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Starmer tries to praise historical workers’ victory – but celebrates ‘worst employer’ victory instead

Labour leader’s lack of authentic connection with the working class exposed again

Labour leader Keir Starmer attempted yesterday to piggyback historical action by working-class people to give himself a proletarian sheen – and failed abysmally.

Starmer referred back to a march on Parliament by match-factory workers and praised ‘their’ victory:

But Starmer had got it wrong, as historian Louise Raw – who has actually written a book about the matchwomen’s strike that did signal the start of the modern Labour movement – pointed out in response:

The action Starmer celebrated was forced on the women workers by greedy bosses who didn’t want a tax on their product – it was an expression of abuse by unscrupulous employers, not a workers’ victory. Dr Raw had a dim view of Starmer’s shoddiness:

She wasn’t the only person to spot Starmer’s blunder. Sarah Grant pointed out just how bad and abusive those employers were – and what triggered the strike – in 1888, not 1871 – that really started the movement:

The chemicals and processes used to make matches corroded the faces of workers, leading to the condition known as ‘phossy jaw’. The photograph of striking women workers below shows early signs, but as the picture of a male worker shows, the end results were horrific:

Dr Raw’s book, Striking a Light, shows how the matchwomen’s strike influenced the dockworkers’ strike the following year, which has traditionally been credited as the key moment in the Labour movement.

Keir Starmer, by contrast, can’t tell the difference – and didn’t do enough research to know it – between a capitalist imposition on women working in horrific conditions and their own movement to stand up for their rights. Small wonder that Labour has become so desperately disconnected from its core class under Starmer’s influence, both as ‘leader’ and before that as Shadow Brexit Secretary.

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  1. Woodentop really is a disaster, but no doubt little stevie will be along to explain all shortly.

    1. The idiot’s not clever enough to be an imbecile. stammer’s idea of socialism is on a par with the wee fella’s warped view of democracy. Both are in stark contrast to their respective actual definitions, because both definers are criminally lacking intelligence.

      He was a manifest blackguard when he was a pretend socialist; he remains an unmistakable phoney today, and always will.

      Anyone, but ANYONE allowing themselves to be taken in by keith deserves everything they get… And more.

  2. IRONICALLY this is Perfectly Synonymous with Thatcher’s Neoliberal Neolabour Party Tories. They would 100 % support any protests where employees march in protest for the benefit of their Employers and to Rob The PEOPLE of Tax Revenue!
    The new and drastic problem we are currently faced with is that Most of the So Called “Left/Socialist” Publications, Movement’s, Blogs are 100% Neoliberal Neolabour Party Tories, but they have “Left/Socialist”, “Anti-Capitalist”, etc, etc on their Wiki Pages and they believe that makes them so!
    Just as Thatcher’s Neoliberal, Socialist Hating, Neolabour Party Tories use the Pretence of being Left leaning or so-called “Centrist” “Social Democrats” because their Wiki Pages says so, and they created a Neoliberal Corporate Brand from the word “LABOUR” now with Neon and Flashing LED, under which they pretend to be Socialist/Left whilst standing on the Mound of Democratic Socialists UK Labour Party MPs/Members, whom they have purged for being Left/Socialists, with a refreshing glass on Veuve Clicquot Cheering their Dear Leader Margaret Thatcher!

    1. Interesting view of what is termed ‘left’ by Peter Hitchens. I don’t subscribe fully to his beliefs, but there is definitely something of the totalitarian in NuLabour.
      “Now, years after it is too late to help us, we learn that Anthony Blair was a student Marxist, an admirer of the bloodthirsty advocate of Red Terror, Leon Trotsky. When did he stop thinking this? We don’t really know.
      But isn’t it interesting that all those who faint like shocked maiden ladies at the bearded Leftism of Jeremy Corbyn still fawn over the supposed ‘moderation’ of Blair? Yet Blair was the man who smiled sweetly as he tried to abolish sterling, surrendered to the IRA, wrecked our economy, our constitution, our civil service, our defences and much of our education system, and wounded the monarchy, too.
      The disclosure reminded me of the recent unwise boast by Blair’s one-time close aide, Peter Hyman, who blurted out that the New Labour ‘project’ was ‘infinitely more revolutionary than anything proposed by Jeremy Corbyn’. The plan, Hyman disclosed, was to lock out the Tories to ensure that ‘the 21st Century was a Labour century’. Not very democratic.”

      1. Musing on the future of the Labour Party in 1986, one twenty-four-year-old activist denounced centrism, insisting that the future lay with the grassroots Left. “Instead of heading towards an SDP Mark II”, he wrote, “we would be better to go forward to re-build and develop the party as an instrument of socialism, capable of integrating into its project the emergence of the new social movements of the last twenty years”. That activist was a young Keir Starmer, and he was writing for a journal called Socialist Alternatives.

      2. Are you trying to infer that our Keith will use any means to achieve power and then throw off his disguise and announce that from this day forward we will be Socialists?

      3. How is Keir’s association with a socialist magazine thirty-five years ago of any relevance now? He clearly can’t still hold any of the convictions he held then and be capable of treating Corbyn’s supporters- who principles are well to the right of anything that publication would have espoused then- as as he has relentlessly treated them over the past year.

        There is no way any of what Keir has done to internal democracy or his continued insistence on anathemising his predecessor and those who don’t despise his predecessor can possibly lead to the election of a socialist government, SteveH. You can’t build socialism by shutting down all dissent and debate within what is supposed to be the socialist party-socialism cannot be brought in exclusively by top-down leadership and with the grassroots of the socialist party being once again made voiceless and irrelevant.

      4. Dearie me, lundiel (yet another nutty regular, ignorant, covid denier on Skwawkbox) . What total blarney ! Tony Blair was most certainly NOT any sort of ‘student Marxist’, of any of the 57 varieties. He spent his student years posing with his wee student wannabe pop group, not selling a Leftie newspaper, or regularly occupying the admin block (as us young Lefties actually did) ! The story about Blair’s supposed ‘student Marxism’, is entirely based on the single instance of the opportunist letter he once wrote to then Labour Leader, Michael Foot , trying to get selected as a Labour candidate . Knowing Foot had a reputation as a bit of a radical socialist, the slippery young Blair claimed that he had , “come to Labour politics via Marxism”. A complete fabrication – but very much in line with Blair’s lifelong lying opportunism. In fact Blair just hitched his ride with Labour as a by-product of being the boyfriend , and later , husband, of the very well family-based Labour connected, Cherie Blair (her dad, actor, Tony Booth, was a well connected Labour man) .

        So Peter Hitchens has constructed an entire narrative about Blair and ‘totalitarian Marxism’, based on a compete falsehood, Which is VERY Peter Hitchens.

        And. lundiel, you appear to agree with the utter nonsense you quote from Hitchens, so what ‘surrender’ was this to the IRA, by Blair ? The Good Friday Agreement, do you mean ? The Good Friday Agreement was a vital agreement to end the then armed struggle conflict in Northern Ireland – and actually was a brilliant piece of typically British imperialist pragmatism, ie, wrapping an enemy of the British state, the Provisional IRA in this case, into co-administering (with their Protestant extremist foes !) the continuation of that state in the Northern Irish Statelet ! A pragmatic diplomacy trick the British managed to carry out all over the Empire as it collapsed during the 20th century.

        Don’t be fooled by the often amusing contrarian mangled logic of Peter Hitchens, lundiel. He is writing in the poisonous Right Wing Mail on Sunday for a reason.

  3. Yep! The Danger we as Democratic Socialists have is that we demand all pay tax, as far as I am concerned an equal amount is fair and square If I pay 20% so do you, the FULL 20% not minus “Donations” etc to Charities [aka Neoliberalism’s Choice of Laundromat, they deliver crisp, clean, individually wrapped, fresh scented packages, straight to the Bahamas, etc, and the fee is exceptionally reasonable etc!] We demand End to Greed Wars, We demand Justice and Equality, etc. All those things are the WORST OF EVIL to the Neoliberal Ears.
    Most Students and Young Adults go through their Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist/Trotskyist phase, BoJo “””was a Punk””” FFS!
    Only problem it seems as they enter professional life they only remember the very worst of those ideologies!
    What people have to get their heads around is that we have Two Factions/Parties at play and not “THE LEFT/THE RIGHT” of the same Party. The Neoliberal Tories have infiltrated The UK Labour Party since it’s start. Finally they currently hold roughly 95% of the seats and the Democratic Socialists only holds 5% of the seats. Just like the USA now we too have Two Bona Fide Thatcher/Reagan Neoliberal come Neoconservative Parties!
    We have no difference we have no CHOICE, yet cleverly they are convincing many that they are “Left Leaning Socialists”, while they announce support for Military Funding rather than helping Homeless Hungry Children, the LOTO the architect behind Julian Assange Arrest “Don’t you DARE Get Cold Feet!!!”, Announcing that they will be harder than the Conservatives [who already claimed 100s of 1000s of lives] on Benefit Claimants and on and on and on and people some how still buy their and their merchants “Left Leaning Socialist” Bull Shit!
    What is going on here!? Are people that conditioned by their MSM that they really can not see reality any more, that they have become fully controllable!?

  4. Perhaps it’s just playing to the crowd as Neo-Liberal promoting Trilateral Commission member Starmer has to demonstrate to the rich & powerful that his Labour is absolutely no threat to their power and privilege. And all he asks for in return is crumbs for diverse working people but cushy, well rewarded jobs for him and his Right Wing Labour mates? He’s trying to crush the Left in Labour, and next it will be Corbyn’s programme that goes, and these ideas are what the UK and world needs. The Neo-Liberal Lump of Wood can’t even get Labour history right cos he ain’t no socialist!

      1. lundiel – Dismissing it out of hand will make it a certainty that your voice won’t be heard.

      2. If you read this you will see that the middle class make up 25% of the population and they are diminishing as are the traditional working class, so Starmer’s on to a loser there (constituency demographics are changing and the new emergent classes of service workers and precariat are coming into play). From where I’m standing, neoliberalism will be the breaker with the majority not benefitting from it. So Keith and Boris and Ed and Jon & Sian will all be on the wrong page.

      3. The number reductions are all the ‘crying rivers of tears’ the ‘fluff bubble, comfy life, popped’ of 2017 to 2019, who so many of us who rejected both Brexit Bandwagons to try and Amplify what Jeremy was trying to say through the cacophony of Leave/Remain Bandwagons, MSM, Antisemitism, Internal sabotage, International Sabotage and everything in between.
        It was a very simple message NHS, Homelessness, Hungry Children, Homeless Children, Improved Education, Improved Housing, Regeneration of The Poorest/Most Neglected Communities, Green Revolution creating Jobs and Opportunities, and about another 160 points equally important!
        However they mocked us and laughed at us, we were the Looney Left, etc! And look now, those Comfy Fluff bubbles are popping left right and centre and as I warned many, The Breadline is creeping up the Chart-line faster than their Comfy Fluff Bubbles can ascend! Now we will all soon, as one big happy Peasant class, scrap away for potatoes in McCain’s Potato Farms! And risk Life and Limb to go Poaching on his Mastership’s lands!

      4. It goes without saying that leaving policy to “commissions” while keeping grassroots activists totally out in the cold can never produce socialist policies. Labour didn’t lose in ’19 because ordinary party members had TOO MUCH of a say, ffs.

      5. kenburch – I would agree if that was the case, but it isn’t
        “Labour Party Policy Commissions
        Following the 2019 General Election Labour’s National Policy Forum (NPF) entered a new policy making cycle. We want to hear your insight and ideas on how we can re-shape our policy platform to win the next General Election and ensure a fairer Britain for all.
        Take a look at the Policy Commissions below for more information on key areas, and help us build our policy platform by sharing your ideas.

      6. “Economy, Business & Trade”- yeah, right- As if a “commission” with a name like that would back anything remotely similar to socialism or anything even mildly pro-worker.

      7. And Claire Ainsley…yeah, the one brought in to smear Corbyn as “anti-family”- as if anything he backed would ever have weakened the structure of anybody’s fammily anywhere. Has “Blue Labour” written all over. Thinks you win the heartlands back by sounding cold & patriarchal.

      1. What a load of fucking lies. I can’t believe he said this: “No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.” Mr trilateral who agrees with British policy in Syria, where Al Qaida are our allies and the arming of the gulf dictatorships, sanctions on Venezuela, Iran. The man makes me puke.

  5. help us build our policy platform by sharing your ideas.

    Hmmm. And I suppose, for example, he dropped common ownership of rail, mail, water and utilities, within weeks of becoming fuhrer because 70% of labour members told him it was a shite idea?

    (And hasn’t even bothered with providing ‘effective’ opposition, or opposition to the ‘rags of any significance, with or without any input)

  6. Thicko Starmer go to the bottom of the class. The details of the Bryant May workers strike were drilled into me at school in the late 1960’s . The text provided was Henry Pelling’s – A History of British Trade Unionism.

    I find it difficult to believe that an active member of East Surrey Young Socialists would be unaware of one of the most famous strikes in the development of the British Labour Movement. It says little for the history department at Reigate Grammar School.

    He probably thinks that Tolpuddle is an animated puppet TV programme for children.

  7. “He probably thinks that Tolpuddle is an animated puppet TV programme for children.”

    In-keeping with his match factory ‘wisdom’ , perhaps he ‘remembers’ the suffragette movement as being about women wanting to abolish tax on tobacco companies…

  8. An interesting subject ‘the suffragettes’ as presented by BBC documentaries , but bearing little resemblance to reality. Not a working class movement as Emmeline Pankhurst (Prospective Parliamentary Party Candidate for Tory Party) hated working class men & Keir Hardie in particular.. There was only one Socialist daughter in the family, but her mother & elder sister refused to speak to her (any idea why?)
    The bourgeois suffragettes did not want universal suffrage in any shape or form; simply parity with the bourgeois men of their class. Emmeline supported ‘King, Country & Empire’ & campaigned for conscription of the young working class who left school at the age of twelve. Young boys to be enlisted to fight in the trenches & young girls conscripted to become canaries in munitions factories. Dominant ideologies re-writing history? As Tony Blair said ‘the class war is over’, but then it never started.

    1. ‘The bourgeois suffragettes did not want universal suffrage in any shape or form; simply parity with the bourgeois men of their class.’

      Proof please!

      Doesn’t say anything to that effect in the wikipedia entry….. entirely the opposite. And the following is from the Amazon review of a book about the suffragette movement:

      A hundred years on, Diane Atkinson celebrates the lives of the women who answered the call to ‘Rise Up’; a richly diverse group of actresses and mill-workers, teachers and doctors, bootmakers and sweated workers. Meticulously researched, vividly rendered and definitive, Rise Up, Women! brings these women to life in a stirring celebration of their grace, resilience and determination that changed the world forever.

      1. Proof! It would appear that your preferred sources are Amazon & Wiki so in those terms I shall direct you in a direction that may encourage you to question the dominant bourgeois ideology. Simple facts are that Emmeline & Chrystabel joined the Tory Party & rejected Keir Hardie’s Labour Party as they campaigned for the abolition of Trade Unions.
        When I was a single dad & part-time lecturer I was asked to cover for a woman’s maternity leave teaching ‘History’ GB C20. Part of the syllabus was the History of the suffragettes & recommended reading books were difficult to find & so I discovered alternative reading with alternative conclusions that I was unable to use. My head of dept. said Feminism is a part of the syllabus & an alternative reading would be dangerous & may not prove productive for your student grades.
        If you ‘Google’ “King, Country & Empire” Emmeline Pankhurst you may soon encounter a very large site ‘SPARTAN EDUCATION’. The history of the Pankhurst family, from finishing schools in Paris to PPC Tory Party. makes interesting reading.

      2. apologies…..not Spartan Education, but Spartacus Educational

      3. So can you provide proof that ‘‘The bourgeois suffragettes did not want universal suffrage in any shape or form; simply parity with the bourgeois men of their class’ John.

        And I take it that you noticed what it said in the passage I quoted, but just in case you somehow missed it, I’ll repeat it with emphasis on the relevant bits:

        A hundred years on, Diane Atkinson celebrates the lives of the women who answered the call to ‘Rise Up’; a richly diverse group of actresses and MILL-WORKERS, teachers and doctors, BOOTMAKERS and SWEATED WORKERS.

        As for actresses and teachers and doctors who were part of the suffragette movement – who would no doubt have been part of the middle-class back then – are you REALLY saying that they didn’t actually want for ALL women to be able to vote?

        Sounds like complete and utter bunkum to me John.

  9. A major new report by Human Rights Watch has concluded that Israel is presiding over a system of apartheid in the Palestinian Territories which amount to “crimes against humanity”.
    The controversial 213-page document, produced over two years and titled A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, accuses Israel of methodically privileging Jewish Israelis and oppressing Palestinians, often with inhuman acts and violence.

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