While all eyes in Brighton yesterday were on the shenanigans in the conference hall, Jeremy Corbyn’s loyal band of followers were meeting to discuss how to rid themselves of his successor. At The World Transformed, the rival socialist festival set up in 2016, the great and the not-so-good of the millennial left met for a panel titled: ’Starmer out? And if so, how?'
Billed as a ‘debate’ there didn’t seem to be much in the way of disagreement here as Novara founder Aaron Bastani, Momentum chief Gaya Sriskanthan and former Jezza speech writer Alex Nunns all competed to rubbish Sir Keir’s leadership. Highlights – or lowlights – of the ninety minute rant included Bastani calling for ‘discipline’ in place of ‘ego’ and the laughter which greeted one contributor from the floor who said:
“A heart attack gave us Harold Wilson who won four elections out of five. Another heart attack gave us Tony Blair who won three elections out of three. So, are you thinking what I’m thinking?
But then it was time for the evening’s main event: the Zarah Sultana pub quiz, where organic oyster mushroom taco and gluten-free arbel almond salsa weren’t the only thing on the menu. Every mention of Tony Blair’s name was jeered, with Sultana herself dubbing the former Labour premier a ‘war criminal’ amid chants from the crowd of ‘Lock him up!’
Most of the anger however was directed towards Keir Starmer, Sultana’s own (nominal) leader. One round featured six quotations of socialist rhetoric, all but one of which were found to be from Starmer himself during his younger years or when campaigning for leader. As the answers were read out each mention of his name elicited a round of chants of ‘Keith! Keith! Keith!’ – a reference to the left’s favoured nickname for the former Director of Public Prosecutions.
Questions on the Communist Manifesto were juxtaposed with ones on pop culture queens Rihanna and Taylor Swift while rounds of ‘Ohhh Zarah Sultana!’ infrequently filled the air. Another round featured various politicians and the gigs they have gone on to collect after leaving office, with the boos for Blair (JP Morgan) even louder than those for Philip Hammond (the Saudi government) and George Osborne (Blackrock, Robey Warshaw, etc).
Eventually two teams tied, leading to a music-themed tie breaker which – somewhat embarrassingly – saw Mr S himself collect the first prize: a jar of Jeremy Corbyn’s home-made jam. Second prize was a signed copy of Len McCluskey’s book – unsigned copies are said to be even rarer. Mr S is just glad that one Labour MP is enjoying this conference and making the most of her Trot Girl Summer.
And for his readers, Steerpike would like to raffle off Jeremy Corbyn's jam. It's blackberry and apple flavoured in a lovely jar and hand-signed by the dear leader himself. Send in your suggestions for how to use it to email@example.com and a winner will be chosen by the time Keith, sorry Keir, takes to the stage to deliver his speech at midday tomorrow.