Socialist Worker

A year of Keir Starmer, a year of surrender

Issue No. 2748

Keir Starmer seeks to shift the Labour Party to the right

Keir Starmer seeks to shift the Labour Party to the right (Pic: Jeremy Corbyn/Flickr)


Keir Starmer has spent his first year as Labour Party leader refusing to oppose the Tories—but he has shown us what he stands for.

It’s not for the right to protest without being beaten, arrested and fined by the cops.

Starmer would have told Labour MPs not to vote against the Tories’ plans in the new police bill. It was only the widespread outrage after Sarah Everard’s murder that pushed him to oppose it.

It’s not for workers’ safety in the teeth of the coronavirus pandemic.

At pivotal moments Starmer broke his support for the government to demand plans to end lockdown restrictions and reopen workplaces.

He refused to support education workers against the unsafe opening of schools.

It’s not even for a decent pay rise for NHS workers—supposedly the centre of Labour’s campaign for the local elections in May.

While health union activists demand a 15 percent pay rise, Starmer’s Labour will only call for 2.1 percent.

But from the moment he became Labour leader, Starmer made sure to show what his party would stand for. He wants the Labour Party to realign with the bosses, which pander to what he and his advisers believe are the right wing views key to winning an election.

How have the Tories survived all this?
How have the Tories survived all this?
  Read More

Starmer has promised a “responsible” government, “working alongside British business.”

This meant opposing the Tories’ plan to raise taxes on the rich.

He has pledged loyalty to the police—and will spend more on cops, soldiers and nuclear weapons and support US wars.

And it’s all done against the backdrop of the blood-soaked Union Jack—a sop to the racism and nationalism they wrongly think defines working class people.

Starmer’s job when he took over as Labour Party leader was to end the era of Corbynism.

So his appeals to the bosses have been accompanied by a war on the left.

Yet now, as the Tories still sit comfortably in the polls, the Labour right want him to go even further right.

One anonymous shadow cabinet member said Starmer “spent too much time over the last year trying to appease the hard left on one hand and being too cautious trying to look like a government in waiting.”

The only excuse they can offer up for Starmer is to blame his failure on Corbyn’s legacy.

The right is still haunted by Corbyn. But the left needs to put Corbyn behind it too.

Corbyn failed because, inside Labour, he was constantly undermined by the need to appease the right. Now the right wants to smash the last fragments of Corbynism altogether.

The left has to choose where it stands too—not in Labour, but on the streets with all those resisting the Tories.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.