As shameless as it is incompetent: after months opposing teaching unions and insisting schools stay open – and only a day after insisting closures would be ‘chaos’ – Starmer u-turns. But only 45 minutes after the Tories leak to the press that Johnson will announce them
Keir Starmer has spent months opposing teaching unions on pandemic measures, from the issue of masks in classrooms to his ‘no ifs, no buts’ demand for schools to open – up to just yesterday, when he insisted school closures would just increase the ‘chaos‘, two days after the National Education Union (NEU) and other unions said they would tell their members to stay home because schools are unsafe workplaces.
Fast-forward to today. Just after 3 pm, ITV’s Robert Peston reported – clearly briefed by Downing Street – that Johnson will tonight announce a nationwide lockdown that will include school closures.
About an hour after the news was leaked, Starmer ‘toughened’ Labour’s position to include a ‘call’ for schools to shut:
It’s not hard to imagine the scramble to get in front of a camera, after Starmer’s advisers told him Johnson was about to u-turn on schools – and Starmer, desperate to u-turn before Johnson makes it official for a change, decides he’ll ‘toughen’ his position and ‘call’ for schools to close.
And ends up looking anything but tough – in fact, looking “f***ing embarrassing”, as one senior Labour source told SKWAWKBOX.
In the summer, Starmer’s Labour humiliated itself by trying to claim credit for Marcus Rashford’s success in forcing Boris Johnson to climb down on the issue of free school meals for poor children. This is as bad or even worse, with Labour trying to cash in after the fact on a huge win for teachers and unions – having actively opposed them before today.
If Starmer and his cronies had shown the integrity and backbone to do what Labour is for – stand with the unions and against the Tories, instead of the other way round – the genuine political capital would have flowed to him naturally when Johnson executed yet another screeching u-turn after months of causing deaths and damaging the economy.
Instead, by ‘calling’ only when it was already a public, done deal, he ends up looking not only opportunistic, but pathetically weak and incompetent.
And for a Labour ‘leader’ whose only pitch is a concocted notion of inoffensive ‘competence’ and imaginary ‘forensic’ skill, that’s a disaster.
‘F***ing embarrassing’, too.
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