The Pointless Keir Starmer 137


On Thursday, Labour under Keir Starmer got a lower percentage of the vote in Wakefield than they did in 2017 under Jeremy Corbyn. In 2017 Labour got 49.7%. On Thursday they got 47.9%. I want you to think that through.

Inflation is soaring. Consumer confidence in the economy has gone through a steeper plummet, and to a lower level, than at any time since it was measured. Worse than the 2008 banking collapse. Worse than the height of the covid panic.

The Tory government of Boris Johnson is highly unpopular. The electorate has formed the view that Boris Johnson is an untrustworthy liar and plain chancer. 18th century levels of corruption have not just returned, but been plainly exposed.

There could not possibly be a more fertile ground for an opposition party in a mid-term by-election, when swings against the government are almost invariably much higher than at subsequent general elections. For Labour in these circumstances to still get a lower vote share in Wakefield than they did in the 2017 General Election which they narrowly lost, is a terrible performance.

The attempts to boost the hapless Starmer off the back of it are pathetic.

Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.

This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:

If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.

Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.

Just as Jeremy Corbyn did before being felled by the entirely fake anti-Semitism crusade of the united state and corporate media, Mick Lynch has this week been showing how attractive the electorate find left-wing thinking, and the notion of greater wealth equality, if they could only get to hear it.

YouTube is full of clips of Mick Lynch besting the furious and unintelligent attacks of the media hacks. The moment I found most interesting was on Peston, where he was again being pushed to reveal himself as an evil Marxist who could thus be pigeonholed and ignored. Asked who his political hero was, he replied “James Connolly, the Irish Republican Socialist”.

Regular readers know Connolly is one of my heroes too. What I found most striking is that the highly paid political journalists on Peston had never heard of Connolly. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, I suppose if they had heard of Connolly, they would not be sitting where they are sitting. Knowledge of working class auto-didactic leadership is not a requirement to propagandise for the elite.

The knowledge that the British strapped a dying man to a chair so they could shoot him again might lead to all kinds of unauthorised thought.

Doubtless Starmer would ban his MPs from mentioning it, if he knew.

Here in his native Edinburgh, school children are not taught about Connolly either. My son Cameron was last year taught all about Burke and Hare in school in local history, a suitably grisly and cautionary tale of the Irish working class in Edinburgh. They were taken to Surgeon’s Hall and shown the book bound in Burke’s skin.

Five minutes walk further they could have been at Connolly’s damp birthplace on the Cowgate, and learnt of his life and teachings. The curriculum does not do that.

Which brings me to Scotland. Everything I have said about the Tory crisis and Starmer’s failure to inspire and seize the moment, is true in spades about Scotland. There simply could never be a more propitious time to strike for Independence. Pushed by their activists, the SNP at last claims to have “fired the starting gun” on an Independence referendum.

I see no political alternative but to take them at their word. I quite understand the suspicions of procedural trickery of my closest political friends, but my strong view is that we have to set aside doubt and make the campaign a real one, which acquires its own popular momentum and becomes unstoppable. When Wallace arrived at Stirling Bridge, the more established Scottish political leadership were not necessarily seeking a pitched battle. Let’s get this fight started.

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137 thoughts on “The Pointless Keir Starmer

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  • U Watt

    It was because of liberals like Starmer that the Labour Party had to be founded in the first place. When will the big unions conclude – as the RMT did – that they are now bankrolling an anti-labour party?

      • Wikikettle

        It’s a “closed shop”, this “first past the post”, this “HQ candidate selection”, this “safe seat scam”, these “assets” already in place, earmarked for leadership in all parties. The game is rigged, as George Carlin said, not just about the American Dream but that of its colonies. The Grayzone explains ….

        • Wikikettle

          The reason they hated Jeremy so much, was that they didn’t have any dirt on him to blackmail. The stooges who rule the sheep have plenty of really bad dark dirt, hence the high office and their untouchable assets.

          • GFL

            The dark forces that back Bojo have shown their hand in a quite obvious way, Charles calls the Rwanda scam appalling, next minute it’s revealed he’s taken suitcases full of cash from dubious sources. In other words, keep your gob shut or we’ll bypass you and give the top job to the more compliant William.

  • Peter Mo

    Excuse my off topic comment here. An observation. If something like the US Roe/Wade law can be overturned then the promises made re Julian Assange can quite easily be scrapped. The Julian Assange team should be hammering this point right now.

    • Peter Mo

      20 years to Ghislaine Maxwell: another case of extreme sentences given because of irrational pressure from some quarters. Another reason to doubt the US justice system. Prince Andrew, Clinton, Dershowitz, Trump – all duped by Epstein but Maxwell expected to see though him.

  • Ebenezer Scroggie

    Once in a lifetime.

    Once in a generation.

    Take your pick.

    The people have decided.

    Democracy can be a right bugger, but we’re stuck with it.

  • Fintan McCarthy

    “Asked who his political hero was, he [Mick Lynch] replied “James Connolly, the Irish Republican Socialist”.

    This comment was not included in the main broadcast edition of the show as it took place in the ad break when guests have informal discussions. These are not included in the catch-up on STV Player or ITV Hub. The clip I have seen on Twitter was captured from the live stream on Twitter which is no longer available. You can see the tweet here:

    https://twitter.com/pmpoc/status/1539738053769674753?s=20&t=Yr4lmlomfaGkj54xWwMXVg

  • Highlander

    [ MOD : Off topic. ]
    ___

    Craig, would you like to write a piece on the situation in Ukraine, and the possibility of war being declared before the next referendum? The absolute dearth of factual information from our American owned media, and the English restrictions of access to by individual and the free media on the the internet, the one sided diatribe, a noose around the necks of our fellow man, sons and daughters.

    • Dom

      It isn’t widely acknowledged that Starmer has effectively ended British democracy, perhaps forever. That is something well worth thinking and writing about, especially when establishment media is pretending it hasn’t happened.

    • Goose

      Let’s face it, and many hate admitting this, but for all Corbyn’s honesty and straightforwardness, as a political operator, he wasn’t very astute.

      He’s such a trusting sort, believing in the inherent goodness of others; he failed to grasp the fact he was sitting among a nest of vipers, or sociopaths. Typically these dominate politics, and often get promoted to the top of other agencies too. Because they share one characteristic : ruthlessness – they’re viewed as being the ones ‘prepared to make the tough calls’. Sociopaths can ALWAYS make the tough calls, because they struggle to feel empathy for others.

      Corbyn should have realised the value of strength in numbers(of fellow leftists). Had he shown a tiny bit of ruthlessness of his own – by pursuing open selection or mandatory selection – all those plotting against him overtly eg. bad mouthing him on the media, would have been democratically deselected by their frustrated, angry CLPs. And those doing it covertly, put on notice.

      • Fred Dagg

        Two recent tragedies:

        1. Scargill rather than Mick McGahey being leader of the NUM in the lead up to Ian MacGregor’s appointment as head of the Coal board;

        2. Corbyn being elected leader of the Labour Party. He was the “best” they had, which says everything about the state of the party, but in an alternative reality how many of the urban pseuds would have voted for someone with backbone like Mike Lynch? The LP is terminally f*cked.

      • Crispa

        Well illustrated by Pontius Pilate’s treatment of Jesus in Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margherita” where he decided to favour pragmatic ruthless power over principle, which is punished only if there is belief in the after life.
        Starmer might be a straw man but he has adopted the path of achieving power unbacked by principles. Given Johnson’s resistance to the pressures he is under is crumbling internally and externally he might well succeed in his aim by default.
        Sturgeon might well also be seizing the moment of opportunity to progress this Russian (via Telegram) analogy with DPL and LPL.
        “The Scottish Prime Minister announced that a referendum on the separation of Scotland from Britain will be held on October 19, 2023. This is facilitated by the results of the last parliamentary elections in Scotland, which were won by local separatists. The question will be posed point-blank – to continue living together with the British or to secede completely, gaining sovereignty”.
        In either case, generate the power to win. Let principles go by the board!

        • Goose

          Crispa

          Yes, it feels a bit like we are all powerless spectators as our masters in London shuffle the political pack and collude with their media friends to put the ultra bland, obsequious establishment ‘Uriah Heep’ figure, Starmer, into power.

          The only problem with their plan is they aren’t powerful enough to turn water into wine – to continue the biblical theme. The public aren’t buying ‘their man Keir,’ he’s a political dud, as Dominic Cummings called him. He’d be demolished in an election campaign, having to give answers on policy detail. And the public would probably give the establishment the hung parliament of their nightmares, with both the big two needing every other smaller party just to cross the line.

    • Wikikettle

      It was was an out-and-out coup, to remove Jeremy, with the organisers including the military, secret services, Mosssad, Labour HQ, MP’s, Judicary and Media. The State has the power to crush any individual or group who threaten to stop or reverse their policies. These long-held policies on the economy and foreign affairs are in lock step and under direction of USA. We stopped being a Sovereign nation since WW1. Our Establishment is not Patriotic nor works for the benefit of its own citizenry, but owes its allegiance to foreign interests. Foreign in morality and foreign in spirt. While propagandising the population to hate the Other.

      • Squeeth

        Corbyn betrayed everything he ever professed to believe in and everyone who supported him. This isn’t naïveté it is cowardice; the worst enemy of this gutless poltroon is himself.

      • Goose

        Wikikettle

        But Corbyn’s response to this vast array of enemies ranged against him, was to basically ask: why can’t we all just be friends and hold hands?

        Take the Starmer situation, he resigned in the so-called ‘crap coup’ of 2016, which involved a series of coordinated (with the media) timed resignations. Corbyn saw off the pathetic Blairite leadership challenge from Big Pharma man Owen Smith. Then Corbyn goes and invites Starmer and other backstabbers back into his shadow team?!?

        Always thought courteous and soft-spoken Corbyn was more suited to the Clergy than the shark-infested world of politics, tbh. I think Tony Benn would have been the ideal person to properly grasp the shot Corbyn got at truly transformative political change. Just a pity it didn’t come around for him, as it did for Corbyn.
        —-
        Also, in other news. I noticed Nicola Sturgeon is now saying it would be outrageous for Westminster to deny Scotland another referendum. She seems to be already acknowledging/conceding she can’t and won’t hold a referendum without London’s express permission. Craig was correct again it appears. This is unforgivable, as it was almost baked-in knowledge, that London would say no, when they were urging another mandate in Holyrood elections.

        • Wikikettle

          Goose. Squeeth. I do agree that he didn’t stand by people like Chris Williamson and others. We in UK, when the depression crash hits, will not have a socialist revolution. We will go Fascist and be turned on each other.

          • Goose

            Wikikettle

            I’d certainly agree that the UK political scene seems quite febrile, it cannot hold.

            Brexit gave Johnson a huge undeserved, whopping great majority and Brexit itself was misdirected domestic political frustration blamed on the EU, due to years of tabloid disinformation & propaganda. Johnson seems to be grasping for some cause to latch onto to distract people from domestic problems again, only now it’s Ukraine, which is dangerous, because how far will he go?

            The reason people are looking for scapegoats and accusing each other, as per the US with its absurd 2016 onwards obsession with blaming Russia for all its ills, is because our populations are deeply unhappy. The foul atmosphere around politics is obvious. The public are unhappy with their own powerlessness; compounded by the lack of political choice and stagnating life chances. And blaming some outside cause – EU for the UK , and Russia for the US – is easier than doing serious introspection, which is often uncomfortable – admitting your democratic system is corrupt, unrepresentative and failing is viewed by many as unpatriotic and/or a sign of national weakness.

            The US and UK both have failing two-party democracies, that meet the needs of fewer and fewer of the electorate, and until they’re reformed ;into proper true multi-party democracies,there will be an awful lot more aggro to come. Until that is, people finally confront the real cause of their frustrations.

          • Squeeth

            “Go” fascist? Britain isn’t a democracy and fascism comes from the top like C19th liberalism’s other two bastard children, Stalinism and bourgeois liberalism.

  • Jules Orr

    Nicola Sturgeon speaking in Holyrood outlining plans to achieve 2nd indy referendum

    “I fully hope the Tories lose the next general election, they thoroughly deserve to…but on the big issues of our time, Labour are a pale imitation.”

    What she specifies is Labour’s unwillingness to reverse Brexit.

    So there we have it. Her beef with Starmer’s Labour is not the anti-union market fundamentalism or warmongering, not the shameless support of apartheid, not the smearing and driving away of a mass leftwing membership.

    No, what disgusts her about this hollowed-out elite ‘centrist’ establishment party is that it is not antidemocratic *enough*…

    • Goose

      Yep. She’s a EU/NATO fanatic.

      Reading some of the comments on European news websites I’ve seen concerns expressed over how Ursula von der Leyen is overreaching; talking tough on Russia, sanctions and deepening the EU – NATO entanglement. The views expressed are basically asking: And who elected you, Ms von der Leyen, to speak on behalf of all Europeans on matters of war and peace?

      The EU will be in trouble at this rate. Seeing the G7 pictures and the EU’s unelected Presidents’ Commission and Council, sat around that table has irked quite a few people. No doubt the likes of Paul Mason would think these unelected bureaucrats have every right to power grab and promote the interests of NATO without any direct public mandate.

    • Goose

      Sturgeon says any referendum must be ‘lawful.’ But as Craig and others have said many times. She knows Johnson won’t grant a section 30 order. And the UK Supreme Court will almost certainly side with the UK govt.

      She won’t countenance going the Catalonia route, so what option is left? She is literally going through the motions to reach a foregone conclusion. Which is like a cynical deception if that’s all there is.

        • Goose

          Just watched the SNP’s Angus Robertson on Newsnight, interviewed by Kirsty Wark. The pair could barely keep the smiles off their faces at the absurdity of some of Robertson’s arguments.

          This referendum has become like a carrot on a stick for the SNP; dangled before voters every election, always just out of reach, but definitely promised with just another mandate. You can understand why they chose October 2023 now – they know a general election is likely by May 2024 at the latest, and will try and leverage the ‘mandate’ issue once more. They claim they may hold the balance of power to make a referendum demand. It’s nonsense however, because they won the bulk (48) of Scottish Westminster seats in the 2019 general election – that is their mandate right there.
          And Starmer, the ultra unionist, who has stated he would campaign to keep Northern Ireland in the UK if a referendum came about via the GFA provision – in a break from the previous Labour policy of neutrality. Isn’t the truth, that an establishment man like Starmer will form a govt of national unity or grand coalition with the Tories, before he’d agree another referendum for SNP support?

          • nevermind

            I had exactly the same thought, what were they smiling about as the Veits dance started again before our eyes. This mornings grilling of Swinney on Radio 4 was equally silly as they wasted time on show boating this tragic comedy again.
            scrapping the Act of Union might be the only way out of this fake domestic argument proffered by the SNP.

  • John Monro

    I think it’s worth repeating this. Keir Starmer was named “Keir” after Keir Hardie, the Scottish left-wing activist and unionist who basically founded the UK Labour Party. According to Wiki he started working at the age of seven and was a coal miner by the age of ten. He was the Labour Party’s first leader, resigning in 1908 to pursue an activist agenda, women’s suffrage, Indian self-rule and opposition to World War One. Starmer’s parents bestowed a great honour for a socialist to be named after this great man and leader. Keir Hardie died in 1915 attempting to organise a pacifist general strike.

    The contrast with our present “Keir” could not be starker or more depressing. Our present Keir actually threatens to deprive Labour MPs of their membership of the party because they are opposed to war, and because they have the temerity to criticise NATO, the Pentagon’s branch office in Europe..He confirms his autocratic ways with his bans on Labour MPs’ support for striking railway workers. The old “Keir” will be turning in his grave. The sheer intolerance of dissent and of humane activism under Starmer’s leadership is a betrayal of his very name. Yet Starmer did rise politically with some unarguable credentials in his legal work in opposing the death penalty and in his pro-bono work for unionists. However, he failed to support the prosecution of police in the de Menezes’ case and was intimately involved in the state’s cruelty and incarceration of Julian Assange. Something profoundly changed within his moral compass during his time as DPP. So not only is Keir Starmer a traitor to his given name, he’s a traitor to his own conscience. To call him “hapless” is to seriously underplay Starner’s political nastiness, there’s something almost monstrous about this betrayal, and it’s unforgivable.

  • Peter

    The flat-out mendacious fake Staliner even makes Bozo look honourable. I think he’s one of the most genuinely creepy politicians in my adult lifetime (going back to the ’80s) which includes Thatcher, Blair and all the rest.

    His shameless authoritarianism, unquestioned by the media of course, potentially represents the greatest threat to (what’s left of) British democracy at least since the war (WWll).

    Here’s his interview with The New Statesman from earlier this week, if you can stomach it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgcrhQOmhiE

  • Goose

    Starmer’s allies deny left are being blocked from standing – they’re not even making the longlists. The Guardian has no opinion on whether this is happening, despite the overwhelming evidence there in plain sight. Basically, the claim is now completely irrefutable

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/01/starmer-allies-reject-claims-leftwingers-blocked-from-standing-for-labour

    Farcically, Paul Mason has chimed in on Twitter, claiming the fact he wasn’t blocked is proof that this isn’t the case.

    Paul Mason, a man who believes that state agencies should be involved in dishing out extrajudicial punishments to those holding the ‘wrong’ opinions about NATO or western imperialism.
    Like Starmer, another nice fella, huh?

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