#024 Starmer’s Labour Is Lost
Radical progressives, twenty-first century democratic socialists and straight up Starmer sceptics, the time has come to leave the Labour Party.
It is no longer an organisation working in our interests, as it was under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn MP, an internationally renowned democratic socialist British politician.
Whereas Jeremy Corbyn was a man of principle, Keir Starmer seems to be merely a man of political calculation and performative patriotism.
The Labour Party’s supposedly ‘broad church’ is narrowing significantly and drifting in a socially authoritarian and economically regressive direction. It is time to accept the party is lost and back under the control of shameful centrists, visionless political weathervanes and bad faith actors. We must face the reality that many well intentioned, decent labour party members were had, were duped - the majority of economically progressive members have, with seemingly good intentions, collectively & democratically elected two centrist-left, liberal, Fabian MPs, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner as Labour party leader & deputy leader respectively.
Sir Keir Starmer, a technocrat who resigned in the 2016 Labour Party coup, to back the now ex-member of parliament, Owen Smith. The very same Sir Keir Starmer who, after Owen Smith’s defeat, went on to serve as Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (2016 – 2020).
Put bluntly, Starmer is not the progressive & radical + competent & electable statesman many labour party members would like him to be.
This has become progressively more clear, the more we see of Starmer’s leadership of the labour party, and can already be demonstrated in a number of significant ways…
Whether this be through Starmer’s incredibly weak opposition to this government‘s handling of the COVID 19 health and economic crisis, often only opposing at the very last minute just as a government u-turn was inevitable, and ignoring, for example, the BBC Panorama episode, ‘Has the Government Failed the NHS?’ which exposed significant revelations,
And this assessment by Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet medical journal.
Or whether it be Starmer’s Labour Party performance in the Hartlepool by election of May 2021, a seat that Corbyn’s Labour held both in 2017 and 2019.
Whether it be Starmer’s decision to scapegoat his deputy, Angela Rayner MP, alongside his up then shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds MP, and move/demote them after the terrible local elections (losing over 300 councillors net) and disastrous Hartlepool by-election results of May 2021, to make way for Rachel Reeves MP to become Shadow Chancellor and despite saying he’d take “full responsibility for the results” only days earlier.
Or whether it be his decision to write in the much despised Sun newspaper despite in his leadership campaign saying he, “…certainly wouldn’t be giving any interviews…”,
Whether it be Starmer’s dishonest u-turns on his ten pledges that he promised labour members to win the leadership, for example on nationalising energy in September 2021.
Starmer’s 2020 Leadership Pledges -https://keirstarmer.com/plans/reformandunite/
Starmer’s 2020 ideas to “reform & unite” Labour
Or whether it be the labour party’s treatment of Jess Barnard, the elected chair of Young Labour, who was given a ‘notice of investigation’, via email, for a series of older 2020 tweets criticising transphobia. When Barnard said she was prepared to take legal action the party backed down and claimed the investigation letter was issued in error. This implies Starmer’s Labour has people in Labour HQ a trawling through Barnard’s past tweets to find anything they can, to use as a as the basis for a factional attack, in the form of an investigation or a suspension or similar against her.
Whether it be the same turn of events inflicted on Kate Osbourne MP, shortly after the Jess Barnard notice of investigation allegedly sent in error, in September 2021.
Or whether it be Starmer’s decision to publish an long essay for the fabian society in September 2021, with a Tony Blair speech writer, to try to set out his vision that he had failed to put forward before hand,
Whether it be Starmer’s Labour party officials genuinely claiming political disagreement is somehow equivalent to racism & bigotry.
Or whether it be Starmer’s treatment of Labour MP Marsha de Cordova and her efforts to set up a task force of experts to design progressive race equality policy, in fear of upsetting red wall voters.
Whether it be Starmer outright ignoring LGBT+ Labour’s calls to remove the whip from Rosie Duffield MP on the basis of her transphobic views and comments, despite two of her staffers quitting because of her views and despite her liking transphobic tweets regularly.
Or whether it be the (ex) chair of Colchester CLP, Richard Hill’s scathing resignation of his role and his labour party membership in August 2021,
Whether it be through Starmer’s decision to reposition the labour party’s policy on renters affected financially by the COVID 19 crisis, essentially in favour of landlords,
and his subsequent straw manning of a Labour member who called into this LBC show to ask about the labour policy changing from suspension to deferral, and how that would impact him were he to lose his job as result of the Covid 19 crisis (to which Starmer misrepresented as the labour member asking for all rents to be suspended “full stop”).
Or whether it be Starmer’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, formally shadow housing secretary, Thangam Debbonaire once again, ditching Starmer’s 2020 pledge for free social care from early 2020, in his leadership campaign, 16 months later in June 2021.
Whether it be Starmer’s Labour quietly re-admitting Trevor Philips from his administrative suspension for islamophobia without so much as an apology and without the case going to a National Executive Committee disciplinary panel.
“…Phillips, who is a member in Keir Starmer’s constituency and currently hosts the Sky News weekly politics show on Sunday mornings, was suspended from the party last year pending investigation of Islamophobia claims made against him.
He had reportedly raised the possibility that Muslims “see the world differently to the rest of us”, and said people should not be “continuously pretending that a group is somehow eventually going to become like the rest of us…”
Or whether it be through Starmer’s rejection of basic income, a policy that could crucially empower labour in relation to capital, and represents a vital first step in decoupling work from income, https://labourlist.org/2020/04/labour-rejects-idea-of-universal-basic-income-during-covid-19-crisis/.
A policy even the liberal democratic party have now adopted - https://www.libdems.org.uk/a20-ubi.
Whether it be Starmer’s little known membership of the Trilateral Commission, a global organisation dating back to the 1970s which is known for arguing in their view many of the problems of governance stem from ‘an excess of democracy’.
Or whether it be Starmer’s Feb 2021 policy vision of British Recovery Bonds, a seemingly neo-thatcherite policy that could only benefit those with money and possibly boost inequality.
Whether it be Starmer’s anti-democratic call for Boris Johnson to simply refuse the Scottish people a second independence referendum in 2021, despite happily advocating a second EU referendum previously,
Or whether it be Starmer’s decision not to call for Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, to resign after being found to have acted unlawfully by the High Court.
Matt Hancock 'acted unlawfully' by failing to publish Covid contract details
Coronavirus infections are falling across the UK, while the R rate of transmission is also below one in every region of…
Whether it be Starmer and his team criticising government ‘incompetence’ in dealing with migrants arriving by dinghy, rather than morally defending their right to claim asylum in Britain, protected by the UN refugee convention, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/keir-starmer-channel-crossings-labour-revolt-refugees-migrants-a9682061.html.
Or whether it be Starmer’s decision to refuse to back increasing corporation tax, in the budget of 2021.
Labour, at the same time, originally had a policy of supporting a freeze in the personal income tax allowance, but later performed a U turn and decided to oppose this.
Whether it be Starmer’s refusal to pay any attention to the national teaching union (the NEU), in 2020 and early 2021, and shamelessly putting politics before health by putting out irresponsible tweets like the below, ignoring the fact school staff being vaccinated would not stop the spread of the strains of the covid virus spreading amongst children at school and then being taken back to older, more vulnerable relatives.
Or whether it be Starmer’s capitulation to millionaire donor demands, in January 2021, to push Richard Leonard to resign as leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
Whether it be Starmer’s lobbying for Dame Margaret Beckett to be Chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), going against protocol and provoking factional division on the body. Beckett later abused Laura Pidcock, elected NEC member, labelling her a “silly cow” in the week of International Women’s Day.
Or whether it be Labour’s original position to abstain on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which dramatically increases police powers to crack down on peaceful demonstrations, before u turning at the last minute.
Whether it be Starmer’s decision to visit and promote Jesus House UK, a homophobic church that has a history of supporting conversation therapy and general intolerance towards LGBT+ people,
And his subsequent decision not to discipline the labour MP Stephen Timms, an MP who has claimed marriage was about procreation in the past and even tweeted this the day *after* Starmer’s public apology.
Or whether it be the clear stitching up of candidates for the Hartlepool By-election, through a ‘long list of one’, parachuting in Paul Williams, despite Starmer making the pledge for “selections…to be more democratic” in his leadership election.
Paul Williams, is also known as both a “Saudi apologist” and a “hospital hypocrite”.
Whether it be Starmer’s performative patriotism, for instance, making PR videos showing him flying short haul to Scotland from London, on British Airways, despite his climate justice pledge.
Or whether it be his decision not to sign a cross party letter in parliament demanding accountability for Johnson’s consistent failure to be honest with the facts, or to correct wrong information at the earliest opportunity when misleading information is given.
Whether it be his sacking of Rebecca Long Bailey MP, in June 2020, from the shadow front bench, for simply tweeting a link to the Independent newspaper article containing an interview with actress Maxine Peake, https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/maxine-peake-interview-labour-corbyn-keir-starmer-black-lives-matter-a9583206.html.
Starmer claimed the article contained an “anti-semitic conspiracy theory”, regarding U.S. police learning the tactic of ‘neck kneeling’, which killed George Floyd, from Israel, this was not true. Whilst Peake’s claim may be inaccurate, as she herself conceded on the same day, it was in no way anti-semitic, criticism of Israel here in no way constituted anti-semitism.
Clearly what this really was, was a factional, political move from Starmer, under the guise of anti-racism, to attack & undermine the labour left and appear strong on tackling anti-semitism, in the public eye, despite this not actually being a case of antisemitism at all. Starmer, as already mentioned, went on the advocate and promote a homophobic church, Jesus House in Brent, yet unsurprisingly didn’t subject himself to the same punishment as Long Bailey and resign.
Notably, Starmer went on to appoint Fabian MP Kate Green, who also resigned in 2016 as part of the coup against elected leader Corbyn, then went on to chair Owen Smith’s failed leadership challenge (along with Lisa Nandy & Heidi Alexander) to Rebecca Long Bailey’s old position as Shadow Secretary of State for Education.
Kate Green MP has gone on to become known for her refusal to defend the teacher’s union (NEU) when it came to closing the schools in late 2020 and very early 2021, on the 4th January 2021, despite the science on the topic, she even called for schools to remain open, literally the day the government later closed all schools until February half term.
Moreover, Nia Griffith MP, the Shadow Secretary for Wales under Starmer, ludicrously went even further and said essentially if you don’t agree Maxine Peake was guilty of antisemitism and therefore you don’t agree RLB should have been sacked for sharing her interview…you yourself are an antisemite…
And of course when Steve Reed MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, tweeted, “Is billionaire former porn-baron Desmond the puppet master for the entire Tory cabinet?” about Richard Desmond a tory supporting Jewish businessman, no action was taken from Starmer, once again highlighting how sacking Long-Bailey was a political move rather than one based on genuine zero tolerance to antisemitism.
Or whether it be Keir Starmer clearly lying at the despatch box in the house of commons during Prime Minister’s Questions, bringing into question his trustworthiness generally.
(It should be noted in this case, not only was Keir Starmer wrong here, the premise of Boris Johnson’s question, that being in the EU regulatory framework would have prevented Britain from rolling out its vaccine programme as quickly as we have done, was also false)
Whether it be through the Labour Party’s decision, under Starmer’s leadership, to apologise and settle (pay off) those (former labour staffers) featured in the BBC’s Panorama episode ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ , alongside the journalist behind the clearly flawed polemic, John Ware.
“It is easier to make sense of this decision on political rather than strictly legal grounds. Current Labour Party leader Keir Starmer may have wanted to avoid further controversy on a topic that dogged his predecessor - or he may have wished to curry favour with Labour’s anti-Corbyn faction, from which the party staffers on whom Panorama relied were drawn.”
Or whether it be through Starmer’s general sidelining, demoting or sacking of many prominent progressives & democratic socialists from senior positions in the party, shadow cabinet members or shadow ministers, whilst at the same time inviting questionable or discredited figures from the labour right, including Wes Streeting, Jess Philips, Liz Kendall and even Rachel Reeves, someone who once pledged to out tory the tories when it comes to benefits claimants, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/12/labour-benefits-tories-labour-rachel-reeves-welfare, to the front bench, https://labourlist.org/2020/04/shadow-ministers-appointed-as-starmer-completes-frontbench/.
Whether it be Starmer’s unnecessary attack on Corbyn and his past supporters at 2020 Labour conference to try to put clear water between his leadership and what went before, claiming Labour “deserved” to lose under Corbyn,
Or whether it be through labelling the Black Lives Matter movement, as merely a moment, and having “no truck” with anything the organisation BLM say, which he dismissed as nonsense.
Whether it be Starmer’s Labour’s volte face on EU exit, as brilliantly explained by Aaron Bastani, co-founder of Novara Media, https://novaramedia.com/2020/09/16/labour-mps-now-accept-brexit-because-jeremy-corbyn-is-no-longer-their-leader/.
Or whether it be Labour’s condemnation, under Starmer, of Extinction Rebellion’s direct action to blockade News Corps Printwork, https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2020/09/04/breaking-extinction-rebellion-blocks-news-corps-printworks-and-demands-they-free-the-truth/.
Whether it be Keir Starmer’s courting of rich donors to fund the Labour Party, rather than focusing on growing the labour party membership or increasing trade union funding or both.
Starmer even wrote to Blair-era donor David Abrahams for cash, a man condemned by Muslim groups as Islamophobic, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/dec/01/keir-starmer-urged-to-return-donations-from-islamophobic-property-developer.
Or whether it be his disciplining of Labour MPs over criticism of Israel, specifically the idea the UK should ban products from illegal Israeli settlements, with the view to look good to UK based jewish groups, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/keir-starmer-labour-antisemitism-criticism-israel-kinnock.
Whether it be Starmer’s attempt to change Labour Party rules in September 2021 in an anti democratic direction, empowering labour MPs and disempowering labour members and affiliates.
Or whether it be the corruption of Starmer’s allies, who were fined by the electoral commission for multiple breaches of electoral law.
Whether it be his response to the toppling of notorious slave trader Edward Colston through trying to appeal to those who value law & order, saying its removal was “completely wrong” but that it should have been taken down long ago, despite the fact people had campaigned for its legal removal for years before, to no avail, https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/its-disgrace-thousands-call-removal-4195886.
Or whether it be through his holding up of someone like the disgraced racist & former BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson, saying he would consider voting Labour, as a sign the Labour Party “has changed” for the better, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-clarkson-labour-keir-starmer-boris-johnson-a9603331.html.
Whether it be Starmer’s hiring then subsequent screeching U-turn of the hiring of Nita Clarke to ‘fix labour’s internal culture’, when people online brought her questionable twitter history to the fore.
Or whether it be his failure to call for Robert Jenrick MP’s resignation as a result of the ‘cash for access’ scandal.
Whether it be Starmer’s leadership losing trust on Islamophobia, within the Labour Party,
“The survey of 422 Labour Muslim members and supporters is the latest sign suggesting that Sir Keir Starmer’s new leadership is losing the trust of the party’s members from minority groups.”
Or whether it be through his questionable leadership campaign funding sources from early 2020,
Whether it be Starmer’s allies on the NEC proscribing four organisations and having anyone associated instantly removed from the Labour Party, despite at least ten members of the NEC opposing the move.
Or whether it be the filmmaker Ken Loach’s subsequent removal for his support of ‘Labour Against the Witchhunt one of the organisations proscribed.
Whether it be Starmer’s choice for General Secretary of the Labour Party, David Evans, a person who wrote “A New Labour Party” report which read,
“representative democracy should as far as possible be abolished in the party”
Evans then wasted no time policing what can and can not be debated, at constituency level, in the labour party.
Or whether it be Starmer’s decision to get rid of the community organising unit, introduced under Corbyn.
And the Labour Party’s decision, under Starmer, to hypocritically ‘fire and rehire’ party staff whilst claiming to be against the practice publicly.
Whether it be Starmer’s new General Secretary David Evans deciding to suspend then throw out the three candidates who were on the Liverpool Labour Party mayoral candidate shortlist then reopen the race to approve two fresh new candidates, for no reason other that to factionally stitch up the process.
Councillor Anna Rothery is even taking legal action for this clear injustice,
“…Rothery was barred from running to be the city mayor two weeks ago when the Labour party suddenly had a change of heart about all three women it had originally selected. The party has consistently refused to reveal why she was removed from the shortlist, along with two of Anderson’s former deputies, Ann O’Byrne, and current acting mayor, Wendy Simon…”
Or whether it be Starmer’s conference speech in 2021 where he came up with the slogan “shouting slogans or changing lives” to rebuke hecklers on the conference floor. The irony being of course, not only does Starmer frequently repeat slogans, such as ‘Stronger Together, “New Britain”, “Boris Johnson is a leader who over-promises and under-delivers” or “one rule for them, another rule for everyone else”, but Starmer’s rebuttal to the hecklers was itself a slogan…
Whether it be Starmer’s falling approval poll ratings from mid 2020 onwards.
Or whether it be Starmer’s decision to whip labour party MPs to abstain both second and third reading of the ‘Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill’, a bill Amnesty International has described as “a licence for government agencies to authorise torture and murder” to which several MPs rebelled including Richard Burgon MP, Dan Carden MP & Margaret Greenwood MP, the latter two both resigning their shadow front bench positions to do so.
Whether it be Labour’s decision, under Keir Starmer’s leadership, to issue two former labour staff workers with confidentiality agreements after making harassment complaints about a senior labour official, to keep it quiet in 2020, later revealed in April 2022.
Or whether it be Starmer’s decision to enlist the help and advice of former spin doctor, the man dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” Peter Mandelson. A man who was twice forced to resign from the Cabinet in disgrace, when he was a Labour MP, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/starmer-calls-in-mandelson-to-inject-a-dose-of-new-labours-winning-mentality-wr0w25jpb.
Peter Mandelson is on record for saying he wanted the parliamentary left to become, “a sealed tomb” in times gone by, and for, more recently, saying he worked every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and “save the Labour party from his leadership”.
Whether it be Starmer’s assertion in 2022 that “Israel is not an apartheid state” despite Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and Amnesty International all independently concluding it was, or even his assertion this view was somehow “not the labour party position”, despite the Labour Party’s 2021 conference, on day 3, overwhelmingly passing a motion, stating that,
“Israel is practising the crime of apartheid as defined by the UN.”.
Additionally, the day this was passed, day 3, conference footage, has mysteriously disappeared from the Labour Party’s official youtube page…
Or whether it be the official Labour party twitter account, in April 2022, tweeting out a Sun newspaper article, calling for stricter police action on environmental protesters.
Starmer even whipped his MPs to vote FOR Boris Johnson EU Exit Trade & Security deal before it was even released, despite his past six tests, despite his past support for a new referendum where Labour supports remain and despite him labelling he deal “thin” and lacking in “adequate protections”.
Overall then it seems likely Keir Starmer will abandon pledges and policy promises he made in order to become Labour Party leader, and this has seemingly already begun judging by his decision to review Labour’s 2030 net zero climate target despite claiming in his leadership campaign,
“to put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything…there is no issue more important…than the climate emergency”, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/keir-starmer-net-zero-target-2030-labour-climate-change-a9586971.html,
or his decision to prioritise growth over increases on wealth or capital gains taxes, https://leftfootforward.org/2020/07/starmer-refuses-to-back-tax-rises-on-the-rich-to-pay-for-covid-response/.
Keir Starmer has worked hard to assert total control over the labour party’s power bases. He now effectively has the leadership, the deputy leadership, a supportive majority on the Labour Party’s NEC and his favoured choice as General Secretary in place. His labour party is now unequivocally a centrist-left lead political party and he even has the support of Tony Blair.
Moreover David Evans, Keir Starmer’s choice for General Secretary, even took the decision to suspend the previous leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn in late October 2020, without seeking any involvement of the NEC, based on Corbyn’s public statement, simply outlining his views, following the publication of the ‘Equality and Human Rights Commission’ (EHRC) report into the Labour Party (presented in full below). Again this is clearly a notable political move to attack and undermine the left and the wider progressive movement, flying in the face of Starmer’s original leadership campaign claim to seek to bring unity to the Labour Party.
Starmer even went on to misrepresent Corbyn’s statement, in an interview he did the same day to the media, by implying Corbyn was somehow denying antisemitism “through the suggestion it was exaggerated or factional”.
The statement by Corbyn above, the basis of Corbyn’s suspension, clearly does not deny antisemitism and it is perfectly possible (and true) for antisemitism to exist in the labour party, as Corbyn acknowledged, but for it also to have been dramatically overstated for political reasons under Corbyn’s leadership of the party.
Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the labour party even claimed, on BBC Newsnight, that whilst Corbyn’s post EHRC statement, the basis of his suspension, “might be true”, it’s somehow unacceptable for him to say so…
She later even explicitly undermined the independence of Labour’s disciplinary system,
Following on from this, an NEC panel decided independently to re-admit Jeremy Corbyn MP as a labour member, https://labourlist.org/2020/11/labour-party-readmits-jeremy-corbyn/, Starmer decided to refuse to restore the labour whip anyway, ignoring a number of rules in the process, https://labourlist.org/2020/11/starmer-announces-decision-not-to-restore-whip-to-corbyn/, creating the absurd situation where Jeremy Corbyn can no longer call himself a Labour MP, despite being re-admitted as a labour member, his disciplinary case ending and his suspension having been lifted.
This was later exposed by ex general secretary of Unite the union, Len McCluskey, revealing both that Starmer was behind Corbyn’s original suspension, constituting political interference in what should be an independent process, and that he also failed to keep to his word in fear of Margaret Hodge resigning and looking to have climbed down,
Fourteen members of Labour’s NEC responded publicly, https://www.union-news.co.uk/labours-trade-union-reps-seek-confirmation-that-evans-is-to-admonish-starmer-over-corbyn/, and when the (unelected) Labour Party General Secretary David Evans sent an authoritarian edict banning anyone in the labour party even talking about the issue, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/keir-starmer-suspend-whip-jeremy-corbyn-labour-nec-walkout-b1760936.html, many grassroots constituency labour party members, chairs and secretaries responded, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/14-members-clp-quit-protest-labours-crackdown-free-speech#.X9IdeBcpJKM.twitter and https://labourlist.org/2020/12/your-guidance-puts-us-in-firing-line-175-local-chairs-and-secretaries-tell-evans/, continuing the unending civil war.
Starmer, after removing the whip from Jeremy Corbyn MP, later chose to welcome the defecting conservative, Bury South MP, Christian Wakeford. Wakeford, who won the seat very narrowly in 2019, is on record saying the comments below.
These moves prove conclusively, the entire thing, when it came toJeremy Corbyn, was political, designed to undermine the left of the labour party, as oppose to a decision based around genuine, natural justice or anti-racism, and has resulted in a more divided political party at loggerheads with itself, again undermining Starmer’s claim, when running for the leadership, to forge party unity. https://www.counterfire.org/articles/opinion/21904-labour-what-is-behind-starmer-s-war-on-the-left. It serves as probably the best example here as to why the Labour Party under Starmer’s leadership should no longer be the home of genuine progressives, democrats, socialists and people generally who value due process and natural justice, and do not have time to engage in toxic, factional internal warfare.
If we look at cases such as Bristol West constituency labour party, and now Streatham constituency labour party, it is clear Starmer’s unelected pick for general secretary, David Evans, is cracking down on grassroots democracy further by instructing labour regions to control constituency annual general meetings (AGMs) where positions are elected, clearly with the clear objective being to effectively rig the processes to try to produce outcomes more favourable to the labour right…
Finally, and maybe most crucially, in 2022 Keir Starmer, the leader of the labour party, the party that once stood for organised labour, even went so far as to turn is back on organised labour itself, banning front benchers and parliamentary private secretaries from attending picket lines in the June strikes. This was particularly dishonest and dishonourable given Starmer’s leadership pledges.
It is clear then, with regard to the numerous decisions made by the new labour leadership outlined here, radical progressives, democratic socialists and straight up Starmer sceptics should now leave the labour party, and build a new home in the Green Party of England & Wales, a ‘third party’ with credible leaders, clear, radical & progressive policies, a democratic, grassroots structure, where members make policy directly, and a history of forward thinking on a variety of social, economic and of course environmental issues, revealed through their three most recent manifestos, 2015, 2017 & 2019, https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/Elections/Green%20Party%20Manifesto%202019.pdf.
Outside of the Labour Party we can strongly criticise labour decisions, in a clear, healthy and consistent way, and build upon our own policies, aims and aspirations, free of the distraction of fighting an unending civil war against the pernicious labour right.
Over time we can grow in strength and number, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jun/08/green-party-sian-berry-jonathan-bartley-to-stand-again, as has happened in many other countries, and in turn pressure the Labour Party (and other minor parties) to move in our direction and adopt our policies. We, as a collective, will be crucial to any victory over the regressive forces in British society in the future, going forward in this way will mean our voices will also become unshackled from the ever draining labour party bureaucracy.
Some left wing publications and commentators argue the opposite, they argue we should stay inside (or join) the Labour Party to ‘rebuild the left’ and similar, because there is no other choice they claim, in a First Past the Post electoral system. We must respect this position even if we disagree with it, however it does beg the question, how far does this go? or to put another way, how bad does the labour party have to get before progressives and democratic socialists leave the party? Will they perpetually argue change must come from within, no matter how bad or unjust, it gets? The New Labour and the Ed Miliband eras (1994 - 2015) offers us clues here….
This said, despite our considerable differences with Starmer’s Labour outlined here, and despite Starmer disgracefully waging war on the progressive movement throughout his first year as leader, we should still be willing to co-operate with them, from outside of the party, if we’re serious about dethroning the depraved conservatives under Johnson (https://link.medium.com/s13fOUUZ3bb), just as we should with the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Plaid Cymru, assuming these parties meet our minimum policy demands, show a basic morality and can be trusted to stick to policy agreements.
The Labour party in power will likely be preferable to the conservative party in power even if Starmer’s labour party, inevitably falls short in the many ways outlined above and more. It is up to us, as the progressive movement from outside the party, to pressure them to move in positive directions and to win firm progressive policy agreements in exchange for support or co-operation.
This collaboration could for instance be on the basis of an agreement where they agree to adopt and implement five key policies, should they form a government, in return for the Green Party not standing candidates in certain constituency seats held by the Labour Party for instance, but this would have to be determined at both at local and at national level and agreed by individual parties alongside the membership as a whole.
Moreover, this is not a new idea, for example in the 2017 general election, which ended in a hung parliament, in the constituency of Ealing Central and Action, the Green Party decided, at a local level in this case, not to stand a candidate on the basis of three clear public commitments, which in turn helped Rupa Huq MP, in 2017, shore up her vote from a narrow win in 2015, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/green-party-pulls-general-election-seat-ealing-help-labour-beat-tories-rupa-huq-a7701081.html
Five progressive policies and firm commitments we could ask the Labour Party to adopt then, as a radical, progressive & green movement, are,
The Green Party leadership is already well underway demanding progressive policies now, for example - https://metro.co.uk/2020/10/15/londoners-should-be-paid-a-universal-basic-income-if-circuit-breaker-comes-in-13430538/
Equally, if the Labour Party refuse to listen & cooperate, refuse to take up any of our progressive policies or support policies that are morally indefensible or prove themselves to be wholly untrustworthy at keeping to agreements made, we should not hesitate in distancing ourselves from them, standing against them in elections and urging people to reject and boycott them whilst continuing to build on our campaigns and our movement more generally.
Starmer’s Labour, often seem more interested in finding pretexts for kicking out progressive representatives in the labour party, as we have touched upon, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/f65df626-ca53-11ec-b4b6-e30a321b8cd3?shareToken=798c18c193fa34c02b7b0bcf57a881c6.
But we can look to other countries in Europe to show us the way, for instance Spain, in late 2019, went as far as a national coalition government being established consisting of both the social democratic Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and relatively young and progressive Unidas Podemos party. Alliances should be based along preventing the conservative party, and their regressive allies, winning seats under first past the post.
Now Jeremy Corbyn, like Tony Benn before him, was an inspiring individual in many ways, he defeated the government more times than Margaret Thatcher managed to, as opposition leader in the late 1970s, he saw off David Cameron and Theresa May as tory leaders, he brought anti-austerity, non-neoliberal, progressive politics back into the mainstream, with the help of the people’s assembly before him, (https://link.medium.com/lfx5z1lTZ5) and he helped build the largest political party in Europe which served as a catalyst and vehicle for the progressive movement which had been disillusioned by New Labour & Miliband era Labour alongside the Liberal Democrats entering coalition with the conservatives in 2010 and reneging on their tuition fees pledge most memorably. It’s been great to see many people from different political perspectives praise his contribution to British politics, some of which are featured below,
However he made significant mistakes, particularly around Labour’s positions on brexit, open MP selections (internal party democracy), party discipline and in the 2019 snap election campaign.
Alongside some of his own Labour MPs often undermining him, from his election in 2015, throughout the 2016 ‘coup’ and throughout into 2019 with some MPs even breaking away to join other centrist parties, including the short lived The Independent Group for Change AKA Change UK and the Lib Dems.
Alongside a small group of experienced labour party staff members sabotaging from the inside, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/i-saw-inside-how-labour-staff-worked-prevent-labour-government/.
And alongside significant establishment media distortions & vilification, https://www.lboro.ac.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2019/december/press-hostility-to-labour-reaches-new-levels/, Corbyn struggled as leader of the labour party, the main opposition party.
Ultimately though there was never really such a thing as ‘Corbynism’, ‘Corbynites’ or a ‘Corbyn Cult’, all that really mattered were the ideas, the policies and the vision. The support for progressive policies is strong both within the Labour Party, https://labourlist.org/2020/04/exclusive-labour-members-still-favour-radical-corbynite-policies-poll-finds/, and in the broader country, https://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/bmg-independent-labour-policies-popular-but-many-want-change-in-direction/.
The way in which we popularise and argue for policies on their practical merits, as well as their ethical value, remains vital. These policies must be built upon, in a place and organisation with a history of pioneering new ideas.
Realpolitik and recent British political history tells us that a Starmer lead centrist-left labour party will be more likely to co-operate with the anti tory ‘third’ parties (Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and us in a strengthened Green Party) across Great Britain, in order to achieve a majority or coalition government. Splitting the anti-tory vote under FPTP is a bad idea in practice but the practical danger it poses for the Labour Party, can be leveraged to encourage Starmer’s Labour party to co-operate with us before the next election in an informal, policy lead way.
If the Green Party was significantly bolstered, with genuine radical progressive, green members, supporters & potential voters, there would be a much stronger incentive for the Labour Party, for the centrist Liberal Democrat party and for the localised nationalist parties, to work with us informally, to take our ideas and policies seriously and to co-ordinate across the country to win overall power, end tory rule and bring in a fair voting system, eliminating the need for tactical voting in the future, freeing up people, & parties to campaign for what they believe in and allowing voters to vote for the party closest to the principles they think hold value.
Equally an independent, grassroots, campaigning organisation, such as Compass for instance (https://www.compassonline.org.uk/) outside of the main political parties, could work to organise people and focus on clear, policy demands from Starmer’s Labour (https://link.medium.com/7rtyR2YUFcb) which if met would mean the organisation endorses a vote and support for the Labour Party, and if ignored could endorse a vote for a third party that meets the policy demands.
In other countries, such as New Zealand, albeit it under proportional voting systems, this happens already, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/31/new-zealand-greens-accept-arderns-offer-of-cooperation-agreement.
Signs of MPs in the UK recognising the need for this co-operation are also already starting to show -
“…None of the progressive traditions they hailed from had a monopoly on wisdom. Instead we as the labour-movement built alliances, learned from others and in so doing built a consensus across trade unions, civil society and the public at large.
That is what we must do again. This is not the time for Labourism. It wasn’t before the crisis and it most certainly isn’t now. Time for all progressives, whether in the Labour Party, Green Party, Liberal Democrats, National Parties and beyond to reach out in alliance and grab this once in a lifetime opportunity. Only then can we match the scale and complexity of the challenges we face…”
(Clive Lewis, Labour MP)
“…Moran said she was willing to work with Starmer’s Labour Party, telling Business Insider that the Conservatives would win the next general election unless there was a “putting down of the swords between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.”
She said: “We need to take a cold, hard look at the First Past The Post system. Despite the fact that the Lib Dems won more votes than all the other small parties combined at the last election, we won 11 seats and they won 71…”
(Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP)
“Starmer’s election also gives us an opportunity to start a conversation with Labour about how we can achieve our shared goals of ousting the Tories at the next election. The idea that Labour can do it by themselves is plainly ridiculous - whether they are mature enough to see that only time will tell.”
(Alex Phillips, Green Party Councillor & Former MEP)
Even ex (liberal) conservative MPs are starting to warm to this view,
“I urge you instead to build a “progressive alliance” of parties which reaches beyond the nostrums of two-party politics and makes the case for a radically different system that confronts the problems experienced by voters and ensures that the full range of their political views is accurately reflected in the House of Commons.”
(Stephen Dorrell, Former Conservative MP, Liberal Democrat politician and former secretary of state for health)
In conclusion then, as green progressives, however objectionable, even shameful, the catastrophe of the Labour party is, under FPTP, we all must co-operate with his party if we hope to get the tories out of office, whether we’re within the toxic labour party or outside of it. We should also co-operate with the the SNP, the Lib Dems & Plaid Cymru where appropriate to work toward this end.
…and this is before we even get into the ‘Forde Inquiry’ -
Oliver Eagleton, in 2022, released a book which sums up “The Starmer Project” succinctly.
Finally, the 2022 endorsement of Keir Starmer by known war criminal & pariah Tony Blair, should shame all current labour members, supporters and voters.
Labour is Truly Lost.