We asked toolmakers what they think of Keir Starmer

In case you hadn’t heard, his dad was a toolmaker.

In clip, after clip, after clip, Keir Starmer, the Labour leader and presumptive next UK prime minister, has been reminding us all about his late father’s career as a toolmaker – distancing his beginnings from the liberal elite and attempting to win back the working-class red wall.

Earlier this month, the incessant repetition generated laughter during the Sky leaders’ event, where Starmer went head-to-head with Rishi Sunak – and where the now-famous five-word phrase was uttered once again.

But forgotten in this conversation, much like their industry itself, have been the toolmakers in question. To get more intel on the current nature of the trade and their opinion on this whole Starmer malarkey, we decided to ask them a few questions.

Mark, 59, Somerset

How long have you been a toolmaker, Mark?

Since leaving school, basically.

What kind of tools do you make?

I make injection mould tools. I also make food packaging tools.

Were you aware that Keir Starmer’s dad was a toolmaker?

I didn’t know that.

He has been repeating it a lot. Do you think this might bring more awareness to your industry?

Right, okay. I don’t know. I am looking at voting for Keir to be fair, just because I’ve lost faith in Sunak. I just think sometimes it’s a bit of a joke, some of the things he comes out with – like being in poverty because he didn’t have Sky TV. He’s never had poverty really, has he?

Do you think Keir Starmer’s dad being a toolmaker will be beneficial for him as prime minister?

If his dad worked like that all his life, he’s obviously heard stories from his dad – maybe he’ll understand the working class a bit better. So I possibly see that as a benefit.

What’s one thing you’d like the public to know about toolmakers?

It’s a bit of a dying trade, I think. But you’ll always need someone to make a part.

Darell, 44, Hampshire

How long have you been working as a tool sharpener, Darell?

24 years.

What sort of tools are you sharpening?

Saw blades and industrial tooling.

Were you aware Keir Starmer’s Dad was a toolmaker?

Only through reading an article the other day online.

Do you think Keir Starmer has brought more awareness to the industry?

Not particularly, no.

What’s one thing you’d like the public to know about toolmaking?

Just to know that you’re there, really. People don’t really think about it. It’s kind of a throwaway industry now. People tend to buy stuff and chuck it away when it’s done and go and buy another one.

Do you think Keir Starmer’s dad is a great example of a toolmaker making a tool?


I take it he doesn’t have your vote?


Who do you plan on voting for?

Reform UK.

Was your dad a toolmaker, Darell?

No, he was a builder.

Simon, 52, Essex

How long have you been a toolmaker, Simon?

Since I was about 20.

What kind of tools do you make?

Injection mould tools.

Did you know Keir Starmer’s dad was a toolmaker?

Yeah, he’s played on it enough, hasn’t he?

Do you think Keir Starmer has brought awareness to your industry?

Most people hear toolmakers and think they’re making hammers and things like that. It’s an industry where we’re few and far between. If he had it would be too little too late.

Was your dad a toolmaker?

My dad was actually a toolmaker, yes.

What’s something you’d like people to know about toolmakers?

I don’t really know. It’s a job that years ago used to be quite respected, but now people don’t like getting their hands dirty.

Does Keir Starmer have your vote?

I don’t really trust any of them at the moment but, no he probably hasn’t got my vote.

Would you say Keir Starmer’s dad is a good example of a toolmaker making a tool?

[Laughs] I have no idea.

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