For libertarianism to achieve its aims there needs to be no effective opposition.
Equally, there needs to exist the appearance of opposition. Fake opposition soaks up energy and time; it obstructs real opposition.
Prior to November 2020 election Democrat Party in USA gathered up opposition to Trump and used it to win. Immediately after the election any policy that would cause genuine change and improvement to people’s lives was ditched in favour of identikit pro-wealthy politics that differ not at all from those of Republican Party.
In the latter years of the last decade Labour offered the opportunity of electing a government that would challenge wealth concentration and corporate control. It was real opposition. Real opposition couldn’t be tolerated. It was vilified, attacked, undermined and defeated by the fake opposition. Labour MPs, councillors and advisers conducted a campaign to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn did not become prime minister. They preferred defeat at general elections to supporting a government that would govern for the people.
Starmer’s election as leader of Labour was attained via relentless lying from him about his intent. The contrast between his ten pledges he declared during his election campaign and his ten principles he published recently was stark. In interviews and speeches after the principles were stated he doubled down on his rejection of anything he pretended to pledge. On nationalisation (or unprivatisation) of vital public services Starmer claimed he meant he supported “common ownership” not nationalisation, and he said he did not support a minimum wage of £15 per hour. Photographic evidence from his leadership election campaign showed him supporting both nationalisation and that specific figure for minimum wage.
Starmer and his associates are removing everyone from Labour who supports socialism. This strategy includes suspensions of members of Labour and manipulation of or avoidance of party rules and due process. It includes anonymous briefing of client journalists. It includes personal abuse and false accusations. It includes hired activists harassing people at Labour’s conference. It includes hiring police officers to physically intimidate delegates at the conference. It includes rudely and aggressively interrupting media interviews.
Starmer’s conference speech (September 29th 2021) was, as expected, very woolly on detail and on clarity of policy, and very meek in its criticism of the Tories.
He noted failures of the Tory government – “we have a fuel crisis, a pay crisis, a goods crisis and a cost of living crisis. Rent up, especially for those on the lowest incomes. Yet at this very moment, the government is putting up tax on working people. Putting up tax on small businesses and slashing Universal Credit.” – and said the Tories were “ignoring the problem, blaming someone else, then coming up with a half-baked solution.” The key point about Starmer’s criticism of the government was his focus on its incompetence.
The Tories are utterly incompetent but they do not care because their sole intent is to restructure the fiscal economy to favour the wealthiest. Starmer did not speak about Tory philosophy. He preferred to present himself and his party as potentially more competent. The omission of any attack on the intrinsic ethos of libertarian conservatism was a deliberate tactic by Starmer. He could not express opposition to the aims and intent of the Tories because he doesn’t oppose the aims and intent. All he offers is a different management team.
Starmer did not describe the real intent of Brexit. Brexit was conceived, designed and is being enacted as a tool to destroy what is left of public services, to remove democratic accountability and, ultimately, to install corporatism via charter cities. Via a chain of instruction and advice, Matthew Elliot, Barbara Kolm, Grover Norquist, Shanker Singham, Daniel Hannan and others developed a strategy to achieve Brexit (and to manipulate presentation of it) in order to remove obstacles to the reinvention of Britain as a corporate entity devoid of rights and democracy. Johnson, Raab, Sunak, Javid, Rees-Mogg and Gove are the well-paid servants of this enterprise. But, Starmer said “you need a plan to make Brexit work.”
On Johnson, Starmer said “I think he is a trivial man. I think he’s a showman with nothing left to show. I think he’s a trickster who has performed his one trick” but
“I don’t think Boris Johnson is a bad man.”
Johnson and the Tory government use vital public services as cashcows for tax-dodging businesses; they starve people to death via sanctioning regime of Universal credit; they handed billions of pounds to made-up companies for (failing to supply) Covid services and products; they removed access to legal aid; they are criminalising protests, pickets and demonstrations; they enable tax avoidance for the wealthiest. The reason that Johnson and his gang are in government is to, as much as they possibly can, route wealth into the hands of the wealthiest. They are rancidly corrupt because their venality is the biggest and most dominant ingrained aspect of their morality. As Starmer’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said, “scum!” But, Starmer doesn’t think Johnson is a “bad man.”
Starmer’s assessment of the Tories was on their lack of ability or their laziness. He did not say one word that was negative about conservatism. His speech could have been written by someone challenging Johnson for leadership of the Tory party.
Equally, Starmer’s exposition of his plans if Labour were to be in government were acutely similar, in content, style and constructed lack of detail, to the words of Johnson in his fraudulent “levelling up” speech in July (2021). Crucially, Starmer’s description of what Labour would do was as unbelievable as Johnson’s description of what the Tories will do.
Unelectable weak Tory rip-off
If Starmer is offering only a different management team, if his plans are similar, as vague and as untrustworthy as Johnson’s, if he has not a single word of criticism of Tory philosophy and ideology, if socialists continue to be ejected from Labour, if his slogans sound like Norman Tebbit could have invented them, then what is the point of voting Labour?
A second (or third after Liberal Democrats) Tory party is not a party that will be elected. Non-Tory supporters will not vote for such a party; Tory supporters will vote Tory.
Unelectability appears to be the aim. Fake opposition. No opposition.
Morning Star editorial
Caroline Molloy for Open Democracy
Grace Blakeley for Tribune
Joe Guinan for Tribune
Critical Mass: Delegate’s conference diary
Rachael Cousins: Labour In Name Only
Keir Starmer: The Bystander’s ten principles
Tory government: Absolute pile of Etonian piece of scum
Levelling up? Boris Johnson stamping down in favour of more exploitation
Libertarian protagonists: Matthew Elliott