Tag Archives: tactical

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.

Website showing Israelis teaching the choke hold that killed George Floyd is changed to remove evidence. Why?

Doesn’t this strike you as odd?

Late last month, Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey as shadow Education Secretary after she tweeted a link to an interview with actor Maxine Peake which he claimed featured an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory”.

It seems the Labour leader believes it is anti-Semitic to state that Israeli military/police personnel taught members of the US police the choke hold that was misused to kill George Floyd, triggering a wave of protest across the world.

Last week, This Site found and published details of an organisation, run by Israeli ex-forces personnel, that provides exactly that service: the Israeli Tactical School.

A representative of the organisation even commented on the article to say that George Floyd’s death was caused by mis-application of the hold taught by its representatives.

And this is perfectly reasonable. There has never been any implication that Israelis trained US police officers specifically to kill black people.

Nevertheless, it seems the site has been altered since my piece was published, to remove evidence that Israeli Tactical teaches this particular hold.

According to Skwawkbox,

The content of the law enforcement page was deleted in just the last few days, with the amendment dating to after the Long-Bailey sacking. It is now blank.

The about page has been radically amended – with the ‘knee on neck’ image removed and the text altered.

The question is: Why?

Screenshots of the original pages are available – Skwawkbox publishes them in its article – and This Writer has taken copies of them. The evidence showing not only that Israeli personnel taught this technique but that it is an established technique used in Israel is clear.

So why even try to hide it? Doesn’t that just make the technique, the teaching and the organisation look suspicious?

Source: The newly-deleted web page that seems to exonerate Long-Bailey and Peake – SKWAWKBOX

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Should Labour and the Lib Dems go into an electoral pact?

Number 10: What strategy will put Jeremy Corbyn in the prime minister’s house?

Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog raises an interesting question: with the Brexit Party making overtures to the Tories about an electoral pact, should Labour and the Liberal Democrats do the same?

He makes some good points in favour of it – there are many seats where it would make sense for either party to stand aside, allowing the other a greater opportunity for victory, and it makes no sense for the Liberal Democrats to try to block Labour, only to let the “no deal Brexit” parties have a majority in the House of Commons. Every Liberal Democrat attacking Labour is supporting a Johnson/Cummings administration.

But if the Liberal Democrats have any kind of reputation at the moment, it is for treachery. They cannot be trusted. That position will only have been strengthened – against Labour – with the defections to that party of former Labour and Conservative MPs. That will push Labour away.

And the Liberal Democrats themselves may fear that Tory propaganda painting Jeremy Corbyn as the Devil himself will put marginal Tory voters off switching to them, if they go into a pact with Labour.

So Professor Wren-Lewis is supporting tactical voting – supporting the LDs where they have a more realistic chance of winning, and Labour where that party would fare better.

But his logic isn’t perfect. He says voting for a Labour MP who supports leaving the EU will not help as such a person would not support a second referendum with remaining in the EU on the paper – but this fails to take into account the fact that such a referendum is Labour policy and it is better to have a government with such a policy, if you are a remainer, than a government former by a Johnson/Cummings/Farage “no deal Brexit” alliance.

He also says the Tories can expect around 350 seats according to current polling, but he is out of date. Current polling, it seems, suggests the Tories could only muster around 285 seats unless they win constituencies that would be far from their grip usually.

He also suggests that Labour cannot hope to enjoy the huge surge it had in 2017 because Dominic Cummings will use all the social media expertise he learned during the EU referendum campaign to undermine it. This ignores the fact that the media will have to ditch their anti-Labour bias by law, that hundreds of thousands of young people are signing up to vote just so they can support Labour, and that Labour has a thriving social media presence of its own that has made mincemeat of the Tories on that platform for years.

I mean, you’re reading This Site – right?

Professor Wren-Lewis is right to sound a note of caution – but I wonder if he is going too far.

You can read his article here.

What do you think?

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