World famous director, producer and writer Tony Klinger today writes in the Havering Daily on Keir Starmer and the Labour party.
My father was a great film producer, and one of the elements that made him excel was his uncanny skill as a script editor. Being a writer myself I grew to trust and duplicate his methods. The most important of which was not telling the writer what they had done wrong on the pages, but to instinctively know what was not there, what was missing. That’s a gift, knowing what is needed, what ingredients mustbe added to achieve magic. This brings me to Sir Keir Starmer.
I can see what he has. He is clever, well organised and appears a fairly decent chap. His experience as a senior member of the legal profession means that he will be excellent at forensic analysis, and will be equally good at interrogating problems and people plus he will be organised at strategic planning.
But what are the elements in his personality that appear to be missing. Let’s look at those because they will, in my opinion, turn out to be more important in the long run.
First there is his apparent lack of self-awareness. The only other public figure who seems to be very comfortable being continually announced with his title is the actor Sir Ben Kingsley and he is so far up his own rectum that he meets himself coming back. To me, the idea of a Social Democratic leader being so comfortable being called Sir Keir Starmer leads me to wonder why he doesn’t realise this will alienate many of his supposed core voters.
Another problem he has, and this will become a very big issue, is his almost total lack of charisma. You might hate and loathe the Prime Minister but the reason he has continued to win elections and votes is because a huge swathe of our people instinctively like him and think he’s one of them. They enjoy his jokes, his banter, his bluster and occasional falls from grace. He’s very human, accessible, and in some sense just like one of the lads. Sir Keir Starmer seems wooden, a stuffed shirt, and robotic in comparison. Winning elections isn’t about just having the most compelling argument it is about who we trust and like best. Who is decisive and appears credible. It was interesting to see that huge swathes of the British public were clearly distressed when the PM was dangerously ill, and how hugely relieved they were on his recovery. I don’t think Sir Keir has that drawing power or ever will.
That brings me to the next Sir Keir Starmer deficit. On the day that Sir Keir Starmer won his election as the new Labour Party leader I wrote a hopeful piece suggesting that there might yet be hope for the hopeless Labour Party. To put this in perspective my family, going back two generations to my immigrant grandparents was naturally Labour Party supporters. It was in our DNA. You couldn’t, or maybe shouldn’t have got off the boat long ago, been a tailor’s presser or work in a sweat shop and not be a natural Labour Party supporter. Our family worked very hard and within the last century moved on to more satisfying work with better results, but we remembered our roots and our loyalties, until….
Until the Labour Party was shanghaied by the people around Jeremy Corbyn and its moral core was ripped out. Those people called themselves, proudly, the hard left. When they really are Marxists pretending to be social democrats. Like all ideologues they take extreme views and will do virtually anything to impose them on the rest of us. Remember such left-wing extremists have ruined entire societies around the world resulting in millions of deaths. These are very dangerous people. They were the cuckoos in the Labour Party nest. It was due to their poison that so many decent, social democratic old Labour supporters left or were forced from the Party.
Directly to address this issue you will recall Sir Keir Starmer’s first pledge when elected as Leader was that he would “root out anti-Semitism from the Party..” He would not tolerate it or the people that were anti-Semitic. Furthermore he announced he would not tolerate anyone under his leadership sharing platforms with people expelled from the Party and anyone doing so would be thrown out and then this…plucked from today’s headlines
“Another Labour anti-Semitism row: Keir Starmer is forced to reprimand MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy for taking part in Zoom call with activist suspended for saying ‘Jews financed the slave trade’• Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy were involved in Don’t Leave Zoom call • Jackie walker, thrown out of party for saying ‘Jews financed slave trade’ was in it• So was Jo Bird, Labour activist suspended from over ‘Jew process’ comments”
According to the Labour Party Diane Abbott was reprimanded by Sir Keir Starmer last night after she took part in an online forum via online video conferencing Zoom with some of the most notorious figures from Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis.
The former shadow Home Secretary dialled in to the call on video-conferencing service Zoom alongside many other “activists” including Jackie Walker, who was expelled from the party for gross misconduct after she falsely claimed that Jews financed the slave trade.
During the meeting one activist, Jo Bird, who was suspended from Labour then reinstated for making jokes about ‘Jew process’, claimed the reason that the Party was not dealing adequately with cases of anti-black racism was because it was prioritising anti-Semitism cases.
This virtual Zoom meeting was organised by the hard-left group Don’t Leave – Organise, which was set up by John McDonnell’s Labour Representation Committee and the fringe group Jewish Voice for Labour.
This latter group is not representative of the Jewish Community but were set up to make that pretence as a shield for the alleged institutional anti-Semitism in the Party currently under investigation by the EHRC (The Equality and Human Rights Commission)
So, I hear you mentally ask, what did Sir Keir Starmer do?
Did he immediately throw out Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy today, as he promised he would do?
I listened carefully for such an announcement. After all this was a public pledge he made voluntarily, on his first day in power over the Labour Party.
Then came this.
The Labour Party announced that both the MPs were “reminded of their responsibilities” when spoken to “in the strongest possible terms”.
In other words nothing. All Sir Keir’s promises evaporated like they had never been made. Why should we take anything he says seriously when he breaks his word at the first opportunity? Doesn’t it remind you of the talking out of both sides of his mouth from Jeremy Corbyn. It appears nothing much has changed despite it wearing a better suit and a photogenic smile.
But the Board of Deputies of British Jews demanded”swift action” as the M.P’s had “shared a platform” with two activists expelled over anti-Semitism.
Sir Keir simply repeated Labour’s earlier statement when asked about these calls, adding: “Those people who’ve been expelled from the Labour Party do not share the values of the Labour Party and the Labour Party does not share their views, and I condemn those views.”
As I hope I’ve made clear such statements means nothing when put in context. Sir Keir Starmer made a public promise and now, at the first instance of his pledge being openly flouted he has failed to deliver on that promise. It is apparent that he is a better political operator than he is a potential national leader. He has broken his promise, the first one he made as Leader.
Leaders don’t follow lame, politically expedient narrow interests, they honour their commitments and do so bravely and without fear or favour. Sir Keir Starmer doesn’t appear to understand this and that’s the reason he will not be our nation’s leader.
Another element of Sir Keir’s style that is beginning to jar with me is his apparently false pledge to work in a collegiate fashion with the government through the present pandemic. He starts each interview with his avowed support repeatedly stating he doesn’t wish to make political points out of this crisis and then does the exact opposite.
It is fine to hold the government’s feet to the fire for those things that they have failed to do or achieve. But if, for example, you criticise the amount of kit that the government has managed to secure for the NHS how would you, Sir Keir, have managed it any better?
The time for the blame game is when the inevitable enquiries follow this tragedy.
It’s easy for you, Sir Keir, or others to carp from the side lines but when you do you should remember that the British population are watching you and assessing your credibility and leadership and I believe they are already beginning to find you wanting.
I believe the evidence of my own eyes and ears, and this is addressed to Sir Keir directly, “You are trying to take political advantage from this international tragedy – stop it, it isn’t right and we, the British people don’t like it. People are suffering, our family members are getting sick and tragically thousands are dying, if you have nothing constructive to say, keep quiet.”
It is not the self-important media who will decide the future of Sir Keir, it is the common man and woman, and they will remember every cheap shot and every broken promise. I suggest Sir Keir shape up fast or he is doomed to fail like his predecessors.