Labour’s Clive Lewis has warned that the politics of new party leader Keir Starmer needs to be defined quickly, before others do it. Too late!
Commentators on the decline of Labour under Starmer already know perfectly well that he represents a backslide into two-faced Blairism and are making a public impact with their revelations.
He said definition of ‘Keirism’, with “broad themes” and “red lines”, “needs to be done because if you don’t, other people begin to define you or try to define you, and that’s already happening.”
It sure is – and the verdict is damning.
So, for example, we get this piece in Libcom, which puts the two-faced Labour leader in context from the very first paragraph: “It appears that Sir Keir intends to combine a ‘forensic’, lawyerly critique of the government’s many failings with what he calls ‘constructive’ support for the most hard-right Tory administration since the 1930s.”
Writer Mark Kosman goes on to condemn Starmer’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement as “keen to reassure the entire British establishment that the Labour Party will continue to be a ‘most loyal’ opposition”.
You may remember Starmer belittled BLM, saying “I don’t have any truck with what [Black Lives Matter] is saying about defunding the police or anything else. That’s just nonsense.”
Mr Kosman describes BLM’s response – that Starmer was just a “cop in an expensive suit” as “incisive and memorable”.
But he goes further – pointing out that the Labour leader’s words were a far cry from what he said back in 1986 when writing about police attacks on pickets during the printers’ bitter dispute with Rupert Murdoch over his Wapping print plant:
Back then, according to Starmer’s former Highgate housemate, ‘he used to run an organisation called Socialist Alternatives from our house.’ Socialist Alternatives was the publication of the British section of the pro-self-management, ex-Trotskyist group, the International Revolutionary Marxist Tendency, and Starmer’s contributions to the magazine included an article about the Wapping dispute in which he denounced the use of ‘paramilitary’ policing methods. He then said:
This leads to the question of the role the police should play, if any, in civil society. Who are they protecting and from what?
Starmer’s comments appear to raise the issue of abolishing the police not just defunding them. According to one of his old lawyer friends, back in 1986, Starmer also advocated a ‘thorough critique of the prison system and how it didn’t work.
Well, it’s not uncommon for people to change their minds. And, as Mr Kosman points out, “Starmer’s subsequent depressing trajectory from ‘Marxist’ radical to cynical careerist is not uncommon on the British left.”
He goes on to add: “What is less common is Starmer’s trajectory from a lawyer who genuinely supported left-wing activism to one who became head of the Crown Prosecution Service – an organisation whose only interest in such activism is a determination to contain and prevent it.”
He goes on to direct us to a more thorough critique of the Labour leader’s grim record at the Verso blog. He states: “In ‘The Case Against Keir Starmer’, Oliver Eagleton runs through Starmer’s dubious positions on the Iraq War, Trident, state surveillance, Julian Assange and welfare cuts, as well as his apparent reluctance to prosecute the police officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson.”
“There’s certainly no question that [Starmer] has become a convert to the establishment,” he writes. “Not only has he accepted a knighthood but he’s been a member of the pro-US, pro-market think tank, the Trilateral Commission, since 2018. Other members of this rather secretive organisation include not only Henry Kissinger but as many as seven former heads of the CIA and various other US intelligence agencies
“The head of the UK’s intelligence agency, MI5, is Jonathan Evans who was particularly grateful to Starmer for his decision not to prosecute MI5 for their role in the CIA’s overseas torture programme.”
Kosman points out Starmer’s supine response to the Covid-19 crisis, quoting Lancet editor Richard Horton’s protest against the Tory policies that have killed nearly 70,000 people (by the time I’m writing this): “Why are you allowing this government to orchestrate the deaths of your citizens, your families, your neighbours? This is a mass delusion. Resist. Resist. Rebel.”
And what’s Starmer’s response? “Starmer has never been quite this passionate about anything but, as a younger activist, he would, at least, have been able to appreciate and echo Horton’s truth-telling.
“However, now, as an older professional politician – one who is completely integrated into the establishment – he is simply unable to face up to the truth of modern Britain, let alone ‘speak out’ about it.
Finally – and crucially – Kosman lays into Starmer’s merciless “witch-hunt” against people on the left of the Labour Party – the wing from which he himself emerged:
His witch-hunt against the left, both inside and outside the Labour Party, has probably only just started.
If Starmer is prepared to smear his fellow front-bencher, Rebecca Long-Bailey, as a purveyor of ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theories’, he won’t hesitate to slander and persecute any and all genuinely left-wing activists.
This ‘cop in an expensive suit’ is, at present, no threat to the Tory government. But, allied both with that government and with his friends in the police, he could easily become a very serious threat to those of us on the genuine left.
Those are the facts of the matter.
And that is why, after only 100 days as leader, it is now far too late for Keir Starmer to try to define his politics.
The damage has already been done – and he did it himself. We just said what we saw.
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