A leaked internal strategy presentation has given indicators of how the Labour party under Sir Keir Starmer is likely to shape up.
The presentation, which has been seen and heard by the Guardian, suggests the use of the “[union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly” will become more prominent in a radical rebrand which appears to parrot elements of the Conservatives.
Outlining ways of winning back the red wall seats, it reveals that voters could not describe what or who Labour stands for. While Sir Keir is rated by voters as the party’s biggest positive driver, concerns were voiced about him “sitting on the fence”.
It is based on research in which one former Labour voter in Grimsby is quoted as saying: “They are the voice of the students. They have left real people, taxpayers behind.”
The presentation suggests that displays of patriotism are needed to reinforce that the party has changed. One slide says: “Belonging needs to be reinforced through all messengers,” while another is headed “communicating Labour’s respect and commitment for the country can represent a change in the party’s body language”.
Among the top recommendations is: “The use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc give voters a sense of authentic values alignment.”
The reaction to the new direction has been one of widespread criticism. Jeremy Corbyn’s former speechwriter pointed to the words “authentic values alignment” in the “presentation on how the Labour leadership can fake it.”
While Clive Lewis, one of Labour’s leading ethnic-minority MPs, said: “The Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.”