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Review of Keir Starmer's efforts to show his appeal and charisma as the leader of the Labour Party.
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Review of Keir Starmer’s efforts to show his appeal and charisma as the leader of the Labour Party.


It’s ridiculous to claim that the phrases “Keir Starmer” and “sexy” should not be used together in a sentence. (And this statement alone disproves the argument.) Similar criticisms were made about Gordon Brown until 1997, when the seemingly serious man who was set to take over as prime minister from Tony Blair was chosen as the 97th sexiest man in the world by New Woman magazine.

Disregard the Labour Party’s 24-point advantage in the polls against the Conservatives. The main concern for Starmer’s team should be the attractiveness rankings, in order to bring Rishi Sunak to tears on election night.

According to a survey conducted for this evaluation, if the same poll were to be conducted currently, Starmer would rank at least 96th, significantly higher than Jacob Rees-Mogg. However, this is not a significant achievement. After being in opposition for 14 years, Labour will embrace any victories it can obtain.

Provocative? Seriously? Let’s take a look at the footage that political journalist Anushka Asthana uses to introduce this profile of the Labour leader, based on three months of interviews. It’s from last year’s party conference, where Starmer handled a protester who threw glitter on him. Unlike John Prescott who may have reacted with violence, Starmer remains composed, fixes his impressive hair and continues on like a refined version of Don Draper, with more hair gel and better legal training. Am I the only one who was swooning when he rolled up his sleeves and spoke eloquently about his vision for a responsible and measured Britain? Of course not. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready: Keir Starmer is prepared for leadership.

Asthana organizes a focus group of voters who supported Boris Johnson in the 2019 election. She asks them to come up with a single word that describes the current leader of the Labour party. One participant says “trustworthy,” while another says “weak.” A third person adds “nothingness,” possibly influenced by French existentialism. One former Conservative member states, “I couldn’t go to a pub with Starmer. I find him too dull.” It seems this individual would prefer to have a drink with a deceitful, unfaithful, self-absorbed man who can’t even keep his hair or WhatsApp messages in order. With all due respect, you should be voting for a party leader who can address issues such as the NHS and cost of living, not someone to have a drink with.

However, for the unfortunate Starmer, the uninteresting label seems to stick. He does not make it any easier for himself, though. In an interview with Asthana, Starmer is seen walking down Hornsey Road on a match day to support his beloved football team. Can you recall which team that is? It is the team known as “boring, boring Arsenal” due to their conservative defense and issues with scoring goals. If Starmer truly wanted to shed his boring image, he should support a team with a bit more flair. To make matters worse, when Asthana draws parallels between football and politics, Starmer only adds to the boring narrative: “It’s a very black and white game focused solely on winning.” My goodness, man, perhaps it’s time to hire a new speechwriter.

Asthana asks Starmer if he is concerned that people do not want to have a drink with him. Starmer responds strangely, possibly having already dismissed his speechwriter. He clarifies that he wants to have a drink with everyone, but acknowledges that people are currently more focused on wanting change rather than being entertained. This raises a valid point as the country has previously experienced charismatic yet foolish leadership under David Cameron and it did not benefit us. The question was meant to be thought-provoking rather than requiring a response.

However, isn’t Starmer an enigma hidden within a puzzle wrapped in something practical and bland? In contrast to the Labour leader, his deputy is undeniably charming. Angela Rayner refers to herself as an oversharing person, while Asthana tells Starmer that he undershares. “I believe Angela is correct in that assessment. I tend to undershare,” he explains. When asked why, he reveals, “We were a private working-class family. My father worked in a factory, and my mother was a nurse who suffered from Still disease, a severe form of juvenile arthritis. She was constantly told she would never walk again. It was a difficult and private situation.” He admits that he would not discuss this publicly if his parents were still alive. He explains to Asthana that his father was emotionally distant, as he focused all his energy on caring for his sick wife.

It is refreshing to encounter someone who understands the boundary between personal and public information in this era of constant sharing. However, it is ironic that this person is sharing details about their private life with a reporter.

Can Starmer replicate Blair’s success? Peter Mandelson, who helped Blair win the 1997 election, believes he has the potential to do so. Mandelson likely means that Starmer has a strong chance of becoming the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street later this year. However, there is a problem. It is not Mick Lynch’s comment that Starmer needs to prove he is not a Conservative in disguise, but something concerning that Starmer’s daughter told him. If he does win the election, his daughter will not be joining him at Downing Street. She plans to stay in Kentish Town with her friends.

What if he doesn’t win? Starmer informs Asthana that he has already mapped out his future after politics – working at the charming independent bookstore on Kentish Town Road. His daughter, presumably, would approve of this. However, the rest of us may not be as enthusiastic.

The program “Keir Starmer: Up Close” is currently airing on ITV.

Source: theguardian.com