It’s interesting to compare Starmer’s lethargic opposition with events across the Atlantic. Joe Biden (nicknamed “Sleepy Joe”) is Starmer’s spiritual counterpart in more ways than one. But while Britain’s centre-left has snoozed through its alarms, Sleepy Joe has jolted awake.
It’s no great insight to say that liberal politics today is built on elaborate gestures and performative displays of virtue. The Obama era exemplified its pathology: oodles of empathy, zero underlying change.
The Trump bogeyman has allowed new space for revisionism about recent foreign policy failures. George W Bush has been effectively rehabilitated, specifically by the liberal press. Some are even wondering: was the Iraq War really so bad?
While everyone needs a cheer right now, impeachment distracts from the huge political realignments needed to confront successive global crises. That’s why, insofar as we enjoy the spectacle, we will always have that dirty feeling.
“No matter how dire the crisis has become, [the Saudi coalition] have been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the UK government. That support must end, and so must have the arms sales that have done so much damage.”
Joe Biden’s inauguration yesterday thus had the feeling of a global event, with all of us vicariously participating. Much of the media, including our state broadcaster, put objectivity to bed and resorted to fawning, like Nicholas Witchell narrating the birth of a Royal baby.