SOS Starmer: A Week On
The courage to express your opinion in a crowd where vast swathes disagree is a compliment I take great pleasure in reserving for a select few individuals. Over recent years the apotheosis of this principle has been the Right Honourable Gentlemen for the Eighteenth Century, Jacob Rees-Mogg. His imperishable talk with Queen Mary UoL is an 80 minute display of his immense fortitude; polemising the virtues of conservatism to a crowd duly expected to be hostile in their opposition against him.
In this exclusive group of individuals, there appears a distinct lack of those on the left. From the times of Gore Vidal and Christopher Hitchens indiscriminately massacring those who dare cross their wrath with a diatribe of reason, modern-day leftists are seemingly unwilling to venture from their echo chamber within student unions.
Wednesday 29th September was a memorable day for this exclusive band, as the group gained a new entrant. I have nothing but utmost respect for the bravery shown by Sir Kier Starmer while he strode into The Brighton Centre – a venue where he was anticipating to be heckled and yet never was swayed in his confidence.
When the showers of abuse began to pore, did Sir Kier fret? Not for an instant. His clever response to hecklers by exclaiming ‘At this time on a Wednesday it is normally the Tories heckling me’, was an expression of a valiant man with an iron resolve. For a brief moment I was certain my eyes were deceiving me, for was it not Tony Blair on stage?
When the pre-planned witticisms ran dry, it was clear however that Sir Kier is not formed of Blairite titanium, but rather of candyfloss, for his speech can be described only as being big on fluff, and little on substance.
One positive did however come by gracing all those watching with some of the most awkward seconds of their lives. Following the verbal assault by an overly-zealous elderly lady, our protagonist was left aghast. In his pivotal speech to revive the dream of Downing Street, facing off against the radical Corbynite elements rejected en mass by the electorate wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sir Kier’s eagerness to shift the party away from the hard-left elements was apparent to no greater degree than with his ceremonious exit with Lady Starmer before the socialist anthem ‘The Red Flag’ resonated around Brighton.
Harold Wilson famously provided insight into the governing principles of a successful Labour Party, by suggesting how "Every bird needs a left wing and a right wing; it can't fly on its right wing alone”. This idea has been debased over recent years – first by Blair clipping the left wing, then Corbyn with the right. The difficulty that lies ahead for Sir Kier is to balance two different forces: the interests of a seemingly centre-right electorate, and the interests of his party infiltrated by Corbyn’s henchmen.
So far, it can be safely argued that our protagonist has failed in this goliath undertaking. While a radically centrist 12 000 word essay is certainly a start in the right direction – it can by no means be described as productive. The characteristic mischief of the Spectator did not disappoint by embedding within the festering drivel an extract that read ‘the first person to go to spectator.co.uk/essay can claim a bottle of Pol Roger’. After twelve tedious hours, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the champagne remained untouched.
While Starmer may have seen off the internal threat at his own conference, it is impossible to say the bright lights of Downing Street appear any closer.