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25 Apr, 2020 11:00

Galloway’s Rogues’ Gallery: Latest Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – so wooden, birds try to nest in him

Galloway’s Rogues’ Gallery: Latest Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – so wooden, birds try to nest in him

If you want a desiccated calculator as your leader, talking with all the passion of a Speak Your Weight machine, it’s better if he has a head of hair that inspires admiration. Sir Keir Starmer passes that test.

He's a matinee idol, albeit from the era of silent movies.

Labour has lurched from the type of leader, faults and all, who could have a football stadium sing his name to the tune of The White Stripes' greatest hit, 'Seven Nation Army', to a man for whom they’d gently drum the salt cellar in a gentlemen’s club in St James’s. Maybe. On a good day.

I’ve often felt, through prolonged exposure to them, both as a parliamentarian and as a litigant, that I should’ve been a Queen’s Counsel (QC). Because I would've been good at it, but more, if I'm honest, because, by now, I’d be a multi-millionaire. 

Sir Keir is a millionaire and the first Knight of the Realm ever to lead the ‘People’s Party,’ the party Ernie Bevin famously described as coming from the “bowels of the trades union movement.” 

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So monotonously ‘forensic’ was Starmer as a QC, he was appointed the public prosecutor by the Blair-Brown gang of which he was a member. But his time as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is littered with crimes. 

He declined to prosecute the paedophilic rapist BBC ‘star’ Sir Jimmy Savile (another Knight of the Realm) despite police recommendations to do so. If he had done so, many children, mentally disabled people and even cadavers would’ve been spared Savile’s subsequent attentions.

He was relentless in his persecution of Julian Assange, on the other hand, with his Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) office reportedly demanding, in writing, that Sweden not “get cold feet” in pursuing the fake rape charges against the publisher. He implored them not to send a team to London – as they’d done many times in other cases – to interview Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. They must continue to demand extradition, he advised. It's not hard to work out why.

During Starmer’s role as DPP, the CPS declined to prosecute MI6 agents for involvement, during the War on Terror, in alleged crimes of torture and illegal acts of extraordinary rendition, despite the advice of Scotland Yard. Politics being a transactional business, however, Starmer did at least get an unprecedented invitation to cocktails with the head of MI6 in return.

When I first met Starmer on the parliamentary estate, it was outside the front door of the former New Scotland Yard building now known as Norman Shaw North. He was being shown around by his good friend Keith Vaz, another Labour MP, who was exceedingly lucky not to have been prosecuted, after a charmed life of financial malfeasance, cocaine procurement and Romanian rent boys. Mr Vaz introduced Starmer to me. I have since enquired into this strange relationship between the DPP – now the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition – and the reprobate now-retired MP. There was correspondence between the pair when Starmer was DPP, but – alas! – it is locked away under the terms of the Official Secrets Act until 2078! Perhaps my grandchildren will live long enough to see it.

Anyway, Sir Keir’s debut at the despatch box has come and gone – fittingly to an empty House, on account of the coronavirus. Every last bitter enemy of the Labour movement queued up to heap praise on his performance. Yet it was faint praise, in that it mainly consisted of their understanding that he was better than Corbyn – and that his trousers didn’t fall down. 

Everyone from former chancellor, George Osborne – the co-architect, with then prime minister David Cameron, of a decade of ravaging austerity measures – to Labour-baiting journalists such as Robert Peston of ITV and Andrew Neil of the BBC had to dab their eyes in wonder at his “forensic” approach. They were overcome with emulsion. A coat of which the public would no doubt have been tempted to apply to Sir Keir Starmer.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.