X Close

What does Keir Starmer stand for? There are three things you need to know

GSOH. Likes beer and football. Stefan Rousseau-Pool/Getty

GSOH. Likes beer and football. Stefan Rousseau-Pool/Getty


September 27, 2022   4 mins

Ever since he was elected Labour leader, Keir Starmer has been intent on disproving the first maxim of politics: you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. He secured his greatest triumph when party delegates belted out “God Save The King” this weekend on their conference’s opening day. There were no boos or catcalls — just genuine passion.

This is a changed party. Starmer no longer needs to insist that his party is patriotic; he has shown it. The Union Jack has displaced the Palestinian flags brandished by conference delegates in the dark days of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. But it is a critical time for Starmer and his party. Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have set out their government’s brutally simple approach to economics: the UK needs growth, and that can only be achieved through tax cuts and deregulation. The markets are already delivering their verdict, with the pound on the slide and inflation on the rise.

What is Labour’s answer? This is their week – the only one in the year when they can, and must, dominate the headlines with new ideas, policies and soundbites. As far as they go, this year’s slogans are passable: “A fresh start with Labour”; “A fairer, greener future”. They are well-meaning, but woolly. What the voters need to know is what’s in it for them — what is the Labour offer? How does it deliver for individuals, their families and their businesses?

The critique is clear. The Government’s “mini-budget” last week wasn’t fair; it amounts to merely throwing cash at the 1% of top earners. Labour should punch that bruise and relish the irony of a government committed to free markets being schooled by those same markets. The Party should also avoid the language of class warfare. It delights conference delegates when speakers attack Tories for supporting the rich, but this doesn’t answer the question of what Labour would do differently.

Yesterday, in her speech on the economy, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves made a decent effort of doing just that. She reclaimed the mantle of “sound money” from the Tories, attacking them for rising borrowing — including the largest single increase in government borrowing since 1972. She outlined a “green prosperity plan” that would prioritise renewable and nuclear power and free the UK from dependence on imported fossil fuels. Perhaps more strikingly, Reeves had Labour conference on its feet with her statement that Labour was now the party of economic responsibility.

But in the end, the Labour case has to be made by its Leader. More than 200 opinion polls in a row have given Labour a lead over the Conservatives; the most recent have been so commanding that they would reverse the 2019 Tory landslide and give Labour a majority. But there’s still a question mark over whether Labour’s lead is really secure. This is where Starmer must step in.

His challenge? In focus group after focus group, swing voters say they don’t know enough about him or what he stands for. His opportunity? Voters’ ignorance about Starmer means he still has time to define himself — though that is fast running out. With the Conservative government attempting a reset with their new leader, and with the mini-budget unravelling, there is the chance for him to say: “Take a second look at me, and a long hard look at her.” His conference speech has to win the attention, and then the hearts and minds of voters.

As any football fan knows, the first question Starmer has to answer is: “Who are you?” There’s a simple formula political campaigners use: voters only need to know three things about a politician to understand them. Here’s what Starmer’s should be: first, he loves the NHS, which his mother devoted her working life to, and which in turn cared for her so well when she fell ill. Second, he loves football, supports Arsenal and is a nifty five-a-side player himself. And third, he likes a beer. Get that across. And repeat it. The best answer to the accusation that he is dull isn’t some worthy line about “serious times need serious people”: it’s far better to simply say: “No-one who’s been to the pub with Keir thinks he’s boring!”

These three things would colour in Starmer’s character and reassure voters. But they also need to believe in his judgement. This is harder to demonstrate in opposition, except during fights with your own party — which he has done well by suspending his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

To be truly seen as the alternative Prime Minister, Starmer needs to show what he stands for, and what difference he’d make in Number 10. This is the retail offer and it has to be stark and personal. Not just about how a greener future will save the planet, but how it will save you money tomorrow. Not just what the industrial plan will invest in, but what jobs you will be able to get. Not just an end to Tory tax giveaways, but what Labour’s fair taxes will mean for families.

This is the last chance Starmer has before the next General Election to showcase who Labour is, what it has to offer, and how it has changed. Last year’s post-pandemic conference dealt with his internal dilemmas, stamping Starmer’s authority on the party with rule changes. Next year’s will be the pre-election gathering, given Truss is expected to go to the country during 2024.

Just look how far Starmer has brought his party. In 2019, Labour suffered its worst defeat since the Thirties, yet the party is now electorally competitive. It took him just two years to achieve what it took Neil Kinnock two elections. And all this in opposition to Boris Johnson, who was the most electorally successful Tory leader for nearly 30 years and who appeared to have remade the electoral landscape by capturing Labour seats and voters. This conference — and his conference speech — has to be another turning point. The race is on. And it will not be won by being slow and steady; it will be won by flair and momentum.

Labour has shown both at conference this week, but Liz Truss has changed to Tories too. She has shown a willingness to roll the dice from her very first days in office. Sir Humphrey would have called the mini-budget “bold, very bold”. There will be more where that came from when she unveils the deregulatory side of her agenda. When that happens, Labour will also need to be bold. No opposition can afford to wait and hope for the next election to fall into their laps.


John McTernan is a British political strategist and former advisor to Tony Blair.

johnmcternan

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

68 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“This is a changed party. Starmer no longer needs to insist that his party is patriotic; he has shown it.”
We all have our little delusions, but this is ridiculous. My overriding memory of Starmer is of him kneeling to a gang of American race-hustlers.

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Me too! That’s the first image that comes to mind when I hear the name “Keir Starmer”.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

In other words: invent some completely spurious narrative to spin your vacuous trimmer of a leader into power whilst concealing his true agenda. Welcome back Alistair Campbell.

I suspect most voters won’t care how much beer gets poured into this empty suit if it can’t tell them what a woman is.

Rob J
Rob J
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Most voters don’t really give a toss about the gender identity wars, even if they disagree with Starmer on it. The small minority with very strong views (in either direction) on that niche issue are probably not up for electoral grabs anyway. So those hoping that Labour lose are going to need something more to cling to than ‘what a woman is’.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob J

I fear that you may be right about this. When worried about inflation and housing it’s difficult to get bothered about this issue, although it will eventually impact most people. I do know those who are concerned about it, these (mostly women) were on the left, even Corbynistas, but say that they cannot vote for Labour whilst it’s still clinging to these beliefs. I think that if Labour had the b*lls to abandon most of this position they would be a shoo-in for the next election, barring some incredible turn around in the economy.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago

I think you are largely right. The group who won’t vote while the economy looms huge is not large. They are in many cases from the left.
But if Starmer doesn’t address it, it remains a possible weakness. It’s a place the Tories can attack and make him and his MPs look like idiots and losers, even a danger. Though I get the sense that the press at the moment would prefer to let those questions pass, so maybe they won’t be asked where the public can see the answers.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob J

Yep – total side-show apart from a shower of loons on either side of the so-called debate

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago

‘Vote for me because I like beer, football and hospitals, not necessarily in that order’ is not really doing it for me.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Given recent events, a night out clubbing with Truss and Kwarteng seems likely to be more fun than warm beer in the pub with Starmer.

James 0
James 0
1 year ago

So Starmer likes football and beer. Is this supposed to substitute for a personality, or even a political vision and policies?

The irony is I see this little morsel as further proof that Sir Quiche is terminally dull. As anyone who has listened to some football obsessive in the pub will know, these are some of the most boring people you could ever meet.

The reality is that Starmer has done nothing and will do nothing because he is a nothing. The Tories have imploded, that is why Labour find themselves riding high in the polls. Nothing to do Starmer whatsoever.

I actually had more respect for Corbyn. Say what you like about him, but at least it was clear who he was and what he stood for. Whereas I have no idea about Starmer. Even Miliband had a sort of geeky charm. But Starmer? Nothing.

Last edited 1 year ago by James 0
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  James 0

I’m really not concerned about personality; it’s policies that are important. I actually find myself longing for a grey, competent leader with sound policies, however, I have yet to see any real policies being tabled.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  James 0

Corbyn lied about the issue that defined the time when he was Labour leader. He claimed to support the bankers’ union.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago

John, even though I am politically diametrically opposed to you, I’ve always respected your political nous.
You’re wrong with Starmer, though, I don’t believe that he can be rehabilitated.
He is Sir Kneel Alot

Last edited 1 year ago by Philip Stott
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Indeed. Yet another waffly article pretending to reveal that Starmer has a vision and a plan. Utter tosh. Its a Black Hole. Labour will yet again bang on about ‘unfairness’ and the evil rich – all 600,000 of them. But we know that a great many of those earning over 150k are in the vast public sector Blob and Technocracy that Labour truly represent now: council leaders, no show GPs and ‘I’m 55 and Off to Gorge on my Pension’ Consultants and NHS managers. We know that Keir is soft on the dangerous Unions who are set to terrorize us. And we know that talk of millions of green jobs and no fossil fuels is a back of envelope policy that would be laughed at in a primary school debate. Truss has taken power in the face of a super tsunami caused by the Big State QE Net Zero Interest Rate lalaland of the Orthodoxy – which would have been Keirs way. Well it has blown up leaving Truss in trouble (but with an ideology) and him and Rachel utterly bereft of any ideology and ideas bar Big State Spending and authoritarianism. They will act a.posh like Tony. But they cannot mask or veil Labour’s rancid distaste for enterprise and wealth creation. Meanwhile, we know that millions will quietly be thinking that a tax cut and talk of incentives to succeed – no matter what you earn – is the simplest and best idea of all.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Why are you blaming Starmer for the decision of Truss to benefit the “vast public sector Blob and Technocracy”. Truss did that, not Starmer. If most of the earners above 150k are employed by the state then why are the free market supporters so enthused?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago

Liz Truss has been PM for under 3 weeks. Yes she been part of a hapless Tory party which bowed its knee to the New Order and Big State Orthodoxy created by Brown and Blair. But she has always expressed libertarian pro enterprise beliefs and plainly would prefer a smaller state. Labour is avowedly the party of the public sector, its backer. Its innate hostility and indifference to the private sector and wealth creation was evident in its calls for even harder lockdowns. Starmer was as indifferent to the cries of the private sector as he was to the principle of losers consent over Brexit. He may well soar in polls as Truss faces the incoming tsunami created not in the last week – but by 20 years of wretched and unsustainable Orthodoxy. Zero interest rates. QE 875bn. Net Zero and energy shortages. These errors, not tax cuts, will pulverise us. But who has the plan for recovery???

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

She’s the one who passed the law that helped (according to you) the fat cats in the public service. The orthodoxy over the last 20 years has been mostly neoliberal, and the QE and low interest rates benefited and were supported by the soon to be rewarded banking classes. Conservatives have been in power since 2010. If Truss does face a tsunami it’s of her party’s making. And of the people who benefited from the cuts yesterday.

Ron Wigley
Ron Wigley
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Well put Walter, Starmer is also good at kneeling, not so good at knowing what a woman is, totally unsuitable as a primary school teacher or a prime minister.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Nonsense

Rob J
Rob J
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Bingo!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

I make this very long and boring post to make the following points as a critique of this piece for what it’s worth:

1. An entire article talking up Starmer, and not a single line about Brexit, or how Starmer was Remainer-General-In-Chief who tried everything he knew to subvert a free and fair plebiscite, because he didn’t like the answer. But this leaves the question begging – all those people who used the 2019 election to in effect proxy a second Brexit endorsement, does the author think they have all forgotten, or does he think they have changed their minds?

2. As to punching bruises, that’s all great, but I am reminded of that laconic Bruce Lee response when an opponent demonstrates his prowess by smashing a board will a single karate chop: “Boards don’t hit back”. But as Labour learnt through the eighties, and may yet be forced to relearn again, Broads most certainly can. Everyone has their bruises, and I have absolutely no doubt the Tories will make Starmer very uncomfortable indeed during an election campaign on cultural issues, Terf wars, taking the knee and so on. But notwithstanding Truss is a social liberal herself, they will do it in a particular way, without alienating their traditional middle class support, some of which is also liberal but ultimately cares more about securing their own interests. I should clarify any leader the Tories had picked would do the same, because the Tories are practiced at this type of fight.

3. My main point, based on a four decade observation of the political landscape, is that poll leads matter when they matter, but don’t at all when they don’t. We have all seen huge poll leads disappear in a puff of smoke, in both directions, over the years. Ditto for when the populace are projecting a proxy vote via a real vote that matters less. The most recent example was the utterly real, utterly dire, sub 15% result during the final Euro elections that the Tories got in the dog days of the Brexit impass. Just a short period further back, and May’s huge poll lead projecting a 200 majority at the start of the 2017 snap election just vanished, for no apparently clear reason during the campaign. And just for clarity, if you are partisan enough to concoct reasons around “policies” in the round, leftwing balls about how people changed their minds after looking at the Corbyinite offer, we can stop debating right now, because I simply don’t believe you.

4. To understand the current landscape, *that May reversal* is what political analysts should focus on unpicking – why did the 2017 election fail for May? And to my mind, it was the very badly managed narratives around the so called ‘Dementia Tax’ that scuppered May. It was just a single item, but it triggered an unconscious chain reaction of reasoning about May in many people. Older generations weren’t keen on not passing on their homes to their children. Many middle aged people suddenly realised they were not so keen on the state draining the asset wealth of people they were expecting to inherit from, because it implied an old age of penury – very uncomfortable thoughts, because most people would rather sweep under the carpet than face square on, realities around old age and messy drawn out deaths – and pretty much no one liked what May was suggesting.

5. For myself, I’m stolidly middle class and not one of those who likes to pretend a faux working class background, notwithstanding I have probably faced more losses and ups and downs than most working class people, and I don’t have any UK WASP/class antecedents (not the those matter much nowadays anyway but I’m talking history, all the way back to the 70s). As such, I acknowledge my naked self interest. I don’t take the knee for BLM, but I go on my knees in gratitude, swearing eternal fealty to Truss and Kwateng for repealing IR35. (IR35, for those who may not know, has been a two decade cack-handed assault that Brown instigated via HMRC on freelancers, self-employed and small-fry like me who wanted to operate as miniscule businesses selling expertise. We were picked on because (a) we are prosperous, (b) no one was going to shed any tears for a bunch of coders, we are not nurses (except to sick IT systems) that people get all dewy eyed about (c) various governments thought there is nothing to gain by indulging or courting this small powerless grouping). Note that right and wrong about tax doesn’t come into this equation in all. But there is a reason I mention all this. From a party point of view, there are some people who will always vote for you, there are some people who will never vote for you, there are some people who will switch votes but in places that don’t matter, and finally there are a small number of people, probably well under two hundred thousand, who decide elections by how they vote. I’m not a Truss fan, but she has turned out to be smart enough to realise that by creating constituencies of the committed in this final grouping, you can win. By repealing IR35, she has bought my soul. What makes you think she won’t do exactly the same for other groups?

6. My expectation is still that Labour will lose the next election as heavily as the last, for multiple reasons. I think Labour has about as much chance of regaining the red wall, as it does of regaining all those Scottish seats from the SNP, i.e. none. Come to that, no one on the left I have spoken to including Scots, has ever given me a convincing explanation of what caused the inflection point in Scotland and why they flipped en mass literally overnight after decades, losing dozens of seats. I mean, Miliband ok, but the guy didn’t commit any crimes against the Scots except being a bit of a wet blanket, so this is another one of those things Labour need an explanation for, if they want to get back in power.
I think Labour will lose more ground in the red wall, because this is a macro trend lasting years that it’s very difficult to turn over. And talking of large scale macro cycles, it is absolutely clear history is on the march against the left at the moment globally, as illustrated by plebiscite after plebiscite since 2015, and my expectation is, this trend towards the right will strengthen rather than weaken as economic roil ensues over the next few years.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Thank you. An excellent post which justifies 1100 words (unlike Edward’s Luttwak’s pitiful and error strewn 2100 words in his article today). Perhaps you should write the articles and he should comment ?
I am not convinced on your final point – the Red Wall weakening for Labour.
More critically – for you at least – you are mistaken in believing that IR35 has been repealed. This is absolutely not the case. All that has changed is that some of the strong arm attempts to enforce this [never properly defined measure] have been abandoned. It is a largely a gesture measure. The evil work of Gordon Brown and Dawn Primarolo lives on. As long as politicians, TV presenters and journalists can remain safely outside IR35 (whilst denouncing tax avoiders), reform will be tolerated. Expect no mercy for IT people. The politicians neither listen nor care..

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Thank you for the kind words. I am aware they have simply reversed IR35 back to the 2017 status quo, but I am hopeful probably foolishly that they will come up with something more equitable in April than leave the sword of Damocles hanging over freelancers for years on end.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

You should be writing the article. I still have some attention span. Some do not and will skip a long winded comment, so eager they are with their 2p.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I thought this might be too long to read, but I’m glad I did. Thank you, you put it so succinctly and you show a good grasp of politics.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Labour is not a patriotic party and the electorate knows it. This is precisely why they lost the Red Wall seats in 2019.
Labour does not even want to be a patriotic party.
It is all just words. Self-delusion, spin and all too frequently lies.
They clearly still take the electorate for fools.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

If there is one thing the Labour Party despises more than the Tories it’s the inhabitants of The Red Wall.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Starmer reminds me of a slightly insolent and smug butler….

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The problem is Peter, that the conservatives aren’t patriotic either. Truss is a free market radical, she would invite the world if she could. She’s upped immigration. It’s quite likely the bankers she’s handing so much money to are as woke as a blue haired 19 year old trans activist. Certainly in the US they are major benefactors of the democrats, who do well in areas with high value labour.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Some are, fools, judging by 200+ MPs and polled voting intentions.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

What do patriotic policies look like then? Rewarding the super-rich and trashing the ordinary folk? Is that patriotic?

Hugh R
Hugh R
1 year ago

He is more associated with kneeling in my mind.
If he stands for anything it’s €USSR bloc mentality ( revealing itself to the glare with it’s Ukraine disgrace), …and we mustn’t forget Rotherham and his fear of standing firm with the paedophile ‘community’.
I’m naturally inclined towards the power of collective effort, but this man I regard as a spineless abhoration….I will never vote for Labour under his new phoney flag.

Aw Zk
Aw Zk
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh R

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because the same thing keeps coming up here and elsewhere. The argument that Keir Starmer was part of the cover-up of the grooming gangs is not true. When he was Director of Public Prosecutions (from November 2008 to November 2013) the CPS was prosecuting grooming gangs.

The major cases in this period were the first Rotherham gang trial arising from South Yorkshire Police’s Operation Central (five men convicted in November 2011), a trial in Derby arising from Operation Retriever (nine men convicted in November 2010) and the first Rochdale gang trial arising from Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Span (nine men convicted in May 2012). There were also trials of men from Keighley (two men convicted in March 2013) and Telford (two men convicted in November 2012).

The key to understanding the grooming gang scandal is the chronology of events which you can establish by reading reports on trials of the gangs and the evidence given by victims and prosecutors in court. I’ve found reports on more than 50 trials and I’ve found abuse by gangs of Asian men going back as far as 1995 (in Huddersfield) and 1987 (in Rotherham), cases where abusers have only been convicted more than 20 years (in Oxford and Rotherham) or 25 years (in Huddersfield and Rotherham) after the abuse started and a case where an offence was reported to the police as long ago as 1997 (in Huddersfield with the abusers only convicted in 2021). Three things helped uncover the scandal: the Jay inquiry in Rotherham, the reporting of Andrew Norfolk in The Times (which led to the Jay inquiry) and a few people in the police and the CPS going rogue and investigating and prosecuting abusers (which Andrew Norfolk reported on and which led people to go to him with evidence).

The CPS was not the main reason why the grooming gangs got away with their crimes for so long. The failure of various police forces to investigate the gangs was a far bigger reason and the CPS couldn’t prosecute if the police didn’t investigate. I’m not saying that there wasn’t a cover-up and politicians weren’t responsible: I’m saying that when Keir Starmer was DPP the CPS helped to uncover the grooming gangs and the cover-up predated his time at the CPS. If you want to blame politicians the ones to blame are Tony Blair, David Blunkett and Gordon Brown.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aw Zk
Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Aw Zk

I believe you are saying the people to blame are of the same political persuasion as Sir Stamer ie. those who were too taken up with their supposedly anti-racism strategy to care about the actual victims and had already imposed this mindset on the police in the field so that they were fully aware that any attempt to prosecute would reflect badly on them! Exacly the same tactic used by Corbyn’s supporters…. Blame the underlings who were only following the leader’s orders. Now where have I heard that line of defence before?

Aw Zk
Aw Zk
1 year ago

What I’m saying is the politicians who failed the victims of the grooming gangs were not only of the same political persuasion but of the same political party (Labour, then calling itself New Labour) but from a different generation. The original poster accused Starmer of doing nothing about the Rotherham scandal but in the year New Labour were first elected Starmer was a barrister acting for the McLibel two. Starmer was first elected as an MP in 2015, by which time the grooming gang cover-up had been exposed, partly because the CPS under Starmer did prosecute gangs in Rotherham, Rochdale and elsewhere in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

New Labour promised to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” but when it came to the grooming gangs that was a lie and the New Labour government knew about the grooming gangs early in its second term because it was repeatedly told about them. It was decided that the gangs couldn’t be investigated or prosecuted because if the victims gave evidence in court the “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” lie would be exposed and the New Labour government could have been destroyed in the mid-2000s. The crimes were covered up by the government with the help of corrupt senior police officers in certain forces, councils and some institutions in the media, although the government was forced into allowing a token investigation in Keighley in the mid-2000s (Operation Parsonage) and in the late 2000s a few police officers went rogue and investigated offences.

Race played a part but for the New Labour government it was more about self-preservation. The cover-up effectively gave the New Labour government an extra term in office before it lost power in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Besides, Labour and other parties had covered up white paedophiles abusing boys in care homes in earlier decades (Labour in Islington and Lambeth, the Liberal Party in Rochdale and the Conservative Party in North Wales which was one of the haunts of Peter Morrison) so putting protecting careers and political parties above the protection of children is a recurring problem with the British political class. The same can also be said of some religions and other organisations such as the BBC which employed Jimmy Savile.

Now Labour under Starmer are reusing the New Labour “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” soundbite. Whilst questions need to be asked about this they need to be the right questions about the right people based on the evidence that has emerged since the grooming gang scandal was exposed. Yvette Cooper used the soundbite and she was first elected in 1997 and whilst she did not hold any New Labour ministerial post that was relevant to the grooming gang scandal she is now Shadow Home Secretary so she should be asked if the Labour Party is going to keep its promise this time because the last time it didn’t.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aw Zk
Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh R

AND suspending Corbyn is not the same as expelling him and his antisemitic cohorts!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jacqueline Burns
Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago

Labour needs to decide between Working Man and Woke Pronoun pronto or they will be toast.

The problem for Keir Starmer is that although Labour’s roots are working class, they’ve now incorporated so much progressive DNA that the party is effectively two different parties united only by the name. And things that attract voters for one lot don’t go down well with the other.

Working Man has no time for Woke Pronoun. And Vox versa: Owen Jones risks dissolving in an outraged puff of rainbow smoke if he climbs into a white van. Oil and water. Chalk and cheese.

A nation divided against itself cannot stand. This is the existential crisis Labour faces. You please one: you repel the other.

Labour needs another Clause 4 moment to decide which group to have aboard. One thing’s for sure: Keir’s Big Tent hasn’t got room for both.

He seems to have gone down the National Anthem route. Expect lots of screeching.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roddy Campbell
Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

He needs to back women and stop pandering to aggressive men in frocks and their delusional misogynistic, homophobic agenda. A policy to ban the promotion of ‘gender’ ideology in schools and the NHS would win thousands of votes, but he won’t do it.
Whilst Eddie Izzard is considered a serious candidate to be a ‘female’ Labour MP, women will grit their teeth and vote Tory, whatever they do.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

Nope, the typical college educated, young to middle aged female voter will still vote Labour, for the same reason they voted Labour with the grooming gangs going on.

It’s very simple- banning “gender ideology” means inviting the notion that men and women are different biologically, have different choices and strengths, and therefore differences in outcome may be natural rather than “sexism”

The ladies are happy with Eddie izzard getting a “women’s” seat, because they more than compensate for that with the massive amount of quotas they get in parliament, education, civil services, high paying services jobs in the name of equity, which is in turn based in the same ideology that the Trans movement uses.

Tony North
Tony North
1 year ago

We don’t know what he stands for…but we do know what he kneels for…and from that lowly position is unable to differentiate between men and women. Labour ahead in the polls….I despair.

Simon South
Simon South
1 year ago

“They are well-meaning, but woolly. What the voters need to know is what’s in it for them”

This in itself is the sad indictment of much of all political desire and ambition globally- where are the debates and policies for the common good? Where are the policies for future generations?The single focus of populist politics is the constant short term attempts to distract the populous with sparkly “gladiatorial spectacle” and tax bribes.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
1 year ago

He likes a beer and watches Arsenal, but does he watch the Lionesses, who, as women, reflect the half the voting population.

I like a beer and to watch football, but the future of our country has a lot more to it than just that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Scott
Hugh R
Hugh R
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

Most women prefer the man’s game.
Those that do should stick to that schmaltz, for it’s not football.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh R

I suspect that a lot of men prefer the women’s game as there are far fewer princesses in it.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

If a “lot of men preferred the women’s game” there wouldn’t be so much moral posturing and snide pressure to “support the women”

There might be more cheating in the men’s game. That’s because the stakes are higher. You get to see Maradona’s hand of God, but you also get to see the sheer brilliance of his second goal in that same game.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

What does he stand for?
Good question.
We know what he kneels for.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Some years ago when that odious French bandit, one Francois Mitterrand was running for major public office, a British newspaper ran a sycophantic story about Mitterrand owning a donkey sanctuary near Angouleme!
‘We’ were not impressed, and nor I am by this valedictory nonsense about Starmer.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Mark Chadwick
Mark Chadwick
1 year ago

What the voters need to know is what’s in it for them — what is the Labour offer? How does it deliver for individuals, their families and their businesses?
Nothing, by the looks of things. We’re talking about a man who’s too scared of the twitter mob to define what a woman is, got chucked out of a pub during lockdown and wants to shut down businesses and hammer the poor with insane green energy taxes while looking down his nose at people who’ve had their housing, jobs and wages trashed by mass immigration.
The Labour Party currently resemble a bunch of stand-up comedians on tour.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

Keir is a much more subtle and clever leader than he is generally given credit for, but I doubt that promotion of an image of a beer swigging football fan wedded to an unreformed NHS will get him much further!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Yes, the NHS needs to be privatised and sold to the Americans; the Tories need to hurry up and get rid of it.
The NHS is being fattened up for a US killing, and has been for some time – going quite well:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/27/jeremy-corbyn-reveals-dossier-proving-nhs-up-for-sale
But it’s been too slow so far:
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nhs-privatisation-sale-boris-johnson-conservatives-general-election-a9241881.html

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

The biggest crisis facing the UK today is the economic one. I have yet to learn how Labour would address dealing with it.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Vici C

That’s easy: two years of blaming The Tories for the inflationary effects of the policies they would’ve enacted anyway, and then if they win, five years of blaming The Tories for the deeper hole Labour will dig us into.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

All very well describing the electorate as thoughtful decision makers. They are not. They are kneejerkers and if Starmer jerks enough knees he’s in no 10.

Last edited 1 year ago by James Kirk
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Captain Shuteye is an archducal lower middle class bore….

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

And we need to keep “lower middle classes” out of power at all costs pshaw

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

It’s all just marketing at this point. The few thousand people who run the world pop their puppets into “power” positions and then sit back collecting the kakistocracy-provided cash.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

I haven’t seen “kakistocracy” used since I stopped doing Greek. Such a beautiful and apposite word to use in this context.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

And tragically apt.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago

I think you answer your own question Mr McTernan

The critique is clear. The Government’s “mini-budget” last week wasn’t fair; it amounts to merely throwing cash at the 1% of top earners. Labour should punch that bruise and relish the irony of a government committed to free markets being schooled by those same markets. The Party should also avoid the language of class warfare. It delights conference delegates when speakers attack Tories for supporting the rich, but this doesn’t answer the question of what Labour would do differently.

How can you argue “Party should also avoid the language of class warfare” when you have just employed it in the previous advice to “punch that bruise
And if you think massive gas & electricity subsidies for all and a 1% cut in the rate of tax is throwing cash at the top 1% you are somewhat deluded

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

And you are somewhat innumerate.
In Truss’ original budget, only those earning over ÂŁ155,000 benefitted. 
The wealthiest 5% would have seen their incomes grow by 2% next year (2023/24), while the other 95% of the population would have been poorer.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) said only those with incomes of over £155,000 will be net beneficiaries of tax policies announced by the Conservatives over the current Parliament, with the “vast majority of income taxpayers paying more tax”.
How is that not favouring the rich?

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
1 year ago

The Government’s “mini-budget” last week wasn’t fair; it amounts to merely throwing cash at the 1% of top earners.

No. A common misconception among leftbots is that tax cuts mean that the Government “gives” money to those on the receiving end. This reflects the leftbot idiocy that a person’s hard-earned money belongs to the Government by default. On the contrary. A so-called tax “cut” merely means refraining from confiscating money from those who earn it and giving it to those who don’t.
Starmer is an anti-democrat, who conspired with the EU, a hostile foreign power to overturn the largest democratic vote in UK history. He also, along with his slapper of a “deputy”, performed a revolting act of self-abasement before a corrupt bunch of Marxists who worship a vicious career criminal. He turned a blind eye to Jimmy Saville and the “groomers” of Rotherham and countless other towns. He manages to be both evil and boring.
Starmer – the banality of evil in action.

David Richard
David Richard
1 year ago

Perhaps more strikingly, Reeves had Labour conference on its feet with her statement that Labour was now the party of economic responsibility.

The working class stood up and cheered that?

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

John is usually worth a read but this one made me smile. What came to mind was that JFK cartoon attack line on Nixon. “Would you buy a used car from this man?”
Let’s see.
A good wash and wax
Touch up the paint work. (Palestinian to Union Flag)
A nice airfreshener inside. (mmm That’s better)
Remove the old studenty bumper stickers.
Add a National Trust Sticker and Baby on Board to the back window (that’ll fool them)
Don’t mention the previous collisions. Change the subject if they ask.

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
1 year ago

I am an active member of the Conservative party, but as of now I think it would be best for country if Labour win the next election.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

Hi Henry, you’re of course correct, but this is a forum largely comprised of inexperienced ideologues. The only question allowed is whether something works in theory.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

I assume the Tories won the red wall seats because they were disenchanted with labour. It might be that they are now disenchanted with the Tories as well. If that’s the case then perhaps the red wall seats are up for grabs by either party, whichever makes the better case at the next election. Perhaps they are now on equal footing.

Hugh R
Hugh R
1 year ago

“What does Keir Starmer stand for?”

Kier Starmer.