Keir Starmer’s Red Tory Rebrand Goes From Strength to Strength

Labour leader Keir Starmer greets Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, after her defection from the Conservatives. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Labour’s Betrayal: From Left Values to Tory Converts

Just when you thought Sir Keir Starmer’s complete ideological overhaul of the Labour Party couldn’t become any more farcical, he’s only gone and welcomed yet another disaffected Tory MP into the big red tent. Yes, friends, the latest rightward lurch in Starmer’s relentless pursuit of power at all costs is the defection of none other than Natalie Elphicke – a woman so irredeemably right-wing that even many of her new Labour colleagues are aghast.

For the overwhelming majority still labouring under the quaint delusion that Labour remains a party promoting workers’ interests or any discernibly left-wing values, Elphicke’s arrival should bury that nostalgic fiction once and for all.

When a Tory MP who previously defended her convicted sexual predator ex-husband as being punished merely for being “attracted to women” is viewed as an ideological fit for the modern Labour brain trust, you know the refounding as a rebranded centre-right husk is complete.

Not that Starmer and his coterie of Mandelson manqués are bothered by such piffling matters as preserving a hint of consistent principles. According to one loyal spokesperson, they remain “confident” the repugnant Elphicke somehow mystically “shares their values” now, skeletons like judicial impropriety scandals be damned! Besides, what’s a spot of relativistic ethics between friends when there’s a big red ring to chase for all those delicious Blairite donors?

The vapid rationale trotted out to justify this latest travesty is as predictable as it is pathetic: “It’s a sign of progress that people recognise the Tories have failed.” Yes, clearly the solution to decades of Tory misrule is…to let the Tories just waltz directly into Labour en masse, unencumbered by even the flimsiest ideological filter beyond naked careerism and self-interest! Why, it’s a modern-day Velvet Revolution in reverse – with blue morphing seamlessly into red in a grotesque mockery of meaningful partisan distinctions.

Of course, the decision to welcome hard-right wingers like Elphicke into an ostensible worker’s party was met with the predictable outcry from those rearguard elements still tragically labouring under the mistaken impression that Labour should, you know, actually represent the interests of working people. According to leaked reports, one shadow minister justifiably wondered aloud why such right-wing opportunists with “problematic views” were being welcomed so readily. Backbenchers fretted over Elphicke’s “hard right” politics on everything but the narrowest band of issues, while aides seethed about her cynical grifter status as “a right-wing opportunist” whose presence “won’t change a single person’s vote.”

Charlie Elphicke Wife Natalie
Wife Natalie – who replaced him as MP for Dover and left him after the guilty verdict in July – came out in his defence, saying he didn’t get a “fair trial.”

One Labour shadow minister said people like Elphicke should not be welcomed into Labour, adding: “She has views that would be welcome in Reform.” A backbencher said although she had done good work on housing, Elphicke was “on the hard right of the Conservatives” on almost all other issues, adding: “I do hope this doesn’t mean an import of some of her problematic views from the past.” A staffer to a shadow minister said Elphicke was a “right-wing opportunist,” adding: “We don’t need these people … It won’t change a single person’s vote. Natalie Elphicke isn’t even a name in her own living room.”

But such feeble squawks of conscience from the underlings are as irrelevant to the current Labour regime as they are impotent. When the leadership fetishizes “electability” as the only metric that matters, warmly embracing a full-spectrum of Tory apostates to bolster their phoney “big tent” is a small price to pay for power. Natalie Elphicke may be an objectively terrible human being by all moral and ethical criteria, but she represents another crucial lifeline for Sir Keir’s planned return to the salad days of Blairite reaction.

Many on the Left rightly ask: so the Labour Party is a welcoming place for the likes of Natalie Elphicke but not Diane Abbott? Not Jeremy Corbyn? Of course, for others, we saw this coming years ago – we warned that the Labour Party was in the grip of the iron law of oligarchy, where a self-perpetuating elite usurps the will of the rank-and-file.

For the baffled voters still clinging to atavistic attachments to the concept of political parties representing discernibly different worldviews, the Elphicke defection lays bare an undeniable truth: the Labour Party is fast becoming just another tentacle of the broader uni-party duopoly, where the public is offered a ritualistic charade of cosmetic “choice” removed from any substantive ideological moorings.

So worried are unimaginative politicos like Starmer about retaining even the slightest hint of a transformative left agenda that they’d sooner throw open the gates to every ideological charlatan in the hope of triangulating their way into power.

Starmer and Christian Wakeford
Starmer and Christian Wakeford: Tories like birds to a Feather

It’s enough to make any remaining principled progressives pine for the good old days when the real debate was simply over how enthusiastically the two legacy parties could carry water for the billionaire donor class and the military-industrial complex. Now, it seems, they can’t even manage that baseline task without endlessly crisscrossing party lines in a perpetual exercise of vapid rebranding.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss – just with infinitely more transparent fealty to managerial bourgeois politics utterly divorced from fulfilling any mandate of systemic change.

Welcome to the graveyard of British social democracy, where the final headstone is being etched even now to commemorate a Labour Party that no longer labours for anything other than its own sempiternal pursuit of power at all costs. And to that noble end, welcoming disgraced Tories like Natalie Elphicke into the fold is merely the latest ethical indignity among many more sure to come. Principles? Ideology? Class interests?

In Starmer’s hollowed-out husk, red is just another shade of blue awaiting any ambitious enough careerist to come fill its ranks with indistinguishable mediocrities.

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