Sir Keir Starmer’s Dangerous Game: The Threat to Democracy in the Labour Party
It really doesn’t matter if you are a Labour member or voter, it really doesn’t matter if you support the Labour Party at all. but it does matter if you believe in democracy and the rights of people to choose who represents them.
The Labour Party has a long and proud tradition of standing up for the rights of the working class and the marginalised. One of the core principles of this tradition is the idea of democracy – the belief that the people should have a say in who represents them. This principle is currently under threat from the actions of Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party.
Understanding those founding principles makes it even more upsetting that Starmer has taken it upon himself to try and stop Jeremy Corbyn from being selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Islington North. This is a violation of the democratic rights of the people of that constituency, and a dangerous precedent for the Labour Party as a whole.
Even if you are not a Labour member like me, you should still value the democratic choice of the people. We should all stand up for the right of local communities to choose their own representatives, free from interference by party leaders or anyone else. Democracy is not a one-way street – it works best when everyone has a voice and when we respect the choices of others, even if we disagree with them.
The issue at hand is not one of personal affinity towards Jeremy Corbyn or past endorsements of his political career. Rather, it is the principle of allowing a leader of a political party to exert control akin to that of a modern-day Claudius, by imposing restrictions on the public’s choice of representatives. Again such an action represents a grave concern and sets a problematic precedent.
It wasn’t so long ago in February 2020 Starmer stated: “The selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic, and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election.”
However in a very public announcement in February this year, Starmer not for the first time involved himself in lical selections, however this was more direct, saying : ‘Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at general election’.
“Let me be very clear,” he told a crowd at Toynbee Hall in East London.
“Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at the next general election. What I said about the party changing I meant and we are not going back.”
Notwithstanding the fact, Starmer does not have the authority to make such a diktat this is a violation of the democratic rights of the people of that constituency and for the Labour Party as a whole.
The Labour Party has always been a broad church, encompassing a wide range of opinions and beliefs. This diversity is one of its greatest strengths, and it is what has in its past allowed it to be a force for positive change throughout its history. However, this diversity always brought about a number of disagreements and debates within the party. But it is through rigorous debate and the willingness to find common ground that the Labour movement excelled, not through authoritarian rule.
Sir Keir Starmer “Labour had changed, and people who did not like it could leave!”
Unfortunately, Starmer seems to be playing some kind of Orwellian parody, not satisfied with taking over the farm he is now ruling solely for the Pigs, and what little Napolean says goes. Only two days ago the entire Broxtowe Labour Party’s selection committee resigns en masse after their choice of a local candidate had been ‘blocked’ by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee.
That democratic right of constituency members to choose their prospective candidates and is not being acted upon.
This is clear in regards to Islington North, the imposition of shortlists in Wakefield, Bolton North East, and other constituencies, and the suspension or expulsion of very good potential candidates prior to selection processes commencing are all contrary to this democratic principle.
It is the role of the local party members to make decisions about who should represent their constituency in parliament. These members know their community best, and they are best placed to make an informed decision about who will best represent their interests.
Thomas Glasman makes the point that since the NEC found that @jeremycorbyn hasn’t broken any rules, his CLP should have the right to select him as a candidate if they wish: “Its a principle whether CLPs have a democratic right to select who they wish to have as an MP” @UKLabour
Thomas Glasman makes the point that since the NEC found that @jeremycorbyn hasn’t broken any rules, his CLP should have the right to select him as a candidate if they wish:— Labour Heartlands (@Labourheartland) March 1, 2023
“Its a principle whether CLPs have a democratic right to select who they wish to have as an MP” @UKLabour pic.twitter.com/xb1rVFgopd
Starmer’s interference in this process is not only undemocratic, but it is also deeply concerning for the future of the Labour Party. By trying to stop Corbyn from being selected, he is sending a message that he is willing to override the democratic decisions of party members if they don’t align with his own views.
This is not the kind of leadership that the Labour Party needs. It’s not the kind of leader a country needs. We need leaders who are willing to listen to the voices of the people and respect the decisions that they make. We need leaders who understand that democracy is not just a buzzword, but a fundamental principle that must be upheld at all times.
The people of Islington North have the right to choose who represents them in parliament, and Starmer has no right to interfere in that process or any other constituencies choice. We must all stand up for the principles of democracy, and reject any attempts to undermine them, no matter where they come from.
It is the fundamental right of a Labour constituency to choose who they want to represent them in parliament. This is not just a matter of tradition or convention, it is a matter of basic democratic principle. The people of Islington North have the right to choose their representative, and they should not be denied that right by the party hierarchy.
Keir Starmer has no authority to stop Jeremy Corbyn from being selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Islington North. He may be the party’s leader, but he is not above the people’s will. It is not for him to decide who is or is not a suitable candidate. That decision should be made by the people of Islington North.
I am reminded of the words of the great suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who once said:
“There is something that governments care for far more than human life, and that is the security of property, and so it is through property that we shall strike the enemy. Be militant each in your own way. I incite this meeting to rebellion.”
While we may not be talking about suffrage or property here, the principle remains the same. The people have the right to choose their representatives, and they should not be denied that right. We must be militant in our defence of democracy and the will of the people.
So let us stand together and fight for the right of the people of Islington North to choose their representative. Let us demand that Keir Starmer respects the democratic process and allows Jeremy Corbyn to stand as the Labour parliamentary candidate. Let us never forget that democracy is not just a principle, it is a duty. A duty to stand up for what is right, to fight for what we believe in, and to defend the rights of our fellow citizens.
“My friends, we cannot let the foxes roam free in our hen houses, be it the Labour Party or any other. The danger we face is not just from a leader who seeks authoritarian control, but from the very erosion of our democratic traditions. Sir Keir Starmer’s dream of victory should not come at the cost of democracy, and it is up to us to challenge him now before it’s too late.
Democracy is not just about casting a vote every few years, it is about the right of people to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. We must stand up for this fundamental right and fight against any attempt to take it away. Let us not be afraid to challenge those in power, and let us always remember that true power lies with the people.” -Paul Knaggs