Liz Truss resignation: Political history was made this week after Sir Keir Starmer was funny at PMQs

Sir Keir Starmer is funny now and I don’t know how to process it.

I know what you’re thinking. Funny how? Like he’s a funny guy, like he amuses me, like he’s a clown?

But no Joe Pesci, it’s more that very slowly, he’s decided to treat Prime Minister’s Questions as a bit of a laugh with the lads.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Because he is a lad, that Sir Keir, a man who likes football and pints in ways previous male prime ministers just pretended.

Leader of the Labour Party Sie Keir Starmer speaking at the Labour Regional Conference in Barnsley. Picture: PA

But my God does he hate to show it, trying to be a serious politician for serious times, like Britain was lurching from crisis to crisis or something.

His critics on the left would mock his approach as “forensic”, themselves parroting the overbearing number of people online who faun over Sir Keir as an almost Jesus Christ figure, mixed with Tony Blair, but in a good way.

Boris Johnson would come out of the chamber having lied relentlessly, but nailing a joke that made him look popular, and Liz Truss was also there for a bit.

Listening to Keir, you’d think, to paraphrase Pam Shipman: “I’m not being rude, but what you just said now was really boring.”

In Westminster and on BBC Radio 4, it’s all you’d hear. “Oh, he’s boring, he’s not charismatic enough, he’s not left-wing enough, but I still would [vote for him].”

These are not good things to hear about someone, especially when it predominantly comes from Labour staff and supporters.

Obviously patter isn’t actually that crucial to politics, but I personally would enjoy if things were funnier.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And somehow, in the biggest shock of British politics this week, Sir Keir said something in the chamber that made me laugh.

Opening the session, he asked Ms Truss about a book being written about her.

He said “out by Christmas, is that the release date or the title?”.

Sure it’s not laugh out loud funny maybe, but we’ve all had a week in Westminster (i.e every week) and a good burn will linger in the memory longer than someone who lasted 44 days in a job.

Not content with speaking like a normal person once, Sir Keir then did a bit reading out of policies scrapped from the mini-budget before shouting “gone”, something joined in with relish by Labour MPs.

His delivery was absolutely atrocious, rushing the gone, with his MPs then joining in like an echo, but him trying it was sweet, like seeing the elderly attempt a video-call.

I don’t know what this means for the future of the Labour party, mainly because I, like most people, don’t really know anything.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I’m feeling vaguely smug about saying Ms Truss would go this week, because her exit is actually about me. But politics is so totally insane it’s hard to predict anything, other than Labour obviously winning the next election.

They still have work to do on the policy front, because they’re quite vague on the economy even if GB Energy sounds pretty cool.

But mocking the opposition in a funny way is integral to winning, because politics is a game where tight banter trumps being right.

I don’t know if Sir Keir will stay funny, or if I’ve just had a breakdown, but that’s something to unpack during the next few unelected Tory leaders.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.