Congratulations are due to Kim Leadbeater after she achieved the impossible: winning a by-election for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.
The circumstances in which she managed her feat were extraordinary, and are reflected in the result.
Labour threw away a majority of more than 8,000, won when Jeremy Corbyn was party leader in 2017. Batley & Spen is no longer a safe Labour seat and must be considered a Labour-Tory marginal as Ms Leadbeater won with a majority of just 323 votes.
The party – and its candidate – failed to put forward any policies at all. Ms Leadbeater merely said she would listen to voters after winning the election, and parroted Tory attack lines about there being “no magic money tree” to give nurses the pay rise they deserve.
At least one Labour representative apparently smeared the constituency’s Muslim population as violent and anti-Semitic, while authors of election literature were accused of “dog-whistle racism” over a leaflet showing Boris Johnson with Indian premier Narendra Modi.
Ms Leadbeater’s election literature suggested that she was ashamed of representing Labour. Party logos were stripped from leaflets and party colours were not used. The candidate herself wasn’t even a party member four months ago; Starmer broke Labour rules to make her a candidate in a cynical bid to win votes from the fact that she is murdered former MP Jo Cox’s sister.
And, of course, a surging Conservative Party was held back at the last minute as public opinions were swayed against the Tories because of the Matt Hancock affair scandal.
The result: a skin-of-the-teeth win due to “tribal” Labour voters who, as This Site mentioned yesterday, would have voted for a shaved monkey if it had a Labour rose next to its name on the ballot paper.
And now we have to listen to the chinless cuckoos who’ve invaded the once-great socialist party and turned it into Tory-lite, crowing about what a “fantastic result” it is.
I suppose it is a fantastic result for people who thought they were going to lose.
“What a fantastic victory… of hope over division,” said Keir Starmer, neglecting to say that the hope was that of those who must now wait in vain for Ms Leadbeater – and him – to come up with a policy programme that remotely resembles traditional Labour thinking – or that he is responsible for the division with his relentless onslaught against traditional party members and supporters.
He said nothing at all about what Labour will do in the constituency, or for it. This is because his party will do nothing. The win means he can continue as party leader for a while longer, while he searches for a soundbite that will attract voters.
He is not a principled politician. He does not have political views. His interest is only to put himself in power and to use it for his own purposes. He is, to all intents and purposes, a Conservative.
And not even a Tory in Labour clothing. Starmer despises the trappings of the working classes and has discarded them in favour of the sub-fascist iconography of Boris Johnson: a suit and a Union Flag. Only the haircut is an improvement.
And while the tribalists have helped him hold Batley & Spen, those of us with any political nous at all are abandoning Labour at the polls.
In other local elections, Labour vote shares have been plummeting while the Tories’ have been skyrocketing.
And this is after two years of Boris Johnson’s incompetence over Brexit and Covid-19, and his government’s corruption generally.
Starmer will try to spin this narrow win as a huge victory for him and for the direction he has taken Labour but nobody should be fooled – he is taking Labour down the drain.
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