There are any number of mainstream media outlets will be cheerleading for Starmer against Truss. Judging from its reaction yesterday, that includes nominally Conservative titles such as the Spectator. Unherd is meant to be different. Starmer campaigned in two general elections to make a crackish, anti-Semitic, hard left apologist for terrorism PM. He was DPP during Operation Yewtree, even if he is not apparently responsible for anything which went wrong during his time in that office. He won’t define what a woman is and reacts with distain when women’s rights are raised in this context. He is a vegetarian “as matter of principle on the basis that eating meat isn’t the right thing for the body and the planet” at a time when the authorities are intent on moving against meat and dairy in order to do to our food security what they have already done to our energy security. He agitated for longer and harder lockdowns, regardless of the impact on education, broader healthcare, or the economy. I don’t care how he can beat Truss. I just hope he doesn’t.
“Unherd is meant to be different.”
I think we’re rapidly finding it’s not. Follow The Herd would seem more apt, which is a shame because the premise of Unherd has value.
As for the article, it fails to include the word “zombie”, which given its recent referencing would actuality fit the Starmer mould (pun intended) much more closely.
You don’t want to read an array of opinions and viewpoints then? You simply want an echo chamber repeating your opinions back to you?
I expect fresh thought across a range of opinions, not tired old tropes in articles, and comments.
But apparently you don’t, as this article proves. An article that’s vaguely critical of your favoured side and you’re complaining that UnHerd is just the same as every other media outlet
It’s far from apparent that i don’t, since i’ve been commenting on many articles from many points of view for some time, favouring the ones which offer a fresh insight or which wouldn’t normally be available in the mainstream media. That’s what i pay a subscription for.
This piece neither offers fresh insight or differentiates itself from the mainstream – in other words, the article follows the type of groupthink that i despise from any political point on the spectrum.
Exactly, and I’m seriously questioning in these slimmer times, whether I wish to pay to read tired or bitter opinion pieces, either here or on the Spectator.
The trouble with Starmer is that when it comes to cultural issues, he’s way left of centre, which is the opposite to most of the British public. Economically both sides appear to be broadly similar, albeit with different sound bites.
If you scroll to the top of the page, then click on “Our Mission”, you can see what Unherd is about. It’s not about being an exclusive outlet for those on the hard right. It brings in voices across the political spectrum. If you disagree with an article fine, but to argue that Unherd is bad because it posted an article by someone who’s political ideas differ from yours is just silly.
So where are the solutions? You can’t even define the causes of the mess.
So lets start with one that has a socialist cause. Redistribution of pension contributions has created a £16 trillion pound debt, with no capital [remember, investment is capitalist].
£600,000 per tax payer, going up in normal times at £60,000 a year. 10% long term growth. All ONS numbers but left off the books.
So what’s your plan Matty? How do you pay that without imposing austerity?
ie. Less take home pay, not paying the pensions in full or slashing services?
You can’t print your way out, since its all inflation linked debts. Inflation just makes the debts bigger.
You can’t borrow your way out, since the label on the debt is irrelevant. You can call it borrowing, pensions, slush fund, apple pie, the name is irrelevant.
How about the putin approach? Invade another country and impose taxes on them?
Wow, that wins the award for non sequitur response to a post of the year.
Or a straw man argument – can’t decide which.
Matty – I too am tired of “old 70’s/80’s tropes in articles” about our very different political world in 2022. Fazi yesterday channelling his Thatcher rage through Liz Truss for no other reason it seems than her gender. Pick any Will Lloyd article at random and you’ll get the same, old same old.
I do think Freddy needs to get a grip and insist on greater quality in these pieces, but whilst we have this comments outlet and unless we get Mason, Jones, Peston and/or Nick Cohen I’m happy to chug along
Left wing academia seems to be nourished by the same hatred of “the other” that the “Keep Britain White” brigade in the 70’s had of ethnic Britons. Difference being academia has the luxury of being allowed to peddle this rage unchecked by legislation. Consequently it’s bled into the media until, like Biden’s speech the other night, you are simply left with a dystopian image of blood and fury.
Yesterday was a media bedlam of knee-jerk reaction, rage, hate and a mind-reading of Truss’s intentions that made me fear for the sanity of all the participants. And it’s really hard to sympathise with Alistair Campbell and his mental health battles when he’s at it again this morning, at the centre of an unpleasant maelstrom, like a moth drawn to a flame.
How on earth did we get here? Which is where Campbell’s appearance this morning and the McTernan piece shines a light on today’s politics. Any article that starts with a cheerful anecdote about Blair serves as a calling card and reminder to all that New Labour is very much alive, kicking and pulling the strings at Labour HQ, via Sir Keir, designated survivor.
“Punch the bruise” is a good metaphor for today’s politics. The battle for ideas is a thing of the past, if it ever really existed. It’s a reality show with a seat at the WEF top table for the winners, and consolation prizes such as BBC presenter jobs for others of the right political complexion. We didn’t take back control with Brexit, but we did at least get to see who was in control.
And it ain’t us.
Personally I wouldn’t object to Nick Cohen appearing here, however thuggish and ignorant you or I might think him to be, if he agreed to engage in good faith with at least some of the comments. Even if his writing itself is poor, it is nonetheless interesting to know what yesterday’s men and women are thinking.
That said, we need to acknowledge that Cohen, Campbell, McTernan, and all the rest of them, are now essentially irrelevant. They might once have been influential. Once upon a time the holder of the office of the Leader of the Labour (or indeed Conservative) Party would by default command authority and respect, whether in or out of government. That time has now gone.
All that’s left is for decent people of all political persuasions to say nothing more nor less than what they actually really think. We will get stuff wrong. We will fall out. We sometimes might even offend or upset each other. But at least we will be trying to be honest. And we won’t be going out with any perverse macho intention to “punch bruises”. Maybe in that way we can, against all the odds and the deluded WEFy types who think they have all the answers, attempt to start to rebuild a genuinely liberal and pluralistic political culture; to edge towards compromises that help to reconcile ourselves to each other; and to turn to face a hostile world with a calm, resolute composure?
Or even: ‘Hear, hear?
Yes exactly Matty. UnHerd is meant to be non-partisan platform for writers with varying views, and leaves us the readers to decide which of them make sense or not. I for one don’t pull punches in calling out nonsense, BUT I wouldn’t call for UnHerd to cancel or deplatform those I can’t agree with. It isn’t just UnHerd’s mission, but also the essence of free speech!
How Labour can beat Truss?
I’m not sure they can. Even if Labour wins the election it will be more because the Tories lost it, than because Labour beat them
You seem unaware – or maybe just in denial – about what turned voters away from Labour, and your own considerable part in that.
The question you need 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 serve, have long been an embarrassment to the Labour leadership. Emily Thornberry’s sneering ‘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.
You, Mr McTernan, put it most succinctly when you 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 Labour 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 would just fall into line and vote for anyone you pinned a red rosette to.
Can you imagine any other large section of the electorate being treated with such contempt?
And then the party hierarchy and their useful idiots in the media, having sneered and turned your backs, are shocked when such voters defect to the Tories and the Brexit Party.
You reap what you sow.
Rother Valley, Don Valley, Leigh, Bishop Auckland, Bolsover, Sedgefield, Wakefield … I could go on. These places had been Labour for generations. If you’d suggested not that many years ago to voters in any of those places that they’d ever vote Tory you’d have been laughed at. Yet after years of being ignored and insulted by successive Labour leaders they produced double digit swings from Labour to Conservative.
The reasons so many of these “Red Wall” voters gave was precisely that Labour no longer represented them, their concerns or aspirations. They’d been ignored for years, and if they made such concerns known they’d be dismissed as bigots and racists.
That habit of voting Labour, almost as a reflex action, is broken now.
Labour deserved to lose the last election heavily. Frankly it has long needed to split into three parties. One can retain the leftist ideological purity beloved of Corbynites – and have so few MPs they can hold meetings in Jeremy’s allotment shed. The second can dance in the streets and celebrate winning seats like Putney, whilst looking down their noses at the “Red Wall” voters. …. And then there can be a third party, who can ditch the identity-politics driven, metro-left fauxialism and maybe try to champion the needs of traditional supporters. Perhaps they could be called,…. oh I don’t know, The Labour Party?
Well said, I agree entirely!
Will you vote for me you ignorant xenophobic racist?
It’s a winning strategy. Must win won’t it.
The honest pitch would be something along the lines of:
“We in the North London/Guardianista wing of the PLP think the ‘notion’ of the Working Class voter is quite appealing, with his grubby face, quaint and old fashioned ideas and his naïve charm – but actually, if you ever meet any of them you realise that they don’t get what our modern Labour party is all about at all. I mean, they’re fine when they’re in their place, but lately they’ve just refused to understand that most of their values are now horribly out-dated and un-woke.
You only have to see them in their vans, with their bellies and tattoos and, Tony preserve us, ENGLAND FLAGS (Yuck!!) to guess how these ghastly people voted in the referendum. We gave them a glorious, neo-liberal, multi-cultural, globalised world and they’re just so ungrateful.
They simply don’t understand what is best for them. But we know what they need and if you make me your Prime Minister, flanked by political colossi like Abbott, Raynor, Lammy and Thornberry we’re looking forward to giving it to them good and hard.”
The trouble with too many Islington metro-fauxialists is that they hear their own opinions reflected by everyone who lives and works in the same bubble and then they act surprised when it turns out that they REALLY don’t have their finger on the pulse of what they condescendingly think of as their own constituent group of Labour supporters. Hence the Red Wall crumbled and Scottish Labour is barely a memory.
Well said! At least Corbyn offers some coherent policies that might appeal to said Red Wall voters, even if I, and probably most of them, wouldn’t vote for him. Most of the ‘Labour ‘ Party nowadays just virtue signal, and offer us delusional, fantasy politics (Net Zero, what is a woman? etc)
“You, Mr McTernan, put it most succinctly when you 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.”
Déjà Vu from across the pond, anyone? Remember how the US left(or whatever you call them) sold class politics for woke identity politics? That sure was a commercial success- or was it?
All spin, no substance. It’s not 1997 any more, John. The public is way more savvy than they used to be and they won’t be conned by pat verbless phrases printed on a “pledge card” (lol). They won’t trust a man who spent two years goading a Tory government into ever more destructive “lockdowns” that seriously harmed, and continue to harm, a large part of Labour’s core and marginal vote. He oozes inauthenticity and his gullibility to globalist manipulation is plain for everyone to see. Next, please.
Correct. Pure Westminster navel gazing!! What does Labour stand for and believe in? It has seen all of its core socialist/welfarist interventionist economic and social policies adopted by Whatever It Takes Rishi & Love Me Love My Money Tree Johnson. What then distinguishes it from a Conservatism which has fully embraced the Blairite revolution in law culture and expansion of a vast (and rubbish) regulatory Technocracy?? Answer? Only its toxic divisive identitarianism and the Net Zero eco extremism which has triggered this energy supply crisis. It cannot mask its deep and nasty antipathy to enterprise and wealth creation. It is also the party of a failing wfh public sector and aggressive unions, two groups likely to inflict further pain upon voters over the next two years. It is clear that Starmer is aware of this intellectual void and is adopting the Biden strategy – say and offer nothing bar – ‘Vote the Other Out’. It may well be enough given the failure of the Tories. But do not pretend that Labour have any creative answers to deep structural crises some 30 years in the making.
“They won’t trust a man who spent two years goading a Tory government into ever more destructive “lockdowns” that seriously harmed, and continue to harm, a large part of Labour’s core and marginal vote.”
Wasn’t it the man John served(and Keir worshipped) first brought in the notorious Null Ferguson-Null in training, Null in degree, AND Null in reliability in anything in his purported field- as a governmental advisor 21 years ago?
The climate crisis is real and proximate — whether locally, where just weeks ago the London Fire Brigade had to fight more fires on one day than at any time since the Blitz or globally, with a third of Pakistan’s land mass flooded.
This is the sort of deception you’d expect from an advisor to Tony Blair.
There were fewer fires this year than in the New Labour years, and almost half were the result of arson.
As for Pakistan, rainfall there is within historical norms. What’s changed over the last few decades is forest cover.
As bad as the Conservatives have been, Labour would be much, much worse.
And the latest. Taxes affect climate.
do you also believe that the earth is flat?… and in Santa Claus?
Starmer is irredeemably soiled by his association with Corbyn. He also has a grotesque menagerie of seething Reds camped on his lawn. The public sense this. The Tories might be a joke, albeit an unfunny joke, but possession is 9/10ths of the law and they have it. The bruises for the Tories to punch come the next election are legion and compelling; Starmer taking a knee. Starmer not knowing what a Woman is. Starmer trying to sabotage the diplomatic will of the electorate. Starmer campaigning for Corbyn…
Along with his association with the man whom the author of this article worked for!
The elephant in the room this writer seems totally oblivious to is Rotherham, not to mention all the other grooming scandals in Labour controlled areas. It might never make the columns of the bourgeois commentariat, but let’s be real and honest, from here in the Red Wall. Labour still haven’t apologised, still haven’t explained, still haven’t put in place any changes that would rule out such horrors happening again. As such Labour is seen as a pure predator, waiting to pounce on and devour what remains of our white working class communities, and therefore is still a million miles away from ever regaining the trust of the Red Wall.
All Liz Truss has to do is show even the tiniest bit more connection to these communities than Keir, and being a Leeds girl is a good start (even if posh Roundhay is hardly your typical “Red Wall” neighbourhood!).
If Truss imposes an energy price freeze (as seems likely) and can avoid being seen as disastrously incompetent for the next couple of years, then they will most probably win the next GE. Labour has the problem of being captured by woke liberals who despise a (white, male) working class who voted for brexit . Not a good look for a party that is supposed to be looking out for the needs of working people. Regardless of policy proposals, many traditionally left wing voters will not vote for a knee taking leader ( no we haven’t forgotten) who thinks a woman can have a p***s. Then there is the issue that if labour do not get a majority then they may well have to go into a coalition with the SNP ( god help us ). Personally I’d like to see the tories booted out but I’d love to see a left of center party that I could actually vote for.
I doubt it can. A supposedly working class party that treats the working class with disdain hasn’t got much of a future.
Nothing the working class dislikes more than the jumped up lower middle class… so they now have no choice whatsoever as all 3 main parties are run by Mr and Ms Line- Manager…
Chatting with dog walkers in the park, you start to realise how much the tide is turning against the Tories. The public are buying into the media agenda that it’s ‘tax cuts for the rich’, not realising it’s tax cuts for them too. It’s not impossible for Liz Truss to turn it around, but I suspect the public needs a couple of years of Labour to refresh their memories as to the financial burden and general awfulness of socialism.
The progressive credo the public have been force fed by the BBC and MSM threatens to usher in the toxic rule of Starmer. It has been eating away at core traditional values for over 20 years. Victimhood Greviance & Entitlement. The root of the Me not We society . Never mind its criminal Big Brother Project Fear over lockdown and open propaganda of Net zero eco zealotry. The BBC inculates 24/7 the notion that the State is responsible for all our welfare and our human right to prosperity whilst expressing hostility to the greed of wealth creators. And all these ideas – like its knee bending identitarianism – are similarly force fed to the young in state schools and the Madrassah of Woke University. This is where political battles are won or lost – far from Westminster. Drip drip. This key culture battle has been lost.
All that the Tories need to do come election time to scupper Starmer is
a) Reproduce the photo of him ‘taking the knee’
b) Ask him if he can define a Woman.
“The climate crisis is real and proximate…”
Stopped reading at this point as I know what all the rest will say. If Truss ditches NetZero & adopts policies that makes McTernan’s head explode, she’ll win the next GE 😉
“A nimble and opportunist opposition should be able to make hay.” Exactly, but it isn’t under Starmer… Wishful thinking..
More climate ’emergency’ b*****t….
Actually it’s 8% of Pakistan that’s submerged and, as even the BBC grudgingly reports, it’s only the worst flood there in the last decade. There have been four worse ones in the last 50 years! All tragic and sad for the people of Pakistan, but just some bad weather in the final analysis.
And obviously the London Fire Service had a very busy day during the recent heatwave. It should be noted that virtually all these fires occur adjacent to human activity, whether accidental, or possibly, intentionally on occasions.
It would also be reasonable to assume that deaths from hypothermia, due to fuel poverty, this winter will far outnumber deaths due to the heat during a few days this summer.
Labour have yet to produce a female leader. Maybe because they don’t know what a woman is.
I stopped reading at ‘the climate crisis’.
Truss is quite likely to steal any useful ideas Starmer has on managing the energy crisis, so that’s a non-starter…
…as to the NHS, solving problems there would require Labour to recognise that the whole operation is a complete organisational shambles that needs some very ruthless and painful sorting out, which the various vested interests that run it will hate…and emphatically does not need to be treated as a Sacred Cow into whose maw yet more torrents of gold must be poured…
…and on Crime they would need to energetically drive the Police Force away from investigating “hurtful speech”, doing the macarena at “Pride” marches in rainbow bedecked stab-vests, and dropping to one respectful knee as “mostly peaceful” BLM louts despoil the Cenotaph and vandalise Churchill’s statue…and towards kicking down doors and giving the villains behind them a bloody good battering…
…so although it’s a good plan, in Labour terms it is so counter-intuitive I simply can’t see it happening…although IF it does, it might work…if enough of us can be convinced they mean it.
Not easy, because bear in mind many of us lent Blair our votes in the deluded belief that just as “red in tooth and claw” capitalist Thatcher smartened up British business, so might he sort out the bloated, self-serving and utterly incompetent public sector…but in the end, he just let the City rip in order to raise the taxes to keep on paying more and more for less and less efficient, honest and responsive bureaucratic monstrosities…and quangos…and NGOs…and Stonewall..!
One of Starmer’s main problems is that many in the Labour Party believe, as Owen Jones claims, that he has conned his way to the Labour Leadership and that he has no real substance!
“Given her political journey, it’s hard to say what she believes in, if anything. She has said she will she will “govern like a conservative” and “deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow the economy and … energy bills.” None of that will get in the way of what actually meant by “Global Britain” : a boundary-less economic opportunity zone for international capital; cheap labour from a cowed, deracinated population; total digital surveillance by unaccountable corporates; and ideological control of all areas of life.”
Odd. Nothing about how following US sanctions against Russia is driving the boost in energy prices.
Sometime ago one of the people who comment on here frequently (I’m sorry I can’t remember his name) said more than once that when Boris won that election then he automatically won the next one as well except obviously it won’t be Boris next time. I wonder if he is still of that opinion. I’m not trying to be snide I’m genuinely interested.
Regardless of that, I’d be willing to bet it won’t be Starmer winning it.
Wasn’t me but I’ve definitely been thinking along those lines. 80 is a hell of a big majority for one party to overturn in one go, however badly things go for Liz Truss. Given that Labour would need a bigger swing than 1997, and that Starmer has nowhere near Blair’s popular appeal, that is very unlikely. So let’s discount that outside-chance possibility. The Tories losing their majority to a mix of parties is more likely, requiring a more normal swing from the Conservatives to Labour of 3-4% (very roughly – it depends rather crucially on how much difference the boundary changes do actually make). As John Rentoul has been pointing out, Starmer at the head of a minority government, (he’s ruled out a coalition) is still ‘winning’.
But with the most likely 2024 scenario being a tight finish it’s so easy to imagine Starmer falling short of the exact number required and Truss squeaking back in. So the “next election as well” prediction may yet be proved right, surprising many.
Plenty of opportunities for Labour to show how they would do better over the last 12 years… but they still have not done so. Perhaps they are happier to be in endless Opposition shouting criticisms from the sidelines?
Meanwhile many in the media and the commentariat slip deftly from Boris Derangement Syndrome to Truss Derangement Syndrome. Not a good platform for Starmer to stand up and grasp the poisoned chalice.
£16 trillion of socialist pension debts. All off the books
Why doesn’t Labour want to talk about how much austerity you have to impose to get that paid?
Starmer should not be called a ” silk”… more a polydraylonacetate?
This whole article is about how one side can beat another side. It doesn’t seem to be a case of which policies would make UK better off, but what can I rubbish to get me elected. Perhaps because the policies are interchangeable anyway. What is scary is that Starmer offers a great idea to benefit the people and Truss can’t pick it up on principle. Her only way to create some clear water is to move to the right. Otherwise politics will remain a personality contest. Or we can just concede we already have an effective opposition: the BBC.
While I(without favouring either party) welcome John McTernan to express his views here on UnHerd, it’s up to us readers to decide what we think, so I shall proceed with that:
To me this piece feels much more like a propaganda for New Labour that almost borders on fantasy, and even feels reminiscent to the sustained efforts revive Hillary Clinton(and later on Kamala Harris) throughout the years. Many know that Starmer is soiled or at least a liability- All the scandals from Beer-Gate to 8 breaches of MP code of conduct, to his flip-flopping on multiple issues. Then of course he pushed for harsher lockdowns(side note: it was Blair who first put Null Ferguson in the Ministry of Science Fiction Writing during BSE back in 2001), which also has a major role in damaging the economy(along with the more recent sanctions) and also the overall wellbeing of the British, especially those disadvantaged within society- something so many of us have repeatedly raised the alarm whenever the lockdowns were considered, only to the cold shoulders & jeers of the likes of Keir & Tony; but the chickens are coming home to roost right now, and now Keir has a bullet hole on his foot. I’ve spoken to a number of former Labour voters- some of them whom backed Corbyn- and they told me that they hate Starmer. That famous Labour-voting landlord certainly isn’t a lone maverick here.
And re:”…then the current crime wave and the failures of the police to keep the streets safe would dominate politics.” Wait, what about Sadiq Khan’s grand achievement in London? And the grooming scandals in Labour-controlled areas such as Rotherham? Watch out for your own bruises!
And lastly, McTernan doesn’t seem to realize that the strong association with his former master is actually a liability for Keir- Blair’s legacy has been despised by both the left(at least a sizeable faction) and the right for too many reasons. There’s so many more issues that makes the current Labour leadership a liability(see others’ comments on this article), and I can go on and on about it, but inability for me to be exhaustive on all of them gives you the idea how dire the situation is for them. If Labour were to beat Truss, simply trodding the same Blairite/Starmerite path just doesn’t work, they’ll need a major overhaul!
Truss: a short, but necessary interlude from Boris to… Boris. Such is the abysmal state of British politics.