Category Archives: Local Government

Starmer in denial as Labour take local election pummelling. HE is the problem

The excuses man: but no amount of references to Jeremy Corbyn can save Keir Starmer from the condemnation of traditional Labour supporters who have been forced to walk away from the party by him.

Before I start, let’s be clear about one thing:

That being said…

Keir Starmer has vowed to lead Labour’s fightback after having led it to a bitter local election pummelling and the loss of one of the party’s Parliamentary strongholds.

The denial is strong in this one.

It is clear to even the most disinterested observer that the party’s losses are all Starmer’s fault; that his direction for the Labour Party is deeply unpopular with the British people and that the best way he can help Labour fight back is to resign.

But he won’t do that. Instead, he’ll be announcing a “bold vision” for the party in the next few days.

That will be – what? His third “bold vision”? His fourth? – since he deceived party members into making him leader last year.

By the time of writing, StarmerLabour has lost 192 council seats, with the bulk going to the Conservatives.

The Green Party has picked up 51 seats, indicating that left-wing voters have migrated to that party in protest against Starmer’s betrayal of traditional Labour values. And the Liberal Democrats have also lost seats – 24 of them – indicating that the public has still – and rightly – not forgiven them for propping up the Tories for five years, from 2010 to 2015. These are about the only things the English voting public has got right.

In terms of council control, the Conservatives have taken Pendle, Maidstone, Cornwall, Nottinghamshire, Basildon, Northumberland, Dudley, and Nuneaton and Bedworth councils from no overall control. They also took control of of Harlow council, in Essex, from Labour.

Labour has lost Sheffield, Plymouth and Rossendale to no overall control.

And in another former Labour stronghold, the Tees Valley, Conservative Ben Houchen was re-elected mayor with 73 per cent of the vote – a massive swing of 23 per cent away from Starmer’s Labour.

Meanwhile, here in Wales, Mark Drakeford’s version of Labour – which many have said is a genuine continuation of Corbynism – has won 30 seats in the Senedd, securing another working majority. Labour will rule in Wales for another five years.

The contrast with StarmerLabour could not be more plain.

For This Writer, the most surprising aspect of StarmerLabour’s implosion is the way his critics are pussyfooting around him, playing down the scale of the disaster.

Look at left Labour MP Richard Burgon’s comment, quoted in the following tweet – and the response by Jen Wood:

Let’s not bother with the ‘soft’ critics. Starmer doesn’t need to hear people saying “Never mind, Keir. You stay put and next time you’ll do better.” At this point, such a possibility seems unlikely in the extreme; Labour is more likely to run out of votes altogether and be extinguished as a political movement.

He needs to hear the hard criticism – like this, from Peston:

And this, from near-legendary Canary columnist Steve Topple:

Even this is charitable; voters didn’t abandon Labour because they don’t care – they walked away because they do, and because Starmer wasn’t offering them anything they could support.

You want proof?

So that’s that. These people aren’t going to come back to Labour while Starmer remains in charge of what was once their party.

The message of the 2021 local elections is clear, then. For those who are still having trouble grasping it, it is this:

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Starmer silent after Hartlepool calamity. He knows he should resign but will he go?

Are you sitting uncomfortably? Keir Starmer’s relationship to the Labour leader has become akin to that of a squatter in an abandoned house after the loss of Hartlepool in yesterday’s by-election.

I honestly don’t know if Keir Starmer has failed dramatically, or actually achieved his goal.

As leader of the Opposition, his party’s loss in Hartlepool is devastating. A constituency that has been a Labour stronghold since it was created in 1974 has passed to the Conservatives. It means no Labour seat is safe from the Tories.

But many critics have suggested that Starmer’s job as a right-wing Labour leader has been to ensure that – at a time when the Conservatives are burdened with a corrupt and incapable leader, the consequences of failed Brexit and Covid policies, and rampant cronyism – Labour still cannot win an election.

If the latter is true, then he has succeeded monumentally.

Any sincere Labour leader would see that his time is up; his policies have failed and it is time to go.

But Starmer was silent when he left his house today (May 7). Maybe it is too soon to make official announcements (although Corbyn was prompt enough after the 2019 general election result).

He had claimed he would “carry the can” if the result was poor – but This Writer fears it is more likely that he will try to pass the buck instead.

Already Peter Mandelson has tried to blame the disaster on what he called “the two Cs – Covid and Corbyn”.

Many people consider him to be a certain kind of C, too.

His comment is reminiscent of the claims made by the Tory government many times since they took office in 2010, whenever they have been criticised over a policy failure – that the fault lay with the previous Labour administration.

The facts betray the lie in both cases. Here, it is more than a year since Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party. Starmer had himself elected as a “continuity Corbyn” candidate, sure – but he subsequently dumped every single policy promise he made, replacing them with nothing.

As a result, voters were left with no idea what StarmerLabour represents – and it seems to me that this is what has put people off, more than the shadow of the previous leader.

As former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said, “You cannot go into an election without any policy programme, without explaining what sort of society you want. You can’t send candidates out there naked without policies to advocate.”

But that’s what Starmer did. There is also the question of whether he foisted an unwanted candidate on Hartlepool’s Labour party by interfering with the selection process (as suggested in certain parts of the social media).

Even right-wing Shadow Culture Minister Alison McGovern has implied that voters don’t consider Labour to be a viable alternative to a one-party state run by the Conservatives.

She said: “There are lots of people who will have voted Conservative with a heavy heart – who want there to be an alternative,” implying that people don’t see Labour as an alternative any more. And who can deny this after a year of Starmer supporting one Tory policy after another?

“The way to do that is to offer people a set of policies that give them hope for the future, [hope] that we don’t live in a one-party Tory state, that things can be better and different,” she added, implying that people think we do live in a one-party Tory state, and that Starmer’s leadership of Labour has turned it into a pale-blue imitation of the Tories that provides no alternative but merely shores up the corrupt Johnson government.

The most risible comment so far came from hard-right “Labour First” activist Luke Akehurst, who managed to get himself onto Labour’s National Executive Committee under Starmer. He said Labour needs to make sure it is relevant and talking about issues that big swathes of the electorate care about – which is hilarious considering the way his wing of the party has diligently steered it away from those issues.

Apparently the left-wing Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs is planning to demand radical reform of the party, possibly including a shift to a federal structure in England, with cities and regions having their own leaders who then exert influence over the Westminster leader.

This would de-centralise power, ensuring that Starmer could not force right-wing, un-Labour policies on the wider party membership. That would have the advantage of ensuring that Labour had a strong direction – if the local leaders could agree a policy position with party HQ.

But it also runs the risk of fragmentation.

An alternative suggested by the BBC is that Labour could re-focus itself as the centre of a combined Opposition, allying with other parties like the Greens. This risks a watering-down of some policies, which is exactly the problem that many believe Starmer has created.

No matter what happens in the long term, the short-term problem can be summed up in two words: Keir Starmer.

He has to go. The longer he delays, the worse Labour’s plight – and that of the UK as a whole under Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories – will become. And this brings us back to the big question: is that what Starmer wants?

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It’s local election day so USE YOUR VOTE

Vote: but use your vote wisely. Neither of the two main parties will represent your interests because they are too busy looking after themselves – so choose somebody different. It’s the only way to get change.

This Site has devoted considerable space to reporting the dire state of both the Conservative and Labour parties at the moment – but they will continue to fail us unless we all use our votes to achieve change.

It has been suggested that former Labour supporters will stay at home rather than vote for Keir Starmer’s party – meaning nobody else will benefit from a vote that could have gone to Labour.

Others, it seems, have been bribed by the Tories and will vote Conservative, giving their confidence to the most inept and corrupt government in centuries.

Neither is a sensible option.

Use your vote for change.

Give it to a party that genuinely represents your interests, rather than one that only says so.

Staying at home will only tell the gangsters at the top of the two main parties that they can carry on filling their own pockets, because the general public is too stupid to stand up for itself.

I don’t believe for a moment that you really want that.

So please, if you haven’t done so already: get up, go to your local polling station, engage your brain and vote for somebody who will represent your interests.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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With Labour set to lose three-fifths of its vote, will Jess Phillips still be smiling tomorrow?

What’s so funny? Jess Phillips was all smiles when Jeremy Corbyn suffered his huge defeat in 2019. Will she be as amused if Keir Starmer suffers a worse one in 2021?

Keir Starmer has changed his tune.

Only days ago, he said he had a “mountain to climb” and would continue doing that after today’s local election. Now he is saying he will “carry the can” if the result goes badly.

But will he?

Polling suggests that Labour is heading for its worst local election result in decades – equivalent to that suffered by previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the general election in 2019.

The Guardian reported that

Labour’s canvassing in Hartlepool suggested only 40% of the party’s previous supporters had pledged to vote for its candidate, Paul Williams

and Starmer will have to take responsibility if Williams loses; the candidate was practically parachuted in after Labour’s head office interfered with the selection process in a return to the bad old days of Tony Blair’s New Labour.

A particular problem across the board is StarmerLabour’s lack of any coherent policy after he abandoned the “continuity Corbyn” pledges he made to get elected as party leader and opted to be what Tony Benn once described as a “weathercock” politicians.

It means rather than choosing to take Labour in a well-defined direction, he has chosen to adopt whatever seems popular at the moment in a bid to fool voters into thinking he’s on their side.

That tactic seems to have failed.

Labour’s policy on the doorstep seems to have been to appeal to anti-Tory sentiment – but the party seems to have done this by making itself a caricature of northern working-class voters: “beer, fish and chips and flags,” as one left-wing MP told the Graun.

This has caused offence in several ways:

And behind it all is resentment at the way right-wing Labour MPs, who are now in charge of the party, stabbed Corbyn’s Labour leadership in the back in order to ensure that big defeat in 2019 – only to make matters worse.

At the time of writing, Jess Phillips is trending on Twitter. Here is the reason in two tweets:

That kind of betrayal is not something a political party can easily leapfrog.

Now it seems party members are planning to demand Starmer’s resignation if the party suffers major losses – including in Hartlepool.

He has said he’ll “carry the can” – but even in that, it seems he may just mean he’ll kick it down the road.

Already we are hearing that he has voiced concern that the next general election could be in 2023, not the following year, and that he is trying to suggest that this would be too soon for Labour to change direction if a new leader was elected between now and then.

If this is true, then he is deliberately avoiding the point – that it is better to have a new leader with a chance to win than an old one who will definitely lose. That is, after all, the reason he and his right-wingers forced Corbyn out.

Well, the one they presented to the public, anyway.

The saddest part of this whole sorry StarmerLabour saga is that he has made the Conservatives more popular – surely the cardinal sin of any Labour leader.

In Hartlepool, it is being suggested that half of the electorate will support the Tory candidate – a shocking claim in a Labour-held seat.

And it’s one that is made even worse when one considers that abominable record of the current Tory government under Boris Johnson:

His Covid-19 policies led to the deaths of 150,000 people – most of these could have been prevented if he had locked down earlier and more effectively.

He has mired his government in allegations of cronyist corruption.

And his Brexit – the way he pulled the UK out of the European Union – may actually lead to a shooting war with France over fishing rights near the Channel Islands; a war in which the UK, as the side causing the conflict, would be seen as the villain.

Johnson must be delighted that Starmer is leading Labour towards death in a ditch. It has taken all the heat away from his own failings.

And that is why – barring miracles – Starmer will have to go.

Source: Starmer promises to ‘carry the can’ as Labour braces for challenging elections | Keir Starmer | The Guardian

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Is time running out for ‘evasion’ politicians like Nadhim Zahawi?

Nadhim Zahawi: this is from 2016, but relevant to today, when he appeared on TV to defend prime minister Boris Johnson’s weird financial arrangements in the run-up to local elections.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi was on ‘morning media junket’ duty today (May 5) and duly toured the studios showing us how the BBC toes the Tory line rather than doing anything useful.

He made a big thing of the possibility that everybody over 50 could have a third Covid-19 vaccine injection by the autumn (I’m still waiting for my second, although I know autumn is still a long way away), but became the world’s biggest ignoramus when asked about anything else, such as Boris Johnson’s weird finances.

The performances – or rather,  the public reaction to them – suggested more than he wanted, though:

They suggested that time is running out for this kind of evasion. People are wise to it and, through the social media, we are making other people wise to it too.

Consider the following. Here’s how he started out:

And here’s the commentary on it:

Notice that Zahawi had an easy ride on the BBC in comparison with elsewhere:

Ultimately, all the minister achieved was to get people to examine his own record – and it was found wanting:

So it seems the game has been given away and Zahawi’s selfish politics is on the way out.

Or is it?

The only reliable yardstick of public opinion is the result of an election, and we have a huge series of polls across the UK tomorrow (May 6).

On the basis of what they have done, the Conservatives should go down like the proverbial lead balloon.

But will they?

Or are there still enough drones out there – who will vote for them no matter how corrupt they prove to be – to see them through?

I fear the latter. The BBC has to be preaching to someone, after all – and it has the lion’s share of the news audience.

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Hartlepool by-election: will Tories win because Starmer parachuted a right-winger in for Labour?

Voting: but will people in Hartlepool vote Labour after the contempt with which Keir Starmer has (allegedly) treated them?

A poll – with, admittedly, a tiny number of respondents – has suggested that the Conservatives could take Hartlepool from Labour in Thursday’s by-election.

Is this because Keir Starmer steamrolled over the wishes of local part members to parachute a right-wing candidate in?

The behaviour of Labour’s head office with regard to the election has been, reportedly, a disgrace – and if this is how Starmer plans to run the party, then voters in Hartlepool will be right to abandon him.

The problem is that the Conservatives are likely to benefit from it.

Starmer is already facing criticism that his daft antics have strengthened the Tories. How will he be able to justify himself if they take Hartlepool?

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Tory MP admits his government inflicts suffering on Opposition-controlled areas

Boris Johnson swears he didn’t say it but David Amess has tacitly admitted that a Tory government will make people suffer if they don’t support the Conservatives in the local elections.

A Conservative member of Parliament has called for people in his constituency to elect a Tory-controlled local council – because his government won’t support Opposition-run councils.

How revealing! Although it’s nothing we didn’t know already – from the behaviour of governments run by David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

Here’s the evidence:

As I say, we have seen this kind of corruption in the way Tory government treat local authorities.

The Boris Johnson government is stripping schools in Opposition-run councils of their Pupil Premium at the moment, in order to stuff schools in Tory authorities with even more undeserved cash. That’s just one example.

This is attempted blackmail.

The Tory is demanding that his constituents vote for his party – or they will lose funding; they will lose support. They will suffer.

Unacceptable.

Anybody living in Southend should put their vote elsewhere – and start campaigning not only for the removal of Amess from Westminster but also for him to be stripped of his knighthood.

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Starmer will ‘take responsibility’ for local election results – but won’t resign in a disaster?

Keir Starmer: if you support him on Thursday, Labour will have no reason to root out the corruption, sleaze and backstabbing that led to the fall of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

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.

Source: Sir Keir Starmer says he will take responsibility for Labour election results – BBC News

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Voters are turning away from StarmerLabour – yet polled party members say he’s doing a good job. Why?

Keir Starmer: he may have engineered widespread support for himself by purging the Labour Party of dissenters, but he is heading for a disaster of epic proportions in the local elections.

A few obvious answers are available to the question in the headline but we’ll get to them soon enough. First, the evidence:

The Labour Party’s prospects in next months local elections are plummeting to new lows every time there is a poll, it seems.

YouGov’s last three show a distinct downward trajectory, from this on April 8…

… to this, eight days later:

So according to this pollster, Labour is now trailing the Conservatives by 14 points, at a time when the Tories can’t do anything right and should be fearing the public’s backlash over Brexit, Covid-19, corruption and the possible end of the United Kingdom.

And, of course, Starmer’s supporters should be reminded that they said anybody but Jeremy Corbyn would give Labour a 20-point lead, automatically.

Meanwhile, though, another YouGov survey has claimed that Labour Party members are satisfied with Starmer’s performance and think he’s doing a great job.

How can this be?

Two answers present themselves:

Firstly, that the purge that Starmer launched after he became party leader last year has been successful and members who belonged to the left wing of the party – socialists who conform to the ideals that led to its original formation – have largely been removed, leaving a right-wing rump that agrees with Starmer’s wishy-washy, Tory-supporting, any-way-the-wind-blows populism.

Or alternatively that – as a result of the purge – anybody left within Labour is living in fear of being purged if they are found to have said anything even remotely critical of the party leadership.

There’s a word for an organisation that instils that kind of fear in the people. I’m sure you know the one I mean. It would explain why Starmer has been so supportive of Boris Johnson’s thugs.

Of course, there are still nearly three weeks until the elections – and a week in politics is still a long time.

There’s plenty of time for Labour to fare much worse than even the current polls are suggesting.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Local services in Wales will suffer if the Conservatives take over the Senedd

Think before voting: the Conservatives are promising to freeze council taxes in Wales if they take control of the Assembly – but this will benefit the rich far more than working-class people.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they will freeze council tax for at least two years if they take control of the Welsh Assembly after the local elections in May – but this is a threat, not a promise.

The party has said it will fund a council tax freeze, but there is no guarantee that it will follow through on any such pledge. Even if it does, this only means that it will maintain services as they are.

So what happens when events demand spending beyond that level?

Answer: we won’t see it – they’ll say there isn’t enough money (which is a lie).

Also: who benefits most from a council tax freeze? The rich.

Taxation is a way of redistributing wealth, ensuring that poorer people are able to enjoy publicly-funded services for all, rather than those services being restricted only to those who can afford to pay for them out of their own pocket.

It also ensures that funding is available for projects that would not otherwise receive support from private individuals.

By freezing council taxes, then, the Conservatives are pledging to let rich people keep more of their money while depriving the poor of the services they need to get by.

But the Tories don’t tell you that.

Source: Tories pledge to freeze council tax in Wales for at least two years

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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