Starmer has a mammoth task ahead of him. The NHS is on its knees, public services are at breaking point, and an ageing population means turning the tide on this will be harder than ever.Louis Ashworth for Varsity


Since the general election in 2015 (the first I was old enough to pay attention to), the morning after a day at the polling station has been an exciting opportunity to engage with my slightly bizarre fascination with data and infographics. These moments have been marred, however, by a country coloured blue or shouting various synonyms of leave. Yesterday, I found myself elated to be observing something different. That said, after 14 years of Tory Britain in which the most tangible way my life has improved has been the addition of an excellent cultural reference about a lettuce to my arsenal, political optimism isn’t my strong suit. The future’s looking bright, but we certainly can’t take that for granted.

Starmer has a mammoth task ahead of him. The NHS is on its knees, public services are at breaking point, and an ageing population means turning the tide on this will be harder than ever. At the same time, culture wars have entered the mainstream left, right and centre (pun intended), the international political climate could not look less promising if it tried and as a young person, Labour’s position on these issues throughout this campaign has been far from satisfactory.

All the talk of tactical voting throughout this election has also served as a reminder that this is far from a perfect democracy. With the anticipation of wipeout for the Tories, this has been a good election for smaller parties. The Green Party, aside from the unfortunate truth about Carla Denyer’s boiler, have run an excellent campaign and as much as I hate to say it, Reform have successfully tapped into a misplaced anger throughout the nation. Neither of these parties are as represented in this parliament as the share of the vote they received suggests they should be.

“If the last 14 years have taught us anything it’s that we mustn’t let our guard down”

Popular culture of late has enjoyed toying with the rise of the far-right and while fictitious prime ministers such as Vivienne Rook of Years and Years have made for entertaining watching, it is a sobering thought that such characters might soon not be so imaginary. A centrist Labour government will have to fight hard not to lose its supporters to the right which will shift the political discussions of the day in that direction. Farage’s party has outperformed the Liberal Democrats in terms of votes, which will be pushed by Reform as a public endorsement of policies such as the scrapping of “Diversity, Equality and Inclusion rules” alongside the Equality Act 2010. This is a tumultuous time where we cannot grow complacent.

So, can things get better? Absolutely. It seems to me it would be quite tricky for them not to. But if the last 14 years have taught us anything it’s that we mustn’t let our guard down. One thing’s for sure, I do not envy the former Leader of the Opposition for the state of the nation he inherits one bit.


It is no secret that things were much rosier for the Labour party the last time they won such a decisive majority in 1997. The economy, the Labour vote, and Britain’s position in the world were all on an upward swing. Unfortunately for Keir Starmer, he lacks all three of these things.

Indeed, the frenetic optimism captured by Labour’s 1997 anthem, “Things can only get better”, has been absent from this election. Some even worry (or hope) that this election is a pyrrhic victory for Labour. A shaky coalition of disaffected voters, combined with a stagnant economy does not bode well for the future. Pundits and other armchair commentators have made comparisons with the 2021 elections in Germany which placed Olaf Scholz and his Left wing coalition in power, only for a far-right surge to leave their position crumbling.

And yet, much of this pessimism is misplaced.

Scholz and his social democratic party was emasculated from the start by the system of proportional representation used by Germany. Such a system rarely results in the outright majorities we see in the British system, necessitating the construction of coalition governments between various parties. While this is arguably a more democratic system, it often leads to fractious, unproductive squabbling over legislation between coalition partners. Most infamously, the German free-market liberal party, the FDP, have hamstrung the country’s response to COVID and the war in Ukraine by insisting on a balanced budget.

With a sizeable majority of 172 seats and no petulant coalition partners to appease, Starmer is unburdened and will have a much freer hand than his European counterparts. Equally, with no prospect of having to build a coalition, the roles of shadow cabinet members were always clear, allowing them to accrue experience and formulate policy.

“The time spent by Starmer and his cabinet on forward planning is evident”

This is another overlooked factor in favour of Starmer and his cabinet: the time they have spent as heir presumptive. Both Biden and Scholz could not take their victories for granted and had to spend more of their time focussed on winning elections rather than preparing to govern. By contrast, the time spent by Starmer and his cabinet on forward planning is evident. After only a day in government, the callous and grossly ineffective Rwanda deportation plan has already been scrapped.

Where change has been made in the cabinet, those with a wealth of relevant experience have been brought in. James Timpson, CEO of Timpson and a long-time advocate for progressive prison reform, has been made prisons minister by appointment to the Lords. Similarly, Sir Patrick Vallence, the former Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, has been made Minister of State for Science.


Mountain View

How the dad bod won politics

One of the key problems which has bedevilled the Conservatives since 2020 is the high rate of turnover within the cabinet, and not to mention, up top. Over these sordid 4 years, the Conservatives burnt through 5 Chancellors, 4 Home Secretaries, another 4 Foreign Secretaries, and, of course, 3 Prime Ministers. Evidently, this is no way to run a country.

Such was the lack of talent and experience available to Sunak, that the former PM broke with long-established convention to appoint David Cameron to foreign secretary through the Lord’s. I had no issue with this move. In fact, it will likely be remembered as one of Sunak’s few radical and creative legacies. But it speaks to the chaos which the Tories have subjected this country to.

The challenges which face the new government are very real. Public services, most notably the NHS, are abject and the economy is not in a position to support them. But, in contrast to the Conservatives, Starmer has put himself and his government in the best possible position to negotiate these obstacles. Sometimes, it is darkest before the new dawn breaks.