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Letters—Keir Starmer is showing his right wing agenda in Liverpool

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Issue 2744
Starmer is peddling his right wing agenda in Liverpool
Starmer is peddling his right wing agenda in Liverpool (Pic: UK Parliament/Flickr)

The scrapping of the Labour Party list of candidates for the Liverpool mayoral election by Keir Starmer has caused outrage in the city and nationally.

The candidates, Anna Rothery, Wendy Simon and Ann O’Byrne were all from the left and have spoken up for working class communities. They also all support trade union rights.

All are committed to democratising local government and improving the accountability of those elected to office in Liverpool city council.

On 17 February the three were interviewed by senior national party officers.

Six days later—with no explanation— and were told that they could not run for the office of mayor for the Labour Party.

It is clear that the Labour party led by Keir Starmer is attempting a purge of the left. But this should not be seen as only a Labour Party affair.

Thousands of community activists and trade unionists, both inside and outside of the Labour Party, have an interest in this issue and its outcome.

Activists for Palestinian rights, Black Lives Matter and trade unionists in Liverpool need political leaders who are prepared to speak out against Labours’ march to the right.

Campaigners against austerity and climate change need representatives who are prepared to stand up to the interests of big business. Starmer’s attack on the Liverpool mayoral candidates is shameful.

Labour should be taking the fight to the Tories on all of these issues and more.

Instead, by attacking the left Starmer is doing the Tories’ dirty work for them.

We have suffered a decade of austerity. The dreadful effects of the coronavirus crisis on the health, lives and livelihoods of working class people and communities. Starmer’s right-wing agenda is not what Liverpool needs.

We call on the Labour NEC to restore the three candidates on the original Labour list for the office of mayor.

Our message to Starmer is “let Liverpool decide”.

Liverpool Socialist Workers Party

Stop attacking environmental activists

Peaceful protesters say they have been violently assaulted HS2 security as they attempt to save our nature and environment.

This week at Poors Piece in Buckinghamby bailiffs andshire one protester suffered a broken nose from what they said was unprovoked repeated kicking.

Another protester, in a treehouse, suffered a spinal injury. They said their head and neck were stamped on by HS2 bailiffs.

The police made a deal to call emergency services and let paramedics treat the protester, who was at risk of being paralysed. But only if the other protesters came out of trees.

The police are not here to protect us, they are here to protect profit. HS2 is already accelerating climate change. The project is emitting over 11 million tons of CO2 and destroying more trees than any scheme in Britain’s history.

Estimated costs for HS2 are already £106 billion, and it won’t be completed until 2040.

This destruction will do nothing to benefit ordinary working people. It only serves to create more wealth for a tiny rich minority.

HS2 represents so much of this corrupt system that we’re fighting to change.

Izzy Smitheman


More diverse bosses won’t lead to equality

The Investment Association Plan issued warnings to over 300 firms, that do not disclose the diversity of their boards or address the issue.

They hope that these firms will hire at least one director from black or Asian backgrounds.

At a first glance this appears to be a progressive move to ensure that board members are more reflective of the society we live in.

But meeting a quota of ethnic minorities at the board level does not address the structural inequalities which cause lack of diversity.

And it doesn’t address how black and Asian people are almost always paid less.

These are central issues for workers.

We should be wary of calls to diversify the faces of those at the top of society.

Appointing more black chief executives or women board members is no route to liberation.

Suhella Ahmed

South London

Biden is keen for war

US President Joe Biden has worked tirelessly during his first weeks in office to return the US to “business as usual”. This has included reasserting US imperial interests in the Asia Pacific region.

Beneath his incoherence, Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump pursued an isolationist policy towards China. Trump famously withdrew from the Obama-era Trans-Pacific Partnership and enforced trade restrictions in an attempt to curb China’s economic power.

Today Biden couches his foreign policy on China in terms of human rights and global responsibility.

The appalling abuses the Chinese regime is carrying out in prison camps filled with Uighur Muslims, of course, must be condemned.

But it is hard to take Biden’s human rights agenda seriously when he continues to lock migrant children in cages at the US-Mexico border.

Biden and the military elite on both sides of the US political establishment don’t care about Chinese censorship, Uighur Muslims, or the Hong Kong democracy protesters.

They care about asserting the US’s economic and military hegemony in Asia.

This is why Biden’s administration—with a cabinet stacked full of certified warmongers— has already sent military ships into the South China Sea.

And it’s why he has launched a Pentagon task force to review the US’s military position in the Pacific.

Clare Lemlich

Los Angeles, US

What about the climate?

Keir Starmer’s big vision statement included no promises whatsoever on climate change. I guess he thinks the environmental movement was just a moment too.

Aria Davis


Tory plans are dangerous

Boris Johnson is putting profit before lives in his new Covid-19 plan.

His justification is “there is no credible route to a zero Covid Britain or indeed a zero Covid world”. This is a lie. An initial study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests that full reopening of schools could put the re-infection rate above one.

Socialists should say non-essential industries should shut and the furlough scheme should continue until the end of this crisis.

Chris Fuller York

Kim Hunter Scarborough

Resist return to schools

My granddaughter’s Liverpool junior school has stayed open throughout this lockdown.

Teachers can become very ill with Covid-19. Even with smaller classes it was impossible to keep the pupils, staff and community safe.

Education staff should launch a campaign to encourage parents to keep children off until it’s safe to return.

John Carr


Sanders and the pay rise

There was a good letter in last week’s paper about Joe Biden dropping promises to raise the minimum wage immediately in the US.

But it didn’t point out that a self-described socialist, Bernie Sanders, also opposed a rise now.

Harriet Lane


Thank you Socialist Worker

I have been reading Socialist Worker on my phone quite often. It’s been great and has kept me going.



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