Keir Starmer’s attack on anti-war activists should be the last straw for the Left

By Bradley Bernard


SIR Keir Starmer has done his utmost to distance himself from the Labour left since April 2020.

Whether it be U-turns on his promises of nationalisation and taxing the ultra-wealthy or suspending the former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, some may say – ironically – that war has already been declared.

And the Labour leader once again waded into the frontline on Thursday with a scathing piece in The Guardian accusing the Stop the War coalition of siding with NATO’s enemies.

Labelling the activists naive “at best” and actively giving “succour to authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies”, his article – written at a time when conflict appears imminent between Russia and NATO countries – is also an attack on Corbyn.

The anti-war group, formed in 2001, has a long history of campaigning against foreign intervention. Notable members include Diane Abbott, Caroline Lucas and of course, sitting deputy president Corbyn.

“There is nothing progressive in showing solidarity with the aggressor when our allies need our solidarity and – crucially – our practical assistance now more than ever.”

Corbyn’s chief of staff Andrew Murray reacted strongly to Starmer’s piece, saying: “Stop the War called those conflicts right when most Labour MPs did not.

“Keir Starmer would do better to back the French and German governments in seeking a diplomatic solution.”

There is still an ongoing debate within the Left as to the impending Russia-Ukraine conflict. Some would argue that Moscow are preventing another NATO ally being formed on their doorstep – something the West has never, and will never, accept if it was reciprocated – while there is also concern over far-right elements within Ukrainian forces.

Others would say Ukraine’s sovereignty must be defended against Russian aggression.

Both opinions are perfectly valid when argued in their own right. But what Starmer did with his piece is, while cosying up to NATO nations hungry for confrontation, attack the very people trying to stop conflict.

Abbott was brash but perfectly correct when she said Starmer “would have taken us into the Iraq war” as well as Vietnam.

It’s worth noting that the 2017 and 2019 Labour manifestos both pledged the party’s commitment to the UK’s role in NATO.

Starmer, who campaigned on both manifestos, of course, conveniently ignored this as a tactic to further attack his predecessor.

Though he is outwardly seeking peace in Eastern Europe, Starmer is explicitly – not for the first time – sabre rattling when it comes to his own party.

Removing socialist aspects from the Labour Party was not enough – any essence of anti-imperialism has also disappeared. And the Left must say that enough is enough.

Regular Redaction readers may have noticed an opinion piece (or two) replacing this week’s editorial. On major issues such as Russia, the US and China, editorial boards don’t always agree. Redaction is committed to publishing multiple opinions rather than espousing a compromise piece. And that’s the beauty of journalism.


Featured Image: Chris Beckett @ Flickr

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