Having not much else to do I listened to Sir Keir Starmer's speech to the Labour Party Conference this lunchtime. In my view it did what I assume the Party would hope: establish him as a competent, confident, capable leader with a credible background to enable him relate to ordinary people. It was short on oratorical skills, with wooden and repetitive gestures and little uncontrived humour, but a stark contrast to the buffoonery we now expect from the prime minister.
The government's routine method neatly summed up as:
Ignore a problem:
Blame someone else;
Come up with a half-baked solution.
His background in the CPS.
Far too much emphasis, in my view, on punishing criminals rather than just catching and reforming them, but I suppose he has to use his experience to enable Labour to reclaim the ownership of Lora Norda from the Tories.
However, a nice side swipe at Mr Johnson when he highlighted "service" as " a reminder that the job is bigger than your own career."
Labour under his leadership is going to give this a high priority (along with gentle allusion to Tony Blair). Our young are to be equipped for - "work."
I find this disturbing. Yes the parent's want their kids to get qualifications which will enable them to earn high salaries, and that is probably the chief motivation of most children as well. But we educators have wider aims, for our pupils to learn to enjoy learning, to discover a passion, to learn how how to relate to others and be happy, to want to serve and to achieve their potential. .
True, he included the opportunity for every child to learn a musical instrument. I wish that had been available in my time. Sadly, he also insisted everyone should participate in a competitive sport. That was available in my time and I could well have done without it.
He is proud to be the leader of "a party whose name is Labour, the party for working people." I suppose that was included to please the Conference, and indeed it did, but I think it is a mistake. Surely he also wants to be the representative of those who don't "work": the children and students, the retired, and those who for one reason or another can't.
And I suspect most of those who do "work" no longer all define themselves a "labourers". It's very unlikely that the directors , proprietors, managers and "rentiers" do. Probably not eve Deliveroo cyclists, van drivers and burger flippers.
Poor old Labour, representing only one section of society, that only in the economic dimension, and an outdated conception of it.
Twice if not three times he summed up his philosophy as:
"Work, care, equality, security"
No mention of Liberty: freedom to do and be whatever you like provide it does not interfere with the freedom of others.
So he's not a Liberal, but we could work with him