It doesn’t matter which way you cut it, Keir Starmer has sabotaged the Labour Party.
Overreacting after Jeremy Corbyn responded to the EHRC report on allegations of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the party, he has acted undemocratically and illegally – and seriously jeopardised Labour’s electability.
The report itself was entirely reasonable. It didn’t find the “institutional anti-Semitism” that was claimed, said it could only show two occasions when “agents” for whom the party was responsible displayed anti-Semitism, 23 cases when the leader’s office showed “political interference” in anti-Semitism complaints – often prejudiced against the accused, rather than against Jews, and 42 cases when the complaints process discriminated against the accused, rather than against Jews (out of 70 in both sets of cases).
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader at the time, responded by saying the report’s recommendations should be implemented immediately. He would; he had been trying to improve the system since he first became aware that it was a shambles, back in 2016 – with some success from 2018 when he was able to replace an unsympathetic general secretary with one who supported his leadership.
He also said the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.
And Keir Starmer, the current party leader, flipped his lid.
In his own response he said anybody who claimed complaints of anti-Semitism against Labour were “exaggerated” has “no place in the party”. Shortly afterwards, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party membership was suspended.
Starmer backed away from this act, leaving his new general secretary, David Evans, to justify it.
He could not. He provided no evidence that Corbyn had broken any Labour Party rules and could not show that Corbyn had said anything that was not – in fact – accurate.
The EHRC report corroborates Corbyn’s claims – and also shows that his right to make them is enshrined in law – in his human right to free speech.
And the decision is hypocritical. The report condemned political intervention in complaint cases – even to speed them up – but the decision to suspend Corbyn’s membership is a clear intervention by the office of the Leader Of The Opposition (LOTO).
I noted that Starmer has today tried to justify Corbyn’s suspension, telling the BBC’s Today programme ,”I made it clear the Labour Party I lead will not tolerate anti-Semitism, neither will it tolerate the argument that denies or minimises anti-Semitism in the Labour Party on the basis that it’s exaggerated or a factional row.”
This is only going to make it worse because it is a lie. Corbyn didn’t deny or minimise anti-Semitism on that basis. His claim that is was exaggerated is true, as shown by the EHRC report. And he didn’t say it was a factional row – just that “opponents” used to to cause problems – and again this is accurate.
I am not the only person clever enough to see this.
But you are unlikely to hear much in complaint from Labour Party members – because the party leadership has gagged them. Communications from Labour HQ have made it clear that anybody taking to the social media – or any other media – to criticise Starmer’s behaviour will face punishment themselves.
Starmer’s people even set up a dedicated fast-track complaints system to ensure that his supporters could report offenders quickly – again in contradiction of the EHRC report’s findings, which demanded a single, simple process for everyone.
I thought he said he accepted the report in its entirety and would implement its recommendations fully? It seems this was a lie.
The result? Labour Party members up and down the country have been cancelling their Direct Debits and quitting – despite the efforts of many more level heads to encourage them to stay and exert influence within the organisation, for sanity.
My own view was that, as Corbyn has not been expelled yet, and has himself appealed for people to sit tight until the situation can be resolved “amicably”, people who still enjoy the privilege of party membership – rather than having been thrown out under false pretences like myself – should stay and fight his corner for him.
It seems likely that Starmer will expel him eventually. Any other choice now will make him look weak.
But this will split the Labour Party.
People are leaving because Starmer has shown he is unfit to lead the party, let alone the country.
His decision to suspend Corbyn was undemocratic and illegal. He overrode party rules and the rule of law to do it. And he is a lawyer, remember.
How can any responsible voter allow such a man a chance to run a government and disregard the law there as well?
I can see us entering a period when Labour will be hindered either by a plethora of left-wing candidates standing in elections against it – splitting the Left vote and allowing the Conservatives in to more constituencies, or by a new left-wing party standing against it.
The latter would be This Writer’s preferred choice as it may drag Labour back towards its proper place in politics – in the same way that the existence of UKIP pulled the Conservative Party towards fascism and illegality.
Whatever the future holds, it seems clear that Starmer has sabotaged Labour’s electoral chances for the next few years, no matter what.
Was this what he wanted?
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