By Yuri Prasad
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Keir Starmer retreats from the Left

Keir Starmer has transformed the Labour party into a pro-boss, anti-worker party
Issue 2907
Labour leader Keir Starmer in the recent local elections (Photo: flickr/Keir Starmer)

Labour leader Keir Starmer in the recent local elections (Photo: flickr/Keir Starmer)

Keir Starmer may have his eyes firmly fixed on election victory but behind him lie a trail of broken promises, crumbled pledges and hastily taken U-turns.

He clawed his way to the top of the Labour Party by vowing to enact a slew of measures around taxing the rich, nationalising public services and delivering justice for ordinary people.

Yet he has spent the last four years smashing through any initial attempts to challenge the Tories’ rotten rule.

Starmer has consistently broken with any notion of defending workers’ rights, action on climate catastrophe and abolishing the Tories’ cruel benefits system.

He has effectively taken a sledgehammer to the ten promises put forward in his 2020 election campaign, brought together under the slogan “another future is possible”.

Each broken promise isn’t a momentary lapse of judgement—it is a deliberate act to set his party out as one that will rule to protect corporate and imperialist interests.

For instance, in 2020, Starmer said he’d back a Green New Deal which would pour investment into environmental infrastructure and jobs.

Yet last year he told the fossil fuel industry it could continue to drill into the North Sea “for decades to come”.

Getting her excuses in early, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, claimed a Labour government couldn’t afford the Green New Deal now as the Tories have “crashed the economy”.

This backpedalling serves to reassure nervous banks and businesses that a Labour government is a safe pair of hands for capitalism.

And recently Starmer is ramping up the racist rhetoric about the importance of guarding British borders.

He promised to be more effective at deporting migrants than the Tories are.

One of Starmer’s six key pledges, released earlier this month, is a promise to launch a border security command to stop small boat crossings.

This vicious attack is about entering into the political theatre of anti‑migrant rhetoric.

Labour backs Israeli genocide

Keir Starmer’s support for Israeli genocide in Gaza is his greatest crime.

He infamously supported war crimes when he said “Israel does have that right” to cut off water and power to the people of Gaza.

In February, fearing a revolt by dozens of his own MPs, he pressured house of commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle to prevent a vote on an amendment calling for an unconditional ceasefire.

At every turn he has backed Israel and confined any criticism of Binyamin Netanyahu to the limits set by United States president Joe Biden.

When the pressure from below became too great, Starmer started speaking of a ceasefire. But it was always conditional on Hamas surrendering.

Starmer told a meeting last week that recognition of a Palestinian state could happen only as “part of a process” of peace talks involving Israel.

Labour’s shadow Middle East minister, Wayne David, expanded on Starmer’s remarks to explain that Israel would have a veto. A two-state solution would only ever come to “fruition in a way which is acceptable to the state of Israel. That is the way to bring about peace,” he said.

Backing for imperialism is central before the generals, spymasters and the ruling class will back a potential prime minister. Israel, which plays such an important role for the West in theMiddle East, is a central test.

Starmer, who leads the self-proclaimed “party of Nato”, has passed the challenge set by the imperialists.

Labour Party’s right has full control

One area of Starmer’s leadership where there hasn’t been backsliding is in ousting the Labour left. He has pursued the remnants of left activists and leadership around Jeremy Corbyn.

Starmer wasted no time in forcing the left into humiliated submission.

In October 2020, just six months into his leadership, Starmer suspended Corbyn as a Labour MP for saying that the scale of the antisemitism crisis within the party had been “dramatically overstated”. It was a hammer blow to the hundreds of thousands of new members that had joined the party during Corbyn’s premiership.

Starmer has utilised every arm of the party to turn it from left toward right.

For instance, the national executive council (NEC) voted in July 2021 to ban Labour members who had been part of a number of left wing groups.

And the NEC repeatedly pushed back on members who have come up against the pro-business, pro-war and anti‑worker rhetoric of Starmer’s Labour. Yet despite driving the party further to the right, Starmer is proud of the changes made under his leadership.

In February 2023 he crowed, “The Labour Party is unrecognisable from 2019, and it will never go back.

“If you don’t like the changes that we’ve made, I say, the door is open, and you can leave.”

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