AT this troubled time we seek amusement wherever it can be found. Though not intended to be comical, the Twitter account of Labour’s press team can be a source of laughter, albeit the hollow variety.
Just over a week ago, the party’s media monkeys shared a video clip in which leader Sir Keir Starmer marked April 23, St George’s Day, by wishing everyone, er, ‘Ramadan Mubarak’. This apparently means ‘Blessed Ramadan’ and was not, as I first supposed, Starmer’s belated shout-out to the former President of Egypt who died in February.
From Sir Keir’s struggle to straighten his face at the start, one presumes this was not the first take. And throughout the rest of his minute-long monologue, during which he singles out ‘Muslims in our heath service’, he never quite dispels the impression of a man whose inner voice is saying: ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this.’
Alas, he resists a mischievous ending, such as sending his good wishes ‘to all those celebrating Ramadan – especially Ed Davey, Layla Moran and the rest of the fasting LibDems’.
One politically correct stunt inevitably leads to another. Sure enough, the following day Labour’s press team excitedly announced that Sir Keir’s new ‘race relations adviser’ is Baroness Doreen Lawrence.
It is perhaps inevitable that the murder of her son Stephen in 1993 clouds the Labour peer’s judgment on racial matters. All the more reason, therefore, why Starmer should socially distance himself from Lawrence, who last year preposterously claimed that at Grenfell Tower the firefighters’ response had been racist: ‘Had that been a block full of white people in there, they would have done everything to get them out as fast as possible and make sure that they do what they needed to do.’
A credible Opposition would not seek the advice of someone with such prejudiced preconceptions. Nonetheless, Baroness Lawrence will lead Labour’s investigation into ‘why the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting people from BAME backgrounds’.
‘Dunno, just bad luck, I suppose,’ is unlikely to be the conclusion of Doreen Lawrence and her cohort of ‘experts’ drawn from grievance-mongering groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain and Operation Black Vote. Mind you, if the Baroness wishes BAME to be recognised as the primary victim group, she faces stiff competition from females on Labour’s front bench. Earlier this week Marsha de Cordova anxiously informed us: ‘Women working in our NHS are putting their lives at risk to protect us from this virus.’
That was from the Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities – a conflicting portfolio in which, for Ms de Cordova, ‘Women’ evidently trump ‘Equalities’. Not to be outdone, the party’s spokeswoman on International Development gravely warns: There is a real risk that the Covid-19 pandemic will disproportionately effect [sic] women and girls.’
While the UK self-immolates, Preet Kaur Gill addresses the concerns of the nation by fretting: ‘As DfID works on an international response to Covid-19 it is imperative that gender analysis plays a central role across all teams in the department.’ In any event, from current independent evidence ‘men and women are equally likely to contract the virus, but men are significantly more likely to suffer severe effects of the disease and die’.
Learning that female fatalities from Covid-19 are but a fraction of male mortality should raise two cheers from the Left. But be in no doubt: Labour cannot countenance a lifting of the lockdown until men account for 100 per cent of coronavirus deaths.
An honorary Labour woman, due to being the husband of Harriet Harman, is Jack Dromey. Earlier this week the Shadow Minister for Pensions reminded everyone: ‘A lifetime of saving . . . can be lost in a moment when a ruthless scammer cons an unsuspecting individual into making a tragic error.’
Jack, your warning is six weeks too late. Our credulous Prime Minister has already been misled into bankrupting the country by the scaremongering models of serial alarmist Professor Neil Ferguson.