Keir Starmer, watching the ball go by, a Spécialité de la Maison …


The business community has been in play since June 2018.

Members of the Conservative Party publicly resigned over Boris Johnson’s two word, industrial strategy.

Keir Starmer has been Labour leader for nearly a year now.

Starmer spent 2020 not calling on the Government to put in place measures to mitigate at least some of the downsides of Brexit.

Starmer barely murmured when Johnson declined to extend the transition period.

Starmer was too gun shy even to speak up for the Brexit agreement to include an implementation period, an extension to the transition period by another name.

And the pièce de résistance …

Starmer, after endorsing Johnson’s Hard Brexit deal wants to spend 2021, talking about jobs, the economy and meaningful manual labour, but not in the context of lost jobs and contracts, repossessions, business failures, lives imperilled … courtesy of Brexit.

General Elections turn on around 200,000 votes.

There are 2,395,150 micro businesses in the UK, but Starmer preferred to hug Johnson close than stand up for them.

A Parliamentary seat that Labour needs to win in order to form a Government with a comfortable majority is Hastings.

I remember it well when Hastings, Labour gain came up on the BBC in the early hours of 2nd May 1997.

There had been rumours, early in the day on 1st May that a historic Labour gain was in the offing.

I have a particular affection for the town. My maternal grandad was from there and I have holidayed there over the years, many times.

I enjoy a plate of plaice and chips in an old school cafe on the seafront.

How does Starmer plan to campaign in Hastings without discussing the impact of Brexit on its tourism industry and its unique fishing fleet that has its own mention in the Doomsday Book?

There are some very aggrieved people there, who understandably feel betrayed by Boris Johnson and his Brexit deal. The deal for which Starmer voted.

Starmer attempted to pull off a trick that even the great Harry Houdini would have struggled with: voting for the rotten Tory deal whilst claiming it had nothing to do with Labour, guv. The public will simply not buy this and will blame Labour too for its shortcomings. The Leader of the Opposition, said Manuel Cortes, should remember that the clue is in his title. Starmer is not there to facilitate Tory misrule.

“Labour abstains! This Brexit Deal isn’t good enough for the UK!” is how Starmer, might have wound up his speech in the House of Commons’ debate on Johnson’s Brexit deal.

There was clearly, in some quarters, an assumption that Starmer’s yes, but ‘clever’ barrister’s wheeze was just a tactic to get through the Brexit debate.

Au contraire, as the previous evening, Starmer told the Guardian that any future Labour Government that he led would not seek any major changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Starmer said there was a case Labour would make over the coming months and years about ways to improve the UK’s relationship with the EU, including access to security data and the ability of artists and musicians to operate across Europe.

“But there will not be an appetite for renegotiating the entire treaty.”

The option to review the agreement in four years time would not be taken up in any significant way by a Starmer led Labour Government.

There would be no discussion of the UK rejoining the Single Market and/or Customs Union, despite the damage to jobs and businesses caused by our leaving them.

The Single Market is the largest in the world, measured by per capita disposable income.

Starmer was presented in 2020 with a golden opportunity denied to most of his forebears, to wrest the title of the party of business away from the Conservatives and claim it as Labour’s own, but as with most other similar opportunities in 2020, he just watched the ball sail by.

Update on 29th May 2021: The Tory Government has gutted the UK’s fishing industry. It is on track, going by its proposed Australian trade deal and likely subsequent deals, to plough UK farming under.

Labour under Starmer is conducting a review of its rural policies to fashion them into a bouquet with which to woo voters outside of towns and cities, many reliant on agriculture, directly or indirectly, for their living.

Apart from an intervention by Emily Thornberry in the House of Commons, Labour has said little publicly to amplify the concerns farmers and others have about the Australian trade deal that Liz Truss is desperate to sign off before the G7 Summit, being held in Cornwall in June 2021.

Another ball is sailing by.

Another group of voters assumed to mostly vote Tory is there to be courted, to be wined and dined in the interests of Labour.

But this week, Keir Starmer is mostly talking about the Green New Deal.


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