Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer.
The two main parties of the United Kingdom, Labour and the Conservatives, have had their party conferences. Labour held their conference in Brighton, while, the Conservatives was wrapped up this week in Manchester.
Everyone grassroots supporters to MPs attend these conferences. All strands of the politics that make up the respective political parties are present and represented. Some of these views are part of the main speeches, while others remain, on the fringes.
The main members of a cabinet or the shadow cabinet will make speeches. Then, everyone awaits the party leader's speech, which in tradition, closes the party conference every year. This year was no different when it came to the speeches of Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer.
Some said, including Labour pundits, that Sir Keir's speech in Brighton was rather long. Sir Keir also, had to deal with far left hecklers, but he seemed to put them in a their place.
All this said, everyone both in Labour and outside, generally agreed Sir Keir's speech was successful, hard-hitting and contained relevant points.
Sky News commissioned the pollster company 'Opinium' to question members of the public about Sir Keir and Boris' speech. Many of those questioned, said Sir Keir's speech showed more competence, appeared to be in touch and agreeable.
With Sir Keir's speech:
63% agreed on content.
57% thought the speech strong.
62% thought Sir Keir was competent.
68% thought he was caring.
60% in touch.
With Boris' speech:
51% agreed on content.
41% did not agree.
51% thought Boris was strong.
30% saw Boris' speech as weak.
Whether the popularity of Sir Keir's speech will transfer to popular opinion in the polls, remains to be seen. Certainly, in the light of the fuel crisis, the Labour party appeared to gain a bounce in the polls. However, looking at the latest Opinium opinion poll, the Tories, still remain in the lead:
Lid Dems 8%
Plaid Cymru 5%
It seems, no matter what Boris does or says, he remains popular. Despite, the fuel crisis (so-called), the ending of furlough, the ending of the £20.00 uplift to Universal Credit, the Tories lead is undiminished. Maybe, Boris' plan to level up and make, as he said in his speech, to make the UK "a high wage economy" resonates with voters. In certain areas of the UK, even the most deprived, Boris is doing something to connect with the people. How a clown, like Boris, is able to achieve this is perhaps, understandable. Boris has a personality, he seems an upbeat person, a 'can-do' person if you will, a clown, and people seem to respond to that. Whether these characteristics of Boris are real or just put on for the crowd, will remain to be seen. Boris is popular among many, because he got in his words, "Brexit done", (though it has teething problems, such as the status of Northern Ireland). Rolling out the vaccine against COVID is another success of the Boris government, (Though some would question Boris' claim it was him who was responsible for it and its success). It seems, nothing dents this man's popularity, but no one stays popular forever. As with Mrs Thatcher, and Tony Blair, something comes along and knocks their popularity, thus leading to their downfall. When historians look back on this particular period in history, what will be said about Boris, will be interesting.
Sir Keir comes over as a likeable person, though he is a Sir, this man is from working-class stock. Many it seems, seem to see Keir, as posh. While this is maybe true to a certain extent, the Labour leader is working class, compared to the Etonian Boris. Sir Keir's mum was a nurse and his father was a tool setter. Sir Keir has had a distinguished career in legal terms, often representing people for free. So why is Keir Starmer, not connecting better or doing better in the polls? Some say, he lacks charisma as compared to his Tory counterpart Boris. Of course, charisma is one thing that attracts other humans to humans, be it a life partner, a friend or indeed, a political leader. However, charisma is only skin deep, if there is no substance, nothing really beyond that charisma, that person is shallow. If Sir Keir, has no personality as compared to 'showman Boris' is that Sir Keir's fault? Many have seen through the shallow persona of Boris, but sadly, many are still taken in by him, hence his 'Teflon' popularity. It doesn't mean, the game is up for Sir Keir, but time will tell, who will ultimately prosper out of the two.