London24NEWS

‘Keir Starmer is unafraid to confront big issue avoided by past Labour leaders’

The son of a toolmaker and NHS nurse freely using the C-word is a refreshing change in British politics.

Yes, discussion of class is back. Keir Starmer is unafraid to confront a talent-blocking issue largely avoided by Labour leaders from Tony Blair onwards and, obviously, Tory Old Etonians. More Bash Street than Bullingdon, the Prime Minister filling the top team with comprehensive kids will keep the Government’s feet on the ground.

Hardship is scarring so the likes of Angela Rayner, Wes Streeting and Bridget Phillipson, never mind Starmer himself, are driven by experience to help those left or kept behind.

“Levelling up” was never more than a dishonest slogan during the latter years of the last Conservative government but Labour could do it for real. They could unleash betrayed potential in villages, towns and cities.

Starmer openly talking about class, giving working class kids and adults a decent chance, is one of the most significant switches in No10. He’ll never be a demonstrative PM but Starmer is genuinely passionate about improving blighted lives.

Designating the shattering of a glass ceiling that traps the working class as one of his five missions, personally chairing a board to smash class barriers, could be hugely transformative for the UK. He’s cut from different cloth to Cameron, Johnson and Sunak in particular. Blair too, in truth.

Starmer’s Cabinet, according to the Sutton Trust social mobility group, is the most diverse in terms of education background ever recorded. It has 92% from comps, compared with Sunak’s 19%. Prejudices against women, gay people, minorities and the disabled were rightly acknowledged and tackled – with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success – while class was the discrimination frequently ignored.

Not any more. Publicly raising the issue, as he has, is incredibly encouraging. The proof of this pudding will be in the eating yet Starmer’s commitment should not be in doubt.

Let’s hope this Prime Minister, with much to do after inheriting an almighty Eton mess, is able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.