By Nick Clark
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2787

Starmer flies the flag for right wing Labour

Starmer celebrated the worst of Labour's past, including Tony Blair
Issue 2787
Keir Starmer speaking in front of a Union jack

Keir Starmer delivering his speech in Birmingham on Tuesday

Keir Starmer’s response to Boris Johnson’s crisis is nationalism and right wing politics.

In a speech in Birmingham on Tuesday, Starmer tried to spell out what sort of government the Labour Party wants.

“It’s normally the job of the opposition to criticise and oppose,” said Starmer. Though as he boasted, Labour hadn’t done much of that.

“Our instinct in a national crisis is to give the government the benefit of the doubt. And because the pandemic posed an unprecedented problem we, Her Majesty’s opposition, did the same.

“We supported where we could, we questioned where we had to.”

Still, even he recognised that the government is now quite unpopular—and he wants to catch up with that.

“Britain has entered a new phase. Because just as the government has revealed itself to be unworthy of your trust its incompetence is becoming plain.

“The cost of living is increasing. Energy bills are going up. Wages are stagnant. Tax rises are coming in April.”

But opposition, said Starmer, “can make us sound pretty miserable.”

So to lighten the mood, he offered “a solemn agreement about what this country needs,” a “contract with the British people.”

And the first “term” of the contract was “security”—which firstly means stirring up a moral panic over crime out of nothing.

“Too many people do not feel safe in their streets,” claimed Starmer, completely baselessly.

So Labour will bring in more police, and adopt a “tough new approach to closing down drug dens”—whatever they are.

Because Labour has to make some appeal to protecting workers, Starmer mixed this with platitudes about wages and jobs. But all he offered was support for businesses and plans to back damaging “solutions” to the climate crisis such as hydrogen gas.

And it was all lathered in nationalism. Even by Starmer’s standards, he was laying it on thick.

 “I want to celebrate the country we live in,” he said, along with “all that the British have to be proud of.” First among them were “the rule of law” and “her majesty the queen.”

For Labour, patriotism and the “national interest” have always been the way to appeal to bosses and the section of Tory voters it thinks it can win.

Behind vaguely progressive sounding guff about “national community” is devotion to all the worst of the British state.

That’s why Starmer celebrated Labour’s 1945 government for getting Britain nuclear weapons and supporting Nato, before moving on to lavish praise on Tony Blair.

The message was that Labour is a party for the right—and wants to be a government for the right. That’s why tens of thousands of left wing activists have rightly left the Labour Party.

Staying on means remaining in a party that offers no real resistance to the Tories—and nothing for working class people but right wing politics in government.

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