Five of the worst responses to the Hamas attacks on Israel

Tragedies are often the moment when statesmen are at their best. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen from the response to yesterday’s attacks by Hamas on Israel, they can also show politicians at their worst. Below are five of the more insensitive, tone-deaf and even downright offensive reactions to the tragedy that is unfolding in the Middle East… Jeremy Corbyn Where else to start? Step forward Jeremy Corbyn, the man who sinks to every occasion. The Right Honourable Member for Islington North reacted to the Hamas attack with his signature blend of cynicism and equivocation, declaring that: The unfolding events in Israel and Palestine are deeply alarming. We need an immediate ceasefire

Could Corbyn thwart Sadiq’s mayoral bid?

Is next year’s London mayoral contest a done deal? When the Tories first started the process of candidate selection, the general sense was that they had little chance of taking the mayoralty from Sadiq Khan. However, as the Labour mayor has faced a voter backlash over his support for Ulez (the ultra low emission zone), the race looks closer than previously thought. What’s more, there is one man who could decide it. Step forward Jeremy Corbyn. The former Labour leader – who is currently banned from standing as a candidate for the party – could deny Khan a third term as London mayor if he decides to run as an

When will the real Keir Starmer stand up?

Who is Keir Starmer, and what does ‘Starmerism’ stand for? Well into his second year as Labour leader and most Britons remain unsure. It’s not as if Starmer hasn’t spent a lot of time and effort – and so many words – in trying to define himself: he was even interviewed by Piers Morgan for an hour on ITV to highlight his human side.  But something has gone wrong. Is it the message or the messenger? Or is the difficult Covid-dominated times in which he became leader that is to blame? Whatever the reason for Starmer’s curiously forgettable leadership, it is now imperative that Starmer starts to make a clear and positive

Putin must look at the West and laugh

Whatever the West’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty, the crisis demonstrates the limitations of western politics and policy across the board. If Vladimir Putin understands any demographic better than the Russian people, it is the governing class of the West: that Harvard-Oxbridge-Sciences Po axis of toweringly smug and practically interchangeable global-liberals who weep for international norms they weren’t prepared to defend. Their ideas and their sanctions are tired because they are civilisationally tired. Putin knows this, but none of the rival ideologies aiming to replace liberalism have anything better to offer. The failure of the global-liberals comes on many fronts but two of the most significant have been

Labour’s bid to lose the next election has begun

Sir Keir stamped the Labour conference with his personality today. And the mark he left was very bland, vague and colourless – but hard to dislike. Mum and Dad featured prominently. Sir Keir treats his parents like a couple of pet hedgehogs whose habits still amuse him as he looks back on his childhood. His father, a busy tool-maker, liked to toil over his instruments and to dispense wisdom at the kitchen table.  His mother was a hard-working nurse whose career was curtailed by a debilitating illness. He described her sprawling helplessly in intensive care – ‘Mum’s bed a riot of tubes’ – while four nurses strove to keep her

Starmer secures a narrow victory against the left

Keir Starmer this evening managed to scrape through his reforms to how Labour elects its leader. The victory follows a very passionate debate at the party’s conference over the policy, which will raise the qualifying threshold of support from MPs in leadership elections from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. It also drops registered supporters, who could join by paying just £3, from being able to vote in leadership elections and introduces a cut-off date for membership when a contest begins. The idea is that when there is a new leadership contest after Starmer, Labour won’t end up electing a fringe candidate. In other words, it is designed to stop

Kicking out the cranks won’t save Labour

There is a problem with Sir Keir Starmer’s reported plan to expel 1,000 Labour members associated with ‘poisonous’ groups, and not just that there are way more than a thousand poisonous people in the Labour party. The problem – and it’s a common error – is that Sir Keir exaggerates the role played by the far-left in bringing Labour to the point where it has lost four general elections in a row and last led the Tories in a poll almost six months ago. The cranks became more visible after Ed Miliband’s election as leader, more numerous thanks to his three-quid revolution and more powerful when that policy put Jeremy

Jeremy Corbyn: Luciana Berger was not hounded out of Labour

Jeremy Corbyn has spent the past few weeks going on something of a road trip of British universities. Now sitting as an independent for Islington North, Corbyn spoke at the Oxford Union last month where he was asked if he had any regrets about his time as Labour leader to which he replied: ‘Regrets? I’m really with Frank Sinatra on regrets actually – I’ve got a few but too few to mention.’  Sangfroid that will be of little comfort to the 46 MPs who lost their seats 18 months ago… Today it was Cambridge who played host to Corbyn for an hour. Joel Rosen, the president of the Cambridge Union, pressed his guest

If Starmer goes, can Labour’s Corbyn critics keep hold of power?

Keir Starmer is only a year into his job as Labour leader, but could his time in charge soon come to an end? Starmer is under increasing pressure following his failure to revitalise Labour. A bad set of results on 6 May could mean the final nail in the coffin. If Starmer is ousted – and that remains a big if, given the lack of viable contenders for the job – Corbyn’s critics within the Labour party will quickly find themselves in a difficult position. With no heir apparent on the Labour right, Starmer’s departure could easily mean the left taking control of Labour all over again. Yvette Cooper has

Labour’s problems are piling up

Can things get any worse for Keir Starmer? Yes appears to be the answer, if the latest YouGov poll is anything to go on. While the Tories have surged ahead to 43 per cent, support for Labour has tumbled down to 29 per cent. It’s important not to blow a single poll out of proportion, but nonetheless these numbers make for grim reading for the Labour leader. That 14 per cent lead for the Conservatives is the largest since mid-May 2020, when the recently elected Starmer was still digging his party out of the polling abyss of the Corbyn period. A year on – and coming weeks before a crucial

Starmer could regret breaking with Corbyn’s grassroots politics

Labour’s recovery under Keir Starmer has, for the moment, stalled. Most surveys suggest voters are less inclined than they once were to see him as ‘prime ministerial’ and his party as ready for government. It is too early to say if this is due to the pandemic looking like it is finally under Conservative ministers’ control or to inherent problems with Starmer’s own pitch to the public. But it confirms that after Labour’s appalling 2019 general election result, if Starmer ever ends up in Number 10 it’ll be close to an electoral miracle. During his first year as leader Starmer has tried to find ways of winning back voters who

Keir Starmer is Labour’s last hope

Only a few months ago, Keir Starmer was hailed as a prime minister in waiting who was giving Boris Johnson serious jitters. Now the shine appears to be coming off Labour’s leader.  Starmer’s ‘forensic’ approach can only get him so far. And there are serious questions about whether he has what it takes to get the Labour party back to winning ways. The postponement of last year’s elections hasn’t helped, as it meant Starmer missed a chance to show what his party could achieve without Corbyn at the top; everything about how a Labour party with Starmer at the helm might fare with the electorate remains theoretical. For his critics, the worry is that

Labour MP: I’ll try not to cry for Jeremy

This weekend former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launched his ‘Project for Peace and Justice’. Ostensibly, the organisation has been set up to campaign for a ‘fairer society’ via worldwide progressive networks. It does sometimes seem though as if the group’s real purpose is to act as a branding exercise for Jeremy Corbyn himself, with the message ‘Founded by Jeremy Corbyn’ plastered all over the organisation’s website. Rather giving the game away, the Twitter handle of the group is the ‘@Corbyn_Project’. The speakers at this weekend’s online launch did not exactly dispel the notion that this was all about Corbyn either. Mr S was particularly struck by a speech by the Labour MP

No, the pandemic hasn’t proved Corbyn right about free broadband

As with any crisis, Covid-19 has created great opportunities for some – and not just private companies selling PPE to the government at vastly-inflated prices. For some of the left, it has presented a chance to push for policies involving a much greater role for the state. With the government paying the wages of millions of furloughed workers and propping up private businesses forced to close under lockdown rules, what better time than to push for much greater state involvement in all areas of our lives? Typifying this opportunism is an article by Bill Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, arguing that the crisis in home-schooling shows why Jeremy Corbyn was right

Corbyn’s legacy is here to stay

It’s been just over a year since the British people finally squashed a hard-left push for power under the dismal but unyieldingly dangerous leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. On 12 December 2019 we dodged a collective bullet. But Corbynism lasted almost half a decade; it reshaped the national conversation. As we enter 2021 it’s worth considering what it has taught us about our politics and what its legacy might be for Britain. First off, Corbynism provided something much-needed: a reminder that the left does not have a monopoly on virtue, or even on that vague but actually pretty important political quality – niceness. The dangers of an unfettered right are a

How Rishi Sunak outshone Corbyn’s five years in one speech

If Jeremy Corbyn had been saving his energy by giving a poor performance at PMQs, he wasn’t saving it for his Budget response. He sounded bored, almost as though he too is fed up of waiting for the Labour leadership contest to trundle to an end so that he can pack off and not have to respond to economic statements. Beside him, John McDonnell looked a little envious that the final big fiscal event of the duo’s time at the top of the party was the one Corbyn got to respond to, rather than the Shadow Chancellor. He even failed to notice that the debate was being chaired – as

Blair failed to save Labour from itself, so how can anyone else?

Tony Blair is at it again. With Labour members currently pondering who should replace Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s most electorally successful living leader once more decided to give them the benefit of his experience, whether they wanted it or not. This time it took the form of a history lesson: to mark the party’s 120th anniversary he gave a lecture on what it takes for the party to regain power. But should we listen to what Blair has to say? For keen Blair-watchers this address contained no surprises: he has been saying much the same things since becoming Labour leader in 1994. As ever, Blair’s starting point was the pathetically

Inside Labour’s post-election PLP meeting – ‘We lost the f—ing election’

The first meeting of the parliamentary Labour party since the party’s disastrous election defeat began with a round of applause. Only it wasn’t for Jeremy Corbyn. Instead MPs clapped in tribute to those colleagues who had lost their seats in the party’s worst election showing since 1935. The reaction the beleaguered Labour leader received was mixed at best – with the session, which ran on for over two hours, dominated by angry outbursts from surviving MPs. Addressing MPs, Corbyn apologised for his role in the result: ‘I am very sorry for the result for which I take responsibility. I will continue to lead the party until a new leader is

Piers Corbyn: My brother Jeremy’s green policy is ‘nonsense’

Vote Corbyn, says Corbyn. That is the unsurprising message from the Labour leader’s brother Piers in a video filmed at Speakers’ Corner in London. But while Piers backed his sibling over accusations of anti-Semitism and Labour’s position on Brexit, it wasn’t an entirely ringing endorsement. Piers Corbyn, who has previously said ‘man-made climate change does not exist’, was asked about Corbyn’s green manifesto pledges. It’s safe to say he is not a fan: ‘He wants to end carbon dioxide emissions.’ Piers Corbyn: ‘Yeah, well, that’s nonsense. That’s impossible.’ ‘Well, that’s what your brother says, why are you supporting him then?’ Oh dear. Mr S expects it could be a bit

Chaos and capital controls: the first 100 days of PM Corbyn

The morning of 13 December. A series of salacious revelations about his private life have sunk Boris Johnson’s campaign. A re-energised Nigel Farage has led a Brexit party surge in the north, splitting the Leave vote. The ousting of Jo Swinson in a coup organised by refugees from the People’s Vote campaign led to Remainers flocking back to Labour. The SNP has swept Scotland. Plaid Cymru and the Greens have picked up a dozen seats where they co-operated. And a couple of Tory rebels have managed to hang on as independents. After the dust settled on the most chaotic election campaign in memory, Jeremy Corbyn had just enough votes to