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Inside politics

Sir Keir lays down the law

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Keir Starmer’s party conference speech “took Labour a step closer to power”, says the Daily Mirror. While the arrogant Boris Johnson lurches from crisis to crisis, Starmer delivered a “serious speech for serious times”. The far-left hecklers “only drew attention to the fact they are now on the margins of the party”. And with strong performances from Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, Starmer looks like he has a “Cabinet in waiting”.

As if, says Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian. Starmer’s “well-worn patter” about his upbringing was cribbed from failed Labour leaders like Gordon Brown and Jeremy Corbyn. The dutifully applauding audience was already “looking past its current leader and idly eyeing up possible replacements”, like Angela Rayner and Andy Burnham. The “purse-lipped” Starmer spoke well for a former top prosecutor. But, just as Neil Kinnock struggled with Margaret Thatcher, Starmer has no clue how to handle the “social movement” Johnson’s Tory party is riding.

Merkel’s Germany is ignoring the world

Whether the centre-left Olaf Scholz or conservative Armin Laschet succeeds Angela Merkel, her influence will drag on, says Philippe Gélie in Le Figaro. “Merkelism” consists of “smoothing the corners” and defending the economic interests of Germany by protecting it “from the upheavals of the world”. Germans value it, and both would-be chancellors have said they’ll continue it. But the rest of us Europeans are tired of this “perpetual Germanic purring”. The continent’s leading economic power needs to take more international responsibility – to stand up to China and Russia rather than busy itself with export contracts and gas valves.

Labour sticks the boot in

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Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner’s comment that senior Tories are “scum” is part of a long tradition, says Gerald Warner in Reaction. In Aneurin Bevan’s speech launching the National Health Service in 1948, he denounced the Conservatives as “lower than vermin”. For that, Bevan was later kicked down the stairs at the London club White’s by an unhappy member. Other members deemed that inhospitable – they thought the boot should have been applied to Bevan’s host, Royal Air Force Marshal Sir John Slessor, “who should have known better than to introduce so unwelcome a visitor”.