Friday, July 5, 2024

anti-theatricality + politics - substance-not-showbiz Starmer special

 Alex Andreou on Sir Keir Starmer PM's speech outside 10 Downing Street: 

"To me, the most important part was the promise "to end the era of noisy performance and tread more lightly on your lives". Granted, it's not the most eyecatching bit, but it speaks to a part of me that's utterly exhausted from years of the hourly oxygen-sucking Tory clown-show."

The bit in question that Andreou is referring to: "to restore service and respect to politics, end the era of noisy performance, tread more lightly on your lives and unite our country"

I suppose you could also say that Starmer plans to redefine the term 'performance' to mean actual results, administrative quotas, etc rather than show / spectacle / theatrics / set-pieces / stunts etc. "Performance' as in how a car or a washing machine performs. 

[full text of the 10 Downing Street speech - warning: do no read this while operating heavy machinery]

Thank you. Good afternoon. I have just returned from Buckingham Palace, where I accepted an invitation from His Majesty the King to form the next government of this great nation.

I want to thank the outgoing Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. His achievement as the first British Asian Prime Minister of our country – the extra effort that that will have required – should not be underestimated by anyone.

We pay tribute to that today, and we also recognise the dedication and hard work he brought to his leadership. But now our country has voted decisively for change, for national renewal and a return of politics to public service.

When the gap between the sacrifices made by people and the service they receive from politicians grows this big, it leads to a weariness in the heart of a nation, a draining away of the hope, the spirit, the belief in a better future – that we need to move forward together. Now this wound, this lack of trust, can only be healed by actions, not words.

I know that, but we can make a start today with the simple acknowledgement that public service is a privilege and that your government should treat every single person in this country with respect. If you voted Labour yesterday, we will carry the responsibility of your trust as we rebuild our country.

But whether you voted Labour or not – in fact, especially if you did not – I say to you directly, my government will serve you. Politics can be a force for good. We will show that. We’ve changed the Labour Party, returned it to service – and that is how we will govern, country first party second.

Yet, if I am honest, service is merely a precondition of hope, and it is surely clear to everyone that our country needs a bigger reset, a rediscovery of who we are. Because no matter how fierce the storms of history, one of the great strengths of this nation has always been our ability to navigate away to calmer waters.

And yet this depends upon politicians, particularly those who stand for stability and moderation – as I do – recognising when we must change course. For too long now, we turned a blind eye as millions slid into greater insecurity.

Nurses, builders, drivers, carers, people doing the right thing, working harder every day, recognised at moments like this before, yet, as soon as the cameras stop rolling, their lives are ignored. I want to say very clearly to those people – not this time. Changing a country is not like flicking a switch. The world is now a more volatile place. This will take a while.

But have no doubt that the work of change begins immediately. Have no doubt that we will rebuild Britain with wealth created in every community. Our NHS back on its feet, facing the future. Secure borders, safer streets, everyone treated with dignity and respect at work, the opportunity of clean British power, cutting your energy bills for good.

And brick by brick, we will rebuild the infrastructure of opportunity, the world class schools and colleges, the affordable homes that I know are the ingredients of hope for working people, the security that working class families like mine can build their lives around.

Because if I asked you now whether you believe that Britain will be better for your children, I know too many of you would say no, and so my government will fight every day until you believe again.

From now on, you have a government unburdened by doctrine guided only by the determination to serve your interest, to defy, quietly, those who have written our country off. You have given us a clear mandate, and we will use it to deliver change. To restore service and respect to politics, end the era of noisy performance, tread more lightly on your lives and unite our country.

Four nations standing together again, facing down as we have so often in our past, the challenges of an insecure world committed to a calm and patient rebuilding. So with respect and humility, I invite you all to join this government of service in the mission of national renewal. Our work is urgent, and we begin it today. Thank you very much.


Meanwhile the Grauniad's Marina Hyde archly wheels out the well-worn metaphorics of seasons-finales and series being canned for her adieu-Tories column:

Sunak axed, the cast eviscerated: at last, it’s the Tories’ season finale

It was worthy of a TV special. Truss, Rees-Mogg, Shapps, Liam Fox: so many erased after 14 years of dystopian soap opera. And not a moist eye in the house

... But look, after the 3am to 7am shift, no one will be able to say the right doesn’t do comedy. There were moments worthy of entire Netflix specials as in sports halls and community centres various Dickensian grotesques were ushered into their Christmas future, live on stage. Alas, it was going to take more than buying the Cratchits a turkey to get out of this one. Jacob Rees-Mogg heard his fate standing next to a candidate wearing a baked bean balaclava. He’ll be crying into Nanny’s starched bosom today. Committed sewage apologist Thérèse Coffey was pumped into the sea in Suffolk Coastal. Andrea Jenkyns had the middle finger given to her by the voters of Leeds South West and Morley. In Welwyn Hatfield, Grant Shapps chanted “supermajority” five times into the mirror, and then it came for him.

...  They won’t be playing anything from this album on the Conservative party’s Eras tour.... 

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