politics

'Keir Starmer's speech was a greatest hits set – but some just want to hear the b-sides'


Like it or not – and the vast majority of people in the hall liked it very loudly indeed – this was not a speech that could have been delivered under Labour’s former management

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Keir Starmer heckled during Labour conference speech

Even the Rolling Stones, when they play a greatest hits stadium gig, always get a few die-hards in the crowd shouting for obscure 1980s b-sides.

The difference with Keir Starmer’s big conference speech is that when Mick Jagger gets interrupted, it’s not usually during a moving account of his mother’s death.

Starmer had two jobs this week: Demonstrate to the public that the Corbyn era is over, and turn up to the Mirror’s legendary Party.

Having checked off the latter the previous night, he took to the main stage today to have a crack at the less enjoyable task on his short list.

As he kicked off there was a lone voice heard, appropriately enough, from Keir’s far left – singing a plaintive refrain of “oh Jeremy Corbyn”.








“Altogether now – THIIIIIIIIINGS….CAN ONLY GET…”
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)



A smattering of aggrieved activists waved red papers in a bid to “give Keir the red card”.

Although, given the party’s traditional colour scheme, it wasn’t entirely clear whether this was a protest or a show of support.

And the inevitable peppering of heckles took the 90-minute speech deep into injury time.





Meanwhile, the Labour leader touched on robots, Nato, virtual reality, a brief history of the loom, Fat Boy Slim, the legacy of the Blair and Brown era, patriotism and… Brexit.

Towards the end there was a joke in latin.

He even landed a couple of blows on Boris Johnson, branding him “trivial”.








Starmer played the hits, and the protests didn’t stick
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Image:

Getty Images)



“My father was a toolmaker, but in a way, so was Boris Johnson’s,” said Starmer, in a joke so genuinely decent I nearly didn’t bother writing a sketch today.

And like it or not – and the vast majority of people in the hall liked it very loudly indeed – this was not a speech that could have been delivered under Labour’s former management.





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