Keir Starmer beats war drums to support a government that’s soft on antisemitism

Ukrainian far right and Keir Starmer
Support us and go ad-free

Writing in the Telegraph on 21 January, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer beat the drums of war saying Britain must “stand firm against Russian aggression”. Starmer wrote this as tensions between Russia and Ukraine increase amid reports that Russia is amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. Even more worrying is the support he’s offering a government that voted against adopting the UN resolution to combat the glorification of Nazism.

Under Starmer’s leadership, Labour suspended Jeremy Corbyn when he refused to retract his comment saying the scale of antisemitism in Labour was “dramatically overstated”. Yet he still wants the UK to stand in solidarity with a Ukrainian government that supports actual antisemites.

Instead of using tokenistic diplomacy to call for solidarity with Ukraine, Starmer could use his position to deescalate the current crisis and call out western military expansionism. Unfortunately he doesn’t. So not only is this hypocrisy, but it’s rhetoric that risks all-out conflict between nuclear superpowers.

“Dangerous claptrap”

Starmer laid out his explicit support for Tory defence policy and called on the UK to stand in solidarity with Ukraine:

I must commend the work of the Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, on this matter. He has worked hard to bring people together, written with moral clarity on the nature of Russian aggression and ensured that the UK continues to support Ukraine’s ability to defend itself through military aid.

Former Labour MP Chris Williamson of the Resist Movement described Starmer’s position as “dangerous claptrap”.

Meanwhile this Twitter user was among others who pointed out Starmer’s hypocrisy. He made reference to the Ukrainian National Guard’s Azov Battalion which has neo-Nazi links:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Beating the war drums

Parts of Starmer’s article read as if he was trying to pursue a diplomatic resolution to current tensions. But it wasn’t long before he mentioned the use of “allied troops”:

We must continue to explore diplomatic routes to avoid conflict. But Russian demands that Ukraine give up its desires to join Nato and the EU should not be entertained. Nobody envisages British and allied troops being dragged into war. But we need to work with allies to use our collective resources, including sanctions, to show Russia the actions it takes will have consequences.

Some called him out as a “warmonger” and made comparisons with Blair:

Sorry, who’s the aggressor?

Starmer’s article typifies the mood of Western mainstream media. That is, one which labels this build up of Russian troops as an act of “aggression”. However, this infographic highlights the global presence of the US and UK military. And it includes a US military presence near Russia’s borders. Yet that doesn’t seem to get the same coverage in that same media:

(Left to right) US military bases (aljazeera.com) & UK Armed forces (forces.net)

 

It could be that Starmer’s Labour sees this as its route to No.10 – out Torying the Tories – as they compete with the Conservative Party to face down ‘Russian aggression’. A dangerous game that could add to the thousands who have already died in Ukraine, and possibly further afield. Not only is diplomacy the obvious answer, but so too is an end to the tension caused by Western military expansion.

Featured image via The Grayzone – YouTube Screengrab & PoliticsJOE – YouTube screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us