Starmer won’t change Britain’s culture of political dishonesty, he’s part of it

Two opinion polls published over the past few days had important information for the Scottish independence campaign, the first showed that a substantial majority of the Scottish population believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the power to hold an independence referendum without the permission of the Westminster government 57.5% of Scots believe that the decision on whether to hold an independence referendum should be one for the Scottish Parliament.

The same poll also showed that support for independence enjoys a 4% lead over opposition to independence. This poll also confirmed the long standing pattern that a clear majority of younger people in Scotland prefer independence. Only amongst the oldest generation is there a substantial majority in favour of Scotland remaining under Westminster rule.

The poll, by Find Out Now for the Alba party, placed support for independence at 52% compared to 48% against, once don’t knows were removed, or at 48.6% in favour, 45.2% against, and 6.2% unsure. The poll also gave Yes an easy lead among younger voters, with all age groups between 18 and 44 showing majority support for independence, however there was a large anti independence lead amongst voters over the age of 65, who backed No by 68.9% including those undecided. The poll showed that support for independence is strongest in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, 68.5% of Glaswegians back independence, heavily outnumbering those opposed and don’t knows.

The poll also found that 12.5% of those who voted No in 2014 would now vote Yes, and 28% of those who plan to vote Labour at the next election would also vote Yes in an independence referendum.

Another poll showed that Labour could overtake the SNP in terms of vote share in Scotland at the next Westminster general election, thanks in no small measure to Scottish independence supporters voting for the centre right British nationalist party of Keir Starmer. It also showed that by a narrow majority of 1% (well within the margin of error) opposition to independence was in the lead. You don’t need to be a genius to know which of these two polls was loudly trumpeted by the media in Scotland.

Labour’s shtick is a promise of change, but like so much of what Keir Starmer promises, it is a lie. Keir Starmer has indeed changed the Labour party, but he has changed it from a social democratic party which is tolerant of a range of views into a centre right British nationalist party in which Starmer exercises complete control and where dissent, particularly dissent from the left, is immediately silenced, purged, or marginalised.

A recent article in The Sunday Times revealed that Starmer’s ascension to the Labour leadership was not only characterised by a series of blatant lies about the policies Starmer would espouse once in power, it was also financed by a slush fund of more than £730,000 in undeclared, and unregulated dark money, most of which came from multi-millionaire venture capitalists and businessmen. Instrumental in organising this funding was Starmer’s campaign manager Morgan McSweeney who led campaigning group called Labour Together, which was later fined by the electoral commission for only declaring £165,000 of the £970,492 donated between October 2015 and January 2021. Starmer refused to reveal the donors to his leadership campaign until after the ballot when it was too late. McSweeney had previously been the campaign manager for the arch Blairite Liz Kendall in 2015.

Labour has been captured by the right wing and is not the left of centre liberal party that many voters in Scotland imagine it to be

One of the original founding members of Labour Together, the veteran Labour MP Jon Cruddas resigned from Labour Together in July 2023, claiming that Keir Starmer’s party had fallen under the control of a “right-wing, illiberal” faction that is embarking on a “witch-hunt” not only against the Corbynite left but also against anyone with an independent voice who dares to speak out against Starmer and his constant stream of right wing U turns.

Since becoming leader Starmer has established an iron grip on the Labour party through rule changes, purges, and dictatorial party management. All of the promises that Starmer made when campaigning for the party leadership have been abandoned. It was one of the most deceitful political campaigns this century, way down in the depths of dishonesty with the Better Together campaign of 2014 and the Leave campaign of 2016. Starmer has not changed the mould of dishonest British nationalist politics, he is very much a creature of it.

Just today (Monday 29 January), a major Conservative donor, Richard Walker the CEO of Iceland, has switched his support from the Conservatives to Labour, saying Starmer’s party is “the right choice” for his customers.

There’s a good reason wealthy donors to the Tory party are now happy to support Labour under Keir Starmer. It’s because they know that Starmer poses no threat to their wealth and privilege. Indeed Starmer is their guarantee of the continuation of the current unjust status quo in which the rich grow ever richer at the expense of the poor. Under Starmer Labour has abandoned any pretence of making the rich pay more in taxes, insisting that it seeks economic growth as the solution to Britain’s problems while rejecting the redistribution of wealth in the form of increased taxes on the wealthy, wealth taxes, or structural changes to the economy such as the nationalisation of the power, water or rail companies. This is nothing less than the discredited trickle down economics which have led to the burgeoning of inequality and the impoverishment of the public sector while the rich sit on their ever increasing piles of cash. No wonder Richard Walker wants his customers to vote Labour.

The reality is that if you are an independence supporter who is unhappy about the lack of progress on independence under the SNP, abstaining or voting Labour is deeply counterproductive. It’s like being unhappy with the slow progress on renovations to your house and because of that you pour petrol all over the living room and set fire to it, burning the house down. You’re left with no renovations and no house.

Keir Starmer’s Labour party will gleefully kick any talk of independence off the political table, proclaim that it has defeated nationalism and double down on attacks on the Scottish Parliament, even as it wraps any vestige of socialism in a union flag shroud and embarks on the quixotic British nationalist delusion of ‘making Brexit work’. All Scotland will get is Starmer’s brand of Tory-lite policies and the meaningful change that voters in Scotland seek will remain as elusive as ever.


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