That Starmer fella...

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  • Now the Leadership has moved on.

    Opinion polls are starting to show a higher approval rating for Starmer than Johnson.

    The latest YouGov survey shows the leader of the opposition has a net approval rating of +23, while the prime minister has seen his net approval fall to +22.

    Although I'm not sure how this will carry through when the topic moves onto Brexit.

  • He can carry on as he is currently right? Giving BoJo more and more rope, then watching as he hangs himself.

  • Interesting post around approval here

    https://microco.sm/out/TREci

  • Brexit is a bit more partisan though so not sure if it will work as well.

    Forcing Johnson to actually do some prep or be embarassed seems a decent tactic though.

  • I saw that somewhere as well.

    He's done a good job of appearing reasonable but posing a lot of difficult questions. Although it's a difficult time to come in, the very empty House of Commons has probably been a help to him.

  • Yes, it's odd to think that PMQ's relied so heavily on a wall of sound from each bench.

  • I thought Keir put in a solid performance against Boris at last week's PMQ's - he seemed to be going for the level-headed solicitor cross-examination approach? However, Labour's problems run considerably deeper than the face at the top - he's got his work cut out imposing party discipline for starters. In the meantime, at least there are (albeit feeble) signs of life for a meaningful opposition...

  • This is exactly what was needed right now from Labour. Starmer wouldn’t have been my choice of leader, but given the circumstances we are in then he was the right man for the job right now. Initially I wanted Starmer to be able to go after Johnson re Brexit, but the Covid fiasco will do nicely for now. Johnson needs to be held to account over every small detail and not be allowed to get away with his usual style. PMQ’s will now be an expert forensic barrister vs a bullshitting hack. Starmer will make him look like the incompetent fool that he is. Should be fun.

  • PMQs today was a man v a very stupid boy.

    I hope it will penetrate in our village where the general consensus is that ‘Boris’ is doing a very good job in impossible circumstances . I’m not hopeful though as when a baby hedgehog was rescued and survived they had a vote for a name - they thought Boris as “he’s a little fighter”. My, admittedly slightly crass, suggestion that he be named after one of the NHS workers who had lost their lives, was not well received

  • the general consensus is that ‘Boris’ is doing a very good job in impossible circumstances

    I'm starting to see posts to this effect shared on facebook, example attached. I don't know the person posting it btw.


    1 Attachment

    • Screenshot_20200513-201042_Facebook.jpg
  • ^ they all have a picture designed to make us feel sorry for him.

    Re: backbench noise at PMQ's, I hope they never go back to the shit-show that was in place before these ones. It's a delight to (not) hear.

    Is it worth a government petition to call to make this happen?

  • Cabbies eh

  • He's more centrist than suits me
    However really liking his statesman like approach though when dealing with a baffoon (no slur to baffoons intended) its like an open goal.

    Though Boris fans will like Boris whatever he does it seems

  • he seemed to be going for the level-headed solicitor cross-examination approach?

    Solicitor? Ouch. Burn.

  • black shirt with black suit and tie speaks volumes

  • I'm afraid I think Starmer's on a hiding to nothing with those 'corrections'. Politically, what counts (and wins elections) is that a politician is seen as understanding the big picture, and Starmer gives every indication that he doesn't see this at all. Attention to detail and 'forensic questioning' may work in a court of law, where there's a responsible authority overseeing proceedings, but in politics it counts for very little. Also, PMQs is a totally unimportant sideshow. Opportunities to shine a spotlight on the big picture there are very few and far between. I still think Starmer (like all the other candidates) is far too inexperienced yet to do this job, but at least he has a couple of years in which he may grow into it. I suspect Labour will be out of power for another ten years, though.

  • what counts (and wins elections) is that a politician is seen as understanding the big picture

    So you see Johnson as demonstrating this 'big picture' stance?

    Starmer seems to be slowly building the case against the actions of this administration ahead of the inevitable inquiry about the PMs conduct and decisions

  • Conservative MP Peter Bone is already speaking out against the actions of this administration...

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/watc­h-peter-bone-takes-a-pop-at-boris

  • I'm sure you know my opinion of Johnson. He has always tried to pretend that by not being interested in detail he somehow has a grasp of big politics, which he does not. However, if you relentlessly repeat some stupid nonsense like 'Brexit' and nothing else, and thereby exploit the very real grievances people have, and then you're faced with some stickler for detail in the face of a terrible crisis who just seems to want to trip you up at every turn when you need your hands free to (supposedly) deal with the crisis, then who's the big politician?

    Starmer plays well with people like Starmer. He has yet to show that he can transcend that. I mean, Johnson is a known liability, but at PMQs he'll simply start to do what he always did in the London Assembly, which is either not to answer questions or to be truculent and obstructive.

  • Exactly.
    When the circus comes back. It'll be hard for labour to be heard.

  • What, or at least who, is the alternative though? Trying to compete with Johnson at his popularist bullshit-laden game is unlikely to be successful, quite apart from being morally objectionable. Going for the Corbyn II option is likely to be as electorally successful as Corbyn I, despite some members of Momentum still desperately trying to portray a succession of electoral defeats as a glorious victory. If the good people of the UK are stupid enough to prefer the bullshit and bluster of Johnson and his cronies, then they're getting the government they deserve. Unfortunately.

  • Well, I certainly don't have answers myself, but here are some musings.

    There's no 'who' yet, perhaps there could be one if Starmer managed to become more than himself (which I don't think he'll manage, but let's wait and see). It's entirely possible that Labour suddenly sprouts a real leader personality at some point in the near future.

    As for 'what', where you're being unfair to Corbyn is that the election campaign in 2017 really was very good and with its 'let's (largely) ignore 'Brexit' and let's change some annoying things and go in the right direction' they had a very good manifesto and electoral strategy, plus all that Cool Corbyn stuff, obviously helped by a hopeless Theresa May. They got most of that completely wrong in 2019--no opportunity for Cool Corbyn in late autumn, an overloaded manifesto, no clear line, up against a strategy that worked for the Tories. Johnson was hopeless, too, but as unlike May he largely avoided being seen, that didn't matter so much.

    The question for Labour has really been the same ever since the collapse of the Eastern bloc. While the Eastern bloc wasn't really socialist, it nonetheless represented that ideology/political direction in the world--in German there was the phrase 'real existierender Sozialismus', which probably doesn't need a translation, and here's the Wikipedia page ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_socia­lism

    ... i.e., a socialism that supposedly really existed. Whatever was written about that in the West, however much was wrong with it, however ridiculous the little cars and the 20-year waiting time for them were, however dirty the Braunkohlereviere and however cobbled the roads still in their pre-war state were, it was still there and provided a sort of backdrop against which at least a tenuous argument could be advanced that 'socialism' 'works'. When it all collapsed, the right wing started to gloat that now it had all collapsed as it was always going to, etc. Since then, all arguments in favour of socialism have been tainted with the perception that it can't work, as the right wing always said. Never mind the cleverness of the ideology, we've now seen it tested out in the real world, and so on. And never mind that Kerala is still a communist state, and that there are other, smaller places in the world that are effectively socialist, the big states that tried it have failed.

    Then the main argument left to socialists is: 'Ah, but that wasn't really socialism. Look at other places, like Cuba, which only did badly economically because of the embargo. The people there are well-educated and they know what they've got and they're really equal.' (I've heard people say everything I mention here, by the way.) These are not strong arguments because they're only about small states and because they don't play a very strong role in world politics. By contrast, the right wing talks about capitalism. Monetarism. Big data exploitation. The billionaire oligarchs. The people who suffer from all that the most either can't vote/don't manage to vote (voter suppression), are gerrymandered, or won't vote. Most people who benefit, or think they benefit, from the way things are, will vote, every time.

    Anyone plotting a way ahead for left-wing politics needs to do better than sell-outs like Blair or Schröder. A government that comes to power under a left-wing banner needs to do the most they can to counteract what has happened before and not to simply acquiesce in it and pretend the 'centre' will be in power for generations so that it has plenty of time to sort everything out when to all appearances it only does very unimaginative and ineffective things that can easily be destroyed by a ruthless right-wing government that doesn't give a toss if thousands of vulnerable people die prematurely and suffer injustice every day.

    But then you're back at highly adversarial politics (and again, how do you even define a position in the face of the collapse of 'socialism'?), and in the age of data exploitation that seems to favour those who have no compunction about using data. It's merely the latest advantage in a series of ploys going back at least to the 1980s, e.g. either ridiculously liberal rules about party financing (UK) or illegal party financing (Kohl in Germany) (not trying to suggest that there isn't some party financing in the UK that isn't illegal, too). Obviously, Labour uses data, too, but I remember well how much was made of Labour's canvassing--a quaint method of collecting data now that you only have to scrape people's F****** accounts to know where they stand. After all the furore about the use of illegal data in the referendum, there was very little written about that in the 2019 general election. Was it no longer being used? I find that vanishingly unlikely.

    As I said, I don't have answers, either, and certainly no political ability, but at minimum I think a new narrative must be established, with a credible intellectual backdrop, that does not have to refer too much to older ideologies but explain clearly and plainly, and positively, what should be done. How about 'every company above a certain size should be a co-operative'? We must not concentrate power in too few hands, so let's work co-operatively. What about the 'environment'? Should we even continue to call it that, seeing as the term seems to imply that it's only what's around us but doesn't affect us? (I know that obviously it can be understood differently perfectly well, but it does sometimes help to be excessively literal, as many people only understand abstract concepts superficially.) What policies--simple policies that don't need reams of 'climate science' that only a few people really understand--should we propose? And so on.

  • The Telegraph running headlines like:
    Keir Starmer took Boris Johnson apart like a Duplo train set
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/202­0/05/13/keir-starmer-took-boris-johnson-­apart-like-duplo-train-set/
    seems a little surprising given how they were pretty much his mouthpiece six months ago.

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That Starmer fella...

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