Starmer’s leadership campaign video used striking miners to enhance his credibility. But whole anniversary of Battle of Orgreave passed unmarked by Labour leader
Earlier this year, Keir Starmer bolstered his leadership campaign with a video in which a South Yorkshire miner spoke over footage of striking miners and print workers of how Starmer had always stood with them.
Yet now, as Labour Party leader, Starmer made not one mention on his Twitter feed – or any at all, according to Google – during the whole of Thursday’s anniversary of the 1984 ‘Battle of Orgreave’.
On 18 June 1984, Margaret Thatcher sent in heavily armed police – and soldiers disguised as police – against miners striking to protect their jobs and the communities that depended on them. Many of those communities are still devastated, yet the leader of the Labour Party didn’t see fit to mention them.
Starmer did find time to tweet a tribute to the late Vera Lynn:
But it was left to Ian Lavery and other backbench left-wingers to mark the devastation inflicted on mining communities by the Tories. Lavery tweeted an iconic image from that day – of a mounted police officer assaulting a woman bystander – that could scarcely be more relevant today:
And last week the former party chair – whom many would have backed to win the leadership if he had stood early this year – paid tribute to the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and encouraged people to attend a virtual rally this weekend to commemorate the battle:
Nor is Lavery’s solidarity a phenomenon that only appears for leadership campaigns, as his record has been consistent throughout his years as an MP:
Starmer’s silence on the day did not escape the notice of those still fighting for justice for those battered and wrongly accused in 1984:
The official Orgreave Justice campaign thanked MPs and others who did show solidarity on the anniversary:
But from yesterday’s performance it seems Starmer’s interest in the miners these days is limited to using them to burnish his left-wing veneer during the leadership election campaign.
Given Starmer’s condemnation of Black Lives Matter campaigners last week, it seems that it’s up to others such as Lavery to show real leadership and solidarity with the working class.
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