The sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey yesterday marked the opening shot in a war against Labour’s anti Semitic Hard Left. Keir Starmer as the new Labour leader looked to have made a serene start – without the Commons crowd against him at PMQ’s and with some useful questions against the Government’s Covid policies. That serenity is now over.
So entrenched are the Corbynites right now across Labour – after Corbyn’s long period of disastrous leadership – that Starmer can hardly field a shadow team who do not display their old leader’s anti-Semitic tendencies. Losing so prominent a Corbynite as Long Bailey so early on in his leadership has already annoyed the “Labour Family” – a disparate collection of Marxists and unrepresentative unions now held together by bellybutton fluff, who have a long history of fighting amongst themselves like rats in a sack.
If Starmer’s inner circle thought they were merely nipping an anti Semitic act in the bud they were wrong. The sacking of Long Bailey would be wholly justified in any real world party but Labour is way off reality and manned by caricatures like Lammy and Russell Moyle – it is still a protest group that prefers to fight its battles to placate echo chambers on Twitter rather than deliver realistic policy or face up to the British electorate. All that Starmer needs to do is turn around in the Commons and he will find that dozens of the dwindled Labour battalion share the same views as Long Bailey. Out in the towns and cities Labour councillors care more about Palestine than their own towns and the IHRA definition of anti Semitism means as much to them as the date of Boris Johnson’s birthday. Starmer is right to cauterize the anti Semitic wound that runs through Labour but perhaps he has not realised that, after all these years, Labour IS an anti Semitic party – he is attacking his own.
Prominent Jews may well be returning to Labour. How long can that last while the likes of Momentum are still affiliated? When will Starmer make a public severing from Lansman’s machine? When will Starmer’s team devise a plan to disassociate from other loud voices who claim to support Labour but share Long Bailey’s stance? Novara Media, Skwawkbox, Owen Jones? When will that rabble be forced into exile?
It may just be easier to start again. A new party that stands from the start against the small minority of Hard Left cranks. One that does not carry Labour’s pockmarked history of anti Semitism and an affiliation with Communism.
Starmer has more than a mountain to climb – he faces climbing the Shard in socks and unaided. When the Squires asked around men and women on the street if Starmer looked Prime Ministerial too often the response was “no, he doesn’t quite have it”. The people are always right. Starmer is a May or a Brown – a bridesmaid-type Prime Minister, not a leader who’ll bring his party power. Not the kind made of Thatcher steel who is strong enough so early on in his leadership to start a war that, when you count the numbers of Corbynite placers across the green benches and in power elsewhere, he is bound to get bogged down in for more years than he has to waste engaged with infighting. A prediction: Starmer can be a try-hard reformer and gain respect for his efforts but his career will end like Kinnock’s or worse.
This mine was bound to explode. That it has happened now is great news for a Covid-burdened Tory Party. It’s also great news for the country who will be able to see early doors if Labour can ever be resuscitated or if it’s now time to move on from Labour’s box of frogs and demand the creditable opposition we all need and deserve.