by Martin Odoni

An obscure former writer for the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times called David Sumner Smith has tweeted a question that I suppose is fair for Starmerites to ask.

It is sad that he needlessly patronised the people he was asking by calling them “Corbyn fans” and not the Labour left. This implies that the question was entirely loaded and not a simple request for information.

But I will give Sumner Smith the benefit of the doubt, and answer his question, because I suppose it is refreshing to be asked what our terms are, rather than just be barraged with inarticulate accusations of “letting the Tories in.” (Something that has never stopped the Starmerites and their right wing allies, note.)

So here are the fifteen demands that I would need met before I would so much as lift a finger to help Keir Starmer in any way.

1 Acknowledgement of the right wing smear campaign against the left under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

We require a full confession and apology from Keir Starmer that the right of the party lied and cheated to dislodge the left from its position of control.

2 Restoration of the party whip to Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party is completely illegal under the Party’s rulebook, and was enacted for completely contrived reasons, over a statement Corbyn had made that Starmer’s own office had previously vetted and cleared for release.

3 Full, immediate and unredacted publication of the Forde Report.

All the delays on releasing the findings of the Forde investigation into party conduct relating to racism are making it patently obvious that Starmer has a lot to hide, and that when the report is finally released, it will have been redacted to the point of meaninglessness.

4 Formal acknowledgement with full numerical data that the ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ in the party was massively exaggerated as part of the aforementioned campaign to smear the left.

For all the media hysterics, the Labour Party under Corbyn’s tenure did not have a serious or widespread issue with animosity towards Jews, and the figures from the Labour Complaints records bear this out. Even using the dangerously over-stretched definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the total number of members of the Labour Party found guilty of the prejudice between 2015 and 2019 was fewer than 60. All of them were low-ranking, and, due to the conflation of Jews with Israel, many of the expelled were themselves Jewish.

5. Restoration of party membership for all those falsely expelled for “bringing the party into disrepute” in relation to supposed anti-Semitism.

This should need no explanation. Anyone falsely expelled should be allowed back into the party if they so wish, rather by definition.

6. Formal rejection of IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

The IHRA definition was never meant to be official, and in its current form, written by Professor Ken Stearn, it is only a work in progress. It was also never intended for legal use, but for academic practise. The examples attached to it are not part of the definition, and are meant to indicate where investigations should be carried out to identify possible anti-Semitic behaviour. An individual showing the behaviours in the examples should not be assumed to be an anti-Semite, nor to be motivated by hostility to Jews, but should be investigated further to establish their motivation. Given it is not even in a finalised form, this should alone be reason enough to reject the IHRA definition.

7. Immediate expulsion of Margaret Hodge from Labour.

Margaret Hodge is a disgrace to British Jews. She has lied relentlessly about this anti-Semitism controversy, between submitting vast numbers of false complaints that she subsequently claimed were real, and using Holocaust-manipulation to evade a due investigation by the party into her conduct, to using foul and abusive language to her party leader in an obviously-theatrical stunt in the lobby of the House of Commons. A person of Hodge’s vile conduct has no place in the Labour Party at all.

8. Restoration of Starmer’s Ten policy pledges.

When Keir Starmer won the contest for the Labour leadership, he was given the trust of the membership on understanding that ten policy pledges from the Corbyn Manifestos he was promising would be adhered to. Within less than a year, without so much as an apology, he had abandoned every single one of them, while he and fake General Secretary David Evans continued the purging of the very members who had put Starmer in charge in the first place. This was a grotesque and filthy act of betrayal. And if Mr Sumner Smith wishes us to believe that a Starmer Government will be ‘moderate’ and not just ‘Tory-lite’, he should explain to us why the ten pledges, themselves all moderate, were abandoned.

9. A full and frank apology from Starmer for lying his way to the leadership and for constantly attacking his own party membership.

Again, this should be self-explanatory. The attitude of the Labour right when they demand the left get behind Starmer continues to make my head spin, if only for the astonishing stupidity needed to maintain such a stance. To imagine that the tens of thousands of people Starmer is still campaigning to purge and destroy should try to help him is a little like demanding that the dispossessed Russian Royal Family in 1918 should get behind the Bolsheviks. How much of a fool do you have to be to maintain such a ridiculous position of, “Get behind the person who is trying to destroy you”? Why would anyone want to reward his dirty, unscrupulous assassin with support?

Yes, when someone is corruptly trying to get you thrown out of politics altogether, why don’t you reward them with your vote?

10. Resignation of David Evans as General Secretary.

David Evans succeeded Jennie Formby as Labour General Secretary at the start of the pandemic, which was used as a pretext not to hold a proper election. During his first 18 months in the role, Evans made a wide range of decisions that a caretaker General Secretary should never have the power to make. He was elected eventually at the Labour Conference of 2021, but the rigging of the vote was absolutely glaring; the party excluded vast numbers of members from entering the Conference Hall by suspending them in the days beforehand on unclear grounds, and not allowing their ‘disciplinary hearings’ to be heard until after Conference week. Evans’ position in the role of General Secretary is a sham.

11. Rollback of rule changes from Labour Conference 2021.

As an obvious follow up to 10, any decisions made by a rigged Conference will be unsafe and must be reversed.

12. Formal apology to the Hillsborough survivors and families for Starmer writing in The S*n, and immediate termination of said relationship.

The Labour Party seems to have a very unsettling relation of convenience with the Hillsborough Disaster, using it as a rallying cry when it suits Labour’s need to look like a party for justice, and then brushing it off on one side when the matter ceases to be of use. Starmer’s decision to start writing for The S*n newspaper, the rag that more than any other trashed the victims of the Disaster, goes some way beyond crass. He must apologise and cease all relations with the Rupert Murdoch press in general.

13. Full and open inquiry into all members of the Shadow Cabinet and their relationships with Murdoch and other press barons, and their donors.

In the end, this is the only way of knowing in whose interest the Labour Party are working.

14. Expulsion with immediate effect of Christian Wakeford.

If Starmer’s Labour were really ‘moderate’ and not just another Tory Party, why has it spent so much time purging the left from its ranks, sometimes on grounds of them somehow not sharing the party’s values, while this week welcoming with open arms a firmly right-of-centre Tory who is bitterly anti-immigration? If Wakeford does have Labour values and the left does not, the party must be well in the right of the political spectrum, and not moderate at all.

15. Acknowledge that the centre does not outrank the left.

The centre must earn the left’s support. Stop trying to blackmail it into backing the centre because Boris Johnson will be ‘worse’. (How do we even know that when Starmer shows such contempt for progressive policies and will not commit to anything tangible at all.) The Labour right must get into the habit of asking for the left’s help, not demanding it, and of compromising with them where necessary. The right must stop trying to bully and harangue the left into helping. You want us to vote for you after you’ve purged tens of thousands of us? If you do not need us in your party, why do you still need our vote then? What are you going to do for us first? What are you going to do to make up to us the smears, the purges and the bullying? It is this arrogance, this sense of entitlement, on the Labour Right that stinks to high heaven, and makes so many on the left say, “We won’t make do with the lesser evil anymore.”


The very fact that these terms must be laid out shows the failed reasoning at the base of Sumner Smith’s tweet. He implies that the Tories are ‘crooked’ and that automatically means Starmer’s Labour are better. But they are not. They behave in a manner every bit as corrupt, and what is more, do so against opponents who are not in a strong position to fight back.

This is at the heart of Starmer’s tendency to shy away from any difficult or progressive policy by saying, things like, “Now is not the time.” In a sense it is true. But only the sense that he would be helping the poor at a time when he is trying to force them back into their place. He is not willing to help his enemies.

Why do so many demand that the Labour left should do so?