Owen Jones lays bare the tactical weaknesses in Keir Starmer’s Labour (Starmer gambled Labour’s fortunes on his integrity – no wonder he’s in deep trouble, 9 May). It doesn’t work to increasingly appease the right, because in our current divisive political era, one can never appease enough when the game is just a zero-sum turf war.
So Beergate could be an indicative test case. If he’s fined, either Keir Starmer ends up backing down on the value of integrity, thus saving Boris Johnson and then having to tack further right to ingratiate himself in an increasingly hostile environment. Or, he could take the poison pill and allow himself to be deposed in favour of a new, capable leader.
Learning from this is the most important thing. Centrists do, in fact, need at least the moderate left wing of the party, and the coalition of the Labour movement is better for it. Labour does need to collaborate with all opposition parties. And it needs to stop triangulating itself to impotence over the “red wall” and create a bold, pro-Europe vision that can demolish it, along with our deepening illiberalism.
When I joined Labour in 2015, it was not because I was a radical, leftist “Corbynista”, it was because the party was offering a socialist agenda for the first time in my voting life. I was more excited by John McDonnell as a chancellor than I was by Jeremy Corbyn as leader; it was their manifesto I was interested in.
Of course the rightwing press were terrified. I wish Labour would devote its energies to standing up for the people who are really struggling and the people who want to support them. Start giving us a message we can get behind rather than following votes and you will find that you leave the rightwing press behind.
Simon Jenkins is wrong (You say Partygate, I say Beergate – let’s call the whole thing off, 9 May). Equating the prolonged, contemptuous and now shown to be illegal shenanigans in Downing Street with Keir Starmer’s team meal at the end of a day’s campaigning is akin to comparing cancer with the irritation of an ingrowing toenail, or perhaps more appropriately, schizophrenia with mild disappointment when one’s football team has lost.
To call it quits, as Jenkins suggests, is to hand yet another victory to the unprincipled sections of the biased press that wield such massively disproportional influence in our democracy.
Keir Starmer should not allow the rightwing press to govern his priorities (Damned when you do: why Starmer can’t win with the Mail, 10 May). He knows he did not break the law, and as he is a highly experienced lawyer. I trust his judgment. If the Durham police give him a fixed-penalty notice, he has every right, plus the skill, to test that judgment in court.
If we must follow the puerile convention of referring to it as “-gate”, might I suggest Barrelgate, referencing the vessel the bottom of which Boris Johnson’s remaining defenders are so frantically scraping?