This was meant to be, as Martin McCutcheon, would say – a “perfect moment”. Keir Starmer had a bounce in his step. He had a new found confidence, and was thrashing out all the hits like ‘workers’ – no mention of socialism though, There was no heckling. No dissent. Everything was fine, apart from the ‘superficially black’ slip up. This is Labour’s election to lose. OK, Starmer may not be into ‘bungee jumping’, but he’s a ‘safe pair of hands’.
It actually costs me money to vote, unless I walk this time to the polling station in Primrose Hill. It will not affect the outcome as the vast majority of Camden is a ‘safe seat’. On a matter of principle, I can’t blame anyone if I get an unappealing government which I didn’t vote for. The reality is that, since 2010, I have put up with a government which I didn’t vote for. I have only voted Labour since 1992, including the last election in 2019.
I am not a member of the Labour Party any more. There were three years in a row when I did go to the party conferences more than a decade ago in Manchester and Liverpool. I actually went to London Olympia today to attend the exhibition on non-alcoholic beverages and hospitality. I ended up chatting with a Scouser, and swopping notes on Huyton being the constituency of the late Harold Wilson.
Harold Wilson came up in conversation with a cab driver of a London black cab today. The cabbie, whom I assume to be a Tory Brexiteer as they tend to be, despised TFL, London Mayors, low traffic zones, and loved Brexit. Like all the other cabbies I have ever spoken to, he supported Brexit but thinks that the implementation of Brexit has been a total disaster. He is also not at all happy about the state of the NHS, giving as examples long ambulance waits and the ‘8 am’ ritual for making an appointment with a GP. He is also intensely disgusted at the running go the economy, explaining that he will not benefit from the tax cuts for highest earners, but that the fall in the value of the £ will probably affect the cost of borrowing on his mortgage.
Inevitably, I ask people if they intend to vote Tory. They don’t like Starmer, saying he’s a Remainer, and not ‘one of them’. There are some doubts about the meme that Starmer’s father was a toolmaker. There is some talk of his father actually owning a tool factory allegedly. He didn’t know about the ‘green’ policy to launch a GB Green Energy firm. In my experience, London cabbies are not a particularly useful microcosm in which to test the political temperature.
Twitter is not the place either to test the political temperature. Labour ‘supporters’ seem divided into those who want to give Starmer full support, and his team, and those who feel Jeremy Corbyn was the target of a hate campaign as evidenced in the Forde report. I think what they have in common is a dislike of the current Government, thinking that Truss and Kwarteng have little to offer them. Some people in Labour still blame Corbyn as a vote loser, and yet Corbyn supporters are still adamant that he was popular and that his policies were popular. On the antisemitism and islamophobia issues, there are deep divides. Labour supporters also seem to have different views on ‘flag shagging’, the importance of being ‘woke’, and, of course, the big one – immigration. Wokism seems to cluster with views on lockdown and coronavirus vaccination, which is also an interesting one.
I am always amazed how Brexit will not be openly discussed ever apart from some thought leaders. It seems to me that if Truss and Starmer wish to improve the ‘productivity’ of the United Kingdom (with Starmer feeling that it might be attainable through means other than tax cuts and other figments of the ‘Britannia unchained’ delusion), they will need to embrace at least superficially the significance of the ‘single market’. This requires a very different relationship with the European Union. Anoth