The Labour leadership election has been an astounding one thus far for one reason, - Keir Starmer. When you look at the other candidates that put themselves forward, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Emily Thornberry, Jess Phillips and Clive Lewis, they all have something different to offer irrespective of what wing of the party you are from and the fact that Keir Starmer has such a support base only further highlights the need of radical change, which won’t happen under him.
As a staunch socialist and belief in the grassroots movement that was energised and created under the Corbyn leadership, my votes will undoubtedly go to Rebecca Long-Bailey for leader and Richard Burgon for Deputy Leader.
Firstly, let’s unpack the issue of Keir Starmer and why he is seen as a ‘safe’ pair of hands by many left-wing members, and the ideal candidate for the so-called centre and the right of the party. He is a barrister and has been knighted, therefore he is seen as intelligent, capable but notably from a working-class and poor background, the antithesis of Boris Johnson. He would be seen to have the ability to challenge him across the dispatch box with an authoritative presence.
However, he is exactly what is wrong with the societal structure of capitalism and the UK. Lisa Nandy is in the exact same mould as Keir Starmer, as well as being equally capable of filling that role, but does not get the same level of attention and this is down to structural sexism, classism and racism. Sir Keir Starmer is viewed by the media as presentable to the public and that is simply because he is a white man who lives in London, trained as a barrister and came from a poor background. The perfect image for the London metropolitan liberal elite that dominates our politics.
So why do so many left-wing members flock to Starmer? The belief that Labour must move to the centre to win the next election? There are several issues with that idea. One, the centre doesn’t exist, it was created by liberals so they can claim that they are not right-wingers who support a system which is inherently unequal, sexist, racist and exploitative. Liberalism is a right-wing ideology as it supports capitalism.
The team and his supporters present the idea that he is the unity candidate in the party, and while Starmer has been spouting the rhetoric that we must all come together, he never considered that to be an issue when he timed his resignation from the shadow cabinet during the coup against Corbyn, where were his calls for unity then? He chose to fall in line because everyone else did.
It is unfathomable why some consider Starmer to be a safe pair of hands, why he has the support of the mainstream media by in large and is presented as an opportunity for Labour. How can anyone believe that this could be true especially when you consider the relentless smear campaign against Corbyn since 2015 - now the media believe in the movement? They simply wish to have a leader in place who will appease the establishment.
Keir Starmer’s popularity shows us that the system needs real change soon, how can we fight for real change if we are just appeasing the system. Rebecca Long-Bailey has vowed to continue Labour’s radical plans for real systemic change, she is a committed socialist and played a significant role in the majority of our radical policies. Every Labour member needs to put Rebecca as their first choice and only pick the first choice because otherwise there is a chance that Starmer wins through 2nd or 3rd preference votes.
Only Rebecca Long-Bailey and Richard Burgon have vowed to further empower the membership and continue with the radical plans set out in 2019. But to change the system, we need to vote for those willing to fight alongside us for that change.
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