Recent polling shows that Labour is heading for disaster in the upcoming May elections. At the same time, there is strong support for left-wing policies. It is time for the unions to flex their muscles and take the fight to the right.
Labour is heading for the rocks in the upcoming elections on 6 May. Amongst the potential defeats facing the party is the Hartlepool parliamentary byelection, which looks like it could be won by the Tories.
As a result, criticisms of Starmer’s leadership – now a year old – are surfacing everywhere.
Labour under Starmer has been a disaster, with the party’s support in opinion polls heading south.
As Richard Burgon correctly stated, the right-wing Labour leaders have been more interested in attacking the left-wing membership and burying Corbyn than in fighting the Tories, who are “responsible for one of the worst coronavirus death rates in the world”.
Tensions have arisen not only in the Labour Party, where many members are refusing to canvass for right-wing candidates, but also in the trade unions.
Len McCluskey has criticised the Labour leader for his lacklustre performance. The Unite general secretary asserted that Starmer was currently heading for “the dustbin of history”.
Elsewhere, the CWU (Communication Workers’ Union) recently commissioned and published a poll of voters in Hartlepool.
This survey showed widespread support for left-wing policies in the constituency. Nevertheless, it also indicated that the Tories were on course to take the seat, with an estimated 49% for the Conservatives and 42% for Labour.
If these predictions come true, it would be the first time in 60 years that Labour would not hold the Hartlepool seat.
These foreboding forecasts led Dave Ward, the CWU general secretary, to criticise Starmer’s leadership for being “far too timid”. This is a gross understatement.
“We’re unhappy with the direction that Labour are taking, we think that Labour are genuinely in danger of becoming an irrelevance”
— The CWU (@CWUnews) April 12, 2021
At the same time, the CWU commissioned poll also revealed that a large majority of those surveyed supported investing more in public services, renationalising Royal Mail, and providing free broadband. The union noted this as evidence of “support for a progressive agenda”.
This is another kick in the face for Sir Keir Starmer, an evangelist of so-called “moderate” – i.e. Blairite – policies.
Of course, the right wing of the Labour Party has reacted with fury, accusing the left-wing CWU of “betrayal”.
“It’s mind-boggling that one of the trade unions represented on Labour’s NEC would work hand in hand with the Murdoch press to undermine the Labour party during a crucial set of elections,” a senior Labour source said.
“Unfortunately, there are some factional figures on the hard left who seem intent on wrecking the party,” the same source continued, “even if that means cosying up to the Conservatives.”
What a damned cheek from these right-wingers! They gleefully stabbed Corbyn in the back at every turn. Everyday, they worked to wreck the party. For years, they operated as a Fifth Column.
At every opportunity, these saboteurs rushed to the capitalist media, criticising Corbyn and the left leadership. It was they who “worked hand in hand” with the Tory press and the establishment, in order to slander the left.
Before Corbyn was even elected, they were already plotting to get rid of him. In the summer of 2016, they waged their failed coup. And it was these creatures who sabotaged Labour’s election chances in 2017 and 2019.
When Labour surprised the naysayers in the 2017 general election, increasing their share of the vote by 10 percentage points, the faces of the right wing were full of disappointment. This was especially epitomised by the sullen face of Stephen Kinnock as the exit polls came in. Corbyn had achieved nearly more than five million more votes than Gordon Brown.
Once elected as Labour leader, Starmer boasted that the party was now under “new management”. He immediately acted to prove himself a reliable representative of the establishment, kicking the lefts out of the shadow cabinet. His initial promises of ‘unity’ were a sham, only put forward to win the leadership under false pretences.
Now, however, the right wing are screaming blue murder, as the left dares to challenge their pathetic record.
Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said the poll was “helping Boris Johnson and the Conservatives” in an “extremely difficult” byelection. Another Labour insider said some MPs were “frothing at the mouth”.
NEW Survation Poll – Leadership ratings
(Hartlepool voters only)
+19% / -14%
Favourable49% / 24%
Unfavourable30% / 38%
— Survation. (@Survation) April 5, 2021
The truth clearly hurts. The CWU poll only reveals the real disillusionment with Labour under Starmer – something that the right wing cannot stomach.
The right’s anger was correctly dismissed by the CWU leaders as a “piss-take from the Labour right”. They said critics of the union were in “complete denial”.
“Our position,” asserted a CWU spokesperson, “is that we are heading over a cliff here.”
This is not some criticism from people “sitting in comfortable offices”, as the notorious right-winger Bradshaw asserts. Rather, this reflects the real mood amongst hundreds of thousands of Labour members and activists. It is the feeling of Labour voters.
Time for change
Starmer’s attempt to portray the Labour Party as a party of business will further alienate its traditional working class supporters. It is an attempt to return to Blairism.
Society is not facing an economic boom, however, but the deepest crisis of capitalism in its history. No wonder Starmer’s approval ratings are in freefall.
The party’s right wing are not representatives of the working class, but of capitalism. They are part of the establishment. Having regained control of the party, they want to make it a reliable pair of hands for big business once again.
We must seek to put an end to this disaster. It is time to show Starmer the door; to place him in the dustbin of history, together with the rest of the right wing leadership.
It is time for the trade unions to flex their muscles and back the left-wing membership. It is time for a radical change; for a change of leadership and direction.
We need a real socialist leadership in the Labour Party – one that will champion the interests of the working class, and that will fight for socialist policies. Only in this way can we prevent the meltdown facing the party, and mobilise workers and youth to kick out this rotten Tory government.