Keir Starmer will be happy to see her go – but that is a mistake.
Laura Pidcock, one of the leading lights of Labour’s left wing, has quit the party’s ruling National Executive Committee, citing “irreconcilable differences” between the behaviour of the party’s current leadership and the traditional Labour principles on which she was brought up.
In a statement, she said Keir Starmer’s leadership had made Labour “hostile territory for socialists, from those of us on the NEC, to those in CLPs across the country”.
“What I have witnessed on the NEC has been immensely frustrating,” she wrote.
“This leadership is devoid of ideas, lacking vision. I can’t and won’t negotiate with these people any more. The summit of their ideas are just small tweaks to the status quo.
“They challenge virtually nothing, but are noticeably determined when it comes to rule changes that alienate the left. They have demoralised thousands of people who were awakened to politics for the first time in their life. I am sure this is part of their larger strategy.
“When there is so much devastation caused by this Government and the economic system we live under, when poverty is endemic, when people are hungry, when finance capital is tightening its grip on the NHS, with a Government entrenching the hostile environment, and when the ravages of climate decay are obvious for all to see, we cannot go on giving our energy to people who want to block fundamental, positive change.”
She stated that her unease with the Labour leadership was “crystallised” by the cheering of Tory right-winger Christian Wakeford (“an MP who has voted against everything we believe in”) as he crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join Starmer.
“What I immediately felt was pain for all of those who are forced to use food banks, all of those who are going through the punitive ‘social security’ system, for all of the amazing activists protesting against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, including Gypsy and Traveller people, who are also at the heart of resisting the racism in this legislation — some of the many reasons why this whooping by elected representatives of my own party, on that day, was so inappropriate and jarring for so many,” she wrote.
And she said attempts to restore the Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn were futile under Starmer’s leadership: “Perhaps with the best of intentions, some people seem to think that we can negotiate our way to justice by appealing to the right of the party to do the right thing. That has never worked and certainly will not work in the current circumstances.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “We thank Laura for her service and respect her decision.”
It will be interesting to see how Ms Pidcock is replaced; under current Labour Party rules, her position would be taken by the runner-up for her seat at the last NEC election – Ann Henderson.
But she is also a left-winger like Ms Pidcock. Should we expect Starmer to seek a loophole that will allow him to install one of his right-wing cronies instead? (I think we should.)
Ms Pidcock’s resignation has triggered a wave of support for her from other politicians, commentators and organisations. Here are some of the comments:
Solidarity to grassroots socialist champion @LauraPidcock for quitting the highest body in Labour’s internal machine.
She has worked hard to get justice for ordinary people in that body – but to no avail.
— Ordinary Left (@OrdinaryLeft) January 26, 2022
Just like Jeremy Corbyn, Laura Pidcock has put her political principles ahead of her political career.
Those who have come together over the last 48 hours to show public solidarity to both are the emerging grassroots left family. Authentic & altruistic.
Solidarity to all.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) January 26, 2022
Members of the People’s Alliance of the Left #PAL
stand in solidarity with @LauraPidcock who has shown courage and integrity in resigning from the Labour NEC today following the refusal to return the Labour whip to @JeremyCorbyn,former party leader and serving Labour MP for 40yrs
— Thelma Walker (@Thelma_DWalker) January 26, 2022
In Starmer’s Labour a welcome is given to disaffected hard right wing Tories; Blair gets a knighthood; Corbyn is denied the whip & Laura Pidcock feels she must resign from the NEC.
That’s not a legacy; it’s a charge sheet.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) January 26, 2022
Their words are undoubtedly echoed in the thoughts of many thousands of people across the UK.
And therein lies Keir Starmer’s dilemma – because he relies on the votes of left-wingers and socialists across the UK to keep himself and his fellow right-wing squatters in Parliament, and in power within the Labour Party.
His belief is that the Left has no alternative other than to vote for his Tepid Tories; the First Past The Post voting system means that is the only way to get the Tories out.
But genuine left-wing organisations are springing up across the UK to challenge him; its representatives calling on those socialists remaining in Labour to desert Starmer’s hollowed-out zombie party and join a movement where their achievements will not be neutered by his suffocating presence.
The first test of his ability to resist the new wave of socialism will be the local elections in May – but it won’t be the last.
Is Ms Pidcock’s resignation the first pebble-fall leading to a landslide that will bury Starmer and his traitors forever?
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