Anyone who watched Keir Starmer’s excellent speech at this year’s Labour Party conference may have been wondering who the strange woman with a Covid mask on the top of her head was, when she started heckling the great man as he talked about his dying mother. I can exclusively reveal her to be one Carole Vincent, a former member of the SWP and Respect, whose 15 minutes of fame occurred when she appeared on Big Brother. I’m a little old fashioned about these things but I found the heckling in rather poor taste. Still, I suppose if you were once in the same political party as ‘Gorgeous’ George Galloway, a man who was also on Big Brother, this kind of behaviour is a given.
Several of her fellow cranks sat in the audience waving red cards at Starmer (geddit?), something that seemed particularly odd when at the time he was explaining how Labour had cut child poverty, introduced the national minimum wage and invested massively in the NHS. As a lifelong Labour supporter, I would say these were wonderful achievements by a left of centre government but if nothing else Labour is a broad church, encompassing various strains of thought, some completely unhinged, it seems.
Quite what people like Ms Vincent are doing in the Labour Party is anyone’s guess, but I shall wager an imaginary fiver that it has something to do with the Magic Grandpa himself, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s accidental leader who in 2019 led Labour to its worst electoral defeat since 1935. But even with Corbyn’s hard left tendencies, the SWP are even further to the hard left, virtually off the scale. Why, they don’t even believe in democratic socialism or social democracy, as mainstream Labour has always done. Hopefully, she will now do the right thing and piss off back to where she came from.
Rather than it being damaging for Starmer and Labour, I felt the precise opposite to be true. Starmer was introducing himself to conference and to a wider television audience for the first time proper, thanks to Covid. He had a story to tell and Carole didn’t want him to tell it. She didn’t want to hear his back story about how his dad was a tool maker in a factory and his mum was a nurse who got very sick with Still’s disease. She wanted to rant and rave. And rant and rave she did as Starmer retorted, “Slogans? Or changing lives?” Starmer was clearly onto something. Carole’s answer, had she been honest, would have been slogans.
There’s no need for pesky detail or those awkward compromises if you can avoid them. That has pretty well been the entire basis of Jeremy Corbyn’s of dismal career (and I mean career: Corbyn is the ultimate career politician) which has basically consisted of talking to people who already agree with him. In a business where you need to persuade millions of people who don’t agree with what you have to say to then vote for you, it’s the easy option, a complete cop-out.
Carole isn’t there to persuade people either. She’s there to shout at people. That’s what she did in Big Brother and it’s what she did today. And cranks like her don’t belong in Labour. If she didn’t work that one out today, maybe it’s time to kick her her out, along with the rest of the Trot rabble Jeremy Corbyn brought in.