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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Spineless Keir always sits on fence – do we really want him to replace Boris?

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WITH our strike-ravaged, cash-strapped country teetering on the edge of total paralysis, shouldn’t Sir Keir Starmer be taking measurements for those Downing Street curtains by now?

And yet, strangely, he is not.

Boris Johnson lost Wakefield, West Yorkshire, to Labour and rural Tiverton and Honiton to the Lib Dems

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Boris Johnson lost Wakefield, West Yorkshire, to Labour and rural Tiverton and Honiton to the Lib DemsCredit: AFP
Keir Starmer and Labour do not look ready to govern

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Keir Starmer and Labour do not look ready to governCredit: Getty

After those two crushing by- election defeats for the Tories in one night, shouldn’t Her Majesty’s opposition be confidently preparing for government?

But Labour do not look ready to govern. The honeymoon may be over for Boris Johnson. But are the British people really ready to give their hearts to Keir Starmer?

The Tories lost Wakefield, West Yorkshire, to Labour and rural Tiverton and Honiton in Devon to the Liberal Democrats — and lost in spectacular fashion.

In Tiverton and Honiton, the Lib Dems annihilated the 24,239 Tory majority.

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In Wakefield, Labour reclaimed a crucial brick in the Red Wall.

Tories getting obliterated by Labour in the North and the Lib Dems in the South — not a great look.

Oliver Dowden, chairman of the Conservative Party, resigned before breakfast on Friday morning.

But does this mean the British people yearn for some hideous Keir Starmer coalition government where a weak Labour administration are propped up by the Lib Dems and Nicola Sturgeon?

Both by-elections were called as a result of unsavoury Tory scandals. The Tiverton and Honiton by-election was called because

Conservative MP Neil Parish quit after admitting watching porn on his phone in the House of Commons.

Wakefield’s sitting Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, resigned following his conviction for sexual assault on a 15-year-old boy.

Voters in Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield — many of them undoubtedly appalled by Partygate — happily punished a Tory government that sometimes seems splattered with sleaze.

But does that really mean they want Keir Starmer to be Prime Minister?

These tired Tories look like a party that has been in power for 12 years.

And yet the opposition is, rather remarkably, even more feeble.
Just when you thought that Labour might one day be electable, Arthur Scargill, 84, was removed from his crypt to join a picket line of striking rail workers.

Now there’s a vote winner.

I detect scant enthusiasm for a Labour Party that must — still! — grovel at the feet of the unions, and would need the Lib Dems and the SNP to have any hope of forming a government.

We often hear that Starmer’s problem is that he is boring.

But Sir Keir’s real problem is that he lacks a spine.

LACKS NERVE

Starmer reportedly forbid Labour MPs from joining picket lines yet many ignored him.

He does not have the courage to unequivocally condemn — or support — the strikes that are paralysing the country.

Starmer was the poster boy for a second EU referendum, and yet he lacks the bravery to state that he thinks Brexit has been a failure.

Starmer is against sending illegal immigrants to Africa, and yet we have no idea if he believes in open borders — or not.

We simply don’t know what Keir Starmer believes about any of these great issues — because he lacks the nerve to tell us.

We recall he tried very hard to get Comrade Corbyn into Downing Street.

But even Starmer’s historic and shameful association with Corbyn would not matter a damn if he now had the bottle to tell us what he truly believes.

But he does not. Strikes, Brexit, immigration — Starmer takes a vow of silence and squats painfully on the fence.

The Boris haters often tell us that we have a PM with no morals.

But do we really want to replace him with a man who has no spine?

Recently exhumed

“WHY are you so handsome?” Sandra Bullock’s character asks Brad Pitt when he rescues her in The Lost City.

“My dad was a weatherman,” replies Brad, as if that explains everything.

Brad Pitt on the cover of GQ magazine

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Brad Pitt on the cover of GQ magazineCredit: Elizaveta Porodina

Unlike, say, Tom Cruise, Brad’s face has changed over the years.

He does look 30 years older than the bad young cowboy who stood hitching by the side of the road when Thelma and Louise cruised by in 1991.

But even pushing 60, Brad remains the most handsome man in the world.

So what a shock to see Brad on the cover of GQ magazine looking pasty-faced, half-buried in foliage and alarmingly glassy-eyed.

For once in his life, Brad doesn’t look like the most handsome man in the world.

He looks like he has been recently exhumed.

It is difficult to make Brad Pitt look unattractive.

But somehow GQ has managed it.

Ding-hy dong in Africa

ALL a bit awkward when our current Prime Minister and our future king met for a “cup of tea and a catch-up” on Friday, when both Boris and Charles were in Kigali, Rwanda.

Boris, desperate to combat illegal immigration, has hit on the unlikely solution of flying migrants to Rwanda, saying that critics should “shed some of their condescending attitudes” towards the African country.

Prince Charles and Boris Johnson in Rwanda

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Prince Charles and Boris Johnson in RwandaCredit: Getty

Charles disapproves, reportedly saying in private that he considers the scheme to fly migrants to Rwanda “appalling”.

Whatever you think about the ruse’s pros and cons, there is surely no denying basic geography.

Nobody got into those leaky dinghies in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.

So if they are going to be sent anywhere, then surely common sense tells us that it should be back to France – a free, safe and tolerant country where the greatest danger is eating a baguette that is past its best-by date.

Off the rails

PROFESSIONS change. They rise and fall. Some fade into history.

Milkmen. Chimney sweeps. Linotype operators – like my uncles in the old Fleet Street.

Print journalists – like me. And railway workers.

Nine out of ten office workers in London did their job from home during the rail strikes.

There were more people coming into the office during last winter’s Omicron wave!

So although the RMT’s thin-lipped supremo Mick Lynch is capable of inflicting misery and chaos, the world will never need trains quite as much as it did in the past.

Mick is like one of those blacksmiths who thought to themselves, “People will always need horseshoes”.

Just as the first Model T Ford came sputtering over the horizon.

Mick Lynch is not living in the Seventies or Eighties. Mick lives in the pre-pandemic world. And that is why these spiteful, selfish strikes will fail.

Kate is old gold

A SHORT scene in the Netflix sci-fi period drama Stranger Things has made Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill a global phenomenon.

In the UK alone, 700,000 are currently streaming the song every day.

Kate Bush's 1895 song Running Up That Hill still sounds shockingly good

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Kate Bush’s 1895 song Running Up That Hill still sounds shockingly good

The 1985 song still sounds shockingly good – haunting, gripping, ludicrously catchy.

Kate first went to No1 in 1978 with Wuthering Heights and now, 44 years later, is back at the top of the single charts with her second No1, Running Up That Hill.

Kate Bush, 63, came back as Paul McCartney, 80, headlined Glastonbury, while two 78-year-old geezers – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards – sold out Hyde Park.

So the success of Running Up That Hill is not down to the power of Netflix.

It’s down to the power of old music.


JOHN LYDON, the former Johnny Rotten, is bowling up everywhere from Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show to ITV’s This Morning to slag off Danny Boyle’s Pistol drama.

“This pile of nonsense,” John sneers – the way only he can sneer! “It’s about me but it excludes me.”

Boyle’s drama certainly takes a few liberties with real life.

But the drama totally captures one sad, central truth.

By recruiting the self-destructive Sid Vicious – lovely lad but a musical moron – The Sex Pistols were a great band who became a novelty act.


Acting classes

ACTING has been “hijacked” by toffs, says historian Lipika Pelham, citing Eddie Redmayne (at Eton with Prince William) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Old Harrovian, distant cousin of Richard III).

It’s true the modern acting profession lacks a working class giant like Michael Caine or Terence Stamp.

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There are still working- class actors around.

But these days they are forbidden to stray far beyond either the Queen Vic or the Rovers Return.





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