Labour’s Authoritarian Streak: Jamie Driscoll Barred, Starmer’s Hypocrisy Exposed

Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign public meeting at St Pancras Community Centre on 25.03.15. Speaker Keir Starmer. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Double Standards in the Labour Party: Jamie Driscoll’s Exclusion and Keir Starmer’s Hypocrisy

Once again, the Labour Party finds itself mired in accusations of double standards, this time with the exclusion of Jamie Driscoll, the popular North of the Tyne mayor, from the Labour North East mayoral race.

The reason cited for his exclusion? His association with acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach, specifically sharing a stage to discuss Loach’s filmmaking at a Newcastle venue.

The irony is palpable. Ken Loach, a renowned director, was expelled from the Labour Party for his refusal to sever ties with individuals and groups that had fallen afoul of Keir Starmer’s prescription of left-wing socialist associations.

Driscoll’s participation in an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Live Theatre and engaging in a discussion about Loach’s films, including the widely acclaimed ‘I, Daniel Blake,’ seems like a natural fit for the North of the Tyne mayor, given the films’ resonance with the experiences of many in the region.

Yet, the Labour Party’s decision to exclude Driscoll reveals how swiftly Starmer and his cohorts have embraced authoritarianism as the new normal in conducting party affairs. It is a disconcerting prospect that Keir Starmer could one day ascend to the position of Prime Minister one who without hesitation would punish individuals simply for their associations.

The Exclusion of Jamie Driscoll and the Party’s Double Standards

Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign public meeting at St Pancras Community Centre on 25.03.15. Speaker Keir Starmer. Picture: Polly Hancock – Credit: Archant

What makes the double standards even more glaring is Starmer’s own actions. In 2015 the Labour leader had no qualms about attending a meeting that featured a call to “punish Israeli racism.” In fact, he spoke at an event organised by the Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign, where he stood in front of a banner demanding to “Kick Israeli Fascism out of Fifa.” This campaign aimed to suspend Israel from the world footballing authority, accusing it of restricting the movement of Palestinian players for training and matches.

Photographs from the event depict Starmer against a backdrop of the very banner that espoused an idea which, if embraced by anyone else, would likely result in a swift suspension.

The hypocrisy is not only embarrassing for the Labour leader but also indicative of how anti-Semitism is selectively weaponized within the party. The fact that one can now be expelled from Labour for mere association demonstrates the absence of any right to associate freely within the party, at least for some.

The Road to Authoritarianism

Chomsky’s warning about Starmer

It really doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue. Any other individual would likely have faced suspension for standing on a stage that promoted the idea of “Israeli racism.” This demonstrates not only the embarrassing hypocrisy of the Labour leader but also how selective the party’s stance on antisemitism is, using it as a weapon rather than a principled stance.

It also brings to light, the Labour Party’s disregard for the right of association, apparent in these cases. While some individuals are expelled for their affiliations, others are given a free pass, as long as they align with the party’s narrative.

The lack of consistency and fairness in the party’s treatment of its members is not only deeply troubling but also indicative of the wider challenges facing Labour under Keir Starmer’s leadership.

The witchhunt is very real and while hundreds of thousands have left the Labour Party those that remain live in fear of what they say, what they do and now who they associate with.

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