Why “Long Corbynism" Continues to Blight Sir Keir Starmer
How does Starmer create his Noel Gallagher moment?
When Sir Keir Starmer took over leadership of the Labour Party, he was acutely aware that he had a clean-up job on his hands. Aside from hosing down the Party from the remnants of hard left scum, he had to appeal to the average voter – you and me. I have little doubt he remains up to the task and yet his progress can be seen to be somewhat stilted. If the question is “why?” then the answer is, quite simply: “Corbyn”.
Only the other day, I was scrolling through Twitter (yes, I’m an occasional user!) and I came across a tweet from Hugh Grant (under the alias @hackedoffhugh). He was responding to another tweet from a chap called Mike concerning carved heads in Stuttgart placed on the eaves of buildings to keep evil spirits away in the 17th Century. In a rather tongue and cheek manner, befitting of the comedy actor, Mr Grant replied “Isn’t that the leader of the Labour Party?”. 1200 likes and nearly 200 retweets later and Sir Keir Starmer had, once again, become a hard left meme - only this time with the head of an ancient Stuttgartian statue. By the way, I’m not saying there isn’t a rather striking resemblance between the leader of the opposition and the ancient wooden block head (it’s downright uncanny!). Rather, I find it absolutely disgusting that a man with such an impressive curriculum vitae can become an online figure of comedy amongst the trolls. Again and again. It’s a complete lack of respect.
Lack of Respect
This lack of respect for one’s betters takes me neatly to the brutal online legacy of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s rather difficult to remember the state of the internet before Jeremy Crobyn entered politics in 2015, but I can confidently confirm that the term “centrist c#nt” did not exist. Before Jeremy Corbyn’s toxic rabble of cyber abusers landed on the scene, being a centrist was a veritable badge of honour; a sign of intelligence and class. Moreover, twitter was a bit like being at a dinner party with all your best friends. Nowadays, there is a strain of viciously inadequate internet users (trolls) that seemingly wake up in the morning and decide today they will make a celebrity or celebrated academic feel terrible for having a sensible opinion. They collect like sewer rats, pouncing on honest mistakes (such as innocently confusing a Question Time audience member of being a foxhunter, or accidentally blacking up on TV throughout the 90s). The trolls absolutely disgust me. I despise them. When we ask ourselves how this pandora’s box of cyber hate first opened, we need only look at the malignant influence of Jeremy Corbyn. As was the case with Brexit, he absolutely refuses to stop the madness.
Sir Keir Starmer is doing everything within his power to distance himself from the previous regime (including bravely breaking membership pledges, purging problematic factions and burying the Forde Inquiry) and yet the trolls seem to laugh all the more vociferously. In my learned opinion, the solution lies in studying past glories. Sir Tony Blair swept to power in 1997 on a tide of enthusiasm and youthful zesty enterprise. Everyone still loves the photographs of him sipping champagne with Noel Gallagher in Downing Street and the seemingly endless grin of Professor Brian Cox (still smiling today- a quarter of a century later). At the same time, Blair was quietly planning to cancel student grants and invade Iraq. And yet, only this year, he was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. That’s the equivalent of knight royalty. Nobody seems to care a jot about dead Iraqi children. Certainly not Her Majesty, the Queen!
Carrot and Stick
The most difficult conundrum is how we bring the youth on board in 2022 without actually offering them anything tangible. How does Starmer create his Noel Gallagher moment? It’s a difficult question indeed which requires, I believe, a combination of the carrot and stick. My personal view is that Starmer should start campaigning for tougher cyber abuse laws where anonymous trolls can face life imprisonment, whilst at the same time funding a hit song involving Professor Brian Cox (keys and vocals), Noel Gallagher (lead guitar, high vocal harmonies), Alex James (bass) and the drummer from Blur. Perhaps we could call it, “Things Will Only Get Better Or You Will End Up In Prison”.
Rob Zands is a social media influencer with a twitter following of well over 6000 people. @DrRobertZands