Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Starmer Nails Raab Flannel

With the FT’s Chris Giles revealing over a series of Tweets (thread HERE) that the number of deaths due to infection with Coronavirus is likely to be around 41,000 - and not the 17,337 announced yesterday, which just covers deaths in hospitals - knowledge of those statistics is becoming widespread. The public at large is realising just how many have lost their lives. And some of those who have died are NHS and social care workers.
So it should have surprised no-one that Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer would mention this at his first Prime Minister’s Questions today. And Dominic Raab, deputising for the now convalescing Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, our highly esteemed alleged Prime Minister, should have seen the question coming and been ready with the numbers.

He was not. “How many NHS workers have now died from Coronavirus? And how many social care workers have now died from Coronavirus?” asked Starmer. It was a straight question. All that was required of Raab were two numbers. Had he felt suitably emboldened, he could have done the addition and given a third, total, number.
It should have been in the Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy category. Not for Dom. After a significant amount of flannel, during which he managed to deploy the phrase “ramp up” twice, Raab responded “On the latest figures, my understanding is that 69 people have died within the NHS of the Coronavirus, and I don’t have the precise figure for care homes … more difficult to establish in relation to care home workers”.

Did he not, now? He needed only to look at Byline Times, where they and Nursing Notes have collaborated to record the names of all those who have died with Covid-19, from Nurses, to Midwives, to Healthcare and Theatre Assistants, GPs, Consultants, Registrars, Surgeons, Paramedics, Porters, and many other workers.
Their records show that the total of those deaths stood at 103 by last Monday. Starmer let Raab know “I’m disappointed we don’t have a number for social care workers and I put the First Secretary on notice that I’ll ask the same question again next week, and hopefully we can have a better answer”. And it will be Raab again next week.

Alex Andreou was one of many who approved of Starmer’s approach. “Asking for meaningful stuff. Not only vital information, but information which is highly damaging to have the government say out loud. When he is dismissed with flannel, he puts a marker down. He will ask again next week. This ‘can't get away with evasion’ stance is crucial”.

Far too many on the left have been laying into Starmer since his election to the Labour Top Job, rushing to denounce him as “Blair lite” and claiming he is not holding the Government to account, without giving him a chance to set out his stall. He did the first setting-out today. He was purposeful, precise and forensic. Raab is indeed on notice.

Starmer is not Corbyn. Nor would any other leader be. Let’s respect that difference.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at



Anonymous said...

No, he's not Corbyn.

He's Bliar with a quiff.

As trustworthy as an oil barrel full of vipers.

See the contributors to his leader election bid - those he didn't reveal until AFTER the election.

"Forensic" my arse. Quisling more like, and shifty eyed with it. He'd betray the party (again) at the drop of a hat, and he'd drop the hat himself.

Derek said...

Dear Zelo ,
Obviously Starmer will be taking a different approach and equally obviously Raab is not Johnson . At least PMQs is back in business and the HoC has a history of putting the government to test and Hansard recording that . It’s a very long haul to the next election and such has been the success of the MSM in recent years in setting it’s agenda , they are likely complacent that that state of affairs will last forever , however the scale of reckless incompetence over the coronavirus pandemic may be such that the ‘hostages to fortune’ become an enormous ‘dead’ weight . Possibly like 41K unnecessary pandemic early deaths to compound the 120K unnecessary austerity deaths of the last parliament . The callous , murderous Tories ,

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it, fuck off and join the SWP.

Anonymous said...

At last: a grown-up leading the Labour Party, not an aged student rebel rebelling against his privileged background.

Derek said...

Dear Anonymous at 18.25
Exactly what is achieved by your intemperate and slightly incoherent comment ?

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

The first thing that people see every day after each of your usually excellent, considered and informative pieces is a spittle-flecked rant from an embittered and aged Dave Spart.
He's beyond parody and, I assume, 'has issues' as they say.
However, he takes advantage of your tolerance and daily distracts from, as he has here, the points you make.
Is there no way of removing his assumed entitlement to prime position every day and maybe move him down the ranking a little?

grim northerner said...

I for one am looking forward to watching a barrister eviscerate the tory front bench over the coming months, squeaky bum time for the brittania unchained mob.

Anonymous said...

All comments are at the approval of the blog owner, it says.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, I was thinking that too...

Andy McDonald said...

Bertie, he obviously visits here several times a day to look for updates. If his outlet is C/Ping his standard rant on here, well, at least he's harmless, if rather boring.

Derek, the "F**k off and join the SWP" comment is an ironic echo of the call from many on the left of the Labour party to centrists over the last 5 years, to go and join the Tories.