'Once more unto the breach, not frightening moderate voters': inspirational speeches reworked for Keir Starmer

KEIR Starmer’s campaign strategy of solidly promising very little is thrilling the electorate. Next, he plans to adapt speeches from the great orators of history: 

‘Once more unto the breach, not frightening moderate voters’

Rather than ‘or close the wall up with our English dead’, Starmer’s version involves boldly pulling back before unleashing rhetoric that could offend a bellwether constituency like Nuneaton. With them in mind, he blazes ahead with a new strategy to instigate a consultation considering mandatory fines for cats that shit on your lawn.

‘I have a dream… of introducing free breakfast clubs’

Martin Luther King Jr’s vision for the US was that ‘little children… will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’. That could offend the hard right and the hard left, so Starmer’s scaled that down to breakfast clubs in primary schools. It’s about managing expectations.

‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask how private and public healthcare can share resources’

Departing from JFK’s exhortation to serve your country, Starmer is instead asking Britain to envision a future with the NHS supported by private providers. The theme of self-sacrifice remains, because you’ll stand less chance of getting life-saving surgery in Britain in 2030 than you would during a tour of duty of Vietnam.

‘No, we can’t’

An elegantly simple reworking of Obama’s ‘Yes, we can’ speech. As Sir Keir and Rachel Reeves have patiently explained, there is no money for anything, except fighter planes, nuclear weapons and private sector bailouts.

‘Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a family. Choose a f**king big television’

Renton’s rejection of mindless conformity in Trainspotting is now a list of British aspirations. When Starmer urges people to ‘Choose a three-piece suite on hire-purchase in a range of f**king fabrics’, lower-middle-class voters will be reassured that he is one of them.

‘We shall fight them on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg’

Any World War Two reference is good even if James Cleverly and Gillian Keegan in a warm BBC studio aren’t exactly German paratroops establishing a bridgehead in Hastings. On that show it’s still a battle to finish a sentence if you’re not a Tory.

‘That government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not mention Brexit’ 

Like Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Starmer looks out over a country devastated by civil war. Unlike Lincoln, he’s not taking a side or mentioning it because implying the decision the people of Hartlepool made was idiotic would lose votes. So instead, bravely, he’s pretending it never happened and if it did it’s fine.

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