Keir Starmer hated Vote Leave’s bus but he could not resist stealing its promise

Keir Starmer covered in glitter in conference protest

One thing that Sir Keir Starmer proved today was that Shakespeare was right: “All that glitters is not gold.”

The Labour leader can thank the unhinged mad leftwing protester’s intervention at the start of his speech for giving him his most spontaneous and Prime Ministerial moment.

Covered in the contents of a glitter bomb as the yob was dragged screaming off the stage, Starmer justifiably was able to say it proved Labour has moved from being a party of “protest” under Corbyn to one seeking “power” under him.

The remarks brought an audience desperate for power after 13 years of Opposition to its feet but in a cliche-ridden, dronefest that was one of the few highlights.

The other highlight, for the “eagle eared” (a phrase apparently invented today by Starmer) was an all too familiar pledge with echoes of 2016.

READ MORE: Protester yells at press after storming stage and is bundled into police van

As the Labour leader rambled on about going after rich people and making them pay more tax – always a popular move among the socialist faithful

In particular, he is going to cancel the non-dom status of the wealthy who live only part of the year in the UK and do not pay full income tax (remember Rishi Sunak’s wife used to be one until it got embarrassing).

But then we had it! The promise.

“That is money we can invest in the NHS,” he said.

Almost exactly the same words used by Vote Leave about the £350million a day that Britain would no longer be paying to Brussels.

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If there is one thing that really riled Starmer and other Remainers over the last few years it is the memory of the famous Vote Leave bus transporting Boris Johnson around the country with its even more famous slogan.

The number of parliamentary debates about the “let’s fund our NHS instead” slogan and condemnations of it by MPs including Starmer are too many to count.

But now as the dust settles on the Brexit years and Starmer actually wants to win a national vote, he could not resist adopting Vote Leave’s best idea.

Starmer parroting Boris Johnson was not what we expected when we woke up this morning in Liverpool.

But he was not finished on the Brexit issue.

Starmer doubled down on his promise to more closely follow EU rules and regulations.

He may not try to undo Brexit officially but he will do it by shadowing EU policy and doing what Brussels says instead.

He even made reference to the “lies” businesses were told about Brexit – although like his shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy he did not mention the B-word.

It seemed at one point that Starmer had actually written four speeches, could not decide which one he preferred and tried to combine the lot of them.

But perhaps his willingness to adopt some of the winning language of his past opponents – even not overtly – shows that his comments after the protester are both serious and realistic.

Starmer and Labour are a long way ahead in the polls and there is no doubt now that they are mentally ready for power.

That is why he banged on about “service” instead of “protest”, it was why he confidently ignored much of his party’s desires to back Palestinian terrorists and stood firmly with Israel.

Starmer may go on a bit, and he may even be a little hypocritical in his pledges, but he is now ready to be Prime Minister and a disciplined Labour Party is ready to win an election.

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