June 16, 2024

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The first election debate between Sunak and Starmer in the UK was a battle of the nerds - Politico

The first election debate between Sunak and Starmer in the UK was a battle of the nerds – Politico

They spoke fluently and with what they probably took to be emotion, but it was tender and bloodless emotion, from men conspicuously lacking the charisma of Nigel Farage, whose entry into the contest on Monday stirred up the election.

However, if you listened carefully to what they were saying, it was clear that, despite all the superficial similarities, in their souls they were politicians of different traditions and of very different lines.

They may both be boring, but they’re not really the same.

Perhaps the most telling moment in the discussion was when host Julie Etchingham asked both men if they would pay for a sick relative to jump the queue to get medical treatment. “Yes,” Sunak said calmly but firmly. “No, I don’t use private health services, I use the NHS,” Starmer replied, his eyes blinking indignantly behind black-rimmed glasses. His wife, sister and mother worked for the country’s beloved but crumbling public health system – and paying for treatment would be a betrayal.

It was all, in short, a microcosm of the difference between the Conservatives and the Labor Party.

Sunak, a staunch advocate of freedom and choice, is a boy whose parents also worked in the NHS, as a GP and pharmacist, putting in long hours to be sent to an elite private school. His intelligence took him to the most prestigious universities and jobs that provided him with the financial support to help loved ones in pain or distress. Conservatives say this is a story we should be proud of, not one that should be hidden.

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