Keir Starmer can’t be allowed to escape from the fact he tried to make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister

What a lucky fellow is the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer. The appalling saga of the American presidential election and the twists and turns of the scientific advice on the coronavirus pandemic have taken attention away from the matter of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party during the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

It was encouraging that Mr Corbyn had the Labour whip withdrawn and was suspended from the party. Since then Sir Keir has pledged to set up an independent disciplinary process. All that may well happen, but there is another aspect to all this.

At the General Election last year, Sir Keir Starmer worked to try to put the man he must surely have strongly suspected of being anti-Semitic into No 10 and was ready to serve in his Cabinet. Just what does that tell us about Sir Keir himself? 

We might at least derive some amusement from that wonderful photograph of Mr Corbyn in the Daily Telegraph of Friday 30 October. Mr Corbyn is of course wearing a face mask. The snag is that it covers only his mouth and not his nose.

How wonderful it was to see on BBC TV on 5 November the programme Being Frank: The Frank Gardner Story. It was shown to mark the twenty fifth anniversary of The Disability Discrimination Act. Frank Gardner was the BBC  correspondent who, together with his cameraman Simon Cumbers, was ambushed by al-Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia sixteen years ago. His cameraman was killed and Gardner left for dead with half a dozen bullets in him, paralysed from his knees down with his lower body and intestines terribly damaged.

After treatment at an intensive care unit in London, Gardner got back to work refusing to let his injuries consign him to a care home and living a normal family life with his wife and children.

At such times I think how my wife similarly dominated her injuries sustained in the IRA bombing of The Grand Hotel until she was struck by Lewy Body Dementia, which has left her needing 24 hour nursing care.

Now we have stumbled back into yet another lock down, leaving her even more isolated from our family and our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who will have even less opportunity to see her, or for that matter, me either.   

Far away from such domestic matters is the matter of who will take office on January 20 as President of the United States.

Despite all the sound, fury and threats of legal action from President Trump, it is clear that Joe Biden (who is seventy eight years old) did indeed win the election and for the next four years will carry the enormous load of the leadership of the most powerful member of the democratic Western alliance. He is an internationalist and a firm supporter of Nato, but not a close friend of the United Kingdom. His friends suggest that he regards Brexit as a mistake, and the ambition of the British to regain the right of self government as mere vanity. Rather oddly, however, he seems far more sympathetic to the Republican cause in Ulster than to the Unionist majority who wish to remain part of the United Kingdom. It would not have been easy to get a good Anglo-American trade agreement even with a Trump presidency but it now looks to be even more difficult.

While Boris Johnson wasted no time in seeking a telephone call with the new President, I hope that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will also get to know the new Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the burdens of office will be a very heavy load on the elderly President Biden.

I hope too that President Biden will get better scientific advice, or even presentation of scientific facts about the Covid pandemic, than poor Boris Johnson has been getting in recent days. It would be hard enough to find an effective policy to deal with the Covid virus even were the facts and assumptions presented clearly but to do so in the light of the muddle and confusion of recent weeks is near impossible.

On Remembrance Sunday, I went to our town war memorial to pay my respects to the fallen at a somewhat truncated, but still moving service, and then stood in brief protest at the doors of the cathedral, locked out, by order of the Government on the advice of its experts, while the supermarkets were open for trade.

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