What Keir Starmer’s got wrong

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

I see that Cricket Scotland is an appalling institution riven with racism. It has just been subjected to ‘the most devastating verdict to be delivered on any sporting institution in the UK’, having treated a whole bunch of players of Asian heritage to prejudice, discrimination and racial abuse. As a consequence there will be inquiries into the governing bodies of all the other sports Scottish people play with great enthusiasm but a marked shortage of talent. I daresay they will find similar nastiness within these McKu Klux Klanneries, a vicious and festering spite borne of inferiority complexes and facilitated by the fact that the governance of the entire country is built upon racism.

Nationalism in the end teeters into racial hatred. If you live in a country where every possible ill that befalls your nation is blamed on the awful people living just to the south of you, and have been subjected to a poisonous narrative about imperialism and persecution, then racism across the board will come very easily to you. One moment you’re standing on the A69 at the border, waving a claymore and screaming Pictish oaths at diseased English folk daring to visit your heavily subsidised, mountainous, morphine-soaked satrapy, the next you’re shouting at some poor Asian spin bowler. Sigmund Freud would have been greatly interested in the Scottish National party; I think its visceral hatred of the English is rooted in an oedipal ambivalence (in the psychoanalytical sense) towards the father figure.

We English undoubtedly have our own psychological problems, but it is hard to argue that an inferiority complex is one of them. For sure we believe, perhaps wrongly, that we are better than every other people on Earth, but we don’t hold this against our inferiors. Instead we try to encourage them, and give them money. That may be a patronising approach, but it is surely better than the Scottish disposition – which is to sling a rope over a tree as soon as they espy anyone lacking ginger sideburns and a beer gut. It is looking increasingly likely that the maniacs of the SNP will soon be helping to run our country, which is not something that fills me with very much confidence or happiness.

The SNP’s ascent to power will be to clamber on the back of a much improved Labour party performance at the next general election. That Labour has already improved markedly is beyond contention: right now, Sir Keir Starmer’s party is nine points ahead in the polls and I am not overly convinced that the advent of Truss or Sunak will do very much to halt that trend. Traditionally the greatest threat to Labour winning an election has been the behaviour of the Labour left, both in parliament and beyond it. On this issue Starmer has been every bit as ruthless as Tony Blair and now has a largely competent front bench to back him up.

If you have any doubt as to what he is up against from within his own party of deluded leftists, take a look at the video of him being screeched at by an appalling Scouse matron called Audrey White about how he has ‘betrayed’ the working class. (She later described Labour’s 2019 manifesto as ‘fantastic’.) If I were Sir Keir I’d stay the hell away from Liverpool, which has always displayed a penchant for far-left charlatans, perhaps because the likes of Derek ‘Degsy’ Hatton and Jeremy Corbyn are prepared to indulge their fairytale claims of perpetual victimhood.

But there are two areas where Starmer may have got it wrong – and which may prevent him maximising his vote in those famous old Red Wall seats. The first is that he is still stupidly woke – which is, for Labour, the modern equivalent of Clause IV. Junk the woke rubbish and you’ll find an awful lot of support in the country, even if you are being ripped apart internally by the metropolitan middle class that joined the party after 2015.

The second is that he has ditched much of the populist, radical economics which was John McDonnell’s contribution to that otherwise dreadful 2019 manifesto. Knocking on doors at the last election, I found few working-class voters who were agin the nationalisation of the railways and the utilities and a higher level of taxation for the very rich. In fact, these policies found a lot of favour – it was the rest of the stuff the old Labour voters despised, rightly.

Now, though, Starmer is flip-flopping on that nationalisation issue, having at first ruled it out completely. That was a strange decision, seeing as nationalisation of the energy companies would be an extremely popular move right now, according to the polls. Perhaps the ever-cautious Human Bollard worries that taking the energy companies into public ownership will merely create a rod for his own back. Future price rises will no longer be seen by the voters as being the consequence of rapacious and profiteering private companies, but of the callousness of the government which controls them. Better, Starmer may think, simply to milk them for windfall profits from time to time but keep the issue at arm’s length. A mistake, I think – because by the time the companies are nationalised, oil and gas prices will have seen the worst of their rises and may be inclined to fall.

It is the bigger picture, though, where I think the Labour leader has got it wrong. His front bench have been repeating the mantra that they do not wish to see a ‘bigger state’ – and yet, as John Gray pointed out in the New Statesman recently, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that those Red Wall voters in the north of England are very much in favour of a larger state and see nothing to fear from it.

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