Socialist Worker

Keir Starmer drives people away from Labour

Issue No. 2759

Labour leader Keir Starmer

Labour leader Keir Starmer


There was more evidence this week that Keir Starmer is both alienating and repulsing sections of people who previously supported Labour.

A survey conducted by the Labour Muslim Network in partnership with Survation found 37 percent of Muslims became “more unfavourable” towards Labour over the past year.

This coincides with Starmer replacing Jeremy Corbyn as leader in April 2020.

The Labour Party as a whole still has a strong net favourability rating among British Muslims of 42 percent.

Favourability

But Starmer’s leadership has seen the party’s favourability drop by 7 percent.

The Labour Muslim Network said, “Muslim voters are sending us a clear message—our votes and support should not be taken for granted and must be earned.”

Muslim voters generally approved of Corbyn’s policies. They liked his opposition to austerity, his call to rein in the rich, his years of Palestine and anti‑war activism and his firm stance against racism.

Starmer repudiated that vision. He described the Black Lives Matter protests as merely a “moment not a movement”. He repeatedly refused to denounce Israeli terror.

And he offered only “constructive opposition” as the Tories’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic took 150,000 lives.

Very few Labour-leaning Muslim voters are likely to back a more right wing party. But they do have the option of staying at home or looking for a party that claims to be more radical.

A year of Keir Starmer, a year of surrender
A year of Keir Starmer, a year of surrender
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Muslims aren’t the only group of people turning from Labour. Younger people are also repulsed by the prospect of voting for the party.

A YouGov poll last week showed that support for Labour among 18-24 year olds is down to 35 percent. That is a fall of 21 percent since 2019.

The Green Party’s popularity has grown by 23 percent since 2019 among the same group.

People in that age group have seen austerity and ferocious climate change throughout their lives.

They have very little hope of finding a decent job, secure accommodation or a better future than their parents. And Labour offers no way forward.

Starmer’s rotten right wing politics are a problem. But Labour’s crisis goes much deeper than Sir Keir.

Labour-style parties are under pressure or have been marginalised across Europe. The social democratic promise is of sharing the proceeds of capitalist growth a bit more fairly.

That’s empty as the system faces crisis after crisis.

The answer is not simply the removal of Starmer, or a better leader.

Instead we need a politics that rests on struggle from below and a revolutionary socialist alternative to a toxic system.


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