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STEPHEN GLOVER: Sir Keir Starmer aka Captain Crasheroonie Snoozefest

Many Tories have a dog’s eye at the moment. Whether supporters Liz Truss or Rishi SunakThey assume that the Conservative Party is headed for certain defeat in the general election two years from now.

There is much talk in Tory circles about how divided parties never win elections. Miss Truss and Mr Sunak are said to be gnawing at each other in a devastating blue-on-blue internal war.

Meanwhile, many conservatives believe the two leadership candidates are barely distinguishable from Sir. Keir Starmerrecently described Boris Johnson as “useless plastic pillar” and “Captain Crasheroonie Snoozefest”.

In particular, some say that Liz Truss is so wooden that she makes the Labor Party leader, once known for his ability to put us all to sleep, look cute, original and lively.

Is there any basis for these Tory fears? Not much. I grant that neither Liz Truss nor Rishi Sunak would let them roll in the corridors of the Alhambra, but that is not usually considered a disqualification for a political leader.

As for the charge that they are “pollinating the Tory brand” by publicly disagreeing so strongly, I submit that this is grossly exaggerated. Once the leadership race is over, the differences will quickly fade and soon be forgotten.

Moreover, politically the contestants are closer than is commonly assumed. Even tax, their main bone of contention, separates them less now that Mr Sunak has embraced the cause of tax cuts, pledging to waive VAT on energy bills for a year if he becomes prime minister.

No, the Tories’ pessimism is overblown. But there’s actually a bigger reason for downtrodden conservatives to feel quietly optimistic. I’m talking about Sir Keir Starmer.

Britain’s opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer looks on ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final soccer match between England and Sweden in Sheffield, Britain, on July 26, 2022.

Over the past few days, the Labor leader has burnished his reputation as someone loathe to come up with interesting ideas. We have also been reminded how deeply divided the Labor party is, more so than the Tories, as Miss Truss and Mr Sunak throw their firecrackers at each other.

Sir Keir’s two problems are related. He’s not a politics-free zone just because he can’t make up his mind and doesn’t know what he believes. He is unwilling, or perhaps unable, to pull out his stall in part because his party can’t easily agree on important policies.

Take a look at his much-heralded performance in Liverpool on Monday. I read every word out of duty. This was a lament for the low economic growth this country has experienced in the last decade. Liz Truss says much the same.

But while he suggests a remedy – a lower tax – Sir Keir has made no proposals. Oh, that’s not quite accurate. He created the idea of ​​a “new industrial strategy board”, a kind of super-quango that would hold government to account. It will solve all our problems.

To be fair, he listed “five principles that will guide my government in increasing our economic contribution.” One of them must be “distinctly British”. Another is to “reinvigorate communities and spread economic power.” Who writes this garbage?

Perhaps Sir Keir will one day come up with something a little more specific. But it tells us a lot that more than two years after becoming leader of the Labor Party, he is still producing low-level political gunfire.

Part of the reason, I say, is that his party remains divided on key issues. Sir Keir may have largely moved away from the hard left, which consists of the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, but he is still surrounded by some pretty extreme figures.

Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss attends a meeting as part of her campaign in Woodford Green, on the outskirts of London, Britain, July 27, 2022.

Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss attends a meeting as part of her campaign in Woodford Green, on the outskirts of London, Britain, July 27, 2022.

Whenever he half-heartedly embraces what can be generously described as politics, these people tend to jump down his throat. Yesterday morning, pragmatic shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves appeared to rule out rail nationalization on cost grounds, and later appeared to have been endorsed by her boss.

But several senior colleagues voluntarily disagreed. Shadow transport secretary Louise Hay insisted the party was “committed to public ownership of rail”. His comments were re-tweeted by Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner, who apparently agreed.

The embattled Ms Rayner, who has more than half an eye on Sir Keir Starmer’s job, happens to be in a relationship with Sam Tarry, a senior left-wing Labor MP.

Yesterday, Mr Tarry appeared at a picket line at London’s Euston station to show solidarity with the 40,000 RMT members who have shut down much of Britain’s rail network.

This was an act of defiance, in fact outright rebellion, against Sir Keir, who had ordered his front bench not to join the striking railway workers on the picket lines. The Labor leader does not want to give the impression that his party supports the strike, although in his characteristically ambiguous way he is not against it either.

Last month, around 25 Labor MPs defied his orders not to join the picket lines, including four frontbenchers. Sir Keir was unable to remove either of them.

Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and Conservative Party leader candidate and next UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gestures as he speaks at an election event on July 27, 2022 in Newmarket.

Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and Conservative Party leader candidate and next UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gestures as he speaks at an election event on July 27, 2022 in Newmarket.

Last night he plucked up the courage to get rid of rebel Mr Tarry as shadow transport minister. Not to do so would show shameful weakness and irrefutable evidence that Sir Keir has lost control of his breakaway party.

Despite the sacking of its acrimonious shadow minister, Labor remains divided. After the last chaotic days, we still don’t know whether it is beneficial to nationalize railway (or water or energy) companies or not. We also don’t know if it supports rail strikes.

I’m not a fan of Tony Blair but compare his performance to Sir Keir Starmer. Between 1994 and his landslide victory in 1997, Blair stamped his authority on Labour, abandoning left-wing politics and moving the party to the right.

Blair was persuasive, determined and charismatic. Starmer is unable to convince members of his own party to support him. He is often indecisive and unable to formulate attractive policies. And he is certainly not charismatic.

My argument is not that the Labor leader will not lead his party to victory. If nothing else, if the Tories win again in 2024 and govern for another five years, they will have been in office for 19 years. It may be too much for the electorate.

But it is certainly undeniable that Sir Keir is a flawed leader, leading a party that does not rally around him. He has failed to deliver convincing policies and his party continues to fail.

Labor will no doubt be delighted to see the back of Boris Johnson, who they see as the most powerful Tory leader in a generation. Like Margaret Thatcher, he appealed to large sections of the working class.

But if Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, I’m guessing it will be the former, prove to be an effective and simple prime minister in a severe economic crisis, why, the Tories can still win two years from now.

So stop whining and defeatism. The leadership debate is not irremediably toxic. When the clouds clear, the Tories will only face Sir Keir Starmer and a divided Labor Party.

STEPHEN GLOVER: Sir Keir Starmer aka Captain Crasheroonie Snoozefest

Source STEPHEN GLOVER: Sir Keir Starmer aka Captain Crasheroonie Snoozefest

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