With the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet, Starmer faces an indignant left once more, but are the benefits greater than the losses?
Long-Bailey was sacked recently for sharing an interview alleging that Israeli secret services had taught American police the technique of kneeling on the neck during arrests. This was the same technique used to kill George Floyd in Minnesota. After having been asked to take the article down by the Labour leader, Long-Bailey refused, resulting in her expulsion from the shadow cabinet.
The offending Tweet:
The alleged claim about the Israeli secret services is false. The source of the claim made in the article was supposedly from an amnesty international report, which they have since denied ever having reported. Maxine has apologised, yet Long-Bailey and her ilk persist in their vendetta against what they feel is an unjust sacking. Yet such self-righteous indignance betrays a sanctimonious indignity, and it’s a foul taste in everybody’s mouth.
Those who are demanding Long-Bailey’s reinstatement claim it was only a matter of time before Starmer found a way to liquidate his old rival. Her removal, they believe, was motivated more by factional divisions than it was by a concern for rooting out anti-Semitism. Starmer, they claim, is more concerned with winning conservative voters back than maintaining party purity (what will he think of next?), and the removal of Long-Bailey is an attempt to move the party further right.
Watch: Starmer explains his decision to sack Bailey
It isn’t difficult to see why such a group of people were unpopular with the British public, and it’s a pattern of behaviour that can be seen right across the Corbyn era, one of foul self-righteousness that claims everyone else is simply mistaken and that only we are the morally superior. This is fundamentally a gross misunderstanding of the nature of politics. That they cannot see the political significance of this for Labour’s electoral chances is a shocking indictment of their incompetence.
Having promised “actions not words” to the Jewish community, Starmer has shown decisive action, and it has paid off handsomely. According to a Yougov poll in the Evening Standard, 47% of participants said it was the right decision to sack Long-Bailey, with only 12% saying she should not have been sacked. Even amongst Labour voters, 44% agree with the decision and only 16% are against it.
With the recent return of three Jewish law makers to Labour, the party is finally salvaging its reputation. Starmer’s approach speaks for itself, and with powerful results. If the Corbynites want to riot, then let them riot. As the saying goes, “you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette”.