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I HAVE been previously a member of Labour’s national policy forum; an ex officio member of Labour’s London regional executive committee; and, the Tulo officer at Hornsey & Wood Green CLP (and formerly assistant chief of staff at Unite). After 37 years’ membership I have this weekend resigned from the Labour Party.
Here are the reasons for my resignation. These cover the past four years and include domestic and foreign policy.
• 2019 general election — Keir Starmer’s intervention at the 2018 party conference turned Labour from respecting the Brexit referendum result to holding a convoluted Remain position that consequently lost us the election.
• Starmer’s leadership election — Starmer set out 10 pledges in his leadership campaign that were variously described as Corbynism without Corbyn.
Each of the 10 pledges were abandoned, eventually replaced with five missions. The transition from pledges to missions was a not very disguised move to drop the transformative programme of Jeremy Corbyn. In other words, a move to the right.
• Jeremy Corbyn and the whip — under the terms of an agreement negotiated by Len McCluskey and Jon Trickett MP with Starmer’s then chief of staff Morgan McSweeney, Corbyn was restored to membership of the party via an NEC panel; but the agreement was breached with the parliamentary whip, wholly in Starmer’s gift, not being restored to Corbyn.
• 2022 London borough elections — in Haringey the Labour Party regional office intervened to ensure the deselection of leftist candidates and the selection of Starmer loyalists in many seats.
These disreputable tactics, contrary to the rule book procedures, led to the resignation of four members of Labour’s local campaign forum, unable to tolerate the unfair and unconstitutional actions of the regional office and paid officials.
• New Deal for Working People — Labour’s 2019 green paper, New Deal for Working People, promised a substantial improvement in rights at work, not least the repeal of the anti-union laws and a sector by sector restoration of collective bargaining.
These proposals have always been under pressure from the Starmer leadership team who eventually got their way at the recent national policy forum when the party decided to limit the extent of its repeal of the anti-union laws to just the most recent and to limit the restoration of collective bargaining to the social care sector. In other words under Labour, UK labour law will still not be compliant with international labour rights.
• War in Ukraine — no serious political figure could endorse the Russian invasion of Ukraine; it was and remains a great wrong in international relations.
However, there can be no carte blanche endorsement of the Ukrainian government either.
The Zelensky government has systematically removed trade union and workers’ rights in Ukraine under the guise of the war emergency and trade unions have had their property confiscated by the government with no indication that rights and property will ever be restored.
Labour’s policy on this war is indistinguishable from that of the Conservative government; members who question this can expect authoritarian sanction as happened to a delegate at the 2022 party conference.
• Israel’s war in Gaza — again, no serious political figure could endorse the Hamas incursion into Israel on October 7 and the murder of Israeli men, women and children and the kidnapping of numerous hostages. However, there can be no carte blanche endorsement of the Israeli government either with its murderous campaign to essentially raze Gaza to the ground.
Much has been written by other resignees about Starmer’s unconditional support for the Israeli government and Israel’s right to defend itself.
This right, according to Starmer in an LBC interview, includes the cutting off of all humanitarian necessities such as food, fuel, medicine and water to the civilian population of Gaza when such actions are collective punishment so clearly in breach of international law as set out in the Geneva Conventions.
Starmer’s failure to condemn, along with his claque of Emily Thornberry, David Lammy and Lisa Nandy, Israel’s human rights crimes is scandalous.
Starmer and Thornberry are apparently human rights barristers, so their support for the brutalisation and possible elimination of Palestinians in Gaza is unforgivable.
The Labour leadership’s authoritarianism is there for all to see with its injunction, now slightly softened, that no elected representative should take part in demonstrations against the war.
CLPs have been banned from discussing this war and even warned against taking CLP banners to the anti-war demonstrations.
The party leadership knows that it is not reflecting the mood of the membership nor the wider electorate, even with its fig leaf of a call for a “humanitarian pause.”
Starmer, in not calling for a ceasefire, has placed Labour on the side of war, war crimes and the imperial project in the Middle East.
• Power without principle — the cumulative actions of Starmer and his clique from the sabotaging of the 2019 general election through to his outrageous support for the Israeli onslaught on Gaza surely means that the last vestiges of decency and social democracy have been expunged from the Labour Party.
Stay and fight is an empty slogan. With a first-past-the-post system Labour will probably form the next government but to be in power without principle seems a very poor prize indeed.
Follow Adrian Weir on Twitter, aka X, @AMJWeir.
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