Labour Members raise alarm over Keir Starmer’s plan to ‘reshape’ party policy

Keir Starmer
The Canary

Labour members researching Sir Keir Starmer’s recently announced and soon to conclude National Policy Forum (NPF) consultation fear the new leader’s plan to “reshape” Labour’s policy platform will mean the abandonment of Labour’s core values and policies, potentially even leading to dropping the party’s pledge to fully end and reverse NHS privatisation alongside its commitment to the principle of essential services and support universally available to all.

Subverting democratic processes

They have noticed that the NPF has left Labour’s 2019 manifesto of popular transformational policies out of its consultation, failing to make even one reference to the document. These policies were jointly written and approved by the members’ representatives, unions and the shadow cabinet less than one year ago. Members are concerned that this move has subverted normal democratic processes and prompted fears that leadership will seek to treat the 2019 manifesto as if it never existed; they worry that Starmer’s leadership will seek to bypass the left’s policy gains in recent years and return to an agenda of tinkering with the edges of Tory ideology. The recent review into the 2019 general election recognises that, if Labour retreats from a “big change” agenda, as offered in 2019, the party is likely to lose in 2024.

On the left, it is widely accepted that the coronavirus (Covid-19)crisis has highlighted the necessity of the policies developed during Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader. If they had been in place at the time of the pandemic, management of the crisis would have been safer and easier. Now, as the UK moves out of lockdown into possibly the biggest economic downturn in living memory, members argue that popular policies like the Green Industrial Revolution still provide the best template for a robust, sustainable UK recovery.

Meaningful opposition is needed

Starmer has already faced criticism from within Labour for failing to provide strong leadership during the coronavirus crisis or a competent alternative plan to the government’s shambolic response to the pandemic. Members now fear that, if the policies developed during Corbyn’s time as leader are dropped, there will be as little opposition to government mistakes during the developing economic crisis as there has been to its mishandling of Covid-19, and no meaningful alternative to Tory austerity and mismanagement.

As Adrian Weir, a London NPF representative says:

It may be imagined that when the NPF Report is presented to conference and then adopted that the NPF Report has become part of the canon of party policy; in other words, it may be considered “in the bank.” That does not seem to be currently the case; it’s almost as if policy has reverted to some sort of Year Zero.

Use your rights

The members conducted their research for The Cosmos, an advocacy group which works to promote a politics of equality, humanity, honesty, and peace.

The Cosmos urges Party members and affiliated organisations to defend and develop their socialist values, to exercise their rights to Party democracy by making their submissions to the NPF by 30th June. Details of Cosmos’ campaign including briefing documents, links to the policies and consultation documents, videos and advice are available on its website.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Blue Labour is finished as an opponent to the Tories. Those Labour voters who went Tory in the last election are to blame. Unless 40,000 of the current membership demand a left turn to thwart Starmer & his acolytes, the LP is doomed to outer darkness.

    2. Nothing to be surprised about here. It is the common currency of Labour pusillanimity, briefly breached by an extraordinary concatenation of circumstances. Consider that such a figure as Liz Kendall, intellectually feeble and about as radical as a tap washer, was not long ago a candidate for leader. Labour’s position within the business-State-media complex whose aim is to defend capitalism against its irrationalities and keep the “rascal multitude” in its place has been cosy for decades. Labour members are consistent in their naivety. They elect Blair in the expectation of justice and get the Iraq War. They have the chance to elect Long-Bailey and they go for the dullard Starmer who has the imagination of a cockroach and the principles of a scorpion. They consistently fail to understand that when people are seeking power, truth flies out the window. This is true of every politician,even Corbyn, Benn, Foot, and the original Keir. What has to be done is to assess the correspondence between the truth and what the politicians say and then vote for the greatest. The problem is: how do people get the truth? Citizens know nothing because that is the role of the media. We are bombarded with news to keep us ignorant. To find the truth, you have to look hard and find your way into crannies they try to keep hidden. Who knows for example that JFK instituted a campaign of terrorism against Cuba? What, that handsome, charming, liberal inhabitant of Camelot? That’s what popular culture does for you. There are a few of us who know where to look and can dig out the truth. It is our responsibility to get it to the public. Hard work and the reward is vilification. On we go.

    3. We have tried time and again and failed. What’s the point of remaining in this kind of Labour Party as a member? There’ll always be factions inside and out frustrating the Left. We thought we were well and truly on to a new thing with Jeremy Corbyn. I have cancelled my membership. Why should Starmer who headed Labour’s catastrophic Brexit strategy benefit from leading the largest political party in Europe that Jeremy Corbyn initiated with the help of Momentum? Get out now and agitate for a new Party! Also, ditch Union membership that supported Starmer and, if possible, join another Union.

    4. I was told by my mum to join the Labour Party when I was 15 or leave home ! She was joking but the whole of my family have been at one time or another LP members. We have stood as candidates in local elections, we have been labour Councillors, school governors and local party officials.

      We tramped the streets in the cold and rain, knocking on doors, delivered leaflets and campaigned throughout this land. We donated money during general elections and travelled to other marginal constituencies to help. I personally left the Party during the Blair years as I didn’t want a blue Labour Party that was better at being right wing than the real tories. I rejoined once Jeremy Corbyn became leader and my hope for change returned.

      I now find myself with no party to join or support, no party that will campaign to make our society a fair one and no party to represent me. Not only that but as I have always been a supporter of the EU and considered myself a European, I now find myself living in a country that I despise.

      No party, no representation, no country and now no hope for the future.

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