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Keir Starmer is too timid just when he needs to show leadership | Letters

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John Robinson, David Napier, Mike Cowley and Stephen Smith on the need for the Labour leader to speak up as rail workers take strike action

Zoe Williams says people are “crying out to hear some real values” from a Labour leader (Opinion, 20 June). She is right, of course, just as the Labour party is wrong when its leaders keep hiding behind the “we can’t tell you what we would do to solve the problem because the election is two years away” fence. We still don’t know what Labour really stands for, and it doesn’t appear to have the big beasts capable or willing to tell us.

In 2001, Jonathan Freedland quoted the historian Ze’ev Mankowitz as saying that “people don’t believe in ideas: they believe in people who believe in ideas”, illustrating Labour’s then weakness. He pointed out that many people didn’t care about Northern Ireland until Mo Mowlam was put in charge; then everyone paid attention. Why? Big personality, big ideas, an articulated plan for the future. Just what Labour needs now, not in two years’ time.

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