He probably thought he was being clever.
But Keir Starmer’s assertion that anyone who doesn’t like what he has done to the Labour Party can leave is dangerous for him, as well as for them.
Here’s what he said:
"The Labour Party has changed," Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says, "from a party of protest, to a party of public service"
"[Labour] will never again be a party captured by narrow interests… if you don't like that, the door is open, and you can leave"https://t.co/dEAUSUQal6 pic.twitter.com/Uh53doKhdd
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) February 15, 2023
Firstly, it’s clear that he was lying. Labour hasn’t stopped being a party of “narrow interests” – it has become one.
As Damian Willey tweeted: “Political pygmy tells anyone not subscribing to his narrow political viewpoint to do one, thereby making it a party for narrow mindedness.”
Others feel the same:
If @UKLabour is so narrow that it doesn't have room for Jeremy Corbyn, then it doesn't have room for me.
— Richard G Wilkinson (@ProfRGWilkinson) February 15, 2023
The policies and the people I support have been hounded out of the Labour Party and replaced by policies and people which the Establishment, Murdoch, Rothermere, the City, USA, Israel feel “intensely relaxed” with
WHY should I vote Labour? Tell me any POSITIVE reasons…
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) February 16, 2023
The problem is that Starmer issued his ultimatum after making a speech about the Equality and Human Rights Commission supporting changes he has made to the party’s process of handling complaints of anti-Semitism.
If anybody leaves his party in disgust at policies that have made Labour virtually indistinguishable from the Conservatives, he’ll be able to claim that they are anti-Semites. Yes, I really do think he is that low.
And the irony is that Labour under Keir Starmer is more anti-Semitic than ever it was under Jeremy Corbyn – or any other leader, I would dare to suggest.
Just because some party representatives say it is better, that doesn’t mean it is, Consider:
Behave Lisa. You made it up. You know very well that anti-Semitism was weaponised by the racist Israel lobby and the right-wing Establishment. Those accused include a member whose parents survived Auschwitz, the son of a Rabbi and the daughter of victims of 1950s US McCarthyism. https://t.co/J2nRLlw56C
— Chris Williamson (@DerbyChrisW) February 15, 2023
For the sake of accuracy, let’s have the official line from the House of Commons Library:
Report this then if you dare present the facts with honesty @LBC pic.twitter.com/JnlgARWKCp
— #𝙈𝙪𝙧𝙙𝙤𝙘𝙝𝙨𝘿𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙘𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙮 (@evertonfc2) February 15, 2023
In fact, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semitism plummeted to a lower point, in the Labour Party, than in any other UK political organisation or the population generally.
Under Keir Starmer, however, Jewish people are five times more likely to face disciplinary proceedings and possible expulsion than non-Jews – especially if they are left-wingers.
And what is the official Labour line on this? It runs as follows: “If you don’t like it, tough.”
This is revolting. Smeeth is green-lighting the persecution and intimidation of left Jewish members. This verges on hate crime. Anyone supporting this and claiming they're 'fighting antisemitism' is lying. This is now open war on left Jews. https://t.co/yjdWbIMS8S
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) February 15, 2023
Notice that Smeeth provides not one scrap of evidence to support her claims against Jewish Voice for Labour.
And this leads me on to the reason Starmer’s ultimatum is a double-edged sword for him, as well as for left-wingers and socialists who might leave the party.
He made it while trumpeting the EHRC’s support for what he has done – but anybody taking the opportunity to leave the party has only to turn his words back on him.
All they have to do is point out that anti-Semitism within the Labour Party is higher now than at any time under Jeremy Corbyn, pointing at the persecution of Jewish members and the words of Ruth Smeeth (or Lady Anderson, or whatever she wants to call herself). They can denounce the EHRC’s comments as a sham while they’re at it.
Starmer’s gamble is the usual one: he thinks that left-wingers don’t have anywhere to go other than Labour. That’s not true either.
They could go to the Green Party, as many already have. Or they could (finally!) form a party of their own. It would admittedly take a while to gain traction with voters, but if it led to yet another defeat for Labour in 2025, then socialists would be able to blame Starmer and his followers for perverting that party into something it should never have been.
My personal opinion is that Labour probably won’t lose the next general election, even under the leadership of such an inept would-be dictator as Starmer undoubtedly is. It just won’t win by the massive margin that so many pundits are expecting.
And even then his troubles will be only just beginning, because we’ll be able to criticise every right-wing, harmful-to-the-people, decision he makes.
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As a card carrying member of the Labour Party for many years, that’s enough. I’m out!
This is basically, ‘who else can you vote for?’ Labour behaved appallingly at Holyrood and threw this challenge to Scottish voters. The voters moved across to SNP and haven’t come back.
This SHOULD all have been settled decades ago when the right wing left to form the SDP. But they were unsuccessful at the ballot box and eventually joined forces with the Liberals. So it’s tried and tested and found to be a failure, people don’t want their policies as they’re too right wing for Labour voters and too ‘wet’ for the Tories. The only way they can get into office is by entryism into Labour to use the Labour ‘brand’ to ensure that ordinary working voters will vote for them because, ‘who else CAN you vote for?’
I predict people in England will become as sick of Labour (as it is now) as the people of Scotland and, when it happens, it will appear to have happened overnight. But it won’t have. Most people voting Labour are voting for them tactically ie because there’s no one else they can vote for. When the Greens become even halfway credible then this could be the end of Labour in the UK. Although I feel sad about this they have effectively been dead for years already..
Well put. I think the Green Party is increasingly credible – look at its success in Bristol.
People need to get out there and demonstrate whenever he and his supporters turn up.
Such demonstrations can be very small but they can still inflict a lot of damage by asking questions and helping to put him on the spot.
Our goal is clear: To bring him down and to show that he is not an electoral asset for the Labour Party.
Labour’s big lead in the polls now is not really due to Starmer, it is due to Liz Truss.
It would be wrong to just give in. That is what Starmer wants.
The only thing that is likely to have an impact on Starmer would be considerations of cost.