Tony Greenstein | 07 May 2022 | Post Views:

Local Election Results Confirm the Failure of Starmer’s New Labour Project

As Starmer faces a Police Investigation one thing is clear – Labour will never again form a majority government
Blair’s poisoned chalice to Starmer

Despite all the bluster by Starmer’s sycophants that everything is fine, it is clear that Labour is headed for the buffers.

Despite marginal advances in the Wales, the South and Scotland, Labour’s performance is little better today than 4 years ago under Jeremy Corbyn. If you remember back then Corbyn was under fierce attack because of the fake anti-Semitism campaign.

Indeed the jewel in Labour’s triumph in the South, the capture of Worthing Council was due to a campaigning left-wing Labour Party, including Palestinian supporters on the Council, having mounted a campaign to dislodge an entrenched Tory Party, one of whose members, Tim Wills, was forced to resign after revelations that he was a supporter of the far-Right Patriotic Alternative.

In Hastings Labour lost control thanks to the efforts of Starmer. Councillor Leah Levane, co-chair of Jewish Voice for Labour, was expelled during the 2019 Labour Party conference. The late Mike Howard, a Jewish former councillor, was also disgracefully suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’.

London where 3 Councils – Barnet, Westminster and Wandsworth – were gained by Labour – is the exception. Why?  Because Labour politics were radicalised under the Greater London Council under Ken Livingstone becoming a major centre of opposition to Thatcher in the 1980s and when Livingstone twice won the mayoralty after Tony Blair fixed the Labour nomination in favour of the late Frank Dobson.

But perhaps the most brilliant result of all was in the elections for the Mayor of Tower Hamlets where Aspire candidate Lutfur Rahman beat the incumbent Blairite, the anti-Palestinian racist John Biggs. Lutfur was removed in what I called in a letter to the Guardian in April 2015 a ‘ ‘Democratic’ Coup by an Unelected Judge’.

Guardian 10.6.15.

Starmer may take comfort by the fact that Labour overtook the Tories in Scotland but anyone with any memory will remember how, under Thatcher, Labour had over 50 seats in Scotland. Today they have just one. They will gained less seats than the SNP.

In England Labour gained just 52 seats (at the time of writing) compared to 113 for the Green Party and 191 for the Lib Dems! In the North Labour fell back even further with the first results in  Sunderland showing a swing against Labour.

However much Labour’s stuffed dummy of a leader may talk these results up they clearly point to another victory of the Tories at the next general election.

All that the Tories need to do, and it is odds on that they will do it, is to plunge a dagger in Johnson’s back. With a new leader and a weak Opposition, whoever is the leader, the Tories will regain their lead.

It is not just that Starmer has all the charisma of a rubber duck, the personality of his waxworks model at Mme Tussauds and the presence of a shadow. The real problem is that he has nothing to say. For all the accusations that Johnson is a liar, which is of course, true, it is Starmer who is the real liar.

I defy anyone to explain how the 10 Pledges that Starmer used to get elected as Labour leader are compatible with the positions he has taken since. Take Pledge 4

‘No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.’

Is this the same man who is threatening to deselect any Labour MP who supports Stop the War Coalition and who doesn’t support NATO?

Whereas Blair came to power on a series of pledges such as a minimum wage and cutting hospital waiting lists, Starmer has nothing to offer except the Union Jack.  He is a blank page whose only promise, to rid Labour of ‘anti-Semitism’ has resulted in Jewish Labour Party members being five times more likely to be expelled than non-Jews!  You couldn’t make it up.

Starmer has demonstrated over Ukraine that he is a narrow minded, pound shop patriot, a cheap John Bull who, everytime he opens his mouth, reminds me of Samuel Johnson’s observation that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’. A cheapnationalist who prefers flag waving to renationalisation of rail and the utilities. His support of the State of Israel which the entire human rights community have accepted, along with the UN’s rappoteur, as an apartheid state marks him out as a racist.

Corbyn appeased his enemies and threw his friends overboard

Unfortunately Corbyn did not stand up to the Right and even worse, John McDonnell did his best with Owen Jones to appease them, with results we all know.

I hate to boast that I was right (!) but I was.  On 4 February when all types of Momentum idiots like Paul Mason and Laura Parker were backing Starmer as a ‘unity’ candidate I wrote Keir Starmer is the candidate that the Deep State & the British Establishment want you to vote for.

Even more eloquently Oliver Eagleton makes the same point in his excellent article Keir Starmer Never Had Any Plans to Make Peace With the Left. To quote Oliver:

Given these aspects of Starmer’s record, his most recent McCarthyite outbursts should come as no surprise. Servility to NATO and hostility to left-wing activists are inscribed in his political DNA. So far, the Labour left’s approach to Starmer continues to entertain the notion that he is susceptible to progressive pressure.

Writing about the Socialist Campaign Group Oliver says all that needs to be said:

Its climbdowns will not be rewarded with an iota of policy influence. At best, it will merely avoid expulsion from the party. But if its membership is premised on embracing American power and disowning groups like Stop the War, then how can it contribute to a viable Left strategy? Is the continued presence of socialists a virtue in itself, even if it means forsaking socialism?

Far from being a human rights lawyer Starmer, in his time as Director of Public Prosecutions was an anti-human rights lawyer. Eagleton wrote:

He meted out the same treatment to Gary McKinnon, the autistic IT expert whose extradition — which could have seen him spend the rest of his life in a US jail for hacking into military databases — was blocked by Theresa May on humanitarian grounds. The same year, Starmer paved the way for two Britons, Syed Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad, to be dispatched to an American supermax prison, where they were placed in indefinite solitary confinement for their tangential links to an obscure Islamist website.

Perhaps most notably, Starmer’s CPS intervened in the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, pressuring Swedish state prosecutors not to drop their charges against the journalist, in a move that streamlined plans to send him onward to the United States. While Crown lawyers hounded Assange for shedding light on US war crimes, Starmer simultaneously refused to prosecute intelligence officials who were accused of complicity in torture — despite the existence of eyewitnesses and documentary evidence.

This is taken from Oliver Eagleton’s The Starmer Project – A Journey to the Right.

Making predictions electorally is always a fraught task but I would venture that if Starmer is not removed and Labour reverses track, which is highly unlikely, Labour will do well  to return to Ed Miliband’s result in 2015 of 232 seats, somewhat less than Corbyn’s 262 seats in 2017.

The Lib Dems gained nearly 4 times as many seats in the elections (191). Even the Green Party gained more seats (60). There is no obvious replacement for Starmer. The colourless Rachel Reeves will go down like cold porridge. In any event it is not a question of personality but what Labour’s program for change will be and under Starmer any change will be for the worse.

There is nothing radical about Starmer.  He is as unimaginative as he looks. He has no answer to the economic crisis apart from repression, which is why he has supported Johnson’s repressive agenda – the Spycops and Police Bill (Labour nominally opposed the latter but with no enthusiasm after having originally backed it). Starmer’s record on human rights is, as Eagleton says, abysmal and he is certainly not going to increase taxes on the rich, renationalise anything or disturb any of the privileges of the rich.

The next election is therefore headed for a hung Parliament and all the associated political paralysis.  It offers opportunities to the same far-Right that has prevailed in much of Europe.  It is for that, if no other reason, that the Left has to get its act together.

For socialists to stay in the Labour Party is the equivalent of trying to run up an escalator going down. It is a futile and hopeless task.

The one glimmer of hope is that Starmer has been caught on the hook that he himself fashioned. If the investigation into Beergate leads to Starmer being issued with a fixed notice penalty he may well be forced to resign in which case we will be faced with a competition between a set of colourless nonentities.

Harold Wilson – won 4 General Elections

The only exception I would make to this scenario is if someone like Barry Gardiner is elected. He is one of the few intelligent and articulate Labour MPs. He reminds me of Harold Wilson and he is intelligent, which is why Starmer sacked him. Contrary to widespread belief Starmer is anything but intelligent.  Being a lawyer means being able to master gobblydook and ritual. It doesn’t always mean intelligence.

In Starmer’s case what he lacks in intelligence he makes up for in ruthlessness. To stay in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet without protest suggests someone who is fundamentally dishonest. He is surrounded by cold, calculating technocrats like David Lammy and Rachel Reeves, neither of whom would recognise a principle if it bit them on their buttocks!

Gardiner would probably tack left and seek to build an alliance with the soft left bringing back Corbyn.  However most Labour MPs are too stupid and right-wing to do as the Parliamentary Labour Party did in 1962. His main drawback is that he is a patron of Labour  Friends of Apartheid Israel.

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein

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