Labour’s conference in Liverpool seems to have gone better than the party had dared to hope, with most observers agreeing that they had a real spring in their step and looked every inch the government in waiting (or at least a good deal more statespersonlike than the putrefying carcass of an “administration” on display the previous week in Manchester – not that this says much).
In particular, Sir Keir Starmer’s speech, which had been anticipated and dreaded in equal measure (Sir K being, let’s face it, neither the most forceful of personalities nor the most commanding of speakers) was hailed in most quarters as a glittering success.
Yes, as that homeopathically weak pun will have reminded you, the start of the speech was interrupted by the appearance of a gangly young protester who doused the leader in glitter before being somewhat belatedly removed from the stage (compare and contrast with the previous week’s Tory conference, at which a delegate near the back of the hall muttered some vague dissent during Suella Braverman’s address only to find himself being bounced off the pavement within seconds).
The general consensus is that, rather than putting Sir Keir off, this incident was the making of the occasion. It allowed him a chance to respond with stoic good humour, it provided some excellent photos (there’s one in particular taken by one Joel Goodman in which Sir Keir resembles nothing so much as an early Christian Saint depicted in a Renaissance fresco, wreathed in a glittering halo at the instant of his martyrdom) and, crucially, it required him to adopt the “jacket off, sleeves rolled up, down to business” look much beloved of progressive leaders but which, had Sir K gone for it as a matter of choice, might have looked a bit forced.
In any event, the Glittering Of The Keir seems to have done his – and his party’s – prospects nothing but good, and I’m sure that right now Labour spin surgeons are racking their brains to come up with… other ways of making Keir Starmer more interesting:
LASERS AND MIRRORBALLS
Since Sir K seems to have gotten away with the smattering of twinkles that adhered to his hands, shoulders and famously immovable quiff for the remainder of his conference address, perhaps the party apparatchiks should think about cranking up the disco element for the succession of speeches he will no doubt be called upon to deliver as the election draws closer.
Maybe put some lights UNDER the stage… get some platform shoes on him, flare his suit trousers and lapels out a bit, get him a big medallion… Hey, there’s a thought, does anyone know how good he is on roller boots?
PUT A BEAT UNDER HIM
Political stump speeches can be a bit predictable and monotonous even when they’re not being delivered by someone with Sir Keir’s well-documented charisma issues. There’s a tendency for them to repeat the bullet points over and over, riffing on words and phrases until they start to lose all meaning…
So why don’t Labour double down on this and start delivering their speeches in rap form? Can’t you just see Sir K-Dog spitting out rhymes while Wes Streeting mans the decks? Who wouldn’t want to see Rachel Reeves chanting spending targets over looped-up bits of D-Ream while Angela Rayner struts up and down the back of the stage as her hype woman?
You don’t think this would work? Well, I and the three TONYs, two Oliviers, one Grammy and one Pulitzer award won by Hamilton would beg to differ. In fact…
WRITE A MUSICAL ABOUT HIM, STARRING HIM
Why should we wait for public figures to be dead and gone before immortalising them in West End shows? If someone came up with KEIR – THE MUSICAL now, not only would
it be supremely relevant (you’d have to change the ending every week or so, thus requiring the die-hard fans to keep coming back) but Sir K could take the lead himself. In fact, wouldn’t THAT be the way to end next year’s conference with a bang!
If just a handful of glitter could have such a transformative effect, let’s go full-on fabulous. I’m talking glittery eye shadow, huge red lips, contouring, get some spikes into that quiff… Hang on, this is all coming together… I’m seeing it now… Next year’s Labour conference…. The lights dim, then a single spot picks out Sir K, resplendent in full makeup, long black cloak and stripper heels… He strides to the front of the stage, and then, to the tune of Sweet Transvestite from The Rocky Horror Show, he sings…
How d’you do, I
See you met my Shadow cabinet
They’re just a little wound up, because
The election yet.
Don’t tell me I Got no policies
They’re all in our manifesto
There’s not much I can do
As the L of the O
But as PM I will be the best-o.
I’m just a sweet Labour Leader
And St Pa – han- craaaa- ha – has.
Let me welcome you all
To our conference hall
You all look as pretty as peaches
If you’d like something audible
That’s worthy and laudable
I could play you some old Nye Bevan speeches.
I’m just a sweet Labour Leader
I really need ya
To vote for uh-huh-huh… huh-hus.
So give me your hands
And see what I have planned
It may not be what you ex…
I got so much to do
To every single one of you
All I need is to get… elected.