Sunday 26 September 2021

St Andrew and the Dragon

It was fascinating watching Andrew Marr don shining armour and go into battle, lance raised, on behalf of damsel-in-distress Labour MP Rosie Duffield this morning

It was even more fascinating watching Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC looking distinctly uncomfortable throughout his interview today, like a boring, pratfall-prone, flaccid dragon.

Given that he's a barrister and former DPP, it's quite odd just how poor he is at defending himself.

I'd even call it a 'car crash interview'. 

It got so bad that I even wondered if Sir Keir must had had coaching lesson on interviewing techniques by Diane Abbott, the queen of car-crash interviews - though that's pretty unlikely, given that's she's betrothed to another. 

The analogy was made even stronger by Sir Keir's Massive overuse of 'Well, Andrew'. 

It was pure Jan Ravens on Radio 4's Dead Ringers impersonating Diane Abbott being interviewed by the late Andrew Neil. 

Well, Andrew...

Even Andrew Marr managed to pull Sir Keir apart on his contradiction of prior pledges over nationalisation and the contradiction between what he was saying on tax and what Rachel Reeves [his new, as-'boring, snoring'-as-he-is shadow chancellor] has said on tax, and even made him squirm a little over 'Scum'gate. 

The bit about Rosie, damsel of Duffield Towers, besieged in her Canterbury constituency by angry knights who believe they are maidens, was genuinely important - despite my flippancy - because it shows where we are now.

The Leader of the Opposition is a cowardly, self-censoring advocate for the Emperor's new clothes being real.  


As The Andrew Marr Show recently gave up posting transcripts of all their major interviews, so here's mine. 

Look out for Sir Keir KCB claiming that trans people are ''the most marginalised and abused communities''. 

Are they? Will the BBC fact-check that?

And look out for him calling for a ''tolerant'' debate but then uttering the most extraordinary words, that what Rosie Duffield say - a pure fact about biology - is ''not right'' and ''shouldn't be said''.

Well, what she said is right and should be said. 

Does Sir Keir really believe what he's saying, or is he just scared of saying the unsayable truth for fear of offending trans extremists and their aggressive supporters and the weirdest and least tolerant parts of the present Labour Party?

For the leader of one of the two main UK parties to say that views like those of Rosie Duffield - the factual truth - ''shouldn't be said'' and that only ''proper views'' expressed ''in a proper way'' ought to be allowed in the national debate shows that we aren't in a good place as a country, politically-speaking. 

To put it mildly.

That said, he has form, He largely bit his tongue and shifted and slid about and manoeuvred to keep himself onside with the Corbynistas over antisemitism when serving Jeremy Corbyn. 

He should have resigned. 

And I don't agree with how Andrew Marr far too generously characterised Sir Keir today. 

If you talk to...if one talks to a wide range of your colleagues, a similar picture seems to come through. They almost all say, Sir Keir Starmer, honest as the day is long, punctilious, hard-working, thoroughly decent, but in the end he's not really a politician, he doesn't have the oomph and the edge to cut through in those big seats - but in the end he is not really a politician, and these are the days when you need someone who's a bit of a showman, who can really let rip and show who they are emotionally, and you're not that man.

Is he ''thoroughly decent'' and ''honest as the day is long''. Well, Andrew, there's quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. 

Anyhow, here's the transcript.


Andrew Marr: Does someone who thinks only women have a cervix is [sic] welcome in the Labour Party?
Sir Keir Starmer: Now, look, Andrew. we need to have a mature, respectful debate about trans rights...
Andrew Marr: Yeah.
Sir Keir Starmer: ...and we need to, I think, bear in mind that the trans community are amongst, you know, the most marginalised and abused communities, and wherever we've gone to with the law, we need to go further - and we want to go further on that - but whatever the debate is it needs to be a tolerant debate, and I am absolutely sure that our conference will be a place which is safe for that debate to take place, and it is.
Andrew Marr: Is it transphobic to say that only women have a cervix?
Sir Keir Starmer: Well, it is something that shouldn't be said. It is not right. But, Andrew, I don't think that...
Andrew Marr: So Rosie Duffield should not have said that? Can you explain to people watching why she should not have said that?
Sir Keir Starmer: Well, Andrew, I don't think that we can just go through various things that people had said. Rosie Duffield...I spoke to Rosie earlier this week and told her that Conference was a safe place for her to come, and it is a safe place for her to come. And I spoke to others to make exactly the same principle. We do everybody a disservice when we reduce what is a really important issue to these exchanges on particular things that are said. But the trans community are, as I say, the most marginalised and abused of many, many communities and we need to make progress on the Gender Recognition Act.
Andrew Marr: You could say that 'exchanges' is how people communicate and resolve these things.
Sir Keir Starmer: Yeah but, Andrew, this debate...I am concerned that this debate needs to be conducted in a proper way in which proper views are expressed in a way that is respectful.
Andrew Marr: Sure. You've spoken to Rosie Duffield. We've spoken to Rosie Duffield. After your conversation, she still doesn't feel comfortable about coming to this Labour Party conference. What does that say about the Labour Party?
Sir Keir Starmer: Well, Andrew, I spoke to Rosie just earlier this week and made it absolutely clear to her that this is a safe Conference for her to come to.
Andrew Marr: She doesn't agree with that.
Sir Keir Starmer: Well, Andrew, I spoke to her, and what she said...
Andrew Marr: As did we.
Sir Keir Starmer: What she said to me was that she didn't want to come because it would cause a distraction from the ideas that we are putting forward at this Conference, and i asked her when I spoke to her whether that was something I could say on her behalf and she said yes. So that's what Rosie says about this, and I'll take that from Rosie.
Andrew Marr: OK. She said to us that she didn't feel comfortable.

Wonder what that Rosie/Sir Keir phone call actually said? I'm not sure I quite believe Sir Keir's gloss on it.

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