by Martin Odoni

How do centrists in this country, and in the USA, manage to be so foam-at-the-mouth full of hatred for the left?

Keir Starmer yesterday massively overstepped by approving the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn’s membership of the Labour Party, simply for saying he did not agree with every single detail of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission Report into so-called ‘anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.’

Somehow, the new Labour leader thinks that being far more aggressive, ruthless and malicious towards members of his own party than he has ever been in his entire life towards the Conservative Party, is the way to be an Opposition leader. Starmer is reproducing the vile work Neil Kinnock carried out against his former allies in the 1980s, when he purged thousands of members from the party, on the dubious grounds that they were part of the ‘Militant Tendency’ – really just because they were leftists.

Starmer wants leftists out of the Labour Party too. By actually suspending Corbyn’s membership, an action that may not even be allowed by the party’s rules, he has declared that he will take any opportunity given to knife left wing members in the back.

If that is how Starmer wants it, then so be it. But he, and his sympathisers, need to understand something that really should be very obvious, but that they somehow keep missing. I have lost count, in the eight months since Starmer began his enfeebled reign as Opposition leader, of how many times I have seen impatient centrists sneering at the left that they must ‘get behind’ Starmer and show some unity, because otherwise, when the next General Election comes around, it will let the Tories back in for another five years.

It is hard enough trying to decide what is most nauseating about this pattern of talk; the hypocrisy of it, or the insensitivity of it. The hypocrisy is too obvious to need much description, after all the unending centrist backstabbing of Corbyn during his leadership. But the insensitivity is no less profound. Just to make patronising demands of the left to get behind Starmer, to insinuate that it is not just the right thing to do, but one so obvious that it is bizarre to consider any other attitude, is profoundly hurtful and ignorant. A lot of the left have been unfairly smeared and falsely implicated in wildly exaggerated pseudo-scandals. Many have been traumatised, many have had their lives irretrievably damaged, some have literally died as an indirect result of the malicious bullying that was chiefly orchestrated by the Labour Right. To have been treated like that for five years by the sorts of careerist scum of which Starmer is so clearly a part, and then to be harangued to get behind him, is not entirely unlike instructing a Grievous Bodily Harm assault victim to give their attacker a standing ovation. (Not as bad as doing that certainly, but definitely something akin to it.) It is unbelievably crass and arrogant of the Labour Right to say such things at all to people whom their cohorts have so needlessly hurt and undermined for so long.

And that is all before yesterday. Yesterday, Starmer crossed another line altogether. The pretext for suspending Corbyn was absolutely nonsensical, and downright tyrannical. By ruling that everyone in the Labour Party must agree with everything in the EHRC Report, Starmer is effectively declaring that the Governance & Legal Unit (GLU) is now an outright ‘Thought Police,’ and that anyone failing to maintain Starmer’s preferred orthodoxy is to be eliminated at the Thought Police’s discretion. Never mind that the EHRC Report itself makes clear that Corbyn, indeed any Labour member, has an explicit right, under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, to express such disagreement; –

The EHRC Report itself concedes that Corbyn had every right to say what he did, as Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights allows him to express opinions on internal party matters.

The absurdity of Starmer’s position is quite mind-twisting. To suspend Corbyn, on the grounds of publicly disagreeing with something in the Report, means Starmer is himself publicly disagreeing with something in the Report, and therefore must suspend himself!

But this is of course just ‘playing along’ with the pretext, and to ignore the real reasons why Starmer did it. He did it out of callous opportunism, seeing it as a way of getting rid of a prominent leftist, while hoping to appease the fanatics in the Zionist Lobby. (Some chance of that; the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has taken the suspension as a declaration of Open Season, sending a fresh batch of complaints about some of Corbyn’s key allies from his time as leader. When will Labour leaders learn? The more they feed their enemies, the hungrier the enemies get.)

But more than this, Starmer has yet again done exactly the opposite of what his supporters keep demanding of the left; he has attacked one of his own party members. What do centrists on social media have to say about that? Do they condemn Starmer for failing to provide the unity he promised when he was campaigning for leader? Do they criticise him for failing to show solidarity? Do they? Do they….?

You ask whether centrists criticise Starmer for his lack of solidarity? What a funny idea!

No. A few have expressed cautious reservations, but most of them say that Starmer had “little choice.”

Therefore, centrists, we give you notice that all bets are now off. You do not get to lecture the left ever again about how we must get behind your choice of leader “or else the Tories get in again.” Your faction did not hesitate to let the Tories back in a year ago, so long as it stopped the left winning an Election. If you fail to win the next one, it will be on you for crushing so many of the people upon whose support you will soon rely. It will be on you for putting up a candidate for Prime Minister that the left does not want, has no reason to trust, and has every reason to hate and despise.

All bets are now off, centrists. You can’t keep purging the left from your party, and then demand loyalty, solidarity or unity from them.

Same over in the USA. If Joe Biden fails to win the Presidential Election this week, the corporate-liberals in the Democratic Party must take the blame, because it is the corporate-liberals who ultimately forced their candidate on the left once again. If their candidate fails, the corporate-liberals take the blame for once again handing Bernie Sanders a raw deal in the Primaries. You do not batter and humiliate people for no good reason, and then expect them to co-operate with you. If that is how you choose to get your way, expect the people you hurt to be hostile, not helpful. Surely after what happened to Hillary Clinton four years ago, that lesson should have been learned by now?

We will not sit still so you can stab us in the back more easily anymore, centrists.

You get nothing from the left for free anymore, centrists. Not after what your figurehead in the UK has now done. In future, if you want our support, you are going to have to earn it. You are going to have to give something back. If you refuse, and it costs you an Election, it was your decision to refuse.