2020s >> 2021 >> no-1404-august-2021

Editorial

Why the Labour Party is useless

As part of his ‘frank conversations’ with the British people, Keir Starmer recently faced a group of former Labour voters in Blackpool, where he eagerly spelt out his ‘strong ideas’ on how he would reform British capitalism to make it work for the working class, with measures such as support for children and the under-25s, and policies to buy, make and sell in Britain. Unfortunately for him, his audience couldn’t share his enthusiasm. One remarked ‘actions speak louder than words’ and another asked ‘where is the money coming from?’ With the crumbling of the Northern red wall at the last general election, the Labour defeat in the recent Hartlepool by-election, only just retaining the Batley and Spen constituency, and receiving a measly 622 votes in the recent Chesham and Amersham by-election, Starmer is facing an uphill struggle to persuade workers to elect a Labour government.

No soon as he was elected Labour leader, Starmer got to work to not just distance himself from his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, but to purge any influence that he and his allies may have had. He sacked Corbyn ally Rebecca Long Bailey from her post of shadow Education Secretary for retweeting an interview with the actress Maxine Peake, where the latter made comments that were deemed to be anti-semitic. He then moved against Corbyn himself by suspending him from the Labour Party for remarks he made in response to the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on anti-semitism within the Labour Party (although he has since been reinstated). Four left-wing groups – Resist, Socialist Appeal, Labour in Exile Network and Labour Against the Witchhunt – have been expelled from the Labour Party.

However, marginalising the Corbynistas and the left-wing is deemed not enough to convince voters that the Labour Party can be trusted. Starmer has been advised to promote patriotism and the use of the Union flag in the hope that this will help to bring the ‘traditional working class’ back into the fold. Beating the patriotic drum is nothing new for the Labour Party. All previous Labour governments invoked nationalism when it suited them. Remember New Labour’s bulldog arising from its slumbers in 1997.

In left-wing mythology, Starmer will no doubt join the pantheon of traitors who betrayed the ideals and principles of the Labour Party from Ramsay MacDonald to Tony Blair. In truth, there are no ideals or principles to betray, as the Labour Party is not a principled socialist party, but a capitalist one. It doesn’t attempt to raise working-class consciousness, but competes for votes in the capitalist political marketplace, which requires it to opportunistically play on workers anxieties and fears. The Labour Party was founded with the aim of promoting parliamentary legislation on behalf of the trade unions. It sought to run capitalism in the interest of the working class. However, this cannot be achieved as capitalism can only be run in one way, that is to generate profits for the capitalist class. Through hard experience, Labour governments have ended up managing capitalism in a similar fashion as Tory governments.

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