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Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Keir Starmer's Lose-Lose Decision

Yesterday, a disciplinary panel consisting of members of the Labour Party’s NEC met to consider the previously announced suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn. They took the decision - it is believed that all five of those present voted in favour - to reinstate Jezza as a Labour member. And that should have been that. But sadly for Labour, it was not.

There were protests at the move. It was rumoured that a group of other Labour MPs would resign from the party in protest, although later it appeared that the group consisted only of Margaret Hodge, who hasn’t. There was talk of old wounds being opened, but this was merely BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg overstepping the impartiality line again.

So the ruckus should have been allowed to die down: Corbyn has received what amounts to a formal warning. But, it seems, new leader Keir Starmer has decided otherwise. He’s going to pick a fight over l’Affaire Jezza. But, it has to be asked, who is he fighting?

Here’s what he said earlier. “Since I was elected Labour leader, I have made it my mission to root out antisemitism from the Labour Party. I know that I will judged on my actions, not my words … Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism … In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review”.

I am reminded of what Lyndon Johnson said about giving a speech on economics: this may have sounded hot to Starmer, but it won’t to the people he’s actually addressing. Because those people want Jezza out of the party of which he has been a member for more than half a century. Tinkering round the edges will not do for them.

It won’t stop the howling from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, whose main man Gideon Falter was incandescent at the news of Corbyn’s reinstatement. Not restore the whip? Pah! He wants immediate re-suspension, presumably until he gets a decision that meets with his approval. Nor will it impress bodies like the Community Security Trust and its main man Dave Rich. Or a myriad of other Jezza haters

Starmer’s decision is a lose with those actors. Worse, it’s a lose with many of the people who keep Labour afloat: the party’s members. All those who pay their subs, volunteer to knock doors, leaflet, run party stalls and events, and generally promote the Labour brand on behalf of the leadership. Many of them have already left - more than 50,000.

That may be not unconnected to their being unable to see why a lifelong anti-Racist should have the bad behaviour of some members dumped solely upon his shoulders. We know the issue of rooting out anti-Semitism was not a simple or straightforward one - the EHRC report says so. We also know that Corbyn wanted the issue tackled urgently

What Starmer has done this morning is fail Lloyd George’s dictum: “you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps”. And what did LG preface that with? “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated”. All he’s done is to dodge the issue during PMQs.

As a result, the issue drags on and no-one is happy. And that doesn’t look good.

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Anonymous said...

Of only Margaret Hodge was a Tory, then the Conservatives would have no hope of winning an election!

Anonymous said...

Oh what a tangled web we weave . . .

Anonymous said...

When all the ranting righty corporate media propaganda, bullshit and lies - see shouty tory Wark's disgusting hate filled diatribe on last night's Newsnight - has died down Starmer will still be a cunt. And so will his apologists.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, can you edit that? Meant to say: "If only Margaret Hodge was a Tory, then the Conservatives would have no hope of winning an election!"

Boiler said...

Keir is relatively new to this type of politics, but this is him dropping a clanger.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha, Labour is finished!

Jonathan said...

5 members of Lancaster City Council's ruling Labour Group, resigned the Labour Whip yesterday at the antics of Starmer and his constant kow towing to a small vocal minority of the Jewish community.

It's one thing to tackle antisemtism, but Corbyn was right, the problem is hugely overstated.

If Labour had an effective corporate structure then the antisemtism problem could and would have been nipped in the bud.

However, Labour as an organisation is run as some kind of Sunday League side.

If Labour wants to win elections. it needs to get professional, quickly, deal with this burning issue, face down the Jewish critics and Margaret 'BNP' Hodge or otherwise continue to haemorrhage members, money and volunteers.

50,000 have left already since the 50's Cliff Richard tribute act took over Labour, carry on and it will soon be 100,000+.

Half measures won't do, Starmer is going to have to choose. Boot Corbyn out and watch a new Socialist Party born and split the Left vote again.

The Tories must be laughing at Labour..

Anonymous said...

I'll never support Blairites.
Greens will have my vote from now on!

AndyC said...

Its a good job we don't at present have the most financially/ morally corrupt, incompetent, lying, obfuscating, criminally negligent, appallingly led, you name it, government in generations, otherwise the self-destructive and disappointing infighting within the Labour party would prevent said useless bunch running the country from being properly held to account. Oh....

Anonymous said...


Yes, we should all support Keeves efforts to hold the government to account and prevent them from legalising torture and giving police a licence to kill by ... abstaining on the votes. And sacking anyone appointed to the shadow cabinet who dares to vote against the bills. That'll really show the Tories what the Labour Party is made of!