Starmer Changes Labour’s Constituency
The National Executive Committee (NEC) passed a motion on28th March which barred Jeremy Corbyn, the previous leader of the Labour Party, from standing as a candidate in the constituency in which he had been MP for the last 40 years.
It’s a remarkable motion because it is fundamentally false. Clause 5 of Starmer’s motion notes “that, in the 2019 general election, led by Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party returned 202 MPs to parliament, being the lowest number of Labour Party MPs returned since the 1935 general election;”
This is a matter of fact. However its significance is certainly open to interpretation. Why did Labour lose a large number of seats in 2019? The implication we are encouraged to draw from the motion is that the responsibility for the loss of seats was Corbyn’s. This is not true. The primary responsibility for the loss of seats was Keir Starmer’s. He hijacked the 2018 party conference to commit the party to a second referendum if it should win the next general election in 2019. Boris Johnson fought the 2019 general election with the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’. Labour fought it under Keir Starmer’s Brexit policy which the ‘red wall’ understood as ‘Let’s Stop Brexit’. Starmer’s strategy resulted in the loss of some 55 ‘Leave’ voting’ red wall seats that had voted Labour since time immemorial but whose electorate now felt betrayed by Starmer’s 2nd referendum policy and abstained in mass. It is interesting to note that, despite those abstentions, Labour still got more votes under Corbyn in 2019 than did Ed. Miliband in 2015 or Gordon Brown in 2010.
Clause 7 of Starmer’s NEC motion then claims “that the Labour Party’s standing with the electorate in the country, and its electoral prospects in seats it is required to win in order to secure a parliamentary majority and/or win the next general election, are both significantly diminished should Mr Corbyn be endorsed by the Labour Party as one of its candidates for the next general election.”
This is a very curious claim. Membership of the Labour Party increased from some 200,000 to over 500,000 after Corbyn became leader. In the first general election fought with Corbyn as leader, Labour ended the Conservative’s overall majority. Labour, under Corbyn, was clearly very popular. Which erstwhile Labour voters would not now vote Labour if Corbyn were allowed to stand? A few fervent supporters of Israel’s war to conquer and colonize the Palestinian territories might opt not to vote Labour. But they will be infinitely less numerous than the Labour supporters who will make a protest ‘Green’ vote because of Starmer’s dishonourable treatment of Corbyn. The policy of blocking Corbyn will lead to a drop in the Labour vote among erstwhile Labour supporters. Starmer knows this so one must assume that he is targeting voters who have not previously voted Labour.
Starmer’s motion refers to Labour’s “electoral prospects in seats it is required to win in order to secure a parliamentary majority”. This is the key to Starmer’s motion. Starmer is targeting seats that have rarely voted Labour. Starmer is attempting to make Labour attractive to voters who would never have considered voting Labour.
To be successful in doingthis, Starmer will jettison almost all the radical policies on which he fought the Labour leadership election. To win these seats, Starmer is prepared to commit Labour to a pro-market, pro-business and anti-trade union agenda on the domestic side. It will spend money on the NHS and countering Climate change. But any such spending will be limited by fiscal rules and a desire for low taxation.
The British establishment had been shocked by the results of the 2017 General Election. Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist in his economic and social policies and also a strong opponent of Israel’s determination to conquer and colonize the Palestinian territories, came close to being elected Prime Minister of Britain. The establishment set out to destroy Corbyn. Starmer, by stopping Corbyn being a Labour candidate in a future general election, is sending a clear message to the establishment. They have nothing to fear from a future Labour government. Such a government will spend more on the NHS, schools and climate change. But that’s about it. On the international front it will be a reliable supporter of the US and NATO and hostile to Russia and China.
The problem with this strategy is that a Starmer government will be severely limited in what it can achieve. Britain needs a much strengthened state that will take ownership of the many areas in which private enterprise has failed: housing, transport, energy, education, health, water, climate change. Without a stronger state nothing will change.
Starmer may win an overall majority by assuaging the qualms of some middle class voters but he will assume government without a mandate to make the radical changes that British society needs.