A Conservative Leader in the Labour Party
The political gap in Keir Rodney Starmer's promise and practice is glaring
After Jeremy Corbyn's resignation, Sir Keir Starmer defeated Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy in the Labour leadership election with more than 56 % of votes on April 4, 2020. He has been leading the party since April 2020 with a promise to unite and lead different ideological fractions of the Labour Party like a broad and inclusive Church.
However, his promise and practice shows an unfathomable political gap which is detrimental to alternative politics in Britain. He is pushing the Labour Party in a direction where it is difficult to distinguish between the Conservative Party and Labour politics in terms of praxis.
Instead of fighting a directionless Tory government and exposing their failures, Starmer is fighting daily internal battles within the Labour Party to wipe out any form of progressive and democratic political intervention to uphold interests of people and the planet.
Keir Starmer has sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey in the first month after taking over as Labour leader. The sacking of the junior shadow transport minister Sam Tarry for joining the rail strike picket line is the last straw that broke all forms of ideological solidarity with workers and unions; the core of labour values.
It is not an individual attack on Sam Tarry or an isolated political event. The Labour leader has been doing this since his leadership victory. The sacking of Left, Socialist, democratic and progressive leadership and domesticating active Labour party members and leadership is not a sign of unity and solidarity. It shows democratic deficit in leadership. It is not the way to enforce authority over the party.
He is trying to create an ideological free zone in politics concomitant with the political requirements of the Conservative Party. It is time for the Labour leader to rename his party as 'anti-labour party'. The picking of battles over trade unions show the ideological degeneration of the Labour party under the leadership of Keir Starmer.
Tory Labour sounds apt for a new beginning. Blue Labour sounds a bit more colour compliant in establishing political and cultural solidarity with the Tories and their crony capitalist masters.
Keir Starmer as an Opposition leader offers nothing inspiring and nothing new for British people. He has failed to provide any ideological or political direction to the Labour Party in terms of policies. His policies and politics look more like the weather in the United Kingdom. His visions are as elusive as the British summer.
He has failed to provide any form of alternative vision in politics, which can defeat Tories to revive progressive and democratic politics in Britain. There is scant political attention to the everyday requirements of the masses for a dignified life in the country. In the miserable political landscape of British politics, Keir Starmer is a bright example of failed leadership on all fronts.
His bureaucratic managerialism and technocratic political positions lack any form of clarity. The imposition of authority and power over the party by sacking leadership and members with a different viewpoint shows undemocratic and intolerant character of Keir Starmer like a true conservative. The YouGov poll "How well is Keir Starmer doing as Labour leader?" is a testimony of his poor performance and monumental failures.
Reactionary nationalism with religious flavour, war mongering imperialism with colonial past led patriotism and the power of transnational capital are three driving forces behind British politics today. Racial discrimination, gender and class bias, regional disparities, unemployment, rising debt, poverty, food insecurity, homelessness and failing standards of education and health are stark realities in United Kingdom.
Tories' politics is accelerating issues of cost of living crises in the country, the Labour as an Opposition party under the leadership of Keir Starmer has failed to galvanise people and hold the Tory government accountable. The interests of working-class masses and their rights to dignified lives are undermined by both the mainstream political parties and their national leadership in British politics today.
It is understandable that the Tories work for their capitalist friends and do not care for people, but manipulate the masses by talking about family, nation and security issues. These conservative messages based on family, nation, patriotism and security issues are amplified by Keir Starmer. It is clear that the Labour leader is a messenger of Tory values in political praxis.
The working people in Britain deserve better and there is an alternative to such an invisible reactionary alliance between Tory and Labour leadership. The alternative can emerge from the political unity and solidarities between different forms of working-class struggles. From trade union movement to women's movements, from student and youth movements to movements against racism, gender and sexual inequalities. And from movements to protect the environment to all other emancipatory struggles need to form solidarity for a better tomorrow.
Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak is a political economist working as Professor of Business Management and Director of MBA at University for the Creative Arts (UCA), UK.