Owen Jones interviewed journalist and broadcaster Paul mason at this year’s Labour conference and asked him whether he regretted backing Starmer for leader. His response was rather interesting…
“I don’t regret backing him for leader because I just wanted us to try and do what I thought he was trying to do, which was to pull the left, as much as you could, especially this pro-remain pro-internationalist left, together with the centre to try and run a party that looked to me that it was on the verge of fragmentation”
Owen then asked him about Starmer’s 10 pledges. Was it just dishonesty?…
“I honestly don’t think it was dishonesty. I think the problem with Keir Starmer is, he’s spent his entire professional life as a civil servant, as a public servant, and I think it what it’s left him without is a political philosophy, I think that’s the problem. So, it was always clear that he could be influenced by the left, he could be influenced by the centre and the soft left, in the end I think he’s just been totally influenced by those who say that ‘we must win back the red wall and to do so we need to move in a blue Labour communitarian direction’… if you’re looking for a motive, that’s what’s driving almost everything they’re doing at this conference”
First of all, Starmer was fully aligned with the pro-remain pro-internationalist left in the lead up to the 2019 general election and did everything in his power to distance himself and the Labour party from the predominantly Brexit favouring red wall, which effectively makes him wholly unqualified to win back red wall voters.
Secondly, the argument that Starmer is being “influenced” is entirely speculative. This argument chooses to clear Starmer of any personal responsibility for the decisions that he is choosing to make and it dismisses any suggestion that he might be in any way untrustworthy.
Thirdly, if Mason is correct and Starmer is being influenced by right wing factions, then is Starmer really leadership material? Surely a leader is someone who leads by following his convictions, not someone who is unable to demonstrate any convictions at all and appears to be easily led?
I have to say I am getting just a little fed up with so-called lefties making excuses for Starmer and it strikes me that most of the people making these excuses and who argue that Starmer is really a socialist at heart but ‘just want’s Labour to win the next election and believes he has to listen to right wing factions to achieve this’, are choosing to completely ignore the fact that, so far, Starmer has come up with zero policies to win over voters of any ilk and spends far more time and energy attacking, disenfranchising and purging the left within his own party than anything else.
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