Over the last few months, photos of Keir Starmer with a pint of beer have been circulating. Apparently this proves that he is as bad as Boris Johsnon. A Prime Minister who wrote the rules, broke the rules repeatedly, lied about it to parliament and got fined by the police. This has reached fever pitch in the run up to local elections as Conservative columnists have gone on the attack. Type #Currygate or #Beergate into Twitter and you will quickly see it is unsubstantiated nonsense.
Well, I’ve read all the articles, looked at the supposed evidence, listened to the explanations and, frankly, it’s a joke. It’s yet another hallmark of the “footballification of politics” to quote James O’Brien. A sad sign that the Conservative party and their client journalists are not interested in the good of the country. They are interested in power and perpetuating a divisive culture war.
There is no evidence #Currygate broke the rules
First and foremost, there is absolutely no evidence that Keir Starmer broke the rules. All of this stems from a picture of Keir Starmer having a beer and a curry at Durham Miners Club on April 30th 2021. That is it.
Unlike the #Partygate photos, this was not something hidden away. The photo was taken and published by Durham’s MP in the run up to the Hartlepool by-election. Keir Starmer has given a full and frank explanation of the sequence of events. Namely, they had been working late and a takeaway was the only option available.
“…if you didn’t get a takeaway then our team wasn’t eating that evening”.Keir Starmer, LBC Radio
He has plainly stated that the team were still working and it was not a social gathering. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest it was a social occasion. There is no evidence to suggest that Keir Starmer’s explanation is unreasonable or embellished. Photos of him eating a curry are note even from the same event. They were taken years earlier (and included a now deceased Frank Dobson, who has been cropped out).
The UK justice system operates on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Something that Conservative MPs, like Scott Benton, would do well to remember.
Keir Starmer has not been fined or censured by the police
Building on the above, Keir Starmer has not been fined by the police. Durham Constabulary have not investigated Keir Starmer. For all intents and purposes, there is no case to answer. Conversely, Boris Johnson has been investigated and fined for at least one offence that we know about. In light of this, the calls for Keir Starmer to be investigated and / or resign are bizarre. Either it’s not a very serious issue and should be put to bed. Or it’s incredibly serious and anyone found guilty must step down. Both positions cannot simultaneously be true – particularly since #partygate is far more egregious than #currygate.
Tory MPs are essentially saying “this is a terrible thing, but look Labour did it as well so let’s let the Prime Minister off the hook”.
Keir Starmer did not make the lockdown rules
Finally, and this is the kicker, Keir Starmer is not the Prime Minister. He is also did not write the lockdown rules. Even if he had broken them, which there is absolutely no evidence for, holding him to a higher standard than Boris Johnson is bizarre. I cannot find a single journalist or MP currently baying for Starmer’s blood that has criticised Boris Johnson. Let that sink in for a second and it should tell you all you need to know about this ludicrous scandal. Anyone propogating it is either a moron, a liar or both.