The Pointless Keir Starmer


 The Pointless Keir Starmer 42

On Thursday, Labour under Keir Starmer got a lower percentage of the vote in Wakefield than they did in 2017 under Jeremy Corbyn. In 2017 Labour got 49.7%. On Thursday they got 47.9%. I want you to think that through.

Inflation is soaring. Consumer confidence in the economy has gone through a steeper plummet, and to a lower level, than at any time since it was measured. Worse than the 2008 banking collapse. Worse than the height of the covid panic.

The Tory government of Boris Johnson is highly unpopular. The electorate has formed the view that Boris Johnson is an untrustworthy liar and plain chancer. 18th century levels of corruption have not just returned, but been plainly exposed.

There could not possibly be a more fertile ground for an opposition party in a mid-term by-election, when swings against the government are almost invariably much higher than at subsequent general elections. For Labour in these circumstances to still get a lower vote share in Wakefield than they did in the 2017 General Election which they narrowly lost, is a terrible performance.

The attempts to boost the hapless Starmer off the back of it are pathetic.

Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.

This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:

If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.

Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.

Just as Jeremy Corbyn did before being felled by the entirely fake anti-Semitism crusade of the united state and corporate media, Mick Lynch has this week been showing how attractive the electorate find left-wing thinking, and the notion of greater wealth equality, if they could only get to hear it.

YouTube is full of clips of Mick Lynch besting the furious and unintelligent attacks of the media hacks. The moment I found most interesting was on Peston, where he was again being pushed to reveal himself as an evil Marxist who could thus be pigeonholed and ignored. Asked who his political hero was, he replied “James Connolly, the Irish Republican Socialist”.

Regular readers know Connolly is one of my heroes too. What I found most striking is that the highly paid political journalists on Peston had never heard of Connolly. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, I suppose if they had heard of Connolly, they would not be sitting where they are sitting. Knowledge of working class auto-didactic leadership is not a requirement to propagandise for the elite.

The knowledge that the British strapped a dying man to a chair so they could shoot him again might lead to all kinds of unauthorised thought.

Doubtless Starmer would ban his MPs from mentioning it, if he knew.

Here in his native Edinburgh, school children are not taught about Connolly either. My son Cameron was last year taught all about Burke and Hare in school in local history, a suitably grisly and cautionary tale of the Irish working class in Edinburgh. They were taken to Surgeon’s Hall and shown the book bound in Burke’s skin.

Five minutes walk further they could have been at Connolly’s damp birthplace on the Cowgate, and learnt of his life and teachings. The curriculum does not do that.

Which brings me to Scotland. Everything I have said about the Tory crisis and Starmer’s failure to inspire and seize the moment, is true in spades about Scotland. There simply could never be a more propitious time to strike for Independence. Pushed by their activists, the SNP at last claims to have “fired the starting gun” on an Independence referendum.

I see no political alternative but to take them at their word. I quite understand the suspicions of procedural trickery of my closest political friends, but my strong view is that we have to set aside doubt and make the campaign a real one, which acquires its own popular momentum and becomes unstoppable. When Wallace arrived at Stirling Bridge, the more established Scottish political leadership were not necessarily seeking a pitched battle. Let’s get this fight started.


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As if in a dream
I'm hearing radio programmes
playing Ukrainian patriotic songs
and lovingly produced discussions
about the history of Ukraine
and admiration pouring out of my radio and TV
for the brave people of Ukraine
daring to stand up to this terrible invasion
and I felt warm and sad at the same time
wrapped in the care and kindness of it all
and I was pouring out my admiration too,
and images from the TV came to me from last night
of hundreds of people squashed into a station subway
trying to get out on a train to Poland
and more sounds from the radio
of people on the border shivering and hungry and crying
not knowing if they could get out
while arcs of light flashed over apartment blocks
and the morning showed the cold grey ruins of people's homes
and I heard the words of sympathy
from our leaders
while they explained that Ukrainians
would need visas or relatives in Britain
if they want to come here
and I wasn't sure that people crushed
into the subway would have visas
or relatives here, would they?
so if they don't have visas and relatives
what happens to them in the freezing cold
on the Polish border?
and I thought about the care and kindness
coming out of my radio
and I felt uneasy
that I remember other invasions
other bombings,
and the same radio and TV stations
pouring out hours of words
on why similar bombings and invasions
were necessary and good bombings and invasions
and why those resisting were crazy and bad
and of course - as always -
why there wasn't room for people of those countries
to get out and come here
and I was left looking for the principle being defended here.
This principle can't be that it's wrong to invade
other countries.
The principle can't be that it's wrong
to bomb civilians.
The principle can't be that we must help
those who resist invasions.
The principle can't be that we must help
But then I thought,
what's the matter with me?
what is the matter with me?
why am I looking for a principle?
Well, not a principle that lasts
or a principle that is valid in all places.
Our leaders' principles are things
they pick up, boast about
and then drop
in the hope that we can't remember anything
from before last week.
Or that we don't notice what else they do
in other parts of the world.
One moment they are friends with people
who are tyrants or backers of tyrants
and the next they are explaining to us
that the tyrants are tyrants
and friends of tyrants are the friends of tyrants
as if we didn't know that the tyrants are tyrants
and that they themselves are friends
with the friends of tyrants
as if we hadn't noticed this
as if we had now forgotten this.
And this is a cycle
that goes on and on turning,
it's turning in my mind
remembering my parents
talking of the leaders of their time
chumming up with Nazis
corporations selling oil to the Nazis
oil they would use to bomb us
and my parents talking of uncles and aunts and cousins
who criss-crossed the very same land
that the refugees are crossing now,
one who escaped
the rest who didn't
and it's a cycle
it's a cycle that grinds millions into the ground
burnt, dismembered, starved, maimed
and I am listening to the radio.
And I am listening to the radio.

Sir War Criminal

10 senior politicians were hanged for "Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances" in 1946 at Nuremberg.

Tony Blair however gets a knighthood. Not just any knighthood (like, say, Sir Jimmy Saville's KCSG), he is given the KG, the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.


The official Parliment petition website (which can get petitions debated, unlike etc) has rejected all petitions demanding Bliar be declined his knighthood (see left).

So instead please sign this one at

Petition description:

Tony Blair to have his "Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" rescinded

Angus Scott started this petition to The Prime Minister

Tony Blair is to be knighted with the highest possible ranking in the new year honours list, Buckingham Palace has said.

Sir Tony, who held the keys to No 10 between 1997 and 2007, will be appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation's society. He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicement in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.

Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.

We petition the Prime Minister to petition Her Majesty to have this honour removed.