Now Keir Starmer thinks beating the war drum will win votes

Keir Starmer and the Union Jack

Yet again, Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is aping the Tories. And once more it’s shifted the rhetoric away from both the current leader’s previous stance and Jeremy Corbyn’s position.

Beating the drums of war

Shadow defence secretary John Healey gave a speech to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on Friday 26 February. It was for RUSI members only. According to its website, Healey’s speech was about:

his views on recent developments, set out the fundamentals of Labour’s defence and security policy and outline how Labour will judge the outcome of the Integrated Review.

In a press release, Healey states that:

First, Labour’s commitment to NATO is unshakeable.

Second, Labour’s support for the UK’s nuclear deterrent is non-negotiable and we want to see Britain doing more to lead efforts to secure multilateral disarmament.

Third, Labour’s commitment to international law and the UN, to universal human rights and to the multilateral treaties and organisations that uphold them is unshakable.

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And fourth, Labour’s determination to see British investment directed first to British industry is fundamental, not just to our thinking on defence, but on the kind of society we want to build.

Dumping Corbyn

The Guardian called this “a deliberate shift in tone from the Jeremy Corbyn era”. But it’s also a shift in tone from Starmer’s own leadership election campaign. During this, he stated:

No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.

Labour could still support much of that. But it’s the style of message which has changed. Healey also said that Labour is “the party of sovereign defence capability”. In other words, it wants to see defence manufacturing done here. And Healey criticised the Tories’ cuts to defence spending. So, you could say Labour is promoting ‘British bombs for British wars’.

As The Canary wrote last year, Starmer:

clearly has the ‘Red Wall’ that fell to the Tories last year at the forefront of his mind… it’s all a bit “Blue Labour” – patriotic, flag-waving and Sun-reading

And people on Twitter picked up on this.

Aping the Tories again

One user said Labour had ‘learned nothing’ since being out of government:

SNP MSP Tom Arthur pointed out that the idea of multilateralism isn’t clear cut:

And Patrick Samphire thought Labour was “deliberately committing to Tory policies only”:

Starmer: dump the rebrands

As The Canary previously wrote, given Starmer’s history:

Clearly he possesses some anti-war inclinations. But he’s also willing to abandon these if he thinks it will give him political leverage.

So it seems, once again, that the force of Blue Labour-style politics is strong in the party. But Starmer has rebranded the party several times since. And yet, polling for Labour is still nosediving. And this rebranding will probably end in tears, too.

Featured image via Sky News – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Labour has ALWAYS been the party with the bigger spend on defence. Whilst many would portray the opposite it’s almost the first thing the Tories do upon gaining office – massive defence cuts. In fact, Thatcher made cuts SO deep to defence that the UK Navy’s flagship was in dock about to be scrapped prior to the outbreak of the Falklands Conflict, it was hastily refitted and sent out, the cuts were, belatedly reversed. The entire conflict was caused by Thatcher not having our fleet in the area to ‘rattle the sabre’ when warned by her defence staff about the potential for an invasion.

      That aside I don’t believe anything is being said that was no already true for the PLP. For the wider party it is different, they are not supportive of being in the pocket of the US. But the MPs don’t represent the views of the party, do they?

    2. After the hateful years of Thatcherism, Britain saw a transformation in the political arena. New (no so secretly blue) Labour, whom simply continued feeding the wealthy from the bosom of the UK working class. And so it continues……
      In my work, I travel extensively to Asia, Africa and South America in particular, suffice to say the UK media narrative to the UK citizenry is BOLLOX
      Make Liz the last, Produce and introduce a peoples constitution, disband the HoL, sack all resident in the HoC and have the civil service produce a proportional voting system. And then we re-boot parliament…..

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