Toby Neal on politics: This is Keir Starmer's moment

There's a glint in his eye and a spring in his step.

This is his moment. It is Sir Keir Starmer's big opportunity. The Government has faltered. Even the Tory press have joined in the football chant: "You don't know what you're doing."

Boris Johnson is missing in action, being on holiday, finding important engagements to attend in far-flung places, or being busy redecorating a flat somewhere.

Sleazy peasy for Sir Keir in Westminster, where all is in tumult.

The Paterson Affair now joins the ranks of infamy – Crichel Down, Plebgate, Watergate, Cow & Gate, cash for questions, Lord Lambton, BL slush fund (copyright: Daily Mail)... and so on.

Can any administration have fallen lower than having even Lord Underpants wade in to wag the preachy finger about the disgrace of heading a sleazy government? It's not his idea of warm beer and the thwack of willow on cork on the village green.

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Yes, chickens are coming home to roost in North Shropshire, where the poll will be a referendum on Boris Johnson personally. Bit sad really, as it's the constituency he got married in. One of his marriages, that is.

Sir Keir can't lose. Well, he can lose, obviously, but by flying the flag for all that is decent and holy he can intensify the reputational damage which has already been suffered by the Tories, who could find themselves looking for other jobs at this rate. Other jobs on top of the other jobs, I mean.

With his film star looks, and brilliant and forensic lawyer's holding of the Government to account in the Commons, or so they say, or at least used to say until they found his style was sending people to sleep, he can strike a devastating psychological blow at the heart of the Tory empire.

And as he characterises Boris Johnson as leading the Tories through a sewer, it would be but a small step to start calling the Tories sewer rats, although I doubt he will as he is too civilised for that.

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Back to the programming...

Owen Paterson had a majority of almost 23,000 at the last general election. Apart from a brief blip in 1904, the Tories have held the Oswestry or North Shropshire seat for the better part of 200 years.

If Labour is to win the seat it will have to throw everything at it, and be seen to throw everything at it.

It has to be in the realms of possibility that the Tories will hold North Shropshire. But if that happens it will be because the voters haven't had the central issue, that of trust in the workings of democracy, adequately explained to them, and Sir Keir can call for the vote to be held again.

Meanwhile up in Glasgow world leaders have been making plans to save the world with various green targets set for 2030, 2050, and by the end of the 21st century.

As they talk about climate change and its dangers to the future of humanity, this coming winter millions are reported to be facing starvation in Afghanistan.

And the world is looking the other way because the Taliban are a nasty lot and we don't want to do anything that makes it seem like we are helping them.

As a consequence many Afghan children won't live to see a greener planet.

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