#031 Boris Johnson’s Reckoning

and Starmer‘s Scant Alternative

Opinium Polling (June 2022)
Susanna Reid, from ITV’s Good Morning Britain, questions Boris Johnson about cost of living crisis (2022)
Boris Johnson Yougov Polling (Late Dec 2021)
Yougov Polling (Late Dec 2021)
Yougov and Redfield & Wilton Polling (Up To The End of Dec 2021)
Yougov Polling (April 2020 - March 2022)
Starmer’s Boxing Day Tweet (Dec 2021)
  • First, Labour’s actual election results so far, under Starmer, suggest anything but a ‘government in waiting’. Whereas Johnson’s conservatives lost North Shropshire for the first time in almost two hundred years as the incumbent government, Starmer’s Labour similarly, even as the main opposition, lost Hartlepool constituency for Labour, for the first time in decades, in the same year, winning less than 30% of the vote. Labour has also failed to gain a seat in any of the other by elections since the 2019 elections unlike the liberal democrats. In Batley & Spen Labour narrowly held its seat, with just 35% of the vote. Equally Labour’s local election results in 2021 were poor, losing over 300 councillors and 8 councils across England. Scottish Labour achieved their worst ever performance, winning just 22 MSPs in the Scottish parliament, this *after* helped install his preferred centrist leader in Anas Sarwar, and only in the Welsh parliament did Labour gain 1 seat compared to the conservatives who gained 5. Finally, even in the Labour stronghold of London, in 2021, did Labour lose a seat on the London Assembly. These results together tell a story very distant from the one Keir Starmer wants to tell and suggest many people do in fact not see Starmer’s Labour as a government in waiting.
  • Second, Starmer claims to have transformed the party, which the Independent article supports by writing, “…[Starmer] having completed internal changes to the party rulebook to break the hold of the left…”
    This is patently nonsensical even under Starmer’s own terms - increasing the percentage of MPs required for a future labour leadership hopeful to make the ballot cannot be seriously described as transforming the labour party. This really represented little more than a factional move to make it more difficult for a left candidates to reach the ballot of all labour party members, and far from a positive transformation, this move was in fact an anti democratic move, in keeping with Labour’s frequently anti democratic tendencies, explored here, https://link.medium.com/v1vDHJBommb. One way Starmer is transforming Labour however is around Labour’s finances, which are reportedly nearing bankruptcy as a result of huge losses in members & union donations alongside costly legal capitulations.
  • Third, Starmer claims to have “exposed the failings of Boris Johnson’s administration”. Again this is a struggle to take seriously. Johnson’s administration has been exposed through the media and its own incompetencies, rather than anything the opposition has brought to bear. For instance, it was Johnson’s decision to try to save Owen Patterson from his lobbying punishment that lead to the North Shropshire defeat, and it was the Mirror newspaper that lead on the 2020 Downing Street Christmas parties story. Starmer’s Labour have in fact often supported the government’s poor decision making, throughout the pandemic, and in the rare times they have opposed, it has always been done at the very last moment when it is clear Johnson’s government will U turn imminently. Marcus Rashford, a young footballer, has arguably shown more effective opposition, in shaming the government over free school meals for children.
  • Fourth, in the Independent article Starmer has promoted, it is written Starmer has “appointed an unapologetically centrist shadow cabinet” and that “November’s shadow cabinet reshuffle completed the clear out of Corbynites from his top team, and brought centrist figures like Yvette Cooper and Wes Streeting into key posts.” Alongside this, Starmer leans into the slogan “New Britain”, a clear rehash of the 1990s slogan “New Labour New Britain” and the article also admits, “despite the 10 pledges he made during his leadership election to preserve elements of his predecessor’s agenda, Starmer has made it increasingly clear that he is determined to shift Labour’s direction.” All of this together indicates very clearly Starmer has wholly abandoned the ten progressive leaning pledges he made to become leader and has fully embraced a centrist outlook, wholly lead by the labour right. This U turn indicates that Starmer can not be trusted to stick to anything he says and also speaks to a significant lack of policy, progressive or otherwise, that would improve people lives significantly for the better. There doesn’t seem to be a new agenda at to speak of yet. Potential policies he could have taken forward and developed from his original pledges are explored here, https://link.medium.com/IRvyPFXhhmb.
  • Fifth, Starmer has celebrated the honouring of war criminal former prime minister Tony Blair despite a petition gaining hundreds of thousands of signatures in days to rescind the knighthood. https://labourlist.org/2022/01/he-deserves-the-honour-keir-starmer-welcomes-knighthood-for-tony-blair/
  • Sixth, two of Starmer’s current solid policies, £10 minimum wage now and a temporary suspension of the 5% VAT on energy bills, are both weak and largely insignificant policies all things considered. In April 2022, the minimum wage for 23 year olds and above will be £9.50 per hour anyway, and temporarily suspending the 5% VAT on energy bills is almost irrelevant, relative to the energy increases customers must endure, assuming Johnson’s government does nothing.
Minimum Wage Rates (2021/2022)
  • Finally, the Independent article says, “I think that one thing the public know very well is that the Labour Party is now led by Keir Starmer, not Jeremy Corbyn, and we’re a changed party,” but all this speaks to really is Starmer’s refusal to re-admit Corbyn as a Labour MP following the lifting of his unjustified suspension in late 2020, (more here - https://link.medium.com/b7aTdlbrmmb), which was little more than political opportunism and cynical virtue signalling, to distance himself from Jeremy Corbyn MP. Starmer previously had no problem serving in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, 2015 - 2020, campaigning to make him Prime Minister twice and Keir Starmer even paid tribute to Jeremy Corbyn when he won the leadership in April 2020.
Starmer Pays Tribute to Jeremy Corbyn among others (at 5 minutes and 38 seconds) (April 2020)
David Lammy MP, Shadow Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Secretary Under Starmer (2017)
David Lammy MP, Shadow Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Secretary Under Starmer (2021)
Boris Johnson admits and apologises for attending lockdown party, breaking covid-19 rules of May 2020 (2022)
Opinium Poll (Feb 2022)
Yougov Polling (2020 - 2022)
Conservative Journalist Peter Oborne on Boris Johnson & the Conservative Party (July 2022)

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Exploring and arguing for radical, green & progressive ideas. https://twitter.com/ProgressiveJimi

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