Saturday 8 May 2021

Keir Starmer - No Vision, No Votes

As more results come in from Thursday’s round of elections across the UK, one thing is clear: Labour did badly, and in the case of the Hartlepool by-election, very badly. The saving grace was that, where leaders like Mark Drakeford in Wales took on the Tories, they did much better. Labour in Preston also held their ground with ease - a group who have put localism and the community at the top of their agenda.

Party leader Keir Starmer is, apparently, frustrated, which is not quite the emotion felt by many Labour members and supporters, who are still unable to answer the question more and more voters want answered - what is Labour for? What is the vision? What sets the party apart from alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s Tories?

Once more, reference must be made to J K Galbraith’s definition of leadership: "All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership” and its corollary “A leader can compromise, get the best deal he can. Politics is the art of the possible. But he cannot be thought to evade”.

Keir Starmer has thus far failed to anticipate the major anxiety of the people as the Covid-19 pandemic - hopefully - recedes from the scene. It’s going to be the economy, stupid: employment, along with health, the environment, mobility, security and the expectation that folks will be able to get on. Those folks might also want the choice of getting out, to retire somewhere warmer and sunnier. A better Britain. Basic stuff.

But he does not give them that reassurance, that hope, that vision. Nor does he take the fight to the Tories as part of a campaign to stick up for ordinary people, as the likes of Andy Burnham has done in Greater Manchester. So he has been thought to evade. Bozo also evades, usually by lying, but his media outriders cover for him.

Moreover, the Starmer team’s excuses are now wearing very thin indeed: blaming his predecessor is petty and pointless, especially when Labour’s losing candidate in Hartlepool admitted that Jeremy Corbyn’s name did not come up in doorstep canvassing. Also, Starmer has had well over a year in post. The setbacks are for him to own.

That period in office has seen Labour’s membership dwindle as many, especially on the left of the party, have simply walked away. Others have been suspended or even expelled. But the problem for Labour is not the left: the left helped Tony Blair win. He included people like John Prescott to give him a link to the left and the working class. Blair at least listened to Trades Union leaders. He took the fight to the Tories, not his own party.

Worse still, as Channel 4 News has revealed, is their own polling telling “the top reason given for not voting Labour in elections in England yesterday was Sir Keir Starmer's leadership”. He takes Bozo apart at PMQs. But all too often, Labour either goes along with the Tories, or fails to define and communicate what they would do differently.

More war on the left would benefit only one party, and it would not be Labour. Starmer needs to consider not just what works, but what does not, as he mulls a reshuffle.

And if the greatest benefit would be to reshuffle himself out - then so be it.

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  1. Modern British politics seems more obsessed with vision than policies and programmes.

    Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt once commented on the matter. He is on record as saying: "Anyone who has visions should go to the doctor." (Wer Visionen hat, soll zum Arzt gehen.)

  2. C4 News last night: Do you know what Keir Starmer stands for?

    Len McCluskey: No.
    Andrew Adonis: No
    Jeremy Corbyn: Er…

  3. Plento Demento8 May 2021 at 14:03

    "It’s going to be the economy, stupid: employment, along with health, the environment, mobility, security and the expectation that folks will be able to get on."
    Johnson lies about all of those and more.

  4. I was a life long Labour member who resigned months ago. One of those who did ward and constituency meetings, leafleting, policy discussions, that sort of thing. I even hung on in there when it became obvious just how much Blair and Brown had betrayed the party and its founding principles. I believed that sooner or later those principles would be restored by its actual and notional membership.

    This came very close to realisation and was only prevented by the most dishonest, lying, cowardly media propaganda campaign in living memory. Even worse was internal sabotage organised and directed by discredited, corrupt leaders and their apologists.

    Now along comes Starmer and his similar band of apologists. Not a single notion of honest and decent policy between the lot of them. But they "do well" at the grotesque pantomime of PMQs - not a difficult task when faced with the most corrupt gang of thieves and hypocrites to iinfest British government in two centuries.

    It isn't that the Starmer Gang "has no narrative". They've made it clear they would be little different, even support, the present thieves kitchen. Even on the much-vaunted pr front Starmer looks like he doesn't believe his own words, as befits somebody with the most dishonest face in politics. Is it any wonder some people are mug enough to think far right racist government comes "better" from thieves-without-shame than from platitudinous hypocrites concerned only with their own miserable skins?

    Until Labour rids itself of its dominant right wing moral corruption it will never return to anything worthwhile, though it may even "win" an election or two. The Starmer Gang is no more the answer than were Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Kinnock or the rest of the opportunist motley crew.

    Which is why I won't be rejoining any time soon.

  5. A fond Fuck Off to Neil Hamilton and all UKIP, Abolish the Welsh Assembly, RefUK party candidates in the Wales Senedd elections.

  6. Forget Hartlepool - sadly it was inevitable given the history of voting patterns in the constituency.
    And as more results are coming through it seems there are several rays of hope but still we are seeing a double standard applied to Sir Keir...
    The claim is that MSM did for Corbyn, but apparently it's only Starmer's fault that - after the worst election results for many years in GE19 - (following which he has had to try & rescue the tattered remains of the reputation of the Labour Party)in elections where voters traditionally forget local politics are dependent on funding from Westminster, Labour has done better than might be expected.
    Also an 18 months when the government has - because of Covid - had more exposure on the media than ever with little chance for opposition to robustly reply.
    Yes he has made mistakes, but too many are calling for Starmer to go. That would just further play into the hands of the MSM!

  7. To 20:11.

    The turnout at Hartlepool was down by over a third.

    Most absentee voters were from the most deprived areas of the constituency.

    Thus, usual bedrock voters - those who most depend on and NEED Labour - don't trust the present leadership. The same voters who won the constituency for Labour in 2019.

    Now Starmer has sacked Rayner, someone who constantly (and impotently) trumpeted "working class roots". There's a lesson in there for both Rayner and those who wish Labour well. But it's a lesson which will be ignored by Starmer and his apologists, to say nothing of outright saboteurs and political traitors.

    There's nothing new in any of this. Labour has suffered right wing betrayal since its inception. Starmer is merely the latest doxy.