ACCORDING to the establishment media Keir Starmer’s conference speech was ‘inspirational’, he is ‘a Prime Minister in waiting’ and so on and so on, but those of you who might have turned over to it in exasperation after not being able to find the third part of Al Jazeera’s The Labour Files, will know that was far from the case.
The speech was only inspired if you like a thesaurus of cliches. From “stand tall again”, “fighting on the front line of Britain”, and “flicking a switch”, to “grasp the nettle”, and “turn our collar up and face the storm”. Empty phrases.
Unsurprisingly, he spoke of his Mum the nurse and Dad the toolmaker – again – and the tale of his family’s phone being cut off. No Keir, it doesn’t make us feel any affinity with you, it makes us embarrassed for you. Speaking of his time as DPP is much the same, pretending he was on our side. Quite a few would disagree. The family of Jean Charles de Menezes for example. And not on the side of protesters then or now. He won’t stand with workers on strike and his Shadow Chancellor says Labour is not the party of people on benefits. That’s about six million people who Labour doesn’t want to be associated with.
He said: “it’s possible to govern with integrity, to unite rather than divide, to respect other points of view”. With all the purges, the silencing of those he disagrees with, he speaks of unity and integrity? The same unity as when he spoke of the SNP, saying “We can’t work with them. We won’t work with them. No deal under any circumstances.”?
A clean energy plan, great, but more than that, Labour will set up ‘Great British Energy’ which is going to take advantage of clean ‘British’ power (in case the flags and anthem weren’t enough to convince voters of Labour’s patriotism). He said it would be publicly owned, which brought a cheer from the ‘conference’ but will it? His track record on keeping promises is not good. And, what exactly will public ownership amount to? PFIs? Because like a poor tribute band he does like to play Tony Blair’s greatest hits. Only out of time and out of desperation.
He can talk about working people and workers’ rights until we’re all comatose, but it sounds as though he’s speaking of aliens, creatures he doesn’t quite understand. His predecessor may have had a more fortunate upbringing, as his detractors are quick to point out, but we always knew he was on our side. Not so with Starmer.
“We are the party of the centre ground,” he said. Yes, we know that, but we were hoping ordinary people would have a voice.
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