Keir Starmer. What a piece of… work.
Five years ago he was among a group of right-wingers in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet who took part in a co-ordinated series of resignations intended to cause a leadership election in what became known as the “chicken coup”.
As the name suggests, this behaviour was considered to be cowardly and underhanded.
Now, Starmer has thrown his toys out of his pram after hearing that some of his own, predominantly right-wing, shadow cabinet have been briefing against his aides and some of their colleagues:
Unnamed shadow ministers have in recent weeks criticised Starmer’s aides, including his chief of staff Morgan McSweeney, policy chief Claire Ainsley and political director Jenny Chapman, blaming them for Labour’s caution or its reliance on focus groups of former “Red Wall” voters.
Starmer is also understood to be furious at recent briefings against frontbenchers Anneliese Dodds and Rachel Reeves.
I can’t discuss the briefings against Starmer’s aides because I don’t know enough about it, but it was claimed that Dodds would be sacked for failing to communicate Labour’s vision – which is Starmer’s job.
And Reeves was criticised for appearing in media interviews instead of Starmer, after he made a video praising a church that preaches homophobia.
According to the Huffington Post,
The Labour leader told the weekly meeting of Labour’s shadow cabinet that he was appalled by recent criticism of his aides, saying those responsible should “either stop now or have the guts to get out” of his frontbench team.
Why would these critics want to resign?
Their entire point is that it is the aides and Starmer who have behaved inappropriately – Starmer in the cases of Dodds and Reeves because he had (allegedly) put them in the line of fire that he should have taken.
And by actually putting forward an argument, it seems to This Writer that they have behaved much more honourably than Starmer did in 2016, when he resigned because he didn’t like the leader the Labour Party had democratically elected (and who was elected again as a result of the coup, with a bigger majority than before – despite (again, alleged) attempts to rig the vote).
I notice that Starmer himself seems far less inclined, himself, to resign, even though that action seems far more appropriate now than it was in 2016.
Perhaps next month’s local elections will change his mind.
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