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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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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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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.

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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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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.

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“He’s a Tory” hashtag intended for David Cameron impacts instead… on KEIR STARMER

Keir Starmer: it seems the nation believes he is a Conservative cuckoo, only pretending he believes in Labour values. But will voters do enough to push him out of that party’s leadership on May 6?

This is the reason Labour is going to lose seats in the local elections next month, in a nutshell.

As I write this, the phrase “He’s a Tory” is trending on Twitter. It was intended as an explanation of David Cameron’s behaviour in lobbying his former colleagues in the Conservative government on behalf of his subsequent employer:

But it has been hijacked – unintentionally, it seems – by critics of Keir Starmer who have taken it to refer to the Labour leader’s own political leanings:

Yes, it says it all.

Most particularly, it says that Labour voters will abandon that party at the local elections next month.

The only question now is whether they will just stay at home, meaning the proportion of people voting will fall but the result is unlikely to be significantly different from usual.

Alternatively, they might choose to make their vote count by handing it to someone else. A boost for one of the minority parties like the Greens (or – more likely in the current climate – nationalists like Plaid Cymru or the SNP) would be a serious blow for Starmer’s credibility, along with that of the Labour Party he leads and may prompt a rethink of his leadership abilities.

It depends on how disaffected Labour voters feel.

Do they think withholding their vote will achieve anything?

Or do they actually want to push Labour into being better?

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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