Yes, Keir Starmer is a bit wooden, but at least when he opens his mouth he has something thoughtful to say

·4-min read
Keir Starmer speaking in Commons (Parliament TV)
Keir Starmer speaking in Commons (Parliament TV)

I agree with Sean O’Grady that Sir Keir Starmer is a bit “wooden”, but on the plus side he only opens his mouth when he has something to say, unlike other MPs.

And when he does speak there seems to be an air of considered thought that has gone into his utterances. One trait that really impresses me is that he doesn’t try to score points on personal issues and instead plays a line out to extract the facts.

Sir Keir has only been leader of Labour for a few months and surely he needs a while longer to warm to the job of keeping the Conservative government on its toes. Mr Corbyn, the last Labour leader, was a much less convincing protagonist, failing to make dent in the Conservative’s armour. If Sir Keir can sort out the inner conflicts of the Labour Party then I believe he has a winning chance at the next elections.

You never know, I might even vote for him - if he has a manifesto that excites me.

Keith Poole

Basingstoke

Lacking leadership

I read the column from Vincent Wood about Boris Johnson's meeting with the influential 1922 committee of somewhat rancorous and rebellious back benchers and of course the necessary jests had to be uttered by the prime minister to facilitate a reasonable discussion. Excuse me, why should these be necessary when dire facts of this Covid-19 crisis are staring Conservative MPs from every constituency in the face.

Merry self-demeaning quips to jolly his troops is well beneath the position of prime minister and to dismiss Theresa May's suggestion that businesses should be involved, out of hand, by yet another put down is not helpful, pragmatic or sensible.

I appreciate that Johnson has taken the seriousness of the situation on board because this king of the libertarians must indeed shake in his shoes at the draconian restrictions being implemented, as it goes against every fibre in his body. So if that is the case, stop trying to placate the rebels, show leadership and, if they don't like it, cut short the meeting and zoom out.

Judith A Daniels

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Down under deal

The government is on the right track in calling a no-deal with the EU an “Australian deal”. But, given this may result in companies trading with the EU failing to keep afloat, shouldn’t it instead be called a “Down under deal”?

Roger Hinds

Surrey

Time for unity

I recently heard a gentleman who was exempt from wearing a face mask call into a radio programme and discuss how they suffered the glare of the public on buses as a consequence of being mask-less. Such glares are, sadly, not news to Muslim women. We have suffered these throughout our lives here in the UK for going about our business whilst wearing a hijab. Yet today, when society now sees face coverings as something protective, this gentleman is having to suffer the same fate. What does this tell us about society?

We are witness to damning and sweeping judgements of society increasing by the day. Without knowledge, investigation, or indeed understanding of others, we are quick to judge and cast aside those who may differ from what we perceive to be the norm. Whilst it may be the easier option, it certainly is not the way forward.

As the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, has stated, one should "love mankind to such a degree that you consider the suffering and the trials and tribulations of others as your own ...” Indeed, these troubled times should be a means of our reflection and encourage us to stand non-judgmentally, shoulder to shoulder in unity, albeit with our two-metre social distance.

Maleeha Mansur

London

Cummings control

The government appears to be rudderless, flailing, adrift. Perhaps Dominic Cummings has lost interest in all things coronavirus (so last season), focussing on long-term, lofty, cyber-type projects from his new control centre instead?

Debbie Stamper

Epsom

Rebalancing the economy

The pandemic is forcing us rather brutally to rebalance our economy away from wealth consumption and towards wealth creation, ie. towards the creation of goods and services which can be traded internationally. You can’t export a haircut or a good night out, and a shake-out of jobs in the personal services and hospitality sectors is inevitable.

There needs therefore to be investment in training for more productive activities which have employment opportunities that will help to repay the huge national debt currently being incurred. It would have been easier to start this 40 years ago when we had the cushion of income from North Sea oil and gas. Sadly, this bonus was squandered and now we have to manage the restructure the hard way, starting by recognising that we cannot expect to return to the pre-pandemic conditions.

John Wilkin

Bury St Edmunds

Read more

The Tory tail is wagging the government dog over lockdown