Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Keir Starmer, an empty vessel?
Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras,
Chatham House
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

What is Starmerism?

Quite. Last weekend, Labour Party historian MP Jon Cruddas questioned the present Labour Party leader’s readiness for power, damning him as one who has few ties to the movement’s roots or ideology and who ‘lacks clear sense of purpose’. An article in the Economist eight months previously entitled ‘Kier Starmer on Starmerism’ agreed. Surveys, according to The Economist, show the public is unsure what Starmer stands for. The John Adam Street publication concluded, ‘To critics on the left and right, he is an empty vessel, an opportunist who cycles through slogans and policies.’

The following month, Starmer gave an interview to The Times. When asked to define Starmerism the Labour leader responded with a spin doctor’s opportunistic pre-election Tory-record bashing buzz line; ‘Recognizing that our economy needs to be fixed.’ A personal manifesto The Spectator Magazine summarises as, ‘An empty space where ideas should be: technocratic, electorally-driven but otherwise strategically rudderless.’

They couldn’t be more wrong.

Starmer’s agenda is as clear as a strata of granite running through the London clay beneath his £2 million Holborn and St Pancras mansion and has been since childhood. Not only is there such a thing as Starmerism, it is clearly defined and has been for decades. Starmer’s detractors make the mistake of thinking Starmerism, like Thatcherism, might be about economics. Is it not. It is about control, and with Labour ahead in the polls and a general election certain within the next 12 months, Starmerism presents a clear and present danger to us all.

Petty Bourgeois

Kier Rodney Starmer was born on 2nd September 1962 in Southwark, London, the second of four, his siblings are an older sister and younger twins. Parents were Labour activists Rodney Starmer, a tool maker, and Josephine (nee Baker) a nurse who suffered from the debilitating Stills disease – a form of arteritis – from childhood.

Although in interview Keir Starmer has described his father as ‘working in a factory’, this is disingenuous. Perhaps embarrassed by his petty-bourgeois origins, further investigation reveals Starmer senior ran an independent tool-making business from his own workshop and traded as The Oxted Tool Company.

Keir spent his childhood in that Surrey commuter town where he attended St Joseph’s Primary School and nearby Reigate Grammar School. Turning private during his time there, his fees were paid by the state. An accomplished scholar and decent sportsman, following school Keir attended Leeds University where he earned a First in Law. A further year at St Edmund’s, Oxford, saw the award of a Bachelor of Civil Law. Oxford contemporaries included David Cameron, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Ed Balls and a PPE student from Corpus Christi College called David Miliband whom Starmer befriended.

By then it was 1986, with, after Oxford, Starmer moving to London to pursue a legal career. For the next year, he edited a Trotskyist magazine produced by Socialist Alternatives, the British section of the International Revolutionary Marxist Temdancy, the IMRT.

Many Socialist Alternatives contributors were also active in Socialist Society, an extreme left-wing organisation which included David Milliband’s England-hating Polish-Jewish emigre father Ralph, and far-left academic Hilary Wainwright who Starmer interviewed in Volume 2 Number 1 of the organisation’s magazine.

Socialist Alternatives Magazine

Amongst the apologetics for Marxism and praise for Mikhail Gorbachev’s soon-to-collapse Soviet Union, one article stood out for this reviewer. In my previous life more interesting I witnessed first-hand the handy work of the New People’s Army (NPA), a barbarous left-wing group active in the Philippine Islands, particularly during the 1980s and 90s.

Despite being sanctioned as a terrorist organisation by both the United States and the European Union, Starmer gave a platform to Dennis Freney, a Trotskyist and former member of the Communist Party of Australia, embedded with an NPA ‘Armed Propaganda Unit’ in a remote part of the islands.

In his dispatch, Freney refers to the local people as ‘peasants’ and writes glibly of suspected informers being shot. The strategy described by Freney involved initial violent NPA contact with the peasants followed by occupation by an Armed Consolidation Unit after which ‘an intense political education [was] given’ by Freney and the propagandists.

This vile narrative was promoted unchallenged by the present leader of the Labour Party who may well be prime minister later this year.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Fellow travellers, the terrorist NPA.
New Peoples Army (NPA) guerillas,
Keith Bacongco
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Starmer’s own contributions were mainly leaden treatises on the trade unions, following the miners’ defeat at the hands of Margaret Thatcher and during the print unions’ defeat at Wapping at the hands of Rupert Murdoch. His conclusion, ‘The challenge of control can only be met if unions are radically enlarged to encompass the political elements of control throughout society’. Puffins can be forgiven for not understanding what that means but are advised to remember the phrase ‘elements of control’.

In Vol 1 No 3, Starmer calls for the capitalist basis and purpose of production to be challenged and a socialist alternative substituted based upon democratic control ‘for use’ rather than ‘for profit’. In other words, a command economy with what you want and need to be decided by a politburo in Islington. With ‘pay and conditions given a higher priority than investment and production’, you might not get anything anyway.

Starmer also insists upon the replacement of capitalism with a social pluralism whereby production is geared toward the interests of ‘producers, consumers, users, women, minority groups, the unemployed and the environment’.

In Volume 2 No 2, Starmer seems to suggest something similar for local government although the gobbledygook is thick and difficult to follow. His conclusion, ‘The main task and duty is not to defend jobs and services but first and foremost to radically restructure the local institutions so as to allow more space for individual and collective self-organisation – and in this way preserve and create the jobs people come to recognise they need.’ This seems to suggest local authorities do nothing other than reorganise themselves whilst paying themselves giant wages and pensions until they go bankrupt. Which, let’s face it, appears to be what is happening now.

With a stronger stomach than mine, David Klemperer of The Social Review reviewed all the articles in all five editions of the Socialist Alternatives Magazine published under Starmer’s editorship – or as the inside front pages put it, while Starmer was part of the ‘editorial collective’.

Although at times Klemperer repeats rather than explains much of the inward-looking, self-obsessed, factional jargon of the Left, some important bullet points emerge:

  • Starmer’s Leftism is a pan-European project
  • Red-Green environmentalism is central to the agenda (albeit pro-coal miner and anti-nuclear in those days) and is motivated by an (exaggerated) ecological crisis threatening ‘the survival of the human species’.
  • Economic and political control is to be maintained through radical trade unionism collectivism.
  • The primacy of a once homogenous working class is being replaced by a variety of social groups ‘bound by a chain of equivalence across common struggles’ via diversity, pluralism and identity politics.

The modern-day observer may mock point three but as we shall see, the trade union collectivism influential from the end of the war until Thatcherism was to be superseded by an even more potent ‘element of control’.

In conclusion, according to fellow traveller Klemperer, Starmer’s vision is of a pluralist, participatory, democratic, environmentalist, intersectional and internationalist society controlled by the Left.

This theme developed in a Starmer interview with Tony Benn (Vol 2 No 1) where the Labour MP for Chesterfield and former Viscount Stansgate envisages support from a ‘patchwork quilt of the oppressed’ rather than a homogenous and organised working class. Starmer responds by providing his own definition of the newly emerging coalition – ‘an emancipatory alliance’.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Old style working-class collective bargaining activism.
Support the Miners March, Camberwell Road,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

By today’s standards, Socialist Alternatives is light on mentions of human rights. However, with the economic and political control once thought possible through trade unionism having collapsed with the old working class, and with the trade union barrons having subsequently being replaced by Blairism and New Labour, for control via the collective power of organised labour, read control via regulation and legislation.

An informed observer of the intervening decades might substitute Old Labour’s controlling the means of production, distribution, exchange and control with control of the public sector bureaucracy and the law through legislation and a compliant public sector bureaucracy cultivated by Blairism.

Fully Bourgeois

Having left the editorial collective, Starmer was called to the bar in 1987 and joined the old Middle Temple Chambers of Rumpole of the Bailey author John Mortimer and the Liberal pier Lord Hooson. Also at this time he represented Liberty – formerly the National Council of Civil Liberties – who a few years earlier had advocated on behalf of the Paedophile Information Exchange.

In 1990 he was one of the joint founders of Doughty Street Chambers who, according to the guff, aimed to break the mould of traditional chambers. Puffins will recall it was Doughty who represented Yorkshire County Cricket Club ‘racism victim’ Azeem Rafiq. What Rafiq’s council forgot to mention was that Azeem was an anti-Semite who pestered underage girls on flights and was part of Rotherham’s ‘Pakistani nighttime economy’.

Having chosen to specialise in human rights law, during his time at Doughty Starmer’s plethora of liberal causes included challenging the then new anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) when defending two ‘children from hell’ from Liverpool’s Edge Hill. As well as poll-tax rioters, he also defended a quack selling a phoney cure for AIDS and a legalise cannabis campaigner charged in relation to publishing grow your own cannabis advice.

On a more serious note, he moved to protect paedophiles by withholding their identities from the public after being named in court.

These and many other similar cases saw Starmer’s currency rise in the legal world. He became a fellow of the human rights centre at the University of Essex and was consulted on human rights issues by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

The Duke of York Blairites

By 2002 Starmer had become a QC and in doing so joined a new generation of left-wing QCs whom the Observer newspaper at the time described as the ‘Duke of York group’ after their Grey’s Inn Road watering hole. These were a tight network of civil rights barristers including star QCs from Matrix chambers such as Tony Blair’s wife Cherie Booth.

Other high flyers in the powerhouse of the liberal legal establishment included Phillippa Kaufman, another Doughty Street lawyer and a former long-term girlfriend of Starmer. According to the Observer, away from the booze their legal meat and drink were terrorist suspects, transsexuals, protesters – society’s dissidents and outsiders. However, tellingly, the Observer noted,

‘Critics of these new stars of the civil rights world accuse them of riding the civil liberties gravy train following the introduction of the Human Rights Act and using European and international legislation to undermine the fabric of Britain’s ancient laws.’

As we’ve learned during the following two decades, those rights are often the arbitrary and destructive rights of the miscreant which take precedence over the well-being of innocent others. We have also learned that the Human Rights Act and European and international legislation are a game with words used to further a left-wing agenda.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Blairite New Labour control through legislation and regulation.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie,
Russian Presidential Press and Information Office
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

While a QC, Starmer remained soft on terrorism and acted for the Islamic cleric Abu Qatada in his 2008 bid to avoid deportation to Jordan. Following Gulf War II, Starmer was accused of being part of a human rights ‘glitterati’ involved in suing the British government on behalf of Iraqis allegedly mistreated by British forces. Starmer was an advisor to one such ambulance chaser, Phil Shiner, whose tactics in Iraq subsequently led to him being struck off.

Elevation to Director of Public Prosceutions

Despite never having prosecuted a criminal case, in 2008 Keir was appointed as Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service by Lady Patricia Scotland, the Attorney General to New Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

More controversies followed. In 2013 Starmer had to apologise for ‘shortcomings in the part played by the CPS’ in deciding not to prosecute four cases involving allegations of sexual assault by Jimmy Savile. Likewise for the non-prosecution of the (diverse and plural?) Rochade child rape gang which included Labour Party members such as ring leader Shabir ‘Daddy’ Ahmed.

By now Starmer was married to Victoria, daughter of another Polish-Jewish emigre, and resident in a £2 million mansion in North London’s legal glitterati enclave of Gospel Oak. Neighbours included the Harman-Dromeys of NCCL/Paedophile Information Exchange fame.

From DPP to MP

In 2013 Starmer stood down as Director of Public Prosecutions to become the prospective Labour candidate for the safe Labour seat of Holborn and St Pancras. Duly elected at the 2015 general election and by now Sir Keir, he replaced an Old Labour stalwart, Frank Dobson, who had represented the constituency for over 20 years.

By the December 2019 general election, Starmer’s original majority of 17,000 had risen to 27,000 in an otherwise disappointing Labour performance that saw leader Jeremy Corbyn stand down. In the resulting leadership contest, Starmer not only defeated second-placed Rebecca Long-Bailey but gained twice as many votes. So much for the last general election, what about the next which by law must take place within 12 months?

Voters thinking a Labour Party far ahead in the polls and up against a struggling Tory government might produce a manifesto light on commitments may be in for a surprise. In February 2023 Starmer announced five missions which have subsequently been padded out to an 86-page full draft policy platform summarised on the Labour List website.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Starmer points to the far Left.
Keir Starmer, 2020 leadership hustings,
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

A Manifesto of Control

Themes emerge in the draft policy platform in keeping with the principles expressed by Starmer for the last four decades. Puffins reading these intentions, and I recommend they do, will find they make more sense if you keep in mind the following long-standing Starmer truisms:

  • His Marxism is of the perpetual adolescent and bourgeois North Londoner short of real-world experience
  • The Red-Green environmental obsession is now focused on Net Zero
  • Left wing control is via manipulation of regulation and the law (rather than by the defunct concept of trades union collective bargaining)
  • Human rights are arbitrary and based upon what is fashionable within a London liberal legal bubble
  • An obsession with minorities and pluralism. Remember pluralism is also a racial concept whereby no single race should be in the majority.

Dipping into the policy document we discover a vast and surely unaffordable commitment to wind power. Numerous new quangos are to be set up such as an Office for Value for Money, a National Wealth Fund and a Supply Chain Task Force. It will be mandatory for all police forces to implement the ‘National Police Chiefs’ Council Race Action Plan’. There will be a Race Equality Act and a commitment to ensure that our judiciary and prison service reflect the diversity of our nation.

An investigation into the battle of Orgreave during the miners’ strike will take place even though Orgrave doesn’t exist anymore, neither does the mining industry and most of those involved must surely have died of old age. In reforming schools, rather than cutting the paperwork, thousands of new teachers will be recruited to administer even more of it. The current school curriculum will be reviewed and made compulsory for all state schools. A renters charter and ‘affordable tenancies’ smacks of the imposition of rent controls onto private landlords.

There will be a statutory regulator for English football, ‘a land use framework’ for farmers, new ‘industrial clusters’, a plan for green steel and a Clean Air Act.

On illegal immigration, ‘Reducing the asylum backlog’ means letting them all stay. ‘Making sure Britain plays its part internationally’ means taking even more in. ‘Safe family reunions’ means letting all their relatives in too. As per the NPA’s propaganda warfare units, the BBC will be bolstered and its long-term security ensured.

Ominously local authorities will be enabled to ‘acquire land at closer to existing use value’. More ULEZ-style clean air zones are envisaged with people walking and cycling instead of using cars. Rail and bus services to be nationalised.

There is much, much more. On and on it goes, culminating perhaps only months from now in a new Left-wing government committed to controlling every aspect of our lives.

In a word, Starmageddon.

© Always Worth Saying 2024