AT THE World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos, Sir Keir Starmer gave an interview to the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. It included the following exchange:
Maitlis: So, let’s just ask you quickly. You have to choose between Davos and Westminster.
Starmer: (Without hesitation) Davos.
Starmer: Because Westminster is too constrained, it’s closed, and we’re not having meaning . . . you actually engage with people who you can see working with in the future . . .
The rest of the interview with the Labour leader was not broadcast but is understood to have gone something like this . . .
Starmer: . . . for example, here at Davos you don’t get the smelly working-class types that I have to sometimes meet in the North and Midlands. You know, the sort of people who go to bingo and race whippets or whatever. Did you know that some of them put a disgusting thick brown sauce on their food? If you asked them to a dinner party they would turn up at lunchtime with a bottle of lager expecting to sing their favourite song on a karaoke machine! What’s worse none of them seem to know that a man can be a woman and vice versa. Astonishing, isn’t it? No, the Davos crowd are people I can get along with. Of course at the Trilateral Commission I met many sophisticated and important people, but somehow that organisation doesn’t have the same cachet or convenience as the WEF. Here in Davos, I can meet a billionaire or two in the morning, have a tremendous lunch at the Alpenhof, get in a couple of hours on the slopes, find out the latest from the WEF chaps before dinner, and then finish off the day with a Sting concert and dinner at the Restaurant Islen with an up-and-coming Young Global Leader from Mozambique. What’s not to like? At Davos you meet the right sort of person. To give you an example, yesterday I had a chat with John Kerry and he told me some astounding things about the amount of money to be made from investing in the Green Economy.
Maitlis: Your party takes money from supporters of the Just Stop Oil movement and you have recently called for the ending of North Sea oil investment. How do you feel about the number of private jets that have been used to bring people to Davos?
Starmer: I can’t speak for them. Of course I didn’t use a private jet; business class from Heathrow to Zurich was perfectly acceptable. Did you know that lots of people who don’t live in London still drive old cars that are not electric? They are killing thousands every day with their pollution. When I am elected the first thing I will do is ban that sort of thing and make sure the air is clean, so the odd private jet won’t make a lot of difference.
Maitlis: Is there any role for the House of Commons in a future Starmer administration?
Starmer: Quite frankly, no. In fact the House has been a moribund talking shop for donkey’s years. No, decisions to improve the lives of the people of Camden and elsewhere will continue to be made here at Davos, in the UN, at the WHO, the Pentagon, the Trilateral Commission, at Bilderberg and by the philanthropists with whom I have excellent relations. To keep the plebs happy we will have debates in the House from time to time about gender issues and cycle lanes, but other than that I don’t see any point to the place. The Palace of Westminster would make an excellent museum or perhaps the BBC might want to move in.
Maitlis: Thank you, Sir Keir. I think we all are looking forward to the next General Election.