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Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
4 months ago

Starmer is “moral”?
What exactly is moral about taking the knee, and being unable to work out what is and isn’t a woman?
He’s spineless, and wouldn’t be able to control the radical identitarians in his party, like Rayner and Lammy.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago

Exactly. To add he had to apologise to his party for just visiting a church that was doing food aid. What sort of party is that?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
4 months ago

“For me, this was always a matter of principle. Honesty and integrity matter. You will always get that from me.” It is such a bad answer. Bad, because it’s way too confident in its own righteousness. “You will always get that from me” lacks humility and, even more importantly, any sense that as human being we get things wrong every single day. There is no openness and honesty in this sentence, no vulnerability to getting things wrong. And — worse still in electoral terms — it says: I am not like you.”

An excellent analysis from Giles. Having squeezed a pass from the Durham force that exonerated Cummings Starmer’s response is far too hubristic and boastful. The phrase “self praise is no recommendation” comes to mind.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Well, he is in politics where you always have to push your own ‘brand’. Of course he wants to contrast himself with Boris from whom you won’t get honesty or integrity, but just personal ambition.

I thought Giles’ piece was mean. I see cautious, serious Starmer as suffering a bit from British middle-class reservation. Of course this looks boring when the media is full of people sharing ‘a little too much information’ about themselves. Shallow cads can be entertaining, but that’s where they belong, in your entertainment world, not as your political leaders. Would Giles like his doctor to be serious, or would he prefer entertaining to anyone ‘male, pale and stale’?

Last edited 4 months ago by Russell Hamilton
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
4 months ago

I have no problem with Starmer being boring. Indeed I found Cathy Newman’s question to him intolerably rude and typical of the current bullying approach too many TV journalists now adopt. There was nothing particularly wrong with his answer but a lack of robustness. Jordan Peterson would have taken her down more effectively and he is not a professional advocate as Starmer is. Again the fact that he has held down a proper boring job is in his favour.

The problem is that the statement he made on his exoneration by the Durham police does nothing to enhance his brand but merely confirms him to be a tin-eared politician incapable of normal human reactions. It was for others in his party to make the observation he did not for him. It just confirmed him to be some sort of creep rather than a decent bloke.

Ballantrae
Ballantrae
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

The interview was clearly discussed beforehand, with the Fat Boy Slim exchange contrived to allow him to say something “interesting”.

Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Ah yes, Cathy Newman. Now there’s someone who makes Keir Starmer look good …
it says: I am not like you.”. Masterly insight from Giles. This is precisely the problem with Starmer. That and the fact that not matter how self-righteous he is, I’d suggest that no one actually aspires to be like him. I think any politician with real appeal needs to have faults as well as virtues and will generate strong dislike amongst some people.
For me, leadership is about giving people a sense of meaning and purpose, sometimes about making mundane things feel valuable, interesting and necessary, being able to generate energy and enthusiasm. For all his many faults, Boris Johnson had this. Keir Starmer does not.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Boris had gifts, faults and courage. To dump him with nobody to replace him is indeed sad. He always admitted his faults and did listen. To snatch it from him made it look as if they had someone better but I cannot see that on the horizon. Have they shot themselves in the foot?

Anne Torr
Anne Torr
4 months ago

Shame on you, mis-classing Keir. He is working class to his knee bones – he’s told us that often enough.

Trevor B
Trevor B
4 months ago

This comment is nearer then mark than Giles’ clever words, interesting tho’ the article is.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago

I think we’d prefer one who could readily articulate the common sense of most British people that men and women are real categories. Statements such as ‘transwomen are women’ are dubious if not utter nonsense, but perhaps at least intended to help the tiny proportion of people with some sort of ‘gender dysphoria’. However this condition is not really understood, and in some cases is nothing of the sort.

At worst it is evil ideological nonsense cynically aimed at bringing about revolutionary change which hardly anyone supports.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It appears that Starmer thinks these men are real women. should someone like this lead our country?

miriam stewart
miriam stewart
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are …….Luke 18: 9-13

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Heaven shall forgive you Bridge at dawn,
The clothes you wear–or do not wear–
And Ladies’ Leap-frog on the lawn
And dyes and drugs, and petits verres.
Your vicious things shall melt in air …
… But for the Virtuous Things you do,
The Righteous Work, the Public Care,
It shall not be forgiven you.


Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Let another man praise you and not your own mouth. A stranger and not your own lips. Prov 27:2

Rich Berly
Rich Berly
4 months ago

Starmer has to conceal the rotten party values which are obvious to many of us. Anti-semitism throughout the party; the utter failure of all women shortlists to generate good MPs; racist trade unions preventing minorities reaching front bench; lack of any real policies other than tax and spend.
This is reflected in his and Labour’s level of debate. As they have nothing honest to say about what they would do, they focus almost entirely on Parliamentary process (e.g. in trying to overturn Brexit) and petty rumours. Yes Starmer is boring. But he is also a policy vacuum and a shield for the new evil brand of Labour that represents smug urban millennials rather than workers

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago
Reply to  Rich Berly

Hasn’t Labour always been tax and spend? I find it frightening what they would be spending it on. They have clearly lost their way. If we have been wrong can we actually bring Boris back? He had a good record as London Mayor and must have learned a lesson in the process he had to live through. Mostly the Covid has dominated his tenor and he had to consecrate on that to the detriment of other things. Yes I know he isn’t perfect. Who is? But he had enough in his tank to make things happen when he saw it.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
4 months ago

When he was asked about the Durham thing, I was hoping he would relax a bit and say it was a red herring but he had to wait for the outcome and now they can get on with … whatever it is they do. But instead he came out with that pompous waffle. Now that Boris is gone going, being the anti-Boris won’t be enough.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
4 months ago

And I’m sure I’m not the only one chuckling when Boris called him “Captain Crash-a-roony Snoozefest” yesterday
I bet Angela was having a sly smirk as well.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
4 months ago

was that meant to be funny? I

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago

Yeah. Sticking the knife into Boris doesn’t help our problems.

Ballantrae
Ballantrae
4 months ago

Quite right Giles – the “boring” jibe is actually a proxy for something else: empty, robotic, and perhaps concealing. And like you, I find Kemi Badenoch…interesting.

Michael J
Michael J
4 months ago

His boringness is a product of the holier than thou puritan inclinations of the left and I tend to agree that no man is a saint so it doesn’t quite wash.
But I also think he is seemingly without political principles. He says that he has integrity and honesty. Ok, but is that really the case? When it comes to policy he is increasingly slippery and untrustworthy. His campaign for leadership made ten pledges to win over the socialist left in the party but he has been backsliding ever since and there are some rightly-angered Labour party members. If he has any principles then he is willing to jettison them at the first sign of trouble. He dithers and is incapable of making himself clear. His excruciating attempts to answer the “what is a woman?” question were damning. He says what he thinks people want to hear rather than what he actually thinks. This leads to inconsistencies and what appears to be a paucity of vision.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael J

Even toddlers know what a woman is.

AC Harper
AC Harper
4 months ago

What mythical creature stumbles around with boring speech and a lack of emotions? A Zombie.
I’ve argued before that Starmer is the nightwatchman, put in place to see the day out until more dynamic players can take to the field. A nightwatchman perhaps chosen to be maximally unoffensive to the many wings of the Labour party, focused on the ‘inside’ and with no spare capacity for engaging with people outside the Party.

Last edited 4 months ago by AC Harper
Peter Taankvist
Peter Taankvist
4 months ago

Terrific!

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
4 months ago

Best article I’ve ever read by Giles, and he’s written a few good-uns.

John Solomon
John Solomon
4 months ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

And oh, so many poor ones…………

Rob Jones
Rob Jones
4 months ago

Mr Fraser, I am not always a fan of your perspectives, but that is one of your finest pieces. The insight is instinctive and almost universal, but the analysis of it is refreshing and engaging.
I’m reminded of the most terrifying sentence in the English language… “I’m from the government, I’m here to help”.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
4 months ago

Sir Keir looks like a cartoon character whom has just taken a smack in the face with a shovel.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
4 months ago

For me, this was always a matter of principle. Honesty and integrity matter. You will always get that from me.” It is such a bad answer.

If he’d really been honest he’d have ‘fessed up that he had Durham police in his pocket.
Starmer is both boring and evil. Boring because … well, that’s plain to see. Evil because he connived with his EU cronies to overturn the largest democratic vote in UK history.

Andrew F
Andrew F
4 months ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

That what is so amazing.
MSM criticized Boris daily for drink parties etc but still ignore Starmer treason for trying to overturn Brexit with foreign powers and serving on front bench of Corbyn.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

I’m no supporter of Starmer, but I do wish people on this forum would not so often simply make up factoids for which they have absolutely no evidence. Why and how are the Durham police ‘in Starmer’s pocket’?

H M
H M
4 months ago

You can argue as to whether he’s boring, or a saint. The sub heading of this article was “There’s a reason you don’t trust him” although this wasn’t directly addressed, other than because you don’t get to see the “real” Starmer.The reason that I don’t trust him is more tangible. In the 2019 campaign he totally supported Jeremy Corbyn’s near communist manifesto, as of course he had to while remaining a member of the cabinet. Yet since that defeat he now totally disowns it. After the Brexit referendum, he was one of the primary agitators for a “Peoples Vote”, and was making every effort possible to reverse the democratic decision of the people. (note to Keir and Nicola S., democracy doesn’t mean “When we win”) Now, he’s fully in favour of Brexit.
So which Keir is the real deal? The pre or post 2019 version? When he states his principles, policies or beliefs, can we really trust what he says?
At least with Boris we knew where we stood!

Last edited 4 months ago by Herbie Martin
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  H M

Again, I’m no Starmer admirer, but politicians can change their position – in fact real democracy rather depends on it in the medium term. And your last sentence is pretty hilarious – Boris was very well known for having no consistent position on many issues!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

One could call that leadership. One cannot always impose one’s views as a leader. The greater priority is to make the party or the cabinet work and encourage ideas.

Hector Mildew
Hector Mildew
4 months ago
Reply to  H M

Yes, interesting to compare the BBC’s comments on Starmer having remained in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet (ie zero) with its condemnation of candidates for the Tory leadership for not setting out their stall while they were Cabinet members.

Veronica Lowe
Veronica Lowe
4 months ago

I still cannot understand how as DPP Starmer never heard of what was happening at the Post Office.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
4 months ago
Reply to  Veronica Lowe

Or what was going on with Jimmy Savile at the BBC!

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
4 months ago
Reply to  Veronica Lowe

Or Rotherham..

Emre 0
Emre 0
4 months ago

That last paragraph poses an interesting question. If Tories were to field Sunak with Labour having Starmer – who do the Red Wall voters choose? Is the split really between conservatives (with a small c) and progressives, or do we have Conservatives who’d rather see a pale male in charge regardless of party? That may be the real test of British politics to come.
This in fact mirrors what’s happening in US today where we have an old white man in Biden of all people leading the Woke charge, with DeSantis being the most credible challenger.

Last edited 4 months ago by Emre Emre
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
4 months ago
Reply to  Emre 0

And/or would the midlands turn blue because of a black person being on the ticket ?
Racism is rare in this country, but it exists in many guises – despite what the BBC may tell you ….

Last edited 4 months ago by Ian Barton
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 months ago

I cannot be sure, but I think the article makes a very complex and profound fusion of the theologically sublime and the rigourously logical, to present an almost mathematically watertight proof that Kier Starmer is God, and since God is metaphysical and therefore cannot be experienced as real by humans, Kier Starmer is not in fact, real.

I personally find this totally convincing, but feel the author should share this with CCHQ, because I don’t doubt this line of argument will go down a storm on the doorstep in any future election campaign. The only thing to check for from a legal standpoint is to ensure that no copyright of Oolon Colluphid is being broken.

Last edited 4 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Andrew D
Andrew D
4 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Come again?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

see, this is the problem with excessive narcotic use at ungodly hours.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
4 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Presumably you not Andrew 🙂

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

To clarify, yes me not AD

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
4 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

On the contrary, the virtue hides the sin. Boris is altogether human with his sins but Starmer? He is no celestial being therefore just what is he hiding that must be hidden with such a virtuous avatar?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay Snoman

Isn’t that kinda the Miltonian argument?
Has the C of E now come full circle, and become of the devil’s party without knowing it? Or more likely with full knowledge?

Emre 0
Emre 0
4 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think it’s important to distinguish a religion from a purity cult. Religion, at least Abrahamic ones, operate with the upfront assumption that human beings are sinful creatures. This doesn’t equate to an endorsement of evil.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
4 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay Snoman

To be honest I’d be surprised to find out if Starmer had ever done anything more dastardly than not unload the dishwasher until the following day.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
4 months ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

The modern progressive left, clearly a religion of some sort, surely has a confessional mechanism. Could Starmer not go to confession if he doesn’t empty the dishwasher and get absolution for himself?

“… forgive me comrade, for I have sinned…”.

And a gruff voice from the other side of the partition, sounding suspiciously McCluskeyish: “… the world presents many temptations brother, what did you do this time? Did you stare at Angela Rayner’s ankles again while she was fluttering her eyelashes at the Prime Minister?”

And thinking on it, he must be a regular confession goer, because he has clearly absolved himself of all responsibility for causing the biggest Labour wipeout in three decades. Or perhaps it is possible to buy indulgences in the progressive left religion these days.

Last edited 4 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Mark Vernon
Mark Vernon
4 months ago

Dante got it right. Satan is iced still, wings like a windmill’s vanes, actions automatic. God is a kaleidoscope, dancing, spiralling, almost giddy with life, light and love.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Vernon

C.S Lewis, while maybe not up to Dante’s standard, took note of this error as well, his literary depictions of evil were often the opposite of exciting but instead oppressive, stupid, and repetitive – the bureaucracy that makes up Hell, or Weston killing the frogs for no reason.

Mark Vernon
Mark Vernon
4 months ago
Reply to  M. Jamieson

He and his friend, Owen Barfield, annually read the Divine Comedy together.

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
4 months ago

The Tories are rotten to the core. But there’s only one thing worse than a Conservative government, and that’s a Labour one.
Starmer is the archetypal ‘its for your own good’ monster.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
4 months ago

And my acceptance of the fundamentally flawed human condition is why I could happily support Johnson. The Tories, and Unherd readers who wanted rid of him, will regret replacing him.

Boring Starmer will be the next PM after the general election.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ian Stewart
Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I think you &I are in for a pleasant surprise…Boris will be back.

Peter Lloyd
Peter Lloyd
4 months ago

It’s amazing what we deem a fatal flaw in Labor/Labour politicians, compared to conservatives. It’s all about things you “feel”, “think” about them, whether they’re really “human” because they want to draw attention to being slightly better that utterly morally bankrupt (which of course gives them no option but to be saints).

In the end, you just can’t trust them. Best go with the oligarchs’ close friends, the ones whose central political purpose is upholding the City of London’s tax scams, while grifting all they can. To this clergyman, their very brazeness is honesty.

It’s all standard Rupert stuff, here being reprinted in a breezy, fact-free, hypocritical article (eg, not defending Boris, but defending conservative moral failures as deeply human and relatable).

Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
4 months ago

Or is it the case that empty vessels make the most noise? Or still waters run deep?
Might not Starmer be more accurately described as the not-Corbyn? Not the man, but what distinguishes the nature of the revolutionary politics of both. Corbyn, the thrilling, foaming tide; someone you can surf with: Starmer, the silent tide in the depths under a calm sea; the inscrutable leviathan accompanied by its shoal of lampreys?
If we need to be entertained, does this say more about our own restless nature? Do we do the ‘boring’ detail any more than Johnson? (And if the EU were about anything, it’s the detail). Paddington Bear would be a more engaging leader than any of the Tory candidates. Fumbling, bumbling, disarmingly charming even when he wrecks your house, and whose stickiness is only that of a preserve. All that allays any disquieting thought that the Bear’s messiness is really an expression of passive aggressiveness against the human world.
If Starmer doesn’t have the blokey-jokey popularity of Johnson, he can never become unpopular. Being unpopular isn’t the same as not fulfilling our flighty need to be engaged. In continually looking for political leaders to satisfy that need, we are like those the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to be on his guard against, those who are always learning but never come to a knowledge of the truth. In this case, the truth about ourselves.
In any case, the contest may soon be with the LibDems now that Starmer has declared that Labour is a Brexit party, if there is still a large constituency in the country, one that crosses all parties and classes, who want the UK to be a member state of the EU. If only the LibDems can find a leader that the general public can remember five minutes after switching off the television; one whose foibles they can talk about in the pub and refer to by a matey name.

Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rowe

No one believes Labour is a Brexit party.

Edwina Addington
Edwina Addington
4 months ago

Well written Giles, it made me chuckle in agreement, you expressed it very well.

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
4 months ago

I heard Peter Hitchens recently (onetime fellow Trotskyist with Starmer ) say ‘Kier Starmer is a RedGreen Europhile and has terrible plans for the country’, I must say it chilled the blood. I think all the LARPING our political class are doing at the moment we may loose our Parliamentary system all-together, perhaps we will indulge in a spot of Caesarism.

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
3 months ago

Were there is no vision the people perish. Scary really.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
4 months ago

Or, “I hate Labour and I have to find something to have a pop at them about”.
I find this to be a very biased and woke article -someone being attacked for not emoting enough in public. Few lawyers emote in public, or at work. Remember when people used to be “professional” – that all seems to have gone out the window and everyone ricochets around from one performative display of emotional so-called authenticity to another.
Starmer – rightly, in my view – feels he should be judged objectively, for his future actions. Not by how much he emotes in public or plays the “I’m a regular bloke, me” schtick, a la Farage. I’m suspicious of anyone who over-shares or who washes dirty linen. If this article on Starmer is to be a guide, it follows that we should all look more to Meghan and Harry for inspiration on how to conduct ourselves in public. And not the Queen. And I flatly disagree with that.

Last edited 4 months ago by Frank McCusker
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You seem to have read a different article to the rest of us. Giles was not saying Starmer didn’t emote enough. He simply observed that Starmer’s emoting about what a fine upstanding man of integrity and honesty he was didn’t display him in a very good light.

He is only too keen to display his supposed virtue by ostentatiously kneeling. Just the sort of virtue signalling Megan and Harry indulge in in other ways.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jeremy Bray
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

How can we judge him for his future actions? He has, literally, no policies.

Ian Mullett
Ian Mullett
4 months ago

Jung knew that everyone has a shadow. We all know that everyone has a shadow. It is difficult to trust someone when their shadow is not evident. That’s why the electorate took to Boris and why they are unlikely to take to Starmer unless he is facing Truss in which case all bets are off.

Mike MacCormack
Mike MacCormack
3 months ago

It’s interesting that Fraser, a priest and as such quite bonkers about reality, should use a comparison of a boring God and a lively Devil as a plank in his polemic. Say what you like about Starmer; he’s not obviously insane, just a little dull. And maybe that’s not a bad thing at all.

Barry Werner
Barry Werner
3 months ago

“Starmer is boring” is about as useless a remark as “I don’t like him, don’t ask me why”. Leaders of political parties should be judged on two main criteria not this sort of pathetic excuse for a critique. 1- their policies – and Starmer’s freeze in energy prices is the only sane solution on offer. 2. – Their imposition of leadership on their Party – and Starmer’s determined effort to rid Labour of antisemitism by throwing out Corbyn etc shows he has done this.

Paul Grimaldi
Paul Grimaldi
4 months ago

I get that this a predominantly Right wing e-rag and I get that journalists have to fill column inches but really? Of course Kier Starmer is no saint. The British public would never vote for a saint. But surely in the context of the values, integrity and honesty of Boris Johnson, should anybody really be picking at others’ misdemeanours and imperfections that are not even in Johnson’s league.

Richard Jerrett
Richard Jerrett
4 months ago

This is the Unherd version of an Adrian Chiles article. Pointless pontificating “I don’t like X, therefore X is awful”.

Jonathan Dollimore
Jonathan Dollimore
4 months ago

I thought this piece gratuitously mean, it’s typical of internet comment, but not of Fraser. He may need to stop writing quite so much.

Karen Mosley
Karen Mosley
4 months ago

Interesting you should say that. As I was reading, I felt he was very much pandering to the right-wing of Unheard. His articles usually garner opprobrium, so smiled to myself to see the posts saying this was his best article yet. For a readership, who love to castigate ‘the Left’ as mired in propaganda and an inability to see beyond their own prejudice, there are a lot of knee-jerk responders on here.