Starmer calls Boris Johnson the 'comical Ali' of the cost of living ...
Indy

Another week and another Wednesday bring another edition of PMQs. Don't you just love routine?

This week, Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer faced each other at a time in which the political news cycle has been dominated by discussions about the cost of living crisis and how inappropriate that Angela Rayner story was.

So they had plenty to talk about and talk they did. But we are only interested in one thing and one thing only - and that is deciding who showed they were worthy of our praise and who was a bit of an embarrassment?

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Let's take a look at what happened:

Starmer: "I know the prime minister will have whipped his backbenchers to scream and shout... but I hope he's also sent a clear message that there's no place for sexism and misogyny or looking down on people because of where they come from" 10/10

Starmer kicked things off by speaking out against the recent Mail on Sunday story which claimed Tory sources think deputy Labour leader Rayner tries to distract Johnson in the commons by crossing and uncrossing her legs.

The story has been criticised by politicians across the spectrum including Johnson who reiterated his criticism of the story and said: "We should treat each other with respect".

Johnson: "If we listened to him we would never have come out of lockdown" -100/10

Next, Starmer criticised Johnson over the government's handling of the economy. Johnson blamed "global inflation" for the problem before resorting slagging off the Labour party, claiming the Tories are "undoing" their mistakes (they haven't been in power for years by the way) and whipping out his tired lockdown line as above, which will celebrate its first anniversary in July, earlier than he usually does in PMQs.

It lost its bite ages ago, but with memories of lockdown fast becoming a surreal fever dream, isn't it time he came up with something different to say?

Starmer: "He sounds like the Comical Ali of the cost of living crisis" 7/10

Referencing the Iraqi former diplomat and politician Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who became known for his misinformative daily briefings during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Starmer put the boot into Johnson and said he was wrong about the economy.

"Does he think denying the facts staring him in the face make things better or worse for working people?" he asked.

It wasn't the most timely reference in the world, but it was still nice to see Starmer soft-launching a sense of humour.

Johnson: "This is the government that supports working people unlike them" 3/10

Defensive Johnson indulged in a bit more ad hominem and claimed the Labour party, that's the labour party doesn't really care about working people. He even called Starmer Captain Hindsight, meaning anyone playing a version of 'Boris Johnson at PMQs' bingo at home would have surely won at this early stage in proceedings.

Starmer: "This must be the Oxford Union debating skills we've been hearing so much about. Failing to answer the question, rambling incoherently, throwing in garbled metaphors. Powerful stuff, prime minister." 9/10

Starmer clearly thought the answer was ridiculous as well and teased Johnson by using a line in the Mail on Sunday story about Angela Rayner, which also claimed she doesn't match up to Johnson's debating power, which he apparently honed at Eton and Oxford.

Johnson: "How tragic, how pitiful that the part of Bevan should now be opposed to that investment in the NHS" 1/10

In response, desperate Johnson accused Starmer of "droning on" about the Health and Social care levy and ludicrously evoked the spirit of Aneurin Bevan, who was the health minister when the Labour government created the NHS after WWII.

To make things clear - Starmer isn't opposed to increased funding in social care, he is against ways in which to raise those funds and has consistently called for a windfall tax on big businesses to help ease the overall cost of living crisis.

Johnson knows this, and it is a shame his approach to debate is to just pursue the politics of the playground rather than engaging on any intellectual level at all.

Starmer: "He's an ostrich, perfectly happy keeping his head in the sand" 6/10

And so, Starmer called the prime minister "an ostrich", naturally.

Johnson: "They don't care about jobs Mr. Speaker, we do." 1/10

So Johnson pretended the Labour party don't care about another policy area which they obviously do, showing his debating skills worsen and worsen. "This guy is doomed to be a permanent spectator," he added.

We'll see about that...

Verdict

Johnson must have spent his morning having a lie-in because this was one of the must underprepared performances he has given in recent months.

As well as using his old tired lines, he resorted to launching misleading attacks on the opposition, and spurting random statistics like an overzealous primary school student trying to prove to his teacher that he had done his homework.

Unfortunately for him, shouting random numbers have little rhetorical impact when trying to persuade the public that the Tories are the best equipped to deal with the economy than Labour is. And it only takes a cursory glance at the news to know pretending Labour doesn't care about jobs, the NHS, and whatever else is total nonsense.

Starmer on the hand was cruising. He had some punchy zingers, showed the electorate what a country under Labour would look like by discussing policy ideas, and by consistently returning to his refrain of questioning whether Johnson's policies would make things "better or worse for working people" he left Johnson with few places to escape.

Starmer takes the win this week.

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