I appreciate that the metropolitan left loathe the Conservative party and are thus desperate to have a Labour leader they can love like Tony Blair, but Starmer really isn’t ever going to be that guy – however much they click their sparkly red pumps together and repeat “There’s no place like Sedgefield”.
What Starmer and “Starmerism” – if that really is a thing – have still failed to answer is ‘What is the current Labour party for? Whose interests do they seek to serve and promote?’
It’s certainly not workers. Except maybe some of those in the public sector. Most of the working class, whose interests the party was founded to represent, have long been an embarrassment to the Labour leadership. Emily Thornberry’s Van & St George’s Flag tweet, and Gordon Brown’s encounter with Gillian Duffy, were just moments that publicly laid bare a view that has been prevalent within Labour HQ for years.
John McTernan, Blair’s advisor, put it most succinctly when he dismissed working class supporters as the “lumpen mass with their half-formed thoughts and fully-formed prejudices”, and urged the party to ignore them and focus instead on ethnic minority voters, who could be attracted to Labour by stoking their sense of grievance.
The shadow front bench of recent years, whether NuLabour centrists or unreconstructed Trots, seems to have an agenda completely at odds with the hopes, fears and aspirations of their former heartlands – yet still imagined those voters were theirs to command by right.
Nothing that Starmer has written, said or done is likely to win them back to the cause. Though plenty he has said and done will have persuaded former supporters that he is a duffer. A North London fauxialist who seems to have wafer thin policy positions backed up by no principles whatsoever – simply being marginally less awful than his predecessor isn’t enough.
Corbyn never found an anti-West, anti-British cause he wouldn’t support – we all know that. Motivated by adherence to long outdated and un-nuanced notions of Socialism, Corbyn famously never reads books, ever. His ideas were all ingested during his student days and his 20s, while playing Marxist in South America, and he has been regurgitating those ideas (mostly undigested) ever since.
However much Starmtroopers might want to believe in their hero, Starmer cannot plead innocence through ideology, indifference or even ignorance. He supported Corbyn wholeheartedly and stood by him in the hope of his own personal advancement. Starmer cannot even use the excuse of being a fool – he has many faults, but he is by no means stupid. He is, however, a coward.
Downhill SirKeir spent 4 years agitating to overturn Brexit, despite describing himself as a democrat and patriot, then imagined he need only to cynically drape himself in the flag because a focus group told him (much to his surprise) that most people don’t actually despise Britain, or wish to see the monarchy abolished. None of that is going to win back red wall voters nor appeal outside the base.
Starmer – the unfortunate love-child of Max Headroom and Gordon Brittas – is an uninspiring, charisma-free technocrat, with no instinct for leadership. The Tories will never need any campaign poster against him, other than showing the Leader and his gobby deputy kneeling to BLM.
The sole reason for Conservatives to kneel should be in thanks for only having had to face Miliband, then Corbyn and now Starmer, and praying their good fortune holds.
So well put.
Exactly. Modern conservatism has been a deep disappointment. They have been lucky to have faced an even more incompetent stupid and unappealing opposition for years.
Spot on! I’d add that he thinks that transwomen are women.
You know he doesn’t really. Just hasn’t the b***s to call it out.
“ Starmer – the unfortunate love-child of Max Headroom and Gordon Brittas – is an uninspiring, charisma-free technocrat, with no instinct for leadership. “
Sums the man up superbly!
And you missed the fact that Starmer was in charge of the CPS when it failed to prosecute the grooming gangs.
An admirably thorough spanking for Starmer and LINO. And this damning quote about UK LINO could so easily be about their counterparts in New Zealand, where I live:
“Blair’s advisor, put it most succinctly when he dismissed working class supporters as the “lumpen mass with their half-formed thoughts and fully-formed prejudices”, and urged the party to ignore them and focus instead on ethnic minority voters, who could be attracted to Labour by stoking their sense of grievance.”
Jacinda Muddleduck and her deputy Grant Robertson would never admit to holding such views of course, but their policies make clear their priorities.
Whilst I appreciate it is rather shallow, not to mention unkind, to dwell on the physical characteristics of one’s political opponents, I have to say that Jacinda A seems to have developed a look of pained sanctimony for the cameras that always puts me in mind of portraits of early Christian martyrs.
Rather uncharitably, the fact that the BBC and Guardian in this country were at such pains to portray her as the paragon of political sincerity and virtue, only made me want to see the veneer crack all the more.
Not unkind at all – Ardern is very hammy. I voted for her in 2017, but can’t stand the sight or sound of her nowadays.
I agree they find the working class a “basket of deplorables” to quote a famous politician. Very much like the Democrats in the US they fail to engage the working class/blue collar. The genius of Cummings was that he understood Northern working class people- socially Conservative but economically Liberal. They like public spending and public services but detest sniping about the English being nasty and racist and don’t mind being patriotic.
You should be a writer on Unherd, Paddy.
“The housing theory of everything” is actually “The mass immigration theory of everything”
Until Lab understand that, they should get comfy on the opposition benches.
Younger people, who trend Labour, dont get that. If labour did represent workers it would get it, and lead opinion, but it doesnt.
This writer thinks that ‘Starmer’s original leadership campaign slogan, “Another future is possible”, is probably the right one.’
May I suggest that ‘Another future is possible!’, ‘Forward to the future!’, ‘Hello future, goodbye past!’ and similar fatuous, vacuous slogans have no effect whatever on how people vote and only serve to lower politicians’ esteem in the eyes of the electorate.
Well of course he is dead in the water. I cannot conceive of one labourish solution that could get us out of this crisis and get the economy going again. Seems like the only true opposition conservatives have is the BBC.
Ain’t this the truth.
About these “rich pensioners” who get a lot of money from the state which could be better spent elsewhere. Would that require a means test?
So what if it does ? Don’t most state benefits require a means test ? That is the way of allocating scarce resources to those most in need after all.
Either you have universal benefits and accept the waste this entails, or you find a way to distribute help to those who most need it. I favour option 2. That gives help where it is most needed and does not create perverse incentives where it is not.
And what is the tax system but a large system of means tests ? For instance, a single earner grossing over £60K a year loses child benefit (and notoriously a couple with individual incomes of £59K a year each do not). What is that but a means test ?
I don’t object to means testing but there often seems some reluctance to apply it. I was thinking particularly about the state pension rather than general benefits since the author referred to ‘rich pensioners’. I must admit that I bridled at this at first since I’m a pensioner, not at all rich but comfortably off. My first thought was, well haven’t I paid for that pension during my working life so it’s not as if I’m being given free money. I have earned it. But then I thought maybe I was wrong to think like that. So I’m not sure.
I sometimes wonder why they separate normal tax from National Insurance which is really just another tax.
Steve, yes you have paid *something* towards your state pension. However, I am extremely doubtful if you have paid the true (full) cost of it (details in my reply to Christine below) (and that is absolutely not the case for defined benefit government pensions – but that’s another topic). None of that is your fault – you have been led to believe that NI contributions are sufficient to fund state pensions by politicians for decades. But I don’t believe this is actually the case.
Most pensioners have paid for them all their working life. You are advocating theft in order to advantage those who didn’t!
I think it might and there’s the rub.
The state pension is below the poverty line that is the shameful position.
A State pensioner, after 40 years national insurance contributions should not have to go cap in hand to claim .
If you didn’t work in the public sector or in a large corporation with separate pension schemes, that is all you have. Which is the same as anyone over pension age who hasn’t contributed at all. it’s unfair.
In fact claimants get more; once you are a claimant you have access to all benefits. no council tax etc.
The working population who contributed have completely been sold out and don’t get a fair rate for their contributions. I don’t think any other country ignores contributions as we do. Contribution based state pensions in Germany or America for example pay out about four times as much. I think only Albania has a lower state pension than us.
In the mid ‘80s workers without pension schemes in their workplace were encouraged to take out private pensions, they were expensive, private and not a good deal. Workers could also elect to pay more NIC, if they did it has made no difference to what they now receive. Maybe £5 a week. And all the fuss over the triple lock protection for the state pension is so misunderstood. Two and a half percent of £170 per week is the price of a cup of coffee in Starbucks. It is only offered on the state pension nothing else.
Nearly half the population of pensioners have been sold out, made to feel ashamed , treated badly. And they don’t want to be reminded of that by having to claim for more, they have worked hard and paid up in so as not to.
So thank you for raising that
I suspect that you are wrong and that the total paid out in the state pension actually exceeds the total contributions most people make to it – in other words it is actually quite good value for the cost involved. This can be verified by looking at the cost of topping up missing years or contributions. You can directly compare the benefit you can get by investing £1000 in topping up missing state pension contributions against what you would get from investing the same amount in a personal pension. The state pension is far better value for money. Because the contributions are insufficient to cover the real costs.
The real problem is that the NI contributions are not sufficient to cover the benefits demanded/expected. The fact that people “have paid contributions all their lives” does not mean that those contributions are sufficient to cover the cost of the benefits they expect. They are not. Certainly not without cross-subsidy from others.
The original sin of the whole state pension mess is that it is unfunded – your contributions are not saved away in a fund where they can be invested and grow. Many countries do run such schemes and they are far better off for it. It is also far more honest.
As with the NHS, we are determined to stick with a badly sub-optimal model of funding because we – mistakenly – believe that “the system is fairer” this way. It isn’t. And we’ve levelled down to worse outcomes for everyone as a result.
Isn’t the shortfall in NI contributions made up from general taxation and if we’re mostly taxpayers doesn’t that mean we do actually pay for our state pension one way or another?
I realise this is probably not actually true because we paid NI and TAX “then” but get our pension “now”. All the same, it can’t be quite as unbalanced as you suggest.
For a pension age person there are several benefits which are already means tested. There are three which are not means tested – State Pension, Attendance allowance and NHS & transport allowance. So I guess they could means test the last two but I think means testing the state pension would be unfair.
Steve – just to be clear, I’m absolutely not arguing got means testing the state pension. I do think however that as things lie life expectancty rise, the expectation that NI contributions must not correspondingly increase in unrealisitic. The alternative is the current Ponzi-like policy of importing more people to prop up an unsustainable, unfunded system. Sensible countries like Singapore have sorted this out in designing their systems.
First of all Corbyn increased the Labour vote in 2017 and almost defeated Theresa May. Second, Corbyn was and always has been a Brexiteer, as were many of his colleagues on the left. His instinct was to respect the referendum and get the best deal. Sir Keir on the other hand forced him to renege on this and present the public with a second referendum in a bid to overthrow the first one in the 2019 manifesto. This led to the massive defeat of Labour in Northern cities. They had overwhelmingly voted for Brexit. “You ignored us so we ignored you,” as one Labour voter said the day after.
“rich pensioners (who will not vote Labour)”. The retired elitist administrators of the state run enterprises are the only ones rich enough to afford to vote Labour whose interests they represent.
Starmer has two goals.
Topple Boris and Topple Brexit.
Everything else is superfluous to these two goals.
Wrong man doing the wrong job.
I see very little chance of Labour ever winning an election again no matter how bad the Tories are. It will depend on how bad things get between now and 2024 I suppose.
Sir Pooter Starmer, the central casting version and archduke of Britain’s new lower middle class done good.
My lifelong community work has always led me into the lives of others, and for me, it’s about how people think in the privacy of their home and not what they say outside that
and that’s what the main problem is, as most conservatives are in fact UKIP/BNP in thought in the house and not at all conservative
labour are mainly conservative in thought, hence the leader struggles and will continue to do so and until the public understands how to read others on what and who they really are we will just go round and round in a loop as always year after year going nowhere.
Or like my well-educated daughter work for the government find out how useless they really are and then quit the country like so many from her uni
‘and that’s what the main problem is, as most conservatives are in fact UKIP/BNP in thought in the house and not at all conservative’. What a load of utter and complete offensive nonsense.