Owen Paterson fiasco has bruised Boris – but the real loser is Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is STILL more unpopular

“IT did not go well, did it?” This, from one of Boris Johnson’s bruised inner ­circle, qualifies as the understatement of the week.

The Owen Paterson fiasco was a political car crash, a blundering own goal, a self-inflicted wound.

The Owen Paterson fiasco was a political car crash, a blundering own goal, a self-inflicted wound
PA
Boris has been bruised by the Owen Paterson fiasco but the real loser is Labour leader Keir Starmer[/caption]

It handed snarling John Major the chance to launch a venomous tirade against ­government “sleaze” — the hallmark of his own blighted premiership.

Labour frontbencher Thangam Debbonaire tried to make a name for herself by urging BoJo to resign.

Thangam, don’t ask unless it’s likely to happen. Boris is going nowhere.

This is one of Westminster’s frequent but passing volcanic eruptions, a sulphurous venting of pent-up fury, with Brexit once again at its core.

The PM will take his richly deserved lumps in Parliament today — and move on.

None of this will make a scrap of difference at the next election, whenever it comes.

Within a couple of weeks the row will be overtaken by more serious events — not necessarily in the Government’s favour — and join the list of passing scandals.

The real loser, it turns out, is Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Astonishingly, amid all this sound and fury, the Tories remain ahead in the polls, albeit by a wafer-thin margin.

More to the point, Starmer himself is even more unpopular than the beleaguered PM, with Boris rated by 41 per cent as the best leader to Starmer’s 27 per cent.

We have no proper Opposition.

People might not like last week’s fiasco, but they haven’t forgotten sleazy Labour MPs including the gruesome Keith Vaz and acid-threatening Claudia Webbe.

Even in mid-meltdown between new Red Wall Tory MPs and Brexit’s old guard “Spartans”, it is Labour who are identified by voters as divided and incompetent.

This is a damning verdict at a point in the Parliamentary timetable when an opposition party should be 20 per cent in front to have any chance of forming a new government.

Right now Labour needs a miracle — or a new leader — to pull ahead.

None of this is to excuse last week’s shambles. Nor does it mean the Tories are safe from those terrifying “events”.

Without repeating a shopping list of economic woes, voters are already feeling a hit to what Americans call the “hip- pocket nerve” . . . their wallet.

Forget, if you can, the looming hike in National Insurance, taxes, mortgages and sundry Budget measures.

DAMNING VERDICT

Forget a new car or a second holiday — if we are ever allowed to travel easily again.

Soon we will be seeing the shape of a planet-sized invoice hurtling our way from the COP26 climate change summit.

Scary Greta Thunberg may call it “blah, blah, blah” but it’s going to cost us the earth.

Thanks to mass hysteria generated by the Nordic goblin and BBC dementor Justin Rowlatt, we are about to impoverish the world by trying to stop the unstoppable.

By the next election, voters battling a cost-of-living crisis will start having to cough up for a great green gamble, which might be pie in the sky.

Certainly, the climate is changing.

And yes, we need to protect the environment, especially from plastics.

But if global warming is under way, will our costly efforts stop or even slow its momentum — even if China and Russia join in?

There is an argument, derided as climate change “denial”, that we should spend those trillions adapting to a gradual rise in temperatures.

Some respectable experts argue we are not heading for extinction.

BIGGER DANGERS

That carbon dioxide, far from being harmful, has further “greened” vegetated parts of the earth and that warmer weather can actually save lives.

I’m no expert, but the notion that the science of global warming is “settled” and brooks no argument beyond “Apocalypse Now” seems a tad dogmatic.

While we are preoccupied with saving the Earth, potentially even bigger dangers to human life are going unaddressed — such as nuclear proliferation and biological warfare.

These threats come not just from increasingly dominant China or mischief-making Russia, but from Iran and erratic North Korea.

It would be unfortunate if, as in the Covid pandemic, we were caught with all our guns pointing in one direction.

'The Knowledge'

LONDON taxi drivers have the biggest hippocampi in the world. No, seriously.

This is the part of the brain that grows as they memorise 100,000 landmarks and 26,000 streets for “The Knowledge” – as challenging as a law or medical degree.

Experts are using MRI scans to study these vast memory banks as part of their research into Alzheimer’s.

They’d better be quick before London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s disastrous war on motor cars makes them just a distant memory.

Keir Starmer is even more unpopular than the beleaguered PM – with Boris rated by 41 per cent as the best leader to Starmer’s 27 per cent


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