A couple of generations ago, a cheeky schoolboy once said that a lie was an abomination unto the Lord, but could be a useful way to get out of trouble. One might draw a comparison with intellectual dishonesty in politics. Obviously, it is morally deplorable. But cunningly deployed, it can be effective. Keir Starmer has failed that test.
Yvette Cooper is at least as able as anyone on the Labour front bench. In recent years, however, she has often given the impression that something was holding her back. She seemed to have lost her zest for political combat. Once Jeremy Corbyn had been replaced, one might have thought that this would change: not really so. Although she did return to the Shadow Cabinet, where was the enthusiasm? One or two people have speculated that she regrets not losing her seat – as her husband Ed Balls had – which would have propelled her into a more congenial career. Thirteen years ago, she was a hugely promising young Minister on the verge of one of the great offices. Since then, thirteen years in Opposition. That can be a soul-destroying experience. This may explain why she seems content to be better known as the wife of the famous TV contestant.