Ian Dunt Profile picture
29 Sep, 30 tweets, 4 min read
Starmer speech starts in a bit - livestream here
There's a very short bit on the fuel crisis. Vague, lacking in detail, passion, or solutions. I hope that wasn't all he has to say about it, but I suspect it was.
Much better and tougher now. "To the voters who thought we were unpatriotic or irresponsible or that we looked down on them, I say these simple but powerful words. We will never under my leadership go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government."
Several attempts to heckle Starmer from Corbynites in the audience, drowned out by cheering.
Starmer: "At this time on a Wednesday it's normally the Tories that are heckling me. Doesn't bother me then, doesn't bother me now." Loud, sustained applause.
"My dad was a tool maker. Although in a way so was Boris Johnson's." That actually genuinely made me laugh out loud.
"There are some lines from Auden that capture the beauty of skilled work: 'You need not see what someone is doing to know if it is his vocation, you have only to watch his eyes. How beautiful it is, that eye-on-the-object look'."
That's actually quite lovely. Oddly has echoes of Marx's theory of alienation. But more pressingly, he seems to be taking a lot here from The Dignity of Labour - the recent book by Jon Cruddas.
Talking abut his mum. "I remember going into the intensive care unit one day. Mum’s bed was a riot of tubes and temperature devices. I could sense the urgency in the conversation of the four nurses on my mum’s bed. I knew without being told that they were keeping her alive."
Incredible to hear people try and heckle even during this section about his mum. Absolutely no class at all.
"Shouting slogans, or changing lives," Starmer says. Huge, sustained applause.
The heckles really won't stop. Crowd cheering for Starmer. You're really watching the Labour civil war in real time here.
Something's happened here. This has become impressive, possibly important.
Starmer moved on to a story about John and Penny Clough, whose daughter was murdered, on a case he fought at the Crown Prosecution Service. They're in the audience, emotional, and gain a long round of genuine applause.
"That’s why," Starmer says, "under my leadership, the fight against crime will always be a Labour issue".
The heckles are gone now. They were drowned out by that section on the Cloughs. And you get a sense that the Corbyn era is being buried, in real time, in that hall.
The heckles, if they have played any role at all, have worked to strengthen Starmer's speech - making it much more engrossing, and giving him someone to beat.
"The one thing about Boris Johnson that offends everything I stand for is his assumption that the rules don’t apply to him."
"When I was the Chief Prosecutor and MPs fell short of the highest standards on their expenses, I prosecuted those who had broken the law. Politics has to be clean. Wrongdoing has to be punished."
This is very good. "It’s easy to comfort yourself that your opponents are bad people. But I don’t think Boris Johnson is a bad man. I think he is a trivial man. I think he’s a showman with nothing left to show."
"Where's Peter Mandelson?" Someone shouts. There was a sense at the start that this was a sustained and potentially dangerous attempt to undermine Starmer, if he couldn't ride it out. Now they just sound dreadfully lame and desperate.
"Education is so important. I'm tempted to say it three times."
Amazing to see how much passion and enthusiasm there is in the hall when the party leader - for the first time in what? a decade? - celebrates the achievements of the last Labour government.
"The OECD said that no nation had a bigger rise in social mobility than Britain. You want levelling up? That’s levelling up!"
Standing ovation now for "we are patriots".
And that was not done by emulating a Tory Red Wall message, it was by linking it to England players taking the knee and Priti Patel encouraging people to boo them. Clever stuff.
"It grieves me to see Britain isolated and irrelevant. Labour is the party of NATO, the party of international alliances." Very good, and crucially it wins very strong applause.
"As the leader of this party I will always have that eye-on-the-object look. How beautiful it is, that eye-on-the-object look." Elegant reprisal of the theme about work earlier.
The speech is really very good. Those going on about length are barking up the wrong tree. No-one normal sees more than a few seconds clips on the news anyway. And they will see Starmer standing up to Corbynite hecklers talking about work and security. He'll be happy with that.
Suspect Philip Collins had a very big part to play in what made that speech work.

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More from @IanDunt

29 Sep
Well that's fucking weird conference right there.
It's still the case that Starmer should be much, much better at day to day attack, especially on the fuel crisis.
But today he dragged Labour into a position that could potentially win an election. He got them cheering for a vision which is palatable to the voters they need to attract without betraying their values. And that's a triumph, whichever way you look at it.
Read 4 tweets
28 Sep
Right, don't shit yourself, but I've got some good news about the Labour party. Nick Thomas-Symonds just did a very good speech on crime, which contained the kind of consensual politics the party needs to succeed inews.co.uk/opinion/labour…
I mean you look at the main news agenda and the party is an absolute state - mute on a national crisis, beset by internal warfare, hit by front bench resignations, losing unions, the lot.
But when you take a peek at the speeches from front benchers - particularly Thomas-Symonds and Rachel Reeves - you can see the outline of an smart, effective and confident policy programme for the next election.
Read 4 tweets
28 Sep
Quite telling that many Corbyn supporters think criticism of Starmer is a gotcha moment. It was their inability to exercise critical distance from their own leader which saw the project descend into hero-worshipping lunacy.
That was one of the most powerful moral instructions of the Corbyn period: A reminder of what happens if you let your critical faculties degrade in the name of tribal identity.
So yes, you can be sympathetic to Starmer, think he's a damned sight better than what came before and most existing alternatives, and yet still believe he's under-performing. It isn't difficult. You just need a little independence of mind.
Read 4 tweets
27 Sep
Stronger Future Together really is the worst kind of vacuous management-speak gibberish. Means nothing, has no resonance, doesn't penetrate the brain. Half a decade on from Take Back Control and progressives still struggle to learn from their opponents.
Blimey. "Cleaning up the Tories' Brexit mess". She said the bad word.
Honestly it took my brain a moment to compute that. By far the toughest I've heard any Labour frontbencher on Brexit since it happened.
Read 4 tweets
27 Sep
Fascinating to watch Shapps, IDS and the rest attempt their little post-truth 'it's all the RHA's fault' gambit over fuel shortages. Like a replay of 2016, except this time against reality rather than a warning of reality.
Thing is though: it's not working. Despite muted media explanation of the causes, silence from Labour and outright denial from the Tories, the public seem fully aware of why this is happening
And that makes sense. The Tory position is internally contradictory. If it's nothing to do with Brexit, why are you responding by opening up to foreign workers?
Read 4 tweets
25 Sep
Three months. Incredible. Just three months. Good luck with that lads.
Key thing here is how the strategic failure is the result of a moral failure.
We treat immigrants like they're objects. Cheap foreign labour on tap, not really human - just a thing that does stuff.
Read 7 tweets

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