Keir Starmer’s grip on the Labour Party is likely to be loosened – if not lost altogether – after left-wingers were elected to the committee that decides what the forthcoming party conference will discuss.
Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes were re-elected as local party representatives for the third time in succession, in recent internal party elections.
It means they will be able to ensure that votes take place on important subjects like the election of the party’s general secretary.
David Evans was appointed to the role by Keir Starmer last year but party rules demand that his position must be ratified by party members in a conference vote.
After a year in which he has supported Starmer in pursuing a merciless purge of left-wing party members – mostly on the basis of the flimsiest accusations – Evans may now be considered not just to be unpopular, but hated, by the members whose votes he must seek if he wants to keep his job.
The Times has reported that a full vote – rather than a show of hands – is likely to be demanded in the conference.
Perhaps predictably, the paper has claimed that if Evans is ousted, Starmer’s leadership – and the party as a whole – will be thrown into “chaos”. That’s a load of cobblers but I’m sure somebody thought it would make good copy.
Other possible conference motions include a plan to ditch the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, that has been used as an excuse to jettison party members who had criticised recent governments of Israel on false claims of anti-Semitism. It would be replaced by the Jerusalem Declaration, which many consider far more appropriate.
And on the same issue, it is also possible that power to expel members would be removed from a subset of the National Executive Committee and passed to rank-and-file party members after a series of highly-controversial and unilateral decisions that have shocked members, including the expulsion of legendary British movie director Ken Loach and a decision to proscribe – ban from membership – members of four groups.
It seems the terms of that decision are being abused by Starmer, Evans and their team:
I am hearing reports that the ‘evidence’ being used against people to prove they are a ‘supporter’ of Socialist Appeal includes having retweeted from their account.
Beyond the absurdity of this proscription, this would go far beyond what was agreed by the NEC (I voted against)
— Mish Rahman (@mish_rahman) August 13, 2021
I opposed this proscription on principle, but clearly the Party is now making it up as it goes along, as I feared they would.
This is cowboy stuff, that has a negative impact on people's mental health, and needs to be halted immediately!
— Mish Rahman (@mish_rahman) August 13, 2021
On top of which members are being given 7 days to make representations (not a proper right to rebut or challenge the allegation!) in order to provide evidence they are NOT a supporter. A request to prove such a negative is obviously fallacious.
— Duncan ShipleyDalton (@BaronVonDuncs) August 14, 2021
Worse still: under Starmer, Jewish Labour members are far more likely to be charged with anti-Semitism than Gentiles.
Think about that.
Jewish Labour members nearly five times more likely to be charged with antisemitism in Starmer's Labour Party than non Jewish members, says report by Jewish Voice for Labour, a left wing, pro-Corbyn Jewish group in submission to EHRC. https://t.co/PGNpxjNN8K
— Peter Oborne (@OborneTweets) August 12, 2021
And how else has Starmer distinguished himself lately?
Well, he urged party members to embrace the legacy of triple-election winner Tony Blair. How’s that working for him? It’s working like this:
Embrace Blair's legacy you said. Well here it is. https://t.co/FjBP1I3OSr
— Damien Willey (@Cornish_Damo) August 16, 2021
Starmer himself goes unnoticed at public appearances…
This is seriously grim. https://t.co/ok0Og7Ea6b
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) August 17, 2021
… after former leader Jeremy Corbyn – who Starmer now condemns as a blight on the party – attracted crowds in the tens of thousands (and still does).
Then there’s Starmer’s rating in the opinion polls, which is plummeting. And what about this?
A friend just sent me these screengrabs from a "YouGov chat" survey about Keir Starmer.
Whilst these aren't weighted the results from a sample of approx 11,000+ are simply staggering. pic.twitter.com/p2aiOV4RxY
— Martin Abrams🌹😷✊🏼 (@Martin_Abrams) August 17, 2021
Who has done a better job of leading Labour? Corbyn – 44 per cent; Starmer – 13 per cent.
Is Starmer competent or incompetent? Competent – 18 per cent; incompetent – 76 per cent.
Is Starmer likeable or unlikeable? Likeable – 13 per cent; unlikeable – 80 per cent.
How likely is it that Starmer will become prime minister? Very likely – one per cent; very unlikely – 80 per cent.
You don't have to be an admirer of Jeremy Corbyn to realise Keir Starmer's leadership is catastrophic for the Labour Party and election success – why are so many rushing headlong towards the cliff like lemmings?
— HarryPie. 🤔 🥀😷 (@HarryPie1862) August 17, 2021
Starmer – and Evans – are taking steps to fight back, starting with the release of details of their new ‘Organise to Win’ (ha ha) party structure, made necessary after Starmer squandered the £13 million that Corbyn raised from increased membership subscriptions and failed to raise any cash from corporate backers (they know a loser when they see one).
How was it received? Not well…
Utter nonsense and if Conference ditch Evans what then? Be a shame wouldn't it… https://t.co/JkoE57e7tN
— Damien Willey (@Cornish_Damo) August 17, 2021
This is the biggest load of bollocks I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/oMLg3A2wrE
— Simon Vessey (@Simon_Vessey) August 17, 2021
This is just not believable. Starmer has spent more than a year dictating to party members, so we have no reason to believe he’ll suddenly change his ways and start “serving the needs of voters first”, rather than “telling voters what they should think or do”.
And how about the following?
This is how Starmer's Labour party talks to itself, apparently. It creates sonorous strings of language that seek, not to explain or describe, but merely to dress the corpse of Attlee in ad agency buzz words. https://t.co/T5ry20uqqT
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) August 17, 2021
“Agile ceremonies”? Seems a bit pervy to me.
“Rapid prototyping, deployment and iteration”?
These words are meaningless Newspeak – or, as Simon Vessey described it, above: bollocks.
David Evans GS of Labour said "Labour will work “collaboratively” in “multidisciplinary teams”, which will “adopt a product-mindset using agile ceremonies, be empowered to make decisions and encouraged to focus on rapid prototyping, deployment and iteration”.
WTF does that mean?
— Peter Gates (@petergates3) August 17, 2021
Meanwhile the party has begun the process of laying off one-third of its staff members – because the alternative, after Starmer’s spending spree, is bankruptcy. They’ll be replaced by people on short-term contracts as the party inwardly embraces the “fire and rehire” strategy it outwardly condemns.
And there are questions about whether these redundancies will be as “voluntary” as they are said to be…
Solidarity with Labour staff today as a 1/3rd of them begin the process of being laid off 'voluntarily'. What a way to spend August.
On money, members, results and 'values' Britain's party of opposition is a car crash. There is nothing remotely 'left' about it.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) August 17, 2021
NEW: Labour staff are being told that their roles will not exist under a new proposed restructuring of the party to be revealed on Tuesday: https://t.co/tQzeJE5V31
— LabourList (@LabourList) August 13, 2021
So it seems staffers who are union members may be told to go on strike – against the self-professed “Party of the Workers”. How do you think that will play out in the press?
If a strike were to occur it would at least be fun watching the media try as hard as possible to downplay Labour party staff going on strike against the Labour leadership.
At least one MP would try "letting them strike shows how pro-union we are." https://t.co/96ITFXqdnX
— Social Media Anonymity did 9/11 (@LamentablyAwake) August 17, 2021
Whatever he does, it seems clear that Starmer isn’t taking anybody with him – voluntarily or otherwise. In fact, it’s clear that they are abandoning him in droves – not only because they hate him with a vengeance, but because they don’t anticipate any improvement under any of the swivel-eyed right-wingers who are lining up to succeed him.
Backstabbing & sabotage of Labour's chances under Jeremy Corbyn. Now we are back to 'normal' party politics with Labour unable to see in these dark days of Climate Emergency & Gross Inequality that it needs to offer so much more. @GreenpeaceUK will be getting my cash instead
— Rick Evans ⌛️ (@Skybluerick1) August 16, 2021
So it seems any renaissance of the Left at the autumn party conference may come too late.
Or will we all come back if the party is returned to the people for whom it was created?
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