Diane Abbott just accidentally called Keir Starmer 'steer calmer' in hilarious TV blunder

Appearing on Sophy Ridge this morning, Diane Abbott made what can only be considered the Freudian slip of 2020.

When asked about Extinction Rebellion's protests at newspaper printing plants over the weekend, which prevented the overnight deliveries of various publications, the Labour MP simply said that direct action was legal, and "in tradition of the suffragettes and the hunger marches of 1930."

She also highlighted the fact that there was a far-right blockade in Dover over the weekend, and seemed to compare the two events as similar forms of protest from different ends of the political spectrum.

When Abbott refused to directly condemn the actions of XR, or her colleague Dawn Butler's now-deleted tweet which seemed to back protesters, Ridge posited that the Labour Party under Keir Starmer had been reluctant to take a strong line on the "culture war", suggesting the party has "shifted from the left to the centre".

Abbott's measured attempt to refute this argument was credible, but in the midst of her response, a wording blunder became the story of the day.

She responded:

I don't think Keir Starmer would say we've shifted from the left. One of the things he said after he was elected as leader [was] that it was important to hold on to our values, and it was important not to abandon our new-found radicalism. He said that the case for a strong radical Labour Party is as important as ever.

So I don't think that Steer Calmer would say – Keir Starmer would say that we've shifted from the right.

Steer Calmer.

Steer. Calmer.

Oh dear.

Abbott caught herself as she mis-spoke, immediately correcting herself, but it was too late. People on the internet jumped at what they perceived as a hilariously poignant blunder.

She appears to have fallen foul to a phenomenon known as "spoonerism", whereby a speaker transposes two sounds of letters to create a completely different meaning. Jeremy Hunt provides a good example.

Lots of people suggested the Labour leader should lean into this remarkably appropriate new name.

While others had other ideas along the same lines...

Keir Starmer has yet to comment on his new nickname.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)