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Keir Starmer is ‘obsessed with media reality’ and ‘pundit fiction’ of centre ground, says Dominic Cummings

·3-min read

Keir Starmer is "obsessed with media reality" and has no message for voters, Dominic Cummings has claimed after a set of torrid election results for Labour.

Boris Johnson's former chief of staff declared that the "centre ground" pursued by Sir Keir was "a pundit fiction" and "does not exist".

And he claimed that like nearly all politicians in Westminster Sir Keir "obsesses on media reality not actual reality" and was failing to win support because of it.

"He’s played the lobby game (badly) for a year without a message to the country, now the pundits will a) savage him, b) tell him he needs to focus on them more," the former Vote Leave chief said in a stream of tweets on Friday.

"He’ll listen to the babble! What will he not do? Focus on public priorities [over] media priorities. We have a Downing Street and opposition who see their job as media entertainment service and neither knows how to be this better than Tony Blair or Mandelson. Neither will try to be… a government."

Mr Cummings claimed that it was "measure of how bad Keir Starmer is" that "until I googled yesterday I didn’t know who Shadow chancellor is and when I looked at photo I had zero recognition".

Referring to Anneliese Dodds, Mr Cummings said "she never touched my consciousness in a year".

The Independent has verified that Mr Cummings is in fact behind the Twitter account used to post the string of messages.

The former Vote Leave chief said a sign of Sir Keir trying to improve would be a "sustained effort on violent crime" that went on "month after month after month". He also suggested bringing in "serious people from outside SW1 to help" and producing policies to help improve policies .

"The optimal political strategy for Conservative and Labour is almost identical and would be described by pundits ... as ‘incoherent/mad’ because it does not fit SW1 ideas of left, right centre, but would be wildly popular. Neither will do it because both are oriented to media reality [ahead of] actual reality," he said.

He added: “If Labour had a leader 80% as good at comms as Blair and focused on actual reality, they'd win next general election easy. They don't/won't.”

The former advisor said it was “impossible now to be confident what will happen” at the next election and that “both parties could easily be hated or held in contempt at same time”.

Mr Cummings ran the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum and was Boris Johnson chief of staff until mid November, when he stepped down early.

He was dramatically pulled back into politics last month after Downing Street accused him of being behind various leaks about the prime minister's conduct during the pandemic – sparking a major row with his old boss.

The former advisor’s comments come after Labour dramatically lost a by-election in the formerly safe seat of Hartlepool, which it held in 2017 and 2019. Early council election results declaring today also show the Tories taking former Labour strongholds across England, particularly in the north and midlands.

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