Just when you think Keir Starmer’s Labour couldn’t sink any lower – it does. Because aside from the party actively shutting down its left wing, now it’s also anonymously briefing the Sun. Tony Blair: can you hold Starmer’s pint, please?
It’s been quite a week in the Labour Party. On Monday 23 November, left-wing members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) did a digital walk-out during a meeting. This was over several things. Firstly, they were protesting Starmer not giving former leader Jeremy Corbyn the whip back. But the members were also unhappy about Margaret Beckett becoming NEC chair. They claimed Beckett’s appointment over the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU’s) Ian Murray was essentially a stich up. The Guardian reported that the members, including former MP Laura Pidcock, said in a letter that:
the ‘longstanding protocol’ was for the vice-chair to be elected to the head of the body. ‘This is not protocol and is another example of the leader promoting factional division within Labour,’…
‘The leader’s decision to again promote factionalism comes at a time when the historic relationship with trade unions is under tremendous strain’ the letter said.
Also on 23 November, a row kicked off between the party and its Young Labour group.
Young Labour versus archaic Labour?
Young Labour passed a vote to release a statement in support of Corbyn. This also meant Young Labour opposed Starmer’s refusal to give him the whip back. But the Labour Party machinery was not happy about this. Little did it know that Young Labour chair Jess Barnard would go public about it. She tweeted that “Labour’s head office” had emailed her:
ordering me to remove this statement ‘immediately’ and alleging that Young Labour had ‘misused’ Labour ‘branding’ to provide ‘commentary on factional disputes’.
Barnard didn’t mess about. She said that overall:
The actions we have seen in recent weeks undermine members’ democratic rights and free expression, and are a threat to the fabric of our party.
Ouch. Not that the Labour Party seemed to care. Because the chaos continued on Tuesday.
Shutting down a local party
As SKWAWKBOX reported, the Labour machinery has effectively shut-down a local constituency party. It noted that:
the Labour party has suspended first the elected chair and one co-secretary of Bristol West constituency party (CLP) for allowing a motion in support of Jeremy Corbyn to be voted on (and passed decisively by members) – and then the other co-secretary for unspecified ‘suspicion of breaking the rules‘.
All this was done in the run-up to the CLP’s annual general meeting (AGM), at which members would elect the officers to represent them for the next year – against a backdrop of the MP’s office abusing member data to whip support for a right-wing set of candidates.
And now, in yet another insult to the members and their democracy, Labour’s south-west regional office has cancelled the AGM altogether – on the grounds that there is nobody left to run it.
SKWAWKBOX called the actions “Stalinist”. And if all that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday 25 November, it reported that Labour had also suspended the chair of the Bristol North West CLP.
But Starmer then decide to take it up a notch.
The last straw?
As I tweeted:
Briefing The Scum AND NOW doing what Corbyn wanted to do, but he personally undermined, in the run up to last year's general election?
I'm not sure "charlatan" quite cuts it with this one. https://t.co/FLu2Ee5Osp
— Steve Topple (@MrTopple) November 24, 2020
Yes, that’s right. The Sun reported (please don’t click the link) that “Sir” Starmer:
will order Labour MPs to back a Brexit deal to try to win back the North, his allies claim.
Shadow Cabinet sources say the party will support ‘almost any trade deal’ that PM Boris Johnson forges with Brussels.
They hope that doing so will ‘put the issue to bed for good’ and win back the trust of ‘Red Wall’ voters lost to the Tories in last year’s election.
Talk about morally bankrupt.
‘Humiliating, horrifying and disappointing’
Firstly, Starmer seems happy to have members of his team briefing the most toxic tabloid in the UK. But he’s also just shown that clearly his view on Brexit will change like the British weather. Because it was, of course, him and others, that forced Corbyn and Labour into its disastrous public vote Brexit stance during the 2019 general election. It also shows utter contempt for Sun readers and Red Wall voters. Because Starmer is assuming they won’t spot his flip-flopping.
As Rachael Swindon tweeted:
I wonder how the Labour Party humiliate, horrify and disappoint us today?
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 25, 2020
Your guess is as good as mine, Rach. But it couldn’t surely get any worse. Could it…?
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