Express & Star

Keir’s on to a winner simply by being OTT

“He’s actually given up,” Sir Keir Starmer said at PMQs.

Doing nothing – Sir Keir Starmer

He was talking about the Prime Minister. But is he right? Has the Conservative Party given up?

Sir Keir wasn’t the only person to draw that conclusion this week.

In an interview with the Shropshire Star, Lucy Allan, the Tory MP for Telford, told us she did not believe the Conservatives could win the next general election or that they believed they could win.

She is not standing again because of what she has described as a lack of support from the central Conservative Party. The lack of support for her campaign in Telford was evidence of “giving up,” she said.

Just consider that for a moment. Her majority at the last general election was 10,941. So if she is right, then the Tory masterminds in London are writing off seats where they hold majorities approaching 11,000.

It makes you wonder what scale of defeat they are contemplating.

For Sir Keir Starmer, the stars are all beginning to align. The chap’s in dreamland. In Scotland, the door is reopening for Labour thanks to the turmoil which is rocking the Scottish National Party.

In the crucial red wall seats – mainly northern, traditionally Labour-voting seats – Labour has extended its lead to 27 points according to a new poll, which would mean every single one of them would be won back by the party at the next general election.

And a poll the other day by the Tony Blair Institute shows that over 50 per cent of adults think that Brexit was a mistake.

That benefits Labour, with its London power base, because the prospect of placing Sir Keir Starmer and David Lammy in office, both staunch Remainers, would give hope to the Brexit regretters that a historic wrong could be righted, with the aid of a bit of presentational intrigue to disguise what was really going on.

As for Sir Keir himself, within reason it doesn’t really matter what he does at the moment. He can and does change his mind on any previous policy or principle he has espoused, and the public isn’t bothered because at least he isn’t a Tory.

Labour is no doubt already working on one of the party’s least radical manifestos in history, filled with promises of integrity and responsible government in a stubbornly non-controversial document of political blancmange which will engulf and smother any forensic examination or attempts of criticism.

Whatever you do, don’t give the Tories a target, will be the watchwords.

It’s a remarkable turnaround if you look back to the morale-destroying battering that Labour got in 2019.

Sir Keir deserves credit for putting Labour in pole position for victory.

He’s done nothing, and he’s done it well. By and large, everything he has needed to do has been done for him by the Tories themselves.

Yes, he comes under fire for not standing for anything. But being OTT – Other Than Tory – looks like being enough.

Labour approach the next election with hope and expectation. On current form, they will face a Conservative Party machine that will be going into battle with the Tory banner in one hand and a white flag in the other.


Sir Elton John at Glastonbury

Sir Elton was great at Glastonbury, wasn’t he?

I saw him in concert once. I think it was him, anyway. Whoever it was was so far away that I couldn’t be sure. It was some sort of high brow link-up with an orchestra at the NEC, so we didn’t get his greatest hits.

All things considered, you get much better sound quality and a better picture on television, and it’s a lot more comfortable as well, although I appreciate that there is nothing quite like being there in person for a truly immersive experience.

Years ago Sir Elton was giving evidence in a legal action he was taking related to his financial affairs, and was asked why he spent £293,000 on flowers over 20 months.

“I like flowers,” was his simple response, which caused laughter in the courtroom.

The odd thing that emerged from Sir Elton’s showpiece at Glastonbury was that he earns so many millions, but still can’t afford trousers that fit properly.