It seems the UK is afflicted with political leaders who won’t take full responsibility.
We all know about Boris Johnson. He has surrounded himself with sleaze since becoming prime minister, with cronyism running rampant during the Covid-19 crisis and the revelation that he apparently said he would have seen “bodies pile up in their thousands” rather than have a lockdown last October.
And they did, of course.
On the other side of the House of Commons we have Labour leader Keir Starmer saying that he will take responsibility for Labour’s election results – but not to the extent that he would consider resignation in a disaster.
He said there was a “mountain to climb” after Labour’s 2019 election failure and Thursday’s local poll was just the “first step”.
This is not, strictly speaking, true. Or rather – it seems he hasn’t actually done anything to start climbing that mountain. It is also possible that the mountain is really more of a hillock, in terms of the reasons for the loss.
You see, there is a strong groundswell of belief among those who supported Labour during the Jeremy Corbyn years, that party apparatchiks who had been installed during the dark days of ‘New Labour’ had worked hard to prevent the party from winning a victory under a left-wing leader.
There have been demands for an investigation which Starmer has ignored. Indeed, the Forde Inquiry was supposed to look into whether anti-Semitism allegations were weaponised to attack Corbyn and his supporters after a report making that claim – with evidence – was leaked to the public.
The focus of the inquiry was quietly changed towards the end of 2020 so it now concentrates only on “the structure, culture and practices of the Labour Party” and will not check the facts put forward by the so-called “Labour leaks” report at all.
I can’t say that Starmer intervened because I don’t know that for sure. Something happened to change the purpose of the inquiry, though.
And it means that Labour seems set to give itself a meaningless whitewash, in the same way that we expect internal Tory inquiries into sleaze to whitewash that party.
In terms of corruption, then, it seems there is no difference between Labour and the Conservatives.
And this makes Starmer’s pledge to “clean up politics” after the return of “Tory sleaze” is meaningless. He’s too mired in sleaze of his own.
Then again, perhaps This Writer is misinterpreting what Starmer meant when he said he had a mountain to climb.
Perhaps he meant he was having his work cut out, trying to convince party members and supporters who had been betrayed by his own sleazy right-wingers, both in Parliament and in Labour offices across the UK, to trust him with their vote.
I won’t trust him or his party with mine – and I won’t be withholding my vote, either.
If people stay away from the polling stations because they’re unhappy with their favoured parties, nothing will change; the representatives of the largest parties will still get elected by voters who’ll support them no matter what.
So I will be voting for parties whose policies most closely correspond with the kind of politics I want to see.
I strongly recommend that you do the same, rather than crazily sticking with the sleaze-mongers and hoping they’ll change.
If you keep supporting them, no matter what, they’ll keep doing what they like.
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