I didn’t vote for Starmer, but I thought about it. I have his Ten Pledges on my notice board and, when they were published, each one made me more open to his candidacy and potential leadership. It seemed I was not alone. Many of those who had voted twice for Jeremy Corbyn were attracted by Starmer’s claim that he would not change track, and that the 2017 Labour manifesto was the basis of the party in the future.
In my case, I allowed my heart to overcome my head. I voted for Rebecca Long-Bailey. But when the results came in, I nevertheless believed that Starmer would be a good leader of the party, perhaps in the manner of John Smith, but certainly not like Tony Blair, under whose aegis the party lost my support (though not my membership subs).
Since Starmer’s election, a great deal has happened to cause concern amongst those of my Labour persuasion. I won’t list them because most of you will be aware of the purge of the left, the expulsion and suspension of Jewish socialists, the lack of opposition to Johnson, and of course the current proposals to change the one-member-one-vote system within the party.
But this much-vaunted Fabian leaflet - an ‘essay’ apparently, but not even a good try - was Starmer’s opportunity to show himself as a positive, forward-looking leader: someone who had a vision which was not confined to purging opponents, but concerned itself with ideas, practicality, policy.
I have now read it. Not The Guardian’s summary. I have read it all, word by word, cliché by cliché, banality after banality.
It is heart-breaking. Not merely because of the style - where is that forensic approach? Where is that legal mind at work? Where are the strong socialist principles? Where, indeed, are any principles at all?
Where, in short, is the leadership?
Perhaps the claim to leadership is to be found here ….
Today from the everysmith vaults: I have of course been listening to Volume 16 of The Bootleg Series, and tbh, one needs to get to the last two tracks of the fifth and final CD to listen to anything new and/or worthy of the man. I have also been listening to a soundtrack of Shadow Kingdom, which is masterful. But I have mostly been listening to James Knight's poignantl and cathartic suite, Close. Quite beautiful.