Starmer’s Post-Defeat Reflection: Gaslighting and Priorities
In the aftermath of a bruising defeat in Boris Johnson’s former seat, Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, attempted to rally his party while conveniently ignoring his own glaring shortcomings.
With an audacious display of gaslighting, Starmer urged Labour to reflect on their priorities and questioned whether they truly align with the working people.
It’s hard to take this seriously when Starmer himself has consistently stifled major policies that could genuinely benefit the working class, from nationalisation to a £15 minimum wage.
You just can’t help but be sceptical when Sir Keir Starmer questions if Labour’s priorities resonate with the working people.
Addressing Labour’s national policy forum in Nottingham, which brings together members and affiliated groups to discuss the next manifesto, Starmer said: “We’ve got to ask ourselves seriously – are our priorities the priorities of working people or are they just baggage that shows them we don’t see the country through their eyes?”.
Yes, I know it is hard to swallow, the audacity of Sir Keir Starmer asking if Labour’s priorities are the priorities of the working people.
This is the same man who shamelessly backtracked on all his promises, pledges, and policies, leaving the electorate perplexed and betrayed.
This is the Labour Leader who casually tossed aside the very manifesto he was elected on, conveniently claiming that the people had rejected it. In reality: the only part the people truly rejected was the disastrous and vote-losing second referendum, championed by Starmer himself as shadow Brexit secretary, the policy he and Mandelson cynically used to undermine both Corbyn and the Labour Party in the run up to the 2019 general election.
This is the leader who, by the time 2022 rolled around, had shamelessly abandoned the very socialist platform he had ardently advocated during his leadership campaign. From promising to nationalise public utilities, scrap tuition fees, and safeguard free movement, he nonchalantly discarded these pledges, using them merely as pawns to carry him through his leadership race.
It’s a classic case of political sleight-of-hand, where principles are exchanged for expediency, and convictions traded for convenience. The once-touted socialist champion transformed into a chameleon, adapting his colours to suit the prevailing winds of public opinion, for Starmer that’s the pale Blue of Conservatism.
Starmer’s claim that Labour’s policies end up on every Tory leaflet speaks volumes about the party’s lack of direction and clarity.
Starmer claimed: “We are doing something very wrong if policies put forward by the Labour Party end up on each and every Tory leaflet.
“We’ve got to face up to that and to learn the lesson.”
He may well have been talking about the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) being introduced by London mayor Sadiq Khan. However, the reality is any of Labour’s policies would sit comfortably on a Tory leaflet, as one of their own.
Starmer’s attempt at damage control is disingenuous at best. He claims to be committed to tackling child poverty and social injustice, but only within the bounds of what can be “funded.” This echoes the same old tune of neoliberalism, austerity, and Tory-style cuts, conveniently tucked away in a veneer of credibility and discipline.
Blaming the Labour Party for their struggles while evading personal accountability is a risky strategy. Starmer seems to be setting a dangerous precedent, shifting the focus away from his own unpopularity and pointing fingers at his own party.
In the same breath declared in an apparent reference to a row this week over his refusal to scrap the two-child cap on benefits:
“Tackling child poverty and social injustice would be a “massive part” of his mission for government – but commitments could not be unfunded.
The fact is this one policy is responsible for a sizeable proportion as the cause of child poverty in the UK. It penalises disproportionately poor families. The irresponsible thing to do is to continue with this barbaric policy.
Jeremy Corbyn called it when he said: “The two-child benefit limit is cruel, immoral and ineffective. Keeping children in poverty is not a tough choice — it’s the wrong choice.”
“To abolish it would cost about 1.4 billion pounds a year – not very much when you look at all the other issues in public spending, but the massive improvement it would make in the lives of those families, in the lives of those children.
“I just think it’s a big mistake to rule it out.
“It’s a very strange supposition that you can’t win an election because you promised to try and do something to end child poverty – poor people have votes as well, you know.”
The two-child benefit limit is cruel, immoral and ineffective.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) July 20, 2023
Keeping children in poverty is not a tough choice — it’s the wrong choice. pic.twitter.com/qx4Ua85Ote
Even the SNPs Stephen Flynn had to call Starmer out on this one…Saying: ‘Does he take comfort in knowing that the heinous legacy of that policy will no longer just be protected by Conservative members, but by Labour members too?’
'Does he take comfort in knowing that the heinous legacy of that policy will no longer just be protected by Conservative members, but by Labour members too?'— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) July 19, 2023
SNP Westminster leader @StephenFlynnSNP attacks Keir Starmer for saying he'll keep the two-child cap on benefits #PMQs pic.twitter.com/7hbUB0nWYX
It is becoming all too apparent that Starmer is losing his bearings, wandering aimlessly on a wave of public discontent with the Tory Party.
As Starmer tries to gaslight his own party with calls for policies for working people and evade accountability, the once proud Labour movement risks losing its way amidst a sea of public dissatisfaction.
The disconnect between the leadership’s promises and their actions has left many feeling disillusioned and disheartened. It’s time for a reality check, not just for Starmer, or for the Labour Party but for those that support this right wing manifestation.