Socialist Worker

Why the Labour left is weak

Issue No. 2719

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn during a 2019 rally in Birmingham

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn during a 2019 rally in Birmingham (Pic: Jeremy Corbyn/Flickr)


Even some of the Labour right are starting to get fed up with their party leader Keir Starmer.

Starmer failed to demand the sacking of Tory education secretary Gavin Williamson despite widespread anger over the exam results scandal.

His backers think this “forensic” and “constructive” approach shows a clear break from Jeremy Corbyn and proves Labour is “responsible” enough to govern.

Yet while the Tories lurch from one scandal to the next, they’re still ahead of Labour in the polls.

Now there are rumours that even Labour MPs are frustrated with Starmer’s weakness.

Former left wing shadow chancellor John McDonnell leapt to his defence. “Keir’s got this exactly right,” he said last week.

It seems incredible that, while Starmer wages war on left wing members, McDonnell should be his most vocal defender. But throughout Corbyn’s leadership, the left failed to challenge the right effectively.

The focus on parliament meant bowing to the right’s constant threats to sabotage the “unity” of Labour. Now McDonnell is reduced to making excuses for Starmer.

Labour was outshone last week by resistance on the streets.

Angry protests by students, not clever performances in parliament, beat the Tories.

That sort of resistance is a far better alternative than what any part of the Labour Party has to offer.


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