UK

CRAIG BROWN: I can go Left or Right, guv… or round in circles 

I had just arrived in Brighton and was on the lookout for a taxi. Luckily, I did not have to wait long. A car drew up, and a neat and tidy driver with an old-fashioned short-back-and-sides rolled down his window.

I asked him if he could take me to the conference centre.

‘This is the path we have chosen,’ he said. ‘Let us be bold and take it together.’

‘Thanks,’ I said, and jumped in.

‘The road ahead will be long,’ he continued, signalling left, then right, then left again. ‘The journey will not always be simple. But the choices are clear. And the prize will be great.’

Personally, I prefer to travel in silence in taxis, but at the same time I didn’t want to appear unfriendly.

As the taxi driver sang along, I noticed something familiar about his unexpectedly high voice. Was I being given a lift by Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party?

‘The weather seems a bit unsettled,’ I ventured.

‘There may be dark clouds ahead,’ he said. ‘But I know the people of this country. And I know that if we pull together, we can weather any storm. After rain and heavy showers, the sun will return. And — frankly — that’s what fills me with hope.’

I was beginning to realise that I was being driven by a chatterbox.

‘Over the summer I have been travelling up and down this country. And not only the length, but also the breadth. And people of all persuasions have come together, united in their shared belief that if autumn follows summer, and winter follows autumn, then spring will follow winter, and after spring comes summer. Not this summer. Not last summer. But next summer.’

It was hard to argue with his seasonal analysis. I muttered a few words of agreement.

The taxi ground to a halt. ‘We are at a crossroads,’ he said. ‘And the choice facing us today is as stark as it has ever been.’

‘Well,’ I said, ‘by all means take the quicker route.’

‘We cannot simply drive on, following the same old route. We must choose a different path. A new route, a new path. And that all points to one destination: the road ahead.’

By now, I had begun to look around, hoping the conference centre would loom into view.

‘Are we nearly there?’ I asked.

‘The road is long,’ he said, as he switched on Radio 2. A familiar song was playing. ‘With many a winding turn. That leads us to who knows where, who knows where . . .’

As the taxi driver sang along, I noticed something familiar about his unexpectedly high voice. Was I being given a lift by Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party?

‘We are now at a fork in the road,’ he continued. ‘One direction will take us to one destination. And the other direction will take us to another.

‘Yes, it is time to make up our minds.

‘Do we follow the same old, tired old route, the route we have gone down countless times? Or do we take a faster, more modern route to something better, bolder and brighter?’

Looking out of the window, I noticed that the vehicle was going round and round the same roundabout. Meanwhile, Mr Starmer’s words were spinning around in my head

Looking out of the window, I noticed that the vehicle was going round and round the same roundabout. Meanwhile, Mr Starmer’s words were spinning around in my head

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘I didn’t quite catch that first option. Could you repeat it, please?’

‘Do we follow the same old, tired old route, the route we have gone down countless times?’ he asked.

‘Yes, that sounds perfect,’ I said, trying to be agreeable. ‘And then perhaps you might drop me off at the corner. Do you take credit cards?’

‘People in Britain are crying out for real change,’ he said.

‘That’s fair enough,’ I replied, dipping into my pocket.

‘But that cannot mean dwelling on the past. No: we must look ahead to face the future. Because unless we face the future, we will not withstand the winds of change.’

Labour party delegates battle driving rain and wind outside the Brighton Centre during this week's party conference

Labour party delegates battle driving rain and wind outside the Brighton Centre during this week’s party conference

Looking out of the window, I noticed that the vehicle was going round and round the same roundabout. Meanwhile, Mr Starmer’s words were spinning around in my head.

‘I’ll tell you what matters most,’ he said. ‘What matters most — that’s what matters most.

‘Not only the challenges but also the opportunities. And the opportunities to tackle those challenges. Yes, that is our opportunity. Yes, that is our challenge.

‘Because everyone has a story to tell. So let’s head that tackle. Let’s challenge that head. And let’s potential that harness!’

I was starting to feel dizzy. At this point, Mr Starmer signalled to the path which led to the fork which led to the crossroads which led to the roundabout which led back to the fork.

But, sadly, there was still no sign of the road ahead.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button