How did Labour’s (remaining) membership ever elect as leader a man with such a staggering lack of self-awareness?
It’s bad enough that Keir Starmer thinks writing a column in the Torygraph is a good way to build support for his policy-free political party.
But to accuse the Conservatives of “sitting on the fence”, after he spent almost his entire tenure as Labour leader doing just that, is an act of colossal ignorance.
Worse even than that: the issue he raised – flammable cladding on tower blocks after the Grenfell Tower inferno – is not an example of Tory fence-sitting. It’s an example of Tory buck-passing because they’re making us pay to make these homes safe, rather than their landlords.
Starmer is trying to shame the Tories for abstaining on Labour proposals that would – rightly – get the unsafe cladding off threatened buildings and pursue those who should be paying for it, for the costs.
It would be a reasonable course of action – if Starmer hadn’t earned his own nickname “the abstainer” so well over nearly a year.
“Is this satire?” reads one comment on Facebook. “Of all the people to talk about abstentions it’s definitely funniest coming from [Starmer].”
Another stated: “Starmer is permanently sitting on the fence. You know what they say: ‘You will get splinters in your backside’.”
A further commenter resorted to verse: “The ‘Sir’ sat on the fence all day,
“Had nothing to do and nothing to say,
“Now give him a flag and he’ll wave it forever,
“But an honest socialist – Never, Ever, Never!”
But possibly the most biting referred to the fact that Starmer had published his article behind the Torygraph‘s paywall.
It reads, simply: “Sorry but I haven’t worked since the first lockdown and can’t afford to read your article.”