It is worth pointing out, on the day Keir Starmer paid out around £600,000 and apologised to so-called anti-Semitism “whistleblowers”, that his actions are only perpetuating the saga – prolonging the agony.
Take his sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Labour front bench a few weeks ago: on Monday, Labour Party members, supported by Salford TUC, made a formal complaint – I take it to the party’s National Executive Committee – about Starmer’s conduct.
The group points out that Ms Long-Bailey’s sacking on the pretext of her having shared a link to an interview with a constituent who shared an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” is wrong, for these reasons:
- Maxine Peake’s statement – that US police learned from Israeli operatives the method of killing people (like George Floyd) by exerting pressure on their necks with a knee – may well be accurate; there is evidence available to that effect.
- There are unimpeachable arguments that Ms Peake’s statement was not anti-Semitic in any case.
The group wants an appropriate and thorough investigation of whether Starmer’s publicly-stated reason for sacking Ms Long-Bailey was accurate, proportionate and fair.
If it was not, then the group wants a public statement to that effect, including that the party will always challenge unfair dismissal in whatever context; an apology to Ms Long-Bailey; and her reinstatement to her former shadow cabinet post – or an appropriately-substantial such post – at the earliest opportunity.
It is doubtful that Labour under Starmer is capable of carrying out an appropriate and thorough investigation of anything. But it will be interesting to see how the party’s leaders respond.
And this is just the tip of an ever-growing iceberg. Already challenges are being prepared against the use of party members’ subscription money to pay off the group who appeared on Panorama to denounce Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership.
And concerns that Starmer is about to remove the Labour whip from Jeremy Corbyn are provoking a strong response.
Party members are already demanding to know why their membership money is being used in such a perverse way, and (so far) Starmer has been unable to come up with a response.
It seems clear that if he continues to use party money to fund unfounded attacks on members, he is likely to face a very large rebellion by grassroots members.
He came on as the blazing hope for the Labour Party when he was elected in April.
If he doesn’t want to drop out as a damp squib after only three months (and change) as leader, he’d better rethink his approach double-quick.
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