The elections of May 6th 2021 were disastrous for the Labour party. Huge swings to other parties, predominantly Tories, prevailed in many places with over a hundred council seats and one parliamentary seat lost.
The successes for the Tory party were despite cumulative negative effects of the near no-deal Brexit concocted by Boris Johnson and his colleagues, despite over a hundred thousand unnecessary deaths due to Tory incompetence and indifference when managing Covid-19 pandemic, and despite continuous extreme corruption by the government and ministers therein.
As soon as he was elected Labour leader Starmer chose a determined strategy of political abstinence, and he has not wavered from that strategy. He is anti-policy and anti-opinion. He supports nothing, he criticises nothing and he offers nothing. This vacuum is the strategy.
When he presented his Bystander strategy it seemed obvious that it would fail and that its failure would be voluminous. It is a daft idea, developed by people – MPs and their advisers – whose absence of political certainty and ideology is compounded by general witlessness. Inert remnants of Blairism, they are dregs without vision and without any concept of what it means to be interested in politics and to be committed to a political perspective.
Starmer’s Labour cannot compete electorally with the Tories as a Tory-lite party because that discourages votes from non-conservatives. It abhors socialism and, consequently, its focus is on eradicating socialism from itself. It exists in a fantasy world where “the centre” has substance rather than in the real world where centrism is intangible.
Starmer’s Labour tried to evoke Biden’s victory in USA as proof that voters can make a non-conservative decision in an election. Biden’s success was helped considerably by left-of-centre activists who wanted to be rid of Trump; in Labour, similarly inclined activists were suspended, expelled and defamed.
Labour is sticking to a single excuse for this week’s awful election results. Its MPs and professional supporters are spouting the same line:
“We have to recover from a very difficult position in 2019 [December general election].”
What they fail to add is
- Between 2017 general election and 2019 general election the same characters’ primary objective was to undermine their party leader Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he proposed
- This week’s results, as percentage loss of votes, are worse than 2019 general election
- Since that election Tory recklessness toward Covid-19, direct effects of Brexit and rampant Tory corruption should have helped a competent useful opposition
There will be no improvement from Labour. Starmer is not the only problem. Many senior MPs, many councillors and some NEC members (whose passage to NEC was dubious) are as wilfully catatonic as he is. Democracy within the party’s structure has been removed and/or ignored.
The aim of Labour now is to sit as a placeholder in case the Tories collapse and, if that happens, to ensure that nothing changes if Labour are elected. That aim is fruitless. It is not, and never has been, how elections are won.
Starmer’s Labour is not in opposition. It is opposed ideologically to opposition. Its philosophy is imbued with cowardice and stagnancy. Starmer is happy with that stance.