Train drivers, teachers, civil servants and apparently Keir Starmer’s speechwriters are on strike today.
It’s the only explanation for the Labour leader trying yet again to get a non-answer out of Rishi Sunak about when he knew Nadhim Zahawi paid a penalty to HMRC.
Trying to point out that Sunak probably did know the thing which everyone else knew, the Labour leader did a very good impression of a ChatGPT summary of newspaper headlines about Nadhim Zahawi last year.
Over the last few weeks, Keir Stamer has done his darnedest to paint a picture of a Britain pulling apart at the seams as a result of the Conservative Party.
And yet, on the day of the biggest strikes in more than a decade, he was too focused on internal party politics, rather than the fact millions of people across the country are either stuck at home with their kids or stuck at home because the trains aren’t running.
After striking out on Zahawi and largely reusing his talking points from last week, Starmer rounded on the deputy prime minister.
“Is the Prime Minister seriously going to claim he is the only person completely unaware of serious allegations of bullying by the deputy prime minister, before he appointed him?”
Sunak will probably sack Dominic Raab three weeks after everyone in his party tells him he should, but he certainly wasn’t going to do it today, not least because the deputy PM had brought a shiv fashioned out of a pret baguette (no tomatoes) to the House of Commons.
Instead, Sunak decided to talk about a different abusive relationship, between Rosie Duffield and the Labour Party.
Afterall, feminists famously love when women’s rights are used to avoid talking about allegations against powerful white men.
“If he can’t be trusted to stand up for the women in his party,” Sunak screeched across the Commons, “he can’t be trusted to stand up for Britain.”
In a pivot from complaining about Jeremy Corbyn, Sunak then accused the Labour leader of kowtowing not only to his union paymasters but also to Just Stop Oil, the protesters semi-regularly blocking the M25.
Of course, Sunak would barely know much about them because every time he has to leave London he hops on a private plane.
In return, Starmer reminded Sunak, a teetotal, of what a headache the hangover of Boris Johnson has caused him.
“I couldn’t quite believe it when I saw it that his government is expecting taxpayers to pay the legal fees for (Boris Johnson) defending himself for lockdown rule breaking – a quarter of a million pounds,” Starmer said.
Mind you, Sunak likely felt less than sympathetic towards the taxpayers, who made his wife pay a hefty sum more than Johnson’s legal fees after getting all worked up over her non-dom tax status.