Tag Archives: election

Starmer snubs unions over threat to party democracy – & may now face leadership challenge at conference

The flag and the faker: Keir Starmer has revealed his true – blue – colour in an 11,500-word rejection of Labour Party values, and is attacking party members both electorally and psychologically. He must be stopped before he does any more damage – and could face a challenge to his leadership if he pushes ahead with these vicious plans.

This Writer was practically salivating with anticipation about what I might read on BBC News after discovering the following on Twitter:

And what did I find?

If this is what he stands for then it could have been done in far fewer than 11,500 words – and that’s down from his original claim that it would be 14,000 (let’s thank providence for small mercies)!

The short version is that Starmer has abandoned all Labour Party values. He proposes a “contribution” society – not in which contributions go from those according to their means, to those according to their needs – but (if I’m reading this right) from those who can be made to work the hardest to the UK as a whole (by which I’m presuming he means rich people like himself).

And he’s suddenly fully in favour of privatisation:

What’s the difference from Toryism?

And there’s a nasty return to the old “strivers v skivers” rhetoric that demonised a generation of people with disabilities and long-term illnesses and sent many of them to early graves because of benefit refusals on the basis of trumped-up excuses.

Some commentators have referred to fascist language that is reminiscent of Vichy France.

Others were more visual in their condemnation:

Personally I think that, if it’s supposed to be an essay, we should give it a mark and a comment:

D-
Needs improvement.

The BBC story unaccountably neglects to mention the meeting with the unions, so let’s see what we can get from elsewhere.

It seems that not even one union supported Starmer’s plan to return to an “electoral college” system of voting in Labour leadership elections, that would steal a huge amount of power from party members by depriving them of their individual votes altogether, and hand a huge amount to MPs – the party’s 200+ elected representatives would have one-third of the vote.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise – Starmer’s offer would not have benefited the unions in any way so they were able to reject it without any qualms:

And of course, handing veto powers to 200 high-earning middle-class MPs will do nothing to make Labour relevant to working-class people.

Now: we had understood that, if he didn’t get enough support from the unions (or indeed any, as has happened), Starmer would scrap the plan and would not take it to the NEC for inclusion in the agenda for the annual conference at the weekend.

It seems that claim was a lie.

I think Starmer is panicking. He reckons this will be his only chance to force through the changes he needs to secure his position as leader.

You see, Starmer’s hired guns at the Governance and Legal Unit have apparently been busily despatching notices of suspension to constituency party delegates, in order to ‘fix’ the result of conference votes.

Recipients of these letters are being told, it seems, that the reasons for the suspension of their membership will only be revealed after the conference, in what must be a breach of investigatory rules that is also attacking them financially (because they’ll already have paid for transport and accommodation at the Brighton-based conference) and psychologically:

As a victim of this treatment, I can confirm the truth of Mr Sellers’s words.

So Starmer has launched an attack against the Labour movement, on several fronts: against the trade unions, by snubbing them and ignoring their wishes; against party members, by pressing on with his plan to disenfranchise them while also subjecting them to the torture of the disciplinary process; and to the wider Labour-supporting electorate by betraying everything the party should represent, in his scummy little screed.

Fortunately it seems he’s not going to have it all his own way.

The unions will oppose his plans – and that’s half the conference vote against him before he has even made his first proposal. More than half, if he has deliberately suspended a significant number of delegates.

The remaining delegates – if they’re worth a farthing – will want to reject his plan in solidarity with their wronged colleagues. Right, delegates?

And even some Labour MPs are preparing to rebel against this insult to democracy. Starmer may think this is bad enough:

Worse for Starmer – much worse – is this:

Here’s corroboration, for the sceptical:

Expect fireworks at this conference.

Strange to think that these shenanigans all started because Starmer was worried about losing the vote to confirm his despotic acting general secretary David Evans in the role that has made him despised across the UK.

Whatever happens, Evans is toast.

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Exposed: treacherous Starmer plan to make the Tories more democratic than Labour

Blairite puppet: Keir Starmer wants to return Labour to a voting system that deprives members of any power, instead giving it to his cronies in the Parliamentary Labour Party in the same way his forerunner Tony Blair rigged the party system in his own favour.

Keir Starmer really is determined to make the Labour Party toxic, isn’t he?

His latest wheeze is to turn away anybody who believes in democracy, by making leadership elections more undemocratic than those of the Conservative Party.

You don’t believe me?

At the moment, the Tories elect their leaders by a system in which two candidates are chosen by MPs (in a series of votes that whittle down the potential choices) and then the wider membership is invited to choose between them on a “one member, one vote” basis.

Labour’s current system is more democratic, in that if a vacancy arises, a candidate may be nominated by five per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party or at least three affiliate organisations (including two trade unions) representing at least five per cent of the affiliated membership; if an incumbent is challenged, a candidate must be nominated by at least 20 per cent of MPs prior to party conference. Then the wider membership votes by preferential ballot (candidates ranked 1, 2, 3 etc). Eligible party members, affiliates and registered supporters each have one ballot.

Starmer wants to change Labour’s system back to the corrrupt ‘electoral college’ system that gives disproportionate weight to votes by the few hundred party members who happen to be members of Parliament. They would get an entire third of the vote.

The other votes would be split between trade unions, whose block vote would represent another third of the total – and Constituency Labour Parties whose officers would vote for their choice, whether it was supported by the members or not. They would take up the last third.

Rank and file Labour members would not have any say in the election of a future leader at all. Around 200 MP would have more voting power than around 400 thousand rank-and-file members.

Well, we know what that’s all about, don’t we?

It’s about keeping a bitterly unpopular leadership failure – and Tory fellow-traveller – at the top of the Labour Party even if the membership at large is desperate to remove him.

Starmer would find it much easier to keep his job if a third of the votes in a leadership election come from his right-wing (and deeply unpleasant) fellow cuckoos, many of whom were parachuted into seats during the Blair/Brown years and are closer to the Tories than to traditional Labour in terms of their political values; and if CLP executives that have been purged of left-wingers under the nightmare tenure of unelected general secretary David Evans get to impose their will on party members.

Looking into the future, the trend would then continue because genuine democratic socialists would quit in large numbers, in the realisation that Labour is now neither democratic nor socialist.

And Boris Johnson would then have a free ticket back into Downing Street for as long as the situation would last, because Keir Starmer has absolutely no interest in mounting any serious opposition to the hard-right Tory despot.

Starmer’s words on the subject are as ridiculous as you might expect: “I have said I will make the Labour Party the party of working people, I am determined that the Labour party I lead focuses on the country, on the concerns of voters, so we need party reforms that better connect us with working people.” Nonsense!

He’s making it the party of privileged right-wing MPs! This duplicitous piece of treachery would sever the connection between the party leadership and working people and Starmer knows it. He is simply trying to trick the gullible.

Fortunately, there remain a few people in the Labour movement who are prepared to oppose the Blue Abstainer.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, according to the BBC: “This proposal to reduce the membership to one third of the vote, while inflating the vote of Labour MPs is unfair, undemocratic and a backwards step.

“People will remember that at their conference, Labour talked about rules not issues.

“That’s a huge error for them. We are almost trying to save them (the Labour leadership) from themselves.

“This is not the path to go down.”

And Momentum vice chair Callum Bell warned: “These rule changes would mark the start of a civil war in the party. Starmer holds the membership in contempt.”

On Twitter, Labour MP Jon Trickett led the fightback – and it wasn’t long before fellow members made the obvious point:

Fellow MP Ian Lavery has also spoken up in support of democracy:

And there are others – all from the Left of the party:

Perhaps predictably, we are yet to see opposition to this insult from the likes of Yvette Cooper, Angela Rayner, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Ruth Smeeth, Wes Streeting, and the rest of the Usual Suspects infesting the Labour side of the Green Benches.

The good news is that, unless Starmer gets support for the idea from at least two out of three major trade unions at a meeting this week (September 22), it won’t go forward.

So it’s over to you, GMB, Usdaw and Unison. Do you support worker (and member) empowerment, or are you all for the bosses dictating and the rest of us slaving? Your choice.

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Keir Starmer’s latest insulting betrayal of Labour is a doozy

Keir Starmer (right) is showing he is closer politically to Boris Johnson’s Tories with every rotten right-wing decision he makes.

If we ever needed more evidence that Keir Starmer thinks his job is to contain the Labour Party, rather than lead it, here it is:

He is trying to recruit people from outside Labour – who may never have considered even voting for it – to become Parliamentary candidates for the 2024 general election.

The insult on top of the injury is that the plan is a direct copy of a Conservative initiative – the so-called ‘A-list’ scheme. Here’s Elen Courea of The Times:

What incredible contempt for the party members who represent everything Labour should stand for.

He’ll take their membership money (let’s face it, he’s desperate for the funds).

He’ll tell them what to do – and punish them brutally if they don’t comply.

But he’s absolutely determined to exclude them from having anything to do with how the party is to be run. That’s for Tories, like him.

And we all know it, don’t we?

But there’s trouble on the horizon.

Once again, the UK’s biggest union – Unite – has spoken up in protest at Starmer’s plan that is “potentially bypassing the talent in our movement”.

The statement says:

“It is depressing that the latest offering from the Labour Party is a plan to imitate the Tories’ candidate selection model.

“Our party is packed with talented people who have dedicated themselves to their party, their union or public service.

“These should be our A-list candidates and we should be proud to nurture them to stand for Labour.

“This is where the trade unions come in, with successful programmes dedicated to supporting Labour members and trade unionists to become MPs.

“The briefing around the ‘calibre’ of the latest intake of Labour MPs is disrespectful snobbery towards people who give their all for Labour.

“Labour should be working with the trade unions – our living and breathing link back to workplaces – to develop a candidates programme that the whole movement can get behind.

“But if the party carries on alienating and offending members, it will be hard to find anyone inspired to stand for office as a Labour MP.”

Well, it will be hard to find anyone willing to be a Labour MP who is’nt a Tory.

And they’ll be second-class Tories, too – because all the top-tier Tories will be on the proper ‘A-list’ scheme.

With every step he takes, Starmer makes it more clear that his job is to bury Labour forever.

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Polls open for by-election Labour should win – but will probably lose. Here’s the reason

Keir Starmer: the name on the ballot paper may be Kim Leadbeater but the Batley & Spen by-election is a referendum on his leadership of the Labour Party – and he’s going to find that a suit, a haircut and a flag are no substitute for genuine socialist policies. That means he’s in trouble because he HATES socialism.

Voters are filing into polling booths in Batley and Spen to choose their latest MP, after Labour’s Tracy Brabin quit to become a metropolitan mayor.

Will Labour retain the seat with new candidate Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered former MP Jo Cox? Probably not.

Why not? Here’s one reason:

She doesn’t have any policies and won’t even think about them until after she is elected – if she is.

This means Labour voters don’t know what they’re getting.

It’s Keir Starmer’s malaise, over again. If he was a serious – Labour – politician then he would have come out with serious Labour policies, and stuck with them, from the moment he announced his candidacy for the party’s leadership. He didn’t.

He pretended to support policies put forward by former leader Jeremy Corbyn and then ditched them immediately after his new position was secured. Now, more than a year later, he still stands for nothing other than power for his own sake.

We should hope that Ms Leadbeater’s experience today will show him exactly where that policy – because having no policies is a policy – leads.

Oh, there will be tribal Labour voters who’ll support a shaved monkey if it has a party logo with a red rose next to its name on the ballot paper, sure.

But the right-whingers who have been in charge since the mid-1990s (they are the reason Corbyn failed) haven’t realised they can no longer rely on this vote being large enough to carry their shaved monkey through.

Starmer’s lack of any alternatives to Tory policy makes a very clear message: he supports Tory policy.

Leadbeater’s own words put her in the same position: she says there’s “no magic money tree” – a Tory phrase, and a Tory lie, because they’ve been raiding it like bandits throughout the Covid crisis.

(For those coming late to this party: all the money used to get the UK through the pandemic was created – not borrowed – by the Conservative government, specifically for that purpose. As such, we should all bear in mind that there is no debt to be repaid.)

So traditional Labour voters are faced with a choice between the Conservative, Tory-lite Leadbeater, George Galloway, or one of 13 also-rans.

My bet is that most of them will stay at home and the Tory will romp to victory. Starmer will then blame Jeremy Corbyn – but we’ll all know the truth.

And the Labour leader’s days in power will be numbered.

He may well claim he’s in a four-year project to install a Labour government but he will never achieve that goal.

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Starmer’s dilemma: where does Labour go after Chesham and Amersham?

The problem, not the solution: Keir Starmer – and all his supporters – are a betrayal of the Labour Party and of Labour voters. We all know it. Labour is unelectable until they have all left the party – and they won’t go. They are the worst of all Boris Johnson’s Tory enablers.

No points to anybody who responds to the headline with “Batley and Spen”.

It would be fair to say that Keir Starmer did not expect to win the Chesham and Amersham by-election.

But the scale of his loss there – and I think it should be understood that it was a failure that Starmer owns – should make it clear to him that he has taken Labour in the wrong direction.

His party’s 622 votes – just 1.6 per cent of turnout and one-sixteenth of the number Jeremy Corbyn managed to raise in 2017 – is fewer than the number of people in that constituency’s Labour Party.

Either party members abstained or they voted for someone else, which is an offence for which they could be expelled.

(Or there could be far fewer members remaining in that constituency than Starmer is willing to admit, after the – alleged – mass exodus of members following his election as leader. If so, even if remaining members did vote for somebody else, he’ll be in a quandary over whether to carry out disciplinary procedures.)

Encouragingly, it seems almost nobody aged less than 70 voted for the Conservatives:

I’m not sure Richard Murphy is right about that, as the number of pensioners in the UK will remain very high, some way into the future (even after the ravages of Covid-19), and the Tories have a knack of duping the gullible into supporting them (or perhaps that should be bribing the gullible). Still, it suggests that the Tories’ time is running out.

That said, the simple fact is that people aged under 70 simply didn’t go for Labour, despite Starmer’s attempts to woo them by changing Labour’s direction sharply to the political right. They voted Liberal Democrat.

I draw two conclusions from that:

Firstly, Starmer’s claim that Boris Johnson’s party has enjoyed a “vaccine bounce” – resurgent popularity because of the perceived success of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout – is bunkum. Or at least, any such bounce has now petered out.

Secondly, that people prefer to put their trust in political organisations that have some consistency about them, rather than wandering around all over the political spectrum searching for votes – or very obviously trying to fool people into voting for them – like Labour under Starmer (and Miliband, Brown and Blair before him).

Some commentators are now suggesting that Labour should at least discuss the idea of a “progressive alliance” with other opposition parties like the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, to field just one candidate against the Tories in Tory strongholds, thereby making it easier to force them out. But there are problems with that…

Yes indeed; the Liberal Democrats won because they are the most similar to the Conservatives in Chesham and Amersham, not because they are a radical alternative.

So a “progressive alliance” isn’t going to happen. And dreams of getting the Tories out by using proportional representation will continue to be dreams for the foreseeable future because the Tories are in power and they aren’t going to bring it in because they know it would harm them.

What’s left? Tactical voting?

But that will just result in another hung Parliament that the Tories will probably dominate – with Liberal Democrats joining them for the sake of power if they get enough seats. We’ve already had that from 2010 to 2015.

And all of this theorising neglects one simple fact:

In order to beat the Tories, whichever party you support will need to deserve to win.

And Labour, under Keir Starmer, doesn’t.

How can left-wing voters support a party that deserts them in the way Starmer has? How can they support a party whose Parliamentary representatives no longer come from the working class but represent exactly the kind of middle-class privilege that Labour was originally created to oppose?

How can right-wing voters support a party they know only courts them in order to gain power for its own purposes? They know the Tories are untrustworthy – but only in their promises to people earning less than £100,000 a year; as long as Tory priorities are aligned with their own, they’ll carry on with Johnson’s bandits, even if it means imposing fascist-style dictatorship on the rest of us.

Starmer has been criticised because he hasn’t brought forward a single policy to replace the 10 pledges he scrapped as soon as they had won him the Labour leadership under false pretences. There is a reason for this failure: Starmer is trying to find a magic promise that will fool a majority of voters, just long enough to get himself into Downing Street.

His problem is that we all know that this is what he’s doing. He is probably the most classic example of Tony Benn’s “weathercock” ever to come forward – a career politician who doesn’t have any principles of his own but goes any way the wind blows, chasing votes according to what his focus groups tell him is popular.

And Starmer’s focus groups are disastrously out-of-touch. This means Starmer is continuously trying to tell us what we want, and getting it wrong.

So he drapes himself in the Union Flag because he has seen the Tories do it and he thinks it appeals to our patriotism – but under Boris Johnson’s fascism, we have no reason to feel patriotic at all.

So he blames Jeremy Corbyn for his failures and tries to remind us that Corbyn was accused of letting anti-Semitism into the Labour Party – when we all know that the accusations were (mostly) false (there are always a few racists in any large organisation but the leader cannot be blamed for them). Labour has just been in court defending itself against a group of former members who have brought a hugely damaging case against the party.

In all this squirming, he presents himself as entirely untrustworthy.

So we don’t trust him, and that means we don’t trust Labour:

It won’t change until Starmer is gone. I don’t mean that he should step down as leader of the Labour Party; I mean he should leave the party altogether, along with all the other cuckoos who got in under Kinnock, Blair, Brown and Miliband. You know who they are. Including party staff members who support them rather than traditional (pre-Kinnock) Labour values.

One more note: I could happily tap out a list of policies that Labour should adopt in order to win public support – it isn’t hard to do.

But there is no point while Starmer and his cronies are in charge. They would see such policies as a marketing strategy to win votes – and if it worked, they would then ditch those policies in favour of the right-wing agenda they’ve had all along.

They have to go.

The problem is, they won’t. They know they are unacceptable; unelectable. But they absolutely won’t allow anybody to lead Labour who could possibly break the deadlock.

And in the meantime, Boris Johnson gets worse and worse. Enabled by Starmer.

Regret as Beckett withdraws from Unite union leadership election in favour of Turner

Withdrawing: Howard Beckett.

Howard Beckett has withdrawn from the campaign to elect the next general secretary of the UK’s biggest trade union – to gasps of disappointment from members and commentators.

He has announced that he will be supporting fellow left-wing candidate Steve Turner against hard-right Gerard Coyne, who many consider to be a threat to the union, and who is also considered to be politically allied to disastrous Labour “leader” Keir Starmer.

You can read Beckett’s announcement here:

In This Writer’s opinion, the wrong man is going forward.

Just take a look at Beckett’s Twitter output in comparison with Turner’s and you’ll see that the former showed a commitment to campaigning – on a variety of issues – that the latter did not. Here’s Beckett’s feed from the last few days:

Here’s Turner’s:

There is a third left-wing candidate – Sharon Graham – who seems to lack any purpose other than to split the left-wing vote, thereby allowing the hard-right Coyne to take over. She certainly hasn’t made much of an impression on This Writer in any other respect.

The loss of Beckett as a candidate is likely to hit Unite members hard.

Many of them considered him to be the natural successor to Len McCluskey and the only hope for the future of the union – and are likely to boycott the vote as a result, making it more likely that the right-wing Coyne will win.

I would certainly urge those people to reconsider. A lesser left-winger is still far better than a right-winger who is likely to dismantle Unite in terms of everything it stands for.

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#Starmergeddon as panicking Labour leader lashes out in night of swivel-eyed lunacy

Now you see her…: Keir Starmer seems to have been taking notes from the Tories again – he has kept a scapegoat handy to take the blame for his failures. But it isn’t working.

Keir Starmer has thrown the Labour Party into a pit of bitter recriminations after its local election disaster, sacking soft-left MPs from the shadow cabinet rather than taking responsibility for his decisions.

The principle scapegoat appears to be Angela Rayner – who is certainly no angel, but is unlikely to have been responsible for the catastrophe in Hartlepool, which was apparently run from Starmer’s own office by his personal private secretary Jenny Chapman. She is not in the firing-line, it seems, despite having chosen the candidate and the date of the by-election. She was also the person who communicated all decisions about the campaign to other party members and MPs.

Other victims of Starmer’s reshuffle appear to be Annaliese Dodds and Lisa Nandy, prompting questions about the Labour leader’s misogyny against women from northern England.

I spent Saturday (May 8) watching this farce unfold on Twitter as a panicking Labour leader deliberately set his party on self-destruct in order to divert blame from himself.

Let’s start here, with a couple of comments about the broad effect of Starmer’s decisions:

Rayner’s sacking fooled nobody. It was taken as an attempt by Starmer to deflect blame from himself and avoid taking responsibility. Most considered it a desperate attempt to avoid calls for his own resignation and/or a vote of “no confidence” in his leadership.

There is an upside to this, as some were quick to notice. Rayner’s sacking could be an opportunity for long-suppressed information to come out:

But I don’t think it will. Rayner may have backstabbed Jeremy Corbyn as soon as it suited her but he was no longer in a position of power at the time. Starmer is, and she is still an ambitious politician.

Indeed, it is possible that her prior, unscrupulous, behaviour was intended by Starmer to mitigate in his favour; a backstabbing schemer having her comeuppance after failing to deliver an expected election victory.

But that is to assume that Labour members and supporters are stupid, which is (again) not a good look for a leader. Commenters pointed out that it is entirely possible for Rayner to be an opportunist who sold out the Left – and for her sacking to be an act of cowardice and diversion:

The verdict: Rayner deserved to be ditched – but for something she did herself, rather than a defeat that was not her fault.

Bizarrely, after the party leadership realised sacking Rayner had only undermined Starmer further, attempts were made to backtrack. I’ll say more about that later, but what’s remarkable here is that these efforts only made matters worse. Here’s how, in two short tweets:

And what about the woman who’s alleged to have been genuinely responsible for the loss of Hartlepool? Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times, tweeted a very odd snippet of information and immediately deleted it – but it’s out there and we need to know what to make of it:

If Starmer was having an affair with his secretary then events would have turned really grisly (if cliched). The tweet raises questions about why a Labour apparatchik who is apparently responsible for the failed Hartlepool campaign is avoiding the axe when there is a strong suggestion of animosity against her. What leverage does she have?

In the wider Parliamentary Labour Party, it is being reported that the sacking of Rayner has been met with shock:

The New Statesman was quick to follow up on this with an article featuring comments from some of these MPs, as follows:

“It is wrong on every level,” said one Labour shadow cabinet minister. “Keir Starmer said he would take ‘full responsibility’. I don’t see how sacking Angela does that. You can’t be sacking Angela Rayner, who is a working-class northern woman who’s been working her arse off. It’s madness.”

(She’s not working-class, in fact. She might have been, once, but if you’re deputy leader of the largest political party in the UK, then by definition you cannot be working-class.)

“The PLP is absolutely gobsmacked,” another frontbencher said. “We know Angela had nothing to do with the defeat in Hartlepool.” Rayner was officially the Campaign Coordinator of these elections, but MPs are adamant she was not the decision-maker in relation to the Hartlepool by-election. “Everything has been decided by the leader’s office,” one shadow cabinet member said.

“This is utter madness. Angela Rayner is not the problem. The PLP is up in arms and even my local party is outraged. At the advice of Ben Nunn [director of communications] and Chris Ward [another aide in the leader’s office], Keir is doubling down and making a deliberate shift rightwards,” one MP from the party’s left said.

So now we have a few more names to watch. If Starmer is being influenced by unelected suits, then he is certainly not fit for his job. The leader should form policy, not his flunkies.

Many Labour MPs have yet to provide their opinions. Simon Vessey, below, suggests a reason for that – and Mary-Ellen provides good advice:

But one Labour source, quoted by the ever-reliable (ha ha) Gabriel Pogrund of The Sunday Times, suggested that Rayner’s sacking could split Labour apart:

Many have been saying that this was Starmer’s objective all along.

If so, then his possible choice to replace Rayner – and other colleagues likely to feel the axe – should finish the job. What madness could possibly influence him into thinking Wes Streeting might be a reasonable choice to chair the Labour Party?

Rayner was not the only ShadCab member in line for a sacking – although at the time of writing she is the only one on whom the axe has already fallen.

Other names facing banishment to the backbenches include Lisa Nandy…

Nick Brown (who?)…

Annaliese Dodds and Jon Ashworth…

And others…

Did you spot some of the names touted as replacements?

They are the aforementioned Wes Streeting, along with Rachel Reeves, Jess Phillips, and Steve Reed – all members of what you might call Labour’s hard-right.

Also mooted for a comeback are New Labour hardliners Yvette Cooper and Hilary “my father is spinning in his grave” Benn.

Commenter Simon Maginn described these possibilities as “a right-turn so hard it’d give you whiplash”.

Others have met the suggestions with sarcasm:

None of the above makes Starmer look any better after Thursday’s election shocks. It all makes him look much worse.

So, guess what? It seems he has spotted the backlash on the social media – and is now backpedalling furiously. Announcements about who is to be sacked have stopped being leaked to favoured mainstream media stenographers and it seems he has run away to hide think:

It won’t help him. It is now too late. I’ll let these others explain the reasons:

If Andrew Adonis is right, it is only a matter of time until Starmer has to go. If Andrew Feinstein and Rachel Shabi are right, he’ll delay doing so until the moment that will do the most crippling harm to the party’s future election hopes.

We will judge him – and his advisers – by his decisions.

The clock is ticking.

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Why would anyone believe Tory home-building promises when they’ve failed so badly?

Construction site: enjoy the photograph because you won’t be seeing many of these under Tory rule!

More than 1.1 million houses for which planning permission was granted since the Tories retook power in 2010 have not been built.

They just can’t get developers to put these houses up, despite promise after promise that they would.

The Local Government Association says only by building more council homes can the housing crisis be tackled and the government’s housebuilding target be met.

It is calling for councils to be given the powers to kickstart a social housebuilding programme of 100,000 homes a year.

Polling by the association has found that 80 per cent of MPs and 88 per cent of peers think councils should have more financial freedoms and powers to build new homes.

Here in Wales, one of the Tory local election promises was to build 100,000 houses over the next decade, including 40,000 social homes – and somebody must have believed them because they won 16 seats – five more than last time.

But if they haven’t built a million homes in the last 11 years across the whole of the UK, why should we believe they’ll build 100,000, just in Wales, in the next 10?

We shouldn’t.

It’s just another Tory con. It’s past time we stopped believing them.

Source: Over 1m homes in England with planning permission not built | Housing | The Guardian

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This casual disablist abuse is what the Tory electorate voted for

This didn’t happen: But you can bet the Tories would have wanted it.

Ever since the Tories sneaked themselves back into office in 2010, they have been tacitly encouraging us all to think of disabled people as scroungers, skivers, liars and a burden on society.

Consequently, disablist abuse has increased year-on-year since then, despite being mentioned many times by the national news media (who, although Tory-controlled, find it easy to divorce the symptom of this disease from its cause).

Here, the incident was relatively low-key – an able-bodied woman behind behind a disabled woman who walks with a stick complaining that she had a place to be and the disabled woman was walking too slowly.

On being informed that the woman she was criticising was disabled and could not walk any faster, this … lady… approached her again and said she had no business being out of her house and should stay at home.

It’s still a disablist hate crime.

It demonstrates the way we are being taught to think disabled people should be hidden away, out of sight, where prejudiced Tory “benefit” policies can quietly kill them off – as has happened to hundreds of people whose stories have been highlighted in the news, and probably tens or hundreds of thousands of others who haven’t.

In Scotland, the SNP is phasing in a new disability benefit that aims to treat claimants with dignity and sympathy.

But in England, it seems clear that the 40 per cent who vote Tory and thereby hold the rest of us hostage are determined to put the boot in.

Source: Disabled woman verbally abused by shopper in Middlebrook Retail Park carpark | The Bolton News

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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?

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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