Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer: “I don’t think there is a case for re-joining the EU…that is not realistic”
On Sunday 10th January, Keir Starmer turned his back on a large group of people that voted for him in the leadership elections. Remain-backing Labour members all over the country will be upset by the news that Labour will not be campaigning for the UK to re-join the EU or for the return of freedom of movement. Whilst I agree with Starmer that it is unrealistic to push these two issues too soon, it just shows that he is all the more willing to break the pledges he made to get elected. Corbyn’s Brexit policy was overtaken by the FBPE crowd, and alongside other factors, was a reason Labour lost the 2019 election so badly. In fact, the argument for another referendum did further damage to his reputation, along with anti-semitism, and made him the most vilified politician in Europe. A success for them, turning the only morally sound British politician in decades into public enemy number one.
The fact that Starmer is willing to sacrifice the young, progressive guardian-reading bloc is just proof that he is like the hollow politicians that came before him. Politicians that signed up for nice capitalism, minimal change, and the illusion of social responsibility. The same politically empty politicians people still have no faith in.
Starmer’s leadership campaign first video flexed his union credibility, his human-rights work, and showed that he looked like a more competent version of Corbyn. Many members brought into this ‘management with socialist credentials’ look. He looks like a Prime Minister, he can give a speech and, if that wasn’t enough, he made 10 pledges to keep the semi-radical agenda Corbyn had been voted in on. That, along with his pro-EU credentials, the leadership was a shoe in. Now that he has it, he can do what he likes.
Within months of getting elected, Starmer turned on the left of the party. Removing Rebecca Long-Bailey as Shadow Education secretary, suspending Corbyn from the party and, even after he having been found not guilty by the NEC, he refused to restore the whip to him. This, along with his campaign to be a ‘constructive opposition’, Starmer turned Labour into what it had always been prior to Corbyn, a ‘bourgeois workers’ party’. With a lack of opposition, he has let the Tories get away with irresponsible management of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths. There is ‘opposition for opposition’s sake‘, and there is opposition for the sake of the country. Starmer chose neither. Mr Abstain comes to mind
Furthermore, he also failed to support the National Education Union when they were asking for school closures during the Christmas break. When asked by Andrew Marr this morning if he would apologise for not supporting the union, Starmer sidestepped the issue and said that we all owe them an apology. So much for taking responsibility like he said he would during the leadership elections.
“To the trade unions, to teachers, to staff, who worked hard over Christmas to try and get schools back up and running, I think we all owe them an apology,” says Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.
With all this, Starmer has started to make a noise against Johnson. Yet, the Get Britain Vaccinated campaign with its red union jack will fool no one. Nationalism has never been Labour forte. Support of other unions, in the form of meaningless tweets, is also a hollow gesture to the working classes.
Many on the left warned Starmer voters that he was a fake, but without a credible alternative or argument, they were no match for Starmer’s pre-planned campaign. Now the left finds themselves in a weakened position with thousands of sympathetic left leaning members leaving the party. Starmer knows that all of them, with little other choice, will vote Labour in the next elections, or at worst abstain. Due to our electoral system, he is right. That is unless the former Labour voters turned Boris supporters stay blue. Starmer can neither rely on their votes, nor the votes of the young, BAME communities and, now, Remainers. Remember Keir, people may just not vote if there is not a credible alternative.
That said, Momentum is fighting back. Training councillors and working with unions, the pro-Corbyn movement is doing what it should have been doing all along, getting socialists into positions of power in the Labour Party. The only way that this can be done is if left-wing members stay and vote on such occasions. We need to push the party as far left as possible.
Whilst this might seem like a waste of time to some, it is a good way to hold the party to account from the inside and show the public that Starmer and his ilk for what they are: imposters. But that is not enough, the left also needs to work with groups on the outside, so that if a Labour government does come to power, it will be held to account just as we hold the Tories to account.
Centrist dad types will argue that any Labour government is better than a Tory government. But we must remember, it was a Labour government that supported the British Empire, brought in tuition fees, marketized the NHS, pushed for more deregulated global markets, brought in PFI and invaded Iraq with George Bush.
Keir Starmer is just one of a long list of politicians that wants to rebuild the status quo. Something that will not address growing inequality, automation, climate change, the loss of public wealth and the problem of an aging population. Only radical change can answer these issues, if Left does not offer an alternative, then the reactionary nationalists will.
To sum up, using the words of Lenin, we should support the Labour Party like a ‘rope supports a hanged man’. It’s called a class struggle for a reason.