Analysis Breaking comment

Chair of Colchester CLP, recent candidate, quits post and party – and writes to ’empty’ Starmer to tell him why he’s to blame

The email sent by resigning party chair and recent Labour candidate Richard Hill to Labour ‘leader’ Keir Starmer is powerful, eloquent and pulls no punches – and it will ring true with thousands of disgusted current and former Labour members. It is reposted without further comment, except some added emphases, below.

From: Richard Hill
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2021 at 17:07
Subject: Resignation from the Labour Party
To: <>

Dear Keir,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Chair of Colchester constituency Labour Party and as a member of the Labour party. As one of over 100,000 people to leave under your tenure I doubt my decision will give you pause for thought but I write anyway as after donating thousands of hours of my time over the last 5 years I feel I have enough skin in the game to express my immense disappointment in you. Your pitch to members was unity, authority and integrity. You are certainly an authoritarian. Unity and integrity seem to be sadly lacking. I’ve never wanted one faction to control our party, I value respect, plurality, robust debate and consensus-building. These are values I’m not sure we share. 

Another of your strengths that was lauded in the leadership campaign was your “electability”. That’s a meaningless notion in my view, and certainly not true in your case. You are 10 points behind an utterly corrupt and incompetent government that has decimated public services over the last 11 years. In recent elections the Labour vote has tanked, Hartlepool, Chesham & Amersham and the loss of 300 council seats aren’t indicators of “electability”, quite the opposite. The sight of you crowing after Batley & Spen was especially distasteful after Labour scraped a win with a massively reduced majority. Your triumphalism was pure delusion, if the Greens had stood, Labour would have lost.

Perhaps winning elections isn’t what motivates you? It seems that punching left, controlled opposition and narrowing the political discourse matters more. This was not the vision you sold to party members. You promised not to trash previous leaders and to offer radicalism. You have removed the whip without grounds from Jeremy Corbyn and offered no policies whatsoever (barely even stating NHS workers deserve more than a 3% raise simply isn’t good enough). The blueprint for electoral success was written in 2017; a radical manifesto that understood how ordinary people were badly treated by a rigged system and offered a genuine alternative that would serve them better. This saw the largest increase in vote share for Labour since 1945. You have rejected that and played along with a narrative that it wasn’t appealing to voters, this can only be for ideological rather than pragmatic reasons. Young people and left behind communities, those with little power to change things, don’t agree and want and deserve a lot more. 

Labour is more than a party, it is a movement. You had half a million people, ready to campaign with you to undo decades of neoliberalism, rebuild our public services and build a better, more equal future. You’ve squandered that goodwill and with it your opportunity to become Prime Minister. I can only conclude you aren’t serious about winning power

Of all your failings and the endless excuses for them, the worst is giving approval to this criminally inept government’s handling of the pandemic. You could have challenged the obvious incompetence and corruption and maybe save lives but instead chose to “back the government”. Thousands died unnecessarily but you decided it wasn’t the time to challenge their actions for fear of negative Daily Mail headlines. You waved everything through, cowardice dressed as cunning is just weakness. 

I think it’s my own bloody-mindedness or idealism that kept me staying a member so long, under FPTP Labour is the only show in town after all. When you paid off Labour staffers in a case in-house lawyers advised you’d win, with the endless delays in publishing the Forde Report, when you lied about Rebecca Long-Bailey sharing an antisemitic trope, withholding the whip from Jeremy Corbyn and the general contempt you seem to hold [for] members. All of these should have been enough to send me packing. I held on in hope of the unity and radical vision you promised. 

It is with much sadness that I leave Colchester CLP. The fantastic members are like all across the country demonised and seem an inconvenience to you, this goes against everything the Labour party should be. My comrades aren’t hard left extremists, they’re ordinary, committed people who give their energy and enthusiasm in the hope of a better country and a better world.

They deserve better than your empty rhetoric, endless relaunches and the slide towards irrelevance you are overseeing.

Regards, Richard Hill

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  1. Richard Hill speaks for many. Offering no meaningful opposition to the most venal, incompetent, corrupt, mendacious and murderous regime since that of Wellington’s of 1828, is a remarkable but disgraceful and dishonourable achievement.
    Lying, as a modus operandi on so many issues, is not a value-based strategy that decent people, either social democrat or socialist, can relate to.

  2. Agreed 100% and I joined the Labour Party almost 80 years ago. The present Leader unlike all those past holders of his office either from the |Left or the Right represents nothingless which is why we have lost membership and finance on a vast scale.

  3. It’s an utter disgrace that good people like Richard Hill are finding that they can no longer stomach being in a party led by Starmer.

    Keith, it’s well and truly time for you to go.

    P.S Years ago I had an illustrated comic book called “101 Things To Do With A John Major”, e.g. prop for a washing line. Would anyone like to do a 2021 take on this for Starmer?

    1. Need a different set of “Things To Do” for Starmer.
      You need a spine to be a “prop for a washing line.”.
      Maybe “Windsock” or “Drain Pipe”

  4. Well said, Richard Hill.

    I suspect, that’s the Resignation Letter, many of us wish we had written.

    Thank you.

  5. Very clearly a party member who had faith in a “broad church” .His leaving the Labour party is a good example of a Labour party that couldn’t funtion under a system that for many w accomadat ed two totally different ideologies that could not work after the rise of the right wing destroyers.Very good example of why the Labour party is effectively bust and bankrupt…

  6. No, no Joseph.

    You MUST take it into context it’s just one person and there’s still 460,000 or so members which is quite obviously more than 552,000.

    And one letter is not an overall indicator of Keith’s universal popularity. It’s up to you to prove otherwise but you are of course, entitled to your opinion’


    1. Tofffee I am definitely not asking for a link off Caribbean windy Steve H centrist Dad.Last time all hell broke loose,even though “I only asked” ?

  7. So sad, the pathos is in sharp contrast to the dry lawyerly language of Starmer who most likely will never read it, let alone give it due attention.

  8. Desperately trying to keep the blame on Starmer and not! the PLP or the rest of the scumbag Labour MPs who installed this mug in the first place.
    I ask all of you be careful of these games being played out in the deathrows of this deceitful rotting right wing party they call Labour.

    1. True, but they also say a fish rots from the head down.

      Sir Keir Starmer, a man whose talents have no beginning.

  9. The word ‘movement’ , previously Starmer has replaced this with ‘moment’. The leader has been described as apolitical, he has done nothing to change this- he is only interested in himself and maintaining the political landscape in its current form.

  10. I hope all members read this amazingly honest account and seriously pause for thought. People who are neither left nor right have given up on labour. I do not see any path to success from the incumbents. Resigned labour

    1. Well said Richard you reflect many Labour Party members feelings about this spineless leadership.This is what you get when Starmer has that slimy creep Mandleson in his ear too much thinking that the only way forward is to revert back to the third way hymn sheet of a quarter of a century ago, that man should have been booted from the Labour Party years ago!

  11. A letter that speaks for thousands of party members suffering over this mans obsession with destroying Labour and making it politically pointless. The trouble is too many Labour members think this is a game of just ‘win’ never mind the policies or direction. A second Tory party would suit many of them as long as they ‘won’. The fact it will not change Britain but make it much worse for working people does not enter their heads. Many of these members who support Starmer are sitting in comfortable Council seats and would do anything not to rock the boat of others in a similar mind set on their Labour groups. Opposing Starmer being one of those things that would rock their little boat.

    1. Well written and eloquently put.
      I totally agree!
      Thank goodness I’m not one of those that was
      hoodwinked into voting for Starmer!
      It must have come as a shock to those that did?
      Or maybe not?
      What he’s doing to our Party doesn’t make sense one ioto to myself, along with all those that have abandoned it, on him becoming the new leader!
      Richard has done us all a favour by highlighting the facts that I defiantly 100% agree with!
      Here’s hoping for change very soon in the Leadership of our Socialist Labour Party!

  12. Starmer is a uniquely ungifted politician. A man seemingly with no charm, empathy or insight. No ability to read a room politically.

    Guessing the 10 Pledges used to win over the sceptical membership were written for him by someone who knew precisely what buttons to press to get the membership on side? Big pharma lobbyist Owen Smith ran a similar campaign against Corbyn in the leadership contest of 2016, promising to ‘out-Cotbyn, Corbynism’ on policy. Cynical stuff and the membership should, quite rightly be furious.

    1. Andy you are correct about “cynical stuff and the fake pledges of Owen smiffy big pharma man,but why o why couldn’t the membership see a nailed on right wing plant and a title to proclaim “establishment man” ..There was no secret about what he was although he certainly lied about his funding and background of being a Jewish convert to the Conservative mosorti faith like his wife and children.Sombody said only a few days ago Starmer is a gentile.Try who are a New York based paper and they did a superb article praising the Zionist and religious fanatic.and queens council.UP to his ears in neo liberal ideology and anti wrong type of jew and wrong type of socialism…yes real socialist and a real Opposition to the Conservative and unionist party.The voters of the UK and the Labour membership have a lot to answer for.

      1. Had there been a viable, confident left-wing alternative, Starmer probably would have lost. Laura Pidcock would’ve possibly been that candidate had she not lost her seat due to the party’s position on Brexit.

        RLB seemed too uncertain of her own ability to lead the party. And her failure to properly protest her dismissal from Starmer’s shadow cabinet, over bogus antisemitism allegations surrounding retweeting of that Maxine Peake Independent interview. Just reinforces the view that the PLP RW would have done to her precisely what they did to Corbyn.

      2. Couldn’t agree more, Andy.
        The PLP had been hollowed out during the Blair years and so, despite the hopes of much of the membership, it proved beyond the (albeit small) socialist group in the PLP to put up a strong candidate. It seems to me that they were taken in by the mantra that the best shot would be having a northern, female who “represented” the next generation. Ticked all the “right” boxes – including the one that said let’s not win.

  13. Needs distribution as far and wide as possible with the heading
    Join me on Labour Day Tuesday 5th October 2021

  14. “Your triumphalism was pure delusion, if the Greens had stood, Labour would have lost.”

    A very interesting point and a correct one.
    The Green Party can do a tremendous amount of damage to the Labour Party. It would not need to pick up many votes to stop Labour winning or even to cost Labour seats that it already holds.

    Progressive voters exist in every constituency. By switching away from the Labour Party, they could do an awful lot of damage. And who could blame them?

      1. Does not apply, and hasn’t done for all but four of forty-odd years.

      2. Toffee

        2015 – 2019
        Took me a while
        You confuse the oily rag with the engineer
        I could reverse your argument and say the membership and supporters have been solidly Socialist and leaderless for forty odd years 🤔
        There was a scream of delight Edvard Munch would have been proud of when JC won

  15. I left within 10 seconds of the Neo-Liberal lump of wood being elected.
    I saw Right Wing Labour’s strategy coming:
    Dump Corbyn, dump Left Wing Democratic Socialist members, then dump radical policy (which is actually what the economy and society needs at this moment in time).
    And all to please the Neo-Liberal Big Business capitalist masters and mistresses who they hope will then permit them a few crumbs for diverse working people.
    But the lesson from Scotland doesn’t doesn’t bode too well for Right Wing Labour “The born again Blairites.”
    The opportunist SNP there were grateful for old Labour’s clothes and equally a left wing democratic socialist party should be happy to scoop up Corbyn’s left wing democratic socialist programme but perhaps with a bit more political skill in communicating this to diverse working people.
    Perhaps 600 of us should put up as left wing democratic socialists in the next GE but not against Labour Leftie MPs (but one suspects their days are numbered?).

  16. There’s little I would want to add to the excellent letter from Richard.
    He spells out clearly the failings of a leader who appears to be comitted to destroying the Labour Party as an effective voice – For the Many – Not the Few.
    It’s only my bloody-mindedness that keeps me in the party.
    If Starmer wants a War of Attrition – Then there are some of us who are up for the fight.

  17. Not first one to raise this but why does our leader have to come from a very small and treacherous gene pool

  18. Doug – It’s a bit of a bugger when your dog has more common sense than his master.😉

    1. SteveH
      Wasn’t that long ago the good people of Hartlepool had the good sense to elect a Monkey
      Where did it all go wrong

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