Analysis comment

Video: Burnham’s example stings Starmer’s front bench into something like actual opposition – but apart from a tweet, where is Starmer?

Labour front benchers show some fire after Greater Manchester mayor shows the way – but why has Starmer been hiding?

Mayor Andy Burnham’s fighting example on behalf of the people of Greater Manchester against the Tories has not only forced Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock into revealing their utter contempt for the north – it has also stung Keir Starmer’s front bench into something approaching actual opposition.

Burnham’s no-holds-barred exposure of the Tories’ disregard for the wellbeing and economy of the people of his area has inspired resistance to the government’s arrogance – and made Starmer’s usual position of avoiding anything but the limpest criticism untenable.

Shadow DWP Secretary Jonathan Reynold’s tone when he appeared on BBC News was almost unrecognisable compared to the usual mealy-mouthed performances of front bench spokespeople – and even Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth managed an outraged word in the Commons:

But apart from a not particularly forceful tweet, Keir Starmer has been invisible on a day when he could have been harnessing a wave of public outrage and frustration with Johnson’s dithering and obvious agendas.

Is he even now too worried about upsetting right-wingers to do more than let his subordinates speak out – or is he simply incapable of the passion the situation requires and merits?

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  1. On the contrary, it will be interesting to see how many newbie Tory Red Wall MPs are prepared to vote in their constituents interest and hold BJ to account.

    Labour are calling on Tory MPs to defy Boris Johnson and back a “fair deal” for communities facing Tier 3 restrictions.
    Keir Stamer has tabled the crunch vote on Wednesday to try and force the Government to reconsider the amount of support on offer to areas suffering serious coronavirus outbreaks.

    1. “Please sir, may I have some more…”

      Sir Keir of the Billionaires HAD to do something and this is exactly what most of us expected from from a Labour leader who doesn’t oppose the proto-fascist ‘spycop bill’, doesn’t seem to acknowledge that more than 1/2 million families are facing the prospect of eviction and he makes sure the leaked Labour report is ignored and discarded and that the people who are charged by it are protected and not made to explain themselves.

      Sir Keir Rodney Starmer is managerialism gone bad. He is destroying Labour and harming the party’s credentials and electoral prospects.

      1. qwertboi – According to the polls Keir Starmer is significantly more popular with the electorate than either his opponent or his predecessor.

      2. “the polls “ – as soon as the tories replace their killer clown leader and – years from now – an election is actually called, the billionaires press will not ‘favour’ Sir Keir and the poll lead will miraculously dissipate and disappear. On the streets (including Party membership), sir Keir Rodney Starmer is a bit of a nonentity.

      3. qwertboi – Jeremy Corbyn and his team obviously had much more faith in the polls than yourself, they had YouGov on exclusive contract for their polling during the GE19 campaign.

      4. “Significantly more popular” doesn’t mean anything worthwhile.
        The electorate picked the Tories, remember?
        It just proves they’re rubbish at picking, not that he’s better than the Tories ffs.

      5. David – I agree popularity helps win elections which inexorably leads one to the conclusion that the inverse is also true.
        I’d far rather have a Labour government after the next GE than another Tory government, wouldn’t you?

      6. It’s absurd to keep bringing up Corbyn, SteveH- he’s not ever going to seek the leadership again and and nobody is pushing to restore him. Also, it goes without saying that the personal popularity ratings of anyone NOT subjected to the relentless hate-and-lie campaign Corbyn was suggested to- including the completely unjustified AS Smear inflicted not only on Corbyn but virtually all of his supporters.

        If your successor was relentlessly vilified by his own MPs and you are not, it goes without saying that you are going to be more popular.

        The idea is not to bring Corbyn back as leader- and you know that, although it does go without saying that his suspension from the PLP was undeserved and should be immediately lifted, so he can spend the rest of his parliamentary career as a respected elder statesman of the Labour Left. the way Michael Foot and Tony Benn were treated- it’s to replace Starmer- who has now proved he’s not a socialist and who’s leadership has turned out to be nothing but a relentless and pointless campaign to drive all socialists out of the party, to destroy any vestiges of internal party democracy- Labour cannot ever stand for radical change if no one other than the leader and their/her/his advisors have a say in policy- and to totally disregard the fact that the only reason the parliamentary system includes an Opposition is for that Opposition to actually oppose- to replace this failed and misguidedly anti-socialist, pro-Tory leader with someone who will actually stand for something OTHER than supporting the government while treating his own party as the enemy.

        Those who have things like “Corbyn4PM” on their Twitter feeds or other social media aren’t calling for a literal Corbyn restoration- they know Corbyn has been put through enough- they are simply expressing their respect and admiration for the fact that he was the first Labour leader in their lifetimes who actually stood for something.

        Therefore, there is no reason to keep going back to “Corbyn did worse” as your default response. The showings Corbyn made- showings we all know were mostly not his fault- do not invalidate the ideals and policies associated with- but not invented by-Corbyn and his supporters, nor do they argue for the suspension or expulsion of those associated with them, OR the acceptance of the idea that criticism of the Israeli government, or a refusal to support the now-permanently right-wing ideology associated with that creation of Israel- a state whose survival is not in any sense in question- is antisemitism and must be forbidden within the Labour Party(forbidden even to reactionary antisocialist types like Stephen Kinnock, whose comments could easily have been made by a member of the Israeli Labor Party).

        Please stop debating dishonestly, and please stop using strawmen.
        The discussion is about whether Labour should be a socialist party- as most of the party rank-and-file want- or a “modernizing social democracy”(I.e., Tory on all but a few trivial side issues) party like Starmer wants and like Mandelson is obsessed with imposing, even though most of the rank-and-file want no such thing.

        It’s not about making Corbyn leader again, and it never has been.

      7. kenburch – First of all, why on earth are you posting so much nonsense on a thread that’s 4 months old.
        You can make all the long winded protestations you like but I will continue to compare Keir with his predecessor whenever I choose to, particularly when people are grumbling about poll results. Whether you think it is relevant or not is not my concern, it is my point of view that I am expressing, not yours.

    2. “, it will be interesting to see how many newbie Tory Red Wall MPs are prepared to vote in their constituents interest and hold BJ to account”

      It looks like those in the Red Wall who were misguided enough to vote Tory have been betrayed.
      The Tories defeated the motion with a majority of 79.

  2. And for how many lines will that be whipped…if it isn’t gonna be a free vote?

    Say what you like plums. Once again stammer’s shown the nation what he’s about.

    Slimy, yellow serpent.

  3. Ranvir Singh interviewing nandy on GMB 7:01am

    “How do you think fellow northern TORIES will vote?

    Nandy went on to warble an answer instead of pulling Singh on being a (supposed) Labour MP.

    …Which says it all, for me.

  4. Andy Burnham has shown what real leadership is,hes galvanised the Northern people and even some of the limp wristed Knights misfits.Andy is not perfect but hes doing the job hes supposed to do.How many Labour mps and councillors can say they have propping up a fascist murderous government on the rampage….IT neednt have been this way and many in the old milltowns including mine Bolton must be regretting their lending votes to the Conservative and unionist party..Anger that they felt in betrayel is nothing to having unleashed the Conservative scum on all of the working class and especially on any poor buggers North of Watford.

    1. Yes, I too am originally from a old mill town in Greater Manchester, and have in the past been extremely sceptical of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and critical of Andy Burnham. However, he and the council leaders have my total respect for the way they have handled this.

      The press conference was a masterclass in clear and direct communication compared with the shambolic efforts of Boris Johnson and his equally appalling colleagues over the past four years.

      Could this be a watershed moment? Will it finally dawn on those ‘ordinary’ people North, South, East and West who voted for the Tories that they are being **** upon from a great height, and always will be when Tories are in power?

      1. Julia, “Could this be a watershed moment?”
        In an emergency the Tories could probably win back more votes than they lose over Covid simply by ‘considering’ easing the ‘right to buy’ qualifying requirements and enabling a million more tenants to buy.
        It wouldn’t even have to be a promise.

  5. Andy Burnham has been a breath of fresh air, and put Starmer et al to shame. As I said in a recent post, he’s for me a very unlikely hero, but credit where it’s due and power to his arm.

    And having really rattled Johnson and his pals, we are now seeing the Tory counter offensive, obliquely attacking and trying to isolate Burnham by constantly referring to ‘The Mayor’ as being obstructive, whilst heaping praise on various council leaders and other regions for being far more helpful and cooperative. The sinister Tory propaganda machine working hard in the shadows to try to re-take lost ground, with the help of it’s close allies the State Media BBC and billionaire press barons.

    But their success will be limited. We’ve all seen at last a politician speaking out against this neo-fascist government with conviction and with fire in his belly. We’ve seen it, and it’s not going to go away.

    1. It might be worth considering bringing Burnham in as a candidate to replace Starmer(it would need to be done near the election, since Burnham currently doesn’t have a seat). He would be well to Starmer’s left, would probably stop Starmer and Evans’ Kinnock-style purges, and would get the support of some of those in the PLP who couldn’t stomach Jeremy.

      1. kenburch – Is this the same Andy Burnham that was accused of having flexible principles by many on this site when he was standing against Jeremy.

  6. MPs sitting on the Science Committee have been warned by Prof Edmunds, a member of Sage, that the current regional strategy will lead to “a high level of incidence everywhere”. Follow the link and read the full report, it is worrying.

    Prof John Edmunds OBE, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “There’s no way we come out of this [second] wave now without counting our deaths in the tens of thousands.

    “If we don’t take any additional measures, if we just leave it as it is we’ll see peaks in the North West, probably in the next four to six weeks.

    “Then the rest of the country are just weeks behind so we will see peaks around Christmas and the New Year with very severe numbers of cases throughout the UK.”

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