Shropshire Star comment: Can Sir Keir Starmer banish Labour demons?
Whether Sir Keir Starmer will ever be able to rid Labour of the stain of anti-Semitism which has blighted the party over the past five years remains a key question.
Of all his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s faults, allowing a culture of hatred and racism to develop in the party was undoubtedly his biggest.
Mr Starmer has started out with the right intentions, and his actions in the early stages of his leadership demonstrate that he is sincere in his pledge to fight anti-Semitism.
When Rebecca Long-Bailey endorsed a false post by actor Maxine Peake, she was immediately sacked as Shadow Education Secretary.
Yet the response from the hard-left brigade was outrage – not towards Ms Long-Bailey for promoting an anti-Jewish conspiracy theory – but towards Mr Starmer for kicking her out.
The Twitterati also took to their keyboards, many to jump to her defence.
It is entirely possible that some of these people do not actually want Labour to get into power.
They must see that in the Black Country, three Labour MPs remain where not so long ago there were 13, while Staffordshire and Shropshire are now entirely blue.
For Mr Starmer, the stakes could not be higher.
Labour is already facing an uphill battle to win back voters still furious over the disdain the party showed for those who voted for Brexit.
And in places such as the Midlands, many hard-working people are sick to the eyeteeth of seeing Labour MPs virtue signalling at whatever is deemed the latest ‘right on’ trend.
Mr Starmer is no fool. He has visited this region on several occasions in recent years and watched support for his party ebb away.
It is in all our interest that Labour becomes credible.
Britain needs a strong opposition to ensure its democracy is strong.
Initiating a change of culture and values in Labour is a crucial element in the party’s rehabilitation.
If Mr Starmer fails, Labour could be well on the way to completing the best part of two decades in opposition.