With the Western world engulfed in one of the most catastrophic wars in decades, you’d think the person in charge of the Defence brief in Her Majesty’s Opposition would be a powerful personality well-known to the British public.
However, no. Only 21% of people have ever heard of John Healey, according to a YouGov study.
Here are some of the public’s comments when shown a picture of:
Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor
Ann Stanhope, 42, a florist, of Rowley Regis, West Midlands, said: ‘She’s the actress in The Addams Family. Yes, Anjelica Huston.’
Angela Rayner, Labour Deputy Leader
Scaffolder Dil Singh, 32, of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, said: ‘Is she on TV’s Countdown? Angie someone?’
Linda Caldwell, retired, from Glasgow: ‘She looks like the deputy Labour leader but I don’t know her name.’
Holly White, 23, a lawyer living in London: ‘Is that the actress Catherine Tate?’
John Healey, Shadow Defence Secretary
Tommy Gannon, 26, a sales worker from London, said: ‘Is that Putin?’
Another man in Newcastle agreed: ‘That’s the Russian, Putin.’
Callum Walker, 28, a barber in Sutton Coldfield, told us: ‘He’s one of the dragons from Dragons’ Den.’
David Troop, a retired roofer from Aldridge, West Midlands, said: ‘For a minute, I thought it was Neil Kinnock.’
Bridget Phillipson, Shadow Education Secretary
Juliana, 82, retired, from Partick, Glasgow, said: ‘Dunno. She looks like a Plain Jane.’
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Shadow International Trade Secretary
Ronnie Scot, retired, from Glasgow, said: ‘He’s the bloke who told everyone to buy cheap food and shop at Aldi.’ [Possibly confusing him with Tory Minister George Eustice who suggested people could help ease the cost-of-living crisis by buying value-brand food].
Retired midwife Mia McMahon, 50, of Netherton, West Midlands, said: ‘Is that the guy who was looking at the porn last week?’ [Mistaking him for Tory MP Neil Parish who resigned last week].
The MoS questioned voters in Bristol, Newcastle, London, Glasgow and Birmingham.
The majority of people recognized Starmer (24 out of 30 in Birmingham and 18 out of 30 in Newcastle), while his colleagues were almost unknown.
Mr. Healey, a 62-year-old Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne in Yorkshire, made headlines when he was named Pubs Minister in Gordon Brown’s cabinet, with the goal of keeping pubs open.
John McManus, 75, a former priest, had a normal perspective. ‘Unfortunately, we lack political heavyweights,’ he said.
‘A lot of people my age are disillusioned with politics and don’t want to engage with politicians who they regard as self-serving and not acting in the best interests of the people,’ said Ollie Heath, a musician from Newcastle.
‘I bet few others recognized members of the Shadow Cabinet,’ said John Brookes, 82, a former Tyneside shipyard worker and union shop steward.