From culture wars to cold wars: Labour's pivot towards national security shows Starmer is reading the room

4 June 2024, 15:28

From Culture Wars to cold wars: Labour's Pivot towards national security shows Starmer is reading the room
From Culture Wars to cold wars: Labour's Pivot towards national security shows Starmer is reading the room. Picture: LBC/Getty
  • Megan is the Director of Communications and Policy at HJS

By Megan Gittoes

As of yesterday, polling suggests a seismic victory for the Labour Party who expect to win 422 seats - overshadowing the common reference point of its 1997 landslide.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

I won’t be alone in my occasional scepticism that the government’s super majority could be reduced to a mere 140 Members of Parliament.

But what is crystal clear, is that those at the head of the Conservative Party and the Labour Party campaigns are trusting the opinions of pollsters.

Sir Keir Starmer knows this is his election to lose, and as the 4th July closes in he intends to make no sudden movements.

Rishi Sunak began his week headed for battle in a culture war - promising voters a rewrite of the Equalities Act - in contrast the Labour leader has sensed the mood across the nation and reminded Britain that his priority is our threats from abroad.

To regain public trust, Starmer has repeatedly assured the electorate that national defence and security is his “solemn responsibility”.

This is not the first time - or even the second - he has positioned himself on the front pages by reaffirming his commitment to nuclear deterrence.

He has now strongly pushed for the “nuclear deterrent triple lock” which commits to constructing four new nuclear submarines to replace the current Vanguard class, ensuring that the UK's Trident nuclear weapons remain a formidable deterrent.

With this pledge is the promise of a new defence review within the first year of a Labour government that would assess and address current and future security challenges.

This marks a significant and critical departure from the 2019 campaign of his Trident and NATO sceptic predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

While concerns about security have risen in recent opinion polls, it has not yet become a top-tier issue for voters. This indicates that while more people are worried about security matters, they do not consider it as pressing as other major issues, such as the economy, healthcare, or education.

Because for the most part, Britons are in agreement when it comes to having a strong defence. Understanding this nuance has been crucial for Starmer this past year.

We are no longer in an era of global peacetime; geopolitical tensions are escalating - it's not a divisive topic on the doorsteps.

China's expanding geopolitical influence and conflicts in the Middle East continue to destabilise regions and pose threats to global security.

The war in Ukraine has emphasised the need for strong national defence and highlighted the emergence of cyber warfare.

Relying on weakened and unsupported defence systems and the inability to adopt new strategies has proven to result in catastrophic consequences.

Labour's strong stance on defence underscores that they recognise the public wants its leaders to ensure long-term national security.

Regardless of the clear campaigning agenda - the Labour Party is reading the room.


LBC Views provides a platform for diverse opinions on current affairs and matters of public interest. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official LBC position. To contact us email