are “as exciting as anything we’ve offered before”.

But, he acknowledged, “it hasn’t quite landed with the kind of razzmatazz that you would associate with the Clinton, Obama, Blair era of politics.

“I’m not sure, by the way, people are going to be seduced by that kind of (thing) because they’re just not in that place as an electorate.”

The public are primarily focused on the economy and the state of public services, he said.

He said Labour must “make the policies clear, make them relevant to the electorate and be absolutely clear that the centre of that is economic”.

“We’re going nowhere if we do not reassure the British electorate that we can run the economy.”

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