In just over a weeks time, Sir Kier Starmer will have been the Leader of Labour for a year. A year down the line, you would think we'd know what Starmer stood for. The truth is that I haven't got a clue. I fully understand that in a time of national crisis, the leader of the opposition has to support HM government on issues related to the public health response. But this does not mean writing Boris Johnson a blank cheque. At times it seems to me that Starmer is more right wing than half of the Tory Party. Starmer is an excellent barrister and wipes the floor with Boris every week, but this is simply theatre. The nation doesn't care. We want to see real opposition, real alternative policies and real debate.
What the nation wants is an opposition that holds the government to account. Four years on from the Grenfell fire, we still have people living in death trap flats, covered in flammable panels. NHS workers are offered a 1% pay rise after the worst year in the history of the NHS, with more deaths in the service than ever before, where many have been pushed to the brink. Sarah Everard's awful murder has exposed just how mysoginistic our society is, but I don't even know whether Sir Kier supported the vigil or not? He said the policing was wrong,but Cressida Dick should stay. That is not leadership, it is sitting on the fence and being weak. The way massive contracts were handed out in the covid response to the mates of Boris and the Tories is a national scandal that has cost us billions. Having committed to maintaining the army, Boris announced huge cuts. Covid exposed the fact that the government had no proper planning in place for such a crisis. The Tories mercilessly taunted Labour for allowing the 2008 global financial melt down to occur, but why are the Labour leadership so quiet about the fact that we have the worst record of any major country for preventing deaths?
Covid has also exposed digital poverty, an issue Corbyn raised to much myrth in the right wing press. Within six months he was proven right, as many children from less well off families had virtually no education for a year. Our railways are propped up by grants, ensuring that private operators profits are maintained. The rich with second homes can go on holiday, but a nurse who fancies a week in Benidorm is stuck in her flat. Half a billion pounds was wasted on 'Eat Out to Help Out' which launched the second covid wave, whilst many freelancers (often Tory supporting) have been hung out to dry.
With my heritage, I cannot forget what Boris has done to Northern Ireland over Brexit. There is a very real risk of a return of the secretarian violence that we thought the Good Friday agreement had ended. I cannot believe that Labour has been so quiet on the impact of Brexit on a major province of the UK. Such acquiesence is criminal in my opinion.
Even more worrying has been the support for authoritarian legislation, that is completely unneccesary. By and large the British people are extraordinarily compliant with the law. Starmer should be using all of his skills as a barrister and former attourney general to destroy the weak and spurious arguments of Priti Patel. Given that this should be a walk in the park for him, we can only assume that he genuinely agrees with her.
Boris has now given us a roadmap out of lockdown. Sir Kier Starmer should now be hammering him. Whilst we are all still in the moment, the Labour party should be nailing Boris and his Tories to the wall. He isn't. There are mayoral and local elections coming up. I have much respect for many grassroots people in the Labour Party, but the bottom line is that under Kier Starmer, the party is simply a shadow of the Tories. As far as I am concerned, the only person who could vote for Starmer's party in all good conscience is a Tory who is fed up with Boris and wants to send him a message. If you are a Labour supporter, you are voting for a hollowed out husk of a party, one that seems to be hell bent on existing only to give those who support Tory policies, but are too embarrassed to say it, a home.
Why are Labour so scared to rock the boat, to call out what is clearly wrong? I have no idea at all, but they are failing one very level to hold this government to account. As far as I am concerned, if you vote for the Labour Party under Starmer, you are voting Tory by Proxy. I know that many people do not want to hear this. I know many will say "He's only saying that as he's the Lib Dem candidate in the Edgware by Election in May". Anyone who has read this blog from the start will know that I don't pull my punches, I am only stating what is blindingly obvious and many Labour activists are privately muttering. The thing is they will still campaign for Labour, still cast their votes and still do what they are told. I have no doubt Sadiq Khan will win big in London and that Labour will use this to bolster Starmers policy. And I have no doubt that if Labour stick with the Starmerite strategy as a result, the Tories will win win the next election and Labour will once again be scratching their heads as to why.
The bottom line is that Labour will never be better at being the Tories than the Tories are. Labour does well when it provides proper policies and proper opposition. Whilst I am not a Blairite, I had total admiration for the machine Blair put together, that never gave John Major a minutes peace and made sure every cock up was exposed and not allowed to be swept under the carpet. All I see with Starmer is stuffed suit who thinks that duffing Boris up at PMQ's will be enough. A vote is a precious commodity. It seems to me that the two main parties both have people at the top who are simply trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the British public. I think we all know who Boris is and why he does it, but do any of us really know who the true Sir Kier Starmer is? After a year of his leadership, I am none the wiser.