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Labour movement figures call for new party after Starmer benefit cap betrayal: #TransformPolitics

With ‘Labour’ refusing to oppose Tory two-child benefit cap, labour movement and campaigning activists have issued call for new party of the left under ‘Transform’ banner to offer real choice – and prevent far right filling political vacuum

As Keir Starmer continues his betrayal of ordinary people with Labour refusing to oppose the Tory two-child benefit cap, labour movement activists have responded with a call for a new party of the left, Transform. The group, which includes the Breakthrough Party, PAL, Left Unity and Liverpool Community Independents, has issued a video and statement to mark the launch of Transform:


Our country is in crisis, yet Labour under Starmer is planning to follow the same brutal policies as the Tories. A new politics is needed that provides real answers to climate change, the cost of living explosion, the erosion of democracy and the spread of war.


People supporting the call include former Labour MP Thelma Walker; Ian Hodson, President of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU); Solma Ahmed, former Labour Women’s Committee and Momentum NCG member; India Willoughby, broadcaster and journalist; Derek Wall, ecosocialist writer and former principal speaker of the Green Party; Lucy Williams, Alan Gibbons and Sam Gorst, Liverpool Community Independent councillors; Seema Syeda, anti-racist activist; Maia Thomas, Black Lives Matter activist; Zoe Gardner, refugee rights campaigner, and many others.

Organisations from across the left already involved include the Breakthrough Party, Left Unity, and the People’s Alliance of the Left, with more groups set to join in the coming weeks. Plans are already underway to build local Transform groups and organise in-person events across the country, culminating with the launch of the party later this year.

Former Labour MP Thelma Walker said:

We need to end the duopoly in Westminster and offer people across the country a choice of a party that will fight for social, economic and environmental justice. For many Labour supporters, Starmer’s defence of the child benefit cap will be the last straw.

Bakers’ union president Ian Hodson added:

The need for change and for a party that people feel represents them is critical if we are to end the greed crisis caused by politics owned by the richest in our society. People matter, and politics must be done in the people’s interests.

Lucy Williams, Alan Gibbons, Sam Gorst, the Liverpool Community Independent councillors who stunned and hammered Labour in the city’s recent local elections, said:

Our election to three seats in Liverpool demonstrated that there is a space to the left of Labour. We need a force in British society that stands unequivocally on the side of working class communities and against all forms of bigotry and prejudice.

Left Unity’s Doug Thorpe:

In the absence of a left alternative there is a real danger that far-right players will move to fill the vacuum with reactionary answers. Left Unity believes there is an urgent need for a new left party, and we support the Transform call and principles.

Solma Ahmed:

Staying and fighting for Starmer’s party is no longer an option. We need an alternative that challenges the political system. That’s why I’m excited to support Transform: because it meets my ambitions for a better and more equal world.

The Breakthrough Party’s Alex Mays:

It’s time for the left to come together to provide a real alternative: one that transforms our politics, our society and our planet. We at the Breakthrough Party are proud to put our name to this call. We can’t wait for someone else to save us, we have to do it ourselves.

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    1. Proportional representation? It is our FPTP electoral system which has maintained the neoliberal duopoly that is our mainstream political system.

      Campaigning for PR by STV is key to breaking the duopoly which keeps the neoliberal Establishment in power.

      Happy to see that more in Labour now see this.

      Stopping global warming, saving our NHS from privatisation & adopting PR/STV should be the focus for progressives both in Labour and forming a growing party to Labour’s left.

  1. Transform: That’s a great name for a demsoc political party, or (more likely first) an organisational focus and banner…

  2. Why on earth don’t they just join the Green Party? How to fracture the left even more.

    1. Maybe because the Green party doesn’t hold all the values that democratic socialists share?

      Besides, ‘red and green’ makes us better, people-centred, practical environmentalist and campaigners than th Green party could ever be.

      1. Just got an email from Left Unity:

        Calling for a new left party – Transform

        “We’re pleased to announce Left Unity’s participation in a new political initiative. Today – we have come together with the Breakthrough Party, Liverpool Community Independents and others – to launch the Transform call: asking for support to move towards founding a new broad party of the left…”

        This is shaping-up nicely.

      2. But wasn’t Left Unity supposed to be the next big thing from the newly unified left just a few years ago, what went wrong?

      3. qwertboi – I wasn’t aware that they had made much if any progress either before, during or after JC’s tenure. My impression was that Left Unity did what the left do best and yet again descended into oh so earnest factional talking shops.

        ps, how did Thelma Walker do the last time she stood for election and as for LCI.
        Whilst Labour in Liverpool increased their number of seats LCI went from ‘holding’ 6 seats (seats that they won standing as Labour candidates) to losing 6 out of the 9 seats where they fielded candidates leaving them with only 3 councillors. Hardly what you would call an outstanding success.

      4. SteveH “I wasn’t aware that they had made much if any progress either before, during or after JC’s tenure….”

        I’d say that the Transform movement is largely the product of Left Unity. It is which today is proactively promoting Transform.

        It’s great that Liverpool Independents, Breakthrough, Thelma Walker; Ian Hodson, President of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU); Solma Ahmed, former Labour Women’s Committee and Momentum NCG member; Derek Wall, ecosocialist writer and former principal speaker of the Green Party; Lucy Williams, Alan Gibbons and Sam Gorst, Liverpool Community Independent councillors; Seema Syeda, anti-racist activist; Maia Thomas, Black Lives Matter activist; Zoe Gardner, refugee rights campaigner, and many others are joining Transform, but, in essence, it is a Left Unity baby.

      5. qwertboi – Could you detail their track record of successes?

    2. In the same way that the Chartist Movement could not be regarded as being a labour or socialist movement it’s inaccurate to assume that the Green Party is a party of the left or indeed a socialist party. To be fair to the Green Party I don’t believe that it has ever claimed to be either but I suppose that it may be the case that some socialists are members of it. If so their “socialism” is not a requirement of their membership of the Green Party.
      Just because Tories have a tendency to rather lazily dismiss everyone who they disagree with as a “lefty” it does not mean that it’s either accurate or true.

    3. On the economic front, the Greens leave much to be desired. They have not really given much thought to this matter, and could easily slip into a “Reeves-Lite” mode. That would be both self-defeating and irresponsible in equal measure.
      Richard Murphy is the guy to listen to in this area in particular.

    4. The Greens are certainly tempting the more impatient among us. I refer all potential Greens to look at that party’s wider beliefs. Its faux left with a troubling undergrowth. Its not a working class Party.

    5. AliB, the Green Party support NATO, and the German Greens quite frankly are worse than SirKidStarver’s Labour Party.

  3. Very interesting article by Andrew Rawnsley in last Sunday’s Observer.

    He claims that Blairite ultras were seriously considering leaving Labour to form a new party after the Hartlepool defeat:

    “Just two years ago, in the wake of Labour’s morale-crushing defeat in the Hartlepool byelection, some of the most ardent Blairites even discussed abandoning all hope in Labour by launching a new party to be led by Sir Tony. What sounds fantastical today was talked about quite seriously back then. It is a mark of the advances that Labour has made in the time since that Sir Tony now gives his benedictions and blessings to Sir Keir.”

    Crucial unasked question:

    So why was this not reported at the time?

    1. Andrew Rawnsley, Observer, “claims that Blairite ultras were seriously considering leaving Labour to…”

      From Rawnsley (and the observer) I’d expect that to be misinformation solely to confuse and xx proper (non third-way) Labour members/former supporters.

      Yup Tony, “crucial unasked question”, unreported and unanalysed by the serious press: Convinces me that this is just a part a CIA-level con by the “establishment” (just like a few other things lately).

  4. This has nothing to do with hard economic choices about priorities, and everything to do with posing as ‘tough on the poor’ to win RW headlines and praise in the Sun ,Mail, Times and Telegraph.

    They’ve long refused to reveal fiscal policy, stating on-message, mantralike, that all those things will be in the manifesto. Yet here they are 17 months out, making a big play about sticking with the two child cap.

  5. I seen a tweet about mini-keef and the two-child cap which said he’d be able to claim £5500 p.a. for three kids during his time as an mp.

    While it might be obscene, it’s not gonna happen.

  6. Would help if JC, a bigger hitter with a brand name, would join and with The Peace & Justice Project also then it would be seriously game on. If JC’s Peace & Justice alone became a political party it would have hundreds of thousands of members within weeks & millions of pounds to campaign with.
    Transform is a good name.
    If JC stands as an Independent we would have a gang of one but if he/Peace & Justice Project did what we argue we could have is a left Wing Democratic Socialist group of MPs. A lot may depend on what happens in Islington.

    1. Frustrating indeed, Bazza.

      Maybe Tommy Corbyn can persuade his father? J .Corbyn seems to have this perverse sense of loyalty to a party that is captured by a right-wing who have treated him like dirt. Jeremy Corbyn’s wife, Laura Alvarez, certainly seems to have the anger Jeremy lacks – angry enough about her husband’s shabby treatment to try to oust Starmer.

      I don’t think anyone quite realises how quickly an unashamedly socialist P&J party could grow into an electoral force. With all that campaign money they could give many in the PLP the heebie-jeebies. As for fearing the right-wing press, they’re so discredited after backing Brexit and Johnson, does anyone under 50 take them seriously anymore?

      At the moment, the right-wing, neoliberal, pro-war neocon consensus at Westminster has no opposition.

      1. I’m guessing that there is a reason why Jeremy has yet to let us in on the big secret of whether he will be standing in the next general election.🤨

      2. Of course there is, but he’s not telling you sunshine.

  7. None of these parties have won a general election or single MP election, because none have Grey Vote policies, who are the last age group sufficiently turning out to vote.

    Why not help the sole party of Corbyn’s legacy with Grey Vote pension money policies, please, to come into existence, that would save us all.

    Contact through website please

  8. The Greens are confused because they have little history and no basis in grassroots building. Caroline Lucas did declare herself an anti-capitalist, but they don’t have the background in oppositional thinking needed for a transformative movement.

    It’s easy to snipe at previous attempts. This looks more viable. And remember, all radical movements start with small minorities. It’s worth a try. The old corruption has to be challenged.

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